Introduction to Web Design

Web Design History

Web design is the all encompassing term given to the process of creating and maintaining websites to be viewed publically on the internet.

A relatively new technology, web design is very closely related to the origins of the World Wide Web. In the early 1990s the World Wide Web was in its infancy and the first implementation of web design took the form of text only pages made visible using a line mode browser. 1993 saw the introduction of Mosaic, a user friendly web browser which, among other features, introduced the ability to display images along side text. Mosaic is widely regarded as the first web browser to successfully deliver the World Wide Web to the public in an accessible manner.

In 1994, the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) was established to provide a common framework of web design standards and best practice. It also prevented any one organisation from monopolising the entire market (Largely Microsoft and Netscape). In 1995 Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) version 2.0 was released as the standard Markup language throughout web pages.

Web browser competition was at its height between 1996 and 1999 with manufacturers releasing their own software, attempting to gain control over the market by creating bespoke variations of HTML. 1996 was an extremely important year for web design as it saw the introduction of Cascading Style Sheets, (CSS) a revolutionary method of formatting HTML which is still widely used today. CSS is now recognised as a best practice method of formatting web pages opposed to the outdated method of creating pages in a tabular form.

As time has moved on, as has the technologies used on the World Wide Web. Still utilising W3C recommendations and improved variations of the standards in which the infrastructure was originally built upon.

Current Web Browsers include Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari to name but a few.

Current Markup specifications are at eXtensible Hypertext Markup Langauge (XHTML) version 1.1 (A combination of HTML and XML which has stricter guidelines and requires code to be well formed.

I will provide a greater insight into HTML and its evolution in a separate article. To learn straight from the source, visit W3C to view specific standards and future development.

Web Design Today

As outlined earlier, web design is a term given to a wide range of technologies and specialisations. Whether you are operating as part of a team or like me, you are a one man band; in order to create successful websites you need to have a good understanding of the following:

  • Markup Language / Content Management System
  • Graphic Design & Image Creation
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Internet Marketing note: although not directly connecting with the design process, there is little value in creating a site that nobody can see

At The SEO Experiment it is my aim to provide information on all of the above mentioned subjects. I will provide best practice advice along with tried and tested methods to create a solid foundation to build your internet empire upon.

The Goal of The SEO Experiment is to create a web design methodology which is primarily focussed on monetising websites.