Evolution of the Internet and Web Design

Whether you were here long before the birth of the internet or after, you either can’t believe how far we’ve come, or just really glad you missed the dark ages.

Whatever group you are a part of, take a look at the short progression of digital technology as we know it. Let’s start with the term “Internet” describing a global network of smaller networks that is publicly available and organizationally ungoverned. It is the source of the World Wide Web (www.), email, person to person (P2P) applications, Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), and hundreds of other uses. The digital information used in each of these situations is nearly identical, but each case receives special handling of the data in regard to its reliability, speed, redundancy, and error adjustment. The success of the Internet is based on its flexibility in providing a platform for the different protocols and their distinct needs and uses. None of it existed prior to 1969.

The US Defense Department ARPAnet was the first to bring it online, but it involved common circuit-switching hard-wired between two computers. In 1983, the US National Science Foundation created the first network of computers using TCP/IP protocol. In 1985, domain names were introduced, and by 1991, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and invited the public’s interest.

It took some time for the general public to understand what it was and what benefits there were to using it. Larger corporations were, of course, the first to spend the time and money in programmers to convey the potential. We see individual users attempting general searches and using email accounts on slow dial-up connections.


It wasn’t long before faster connections became available and then the high-speed broadband connection. The average citizen finally realizes they are able to build their own websites for global viewing. The first sites were only text based using first generation HTML, but it soon incorporated simple images.  By the late 90s, some text effects were added to roll and move text across the screen with elements like Flash. Colors, scroll bars, and hit counters entered the scene.

By 2000, having a website presence was a major deal for a company’s image. Designers were needed to come up with cool new things. Music was being played, color changing text, table-based features, and new helpful page builders with multiple columns and sections for adding more than just lines of text. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) allowed changes to background color, text size, and style. The code would transfer to each page within the site.

Javascript was an important element from the mid-90s to the mid-2000s for things like drop-down menus, better navigation, and web forms. It added versatility to content description in Extensive Markup Language (XML). The presentation of the content using HTML was getting more and more refined.

We are already discovering the use of HTML5 to replace both Flash and Javascript and looking to responsive web design (ready for mobile use), parallax (being able to see things from different angles and positions), and more basic flat design (removing extra effects in a scheme that create realism or flamboyant designs).

With cellular phones having web browsers and modem interfaces, they can carry their own Internet access too. Between the use of tablets and phones, mobile design is now paramount in website construction along with the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The right keywords, tags, and descriptions bring people to you and your website, quickly and easily, no matter where they are and what device they are using.

Most of us use our phone, tablets, and computers for everything from entertainment, shopping, finances, and staying connected with friends and family. Having to return to a world without the internet is something that would be incredibly difficult to do. It has made our lives easier, simpler, and faster, and it continues to evolve at a phenomenal pace.

Can you imagine the world without the internet now? Leave comments here or on my LinkedIn post Click Here.


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