August 21st 2015
Mia is a graphic design graduate from Falmouth University and unusual in that she has now interned twice with Leap. She completed a short internship in August 2014. She must have thought it worthwhile because she applied to join us again this summer and we were delighted to have her.... Read More
Mia is a very talented and committed designer with a strong commitment to eco/sustainable practices and during her time with Leap she has been working on a range of projects including brand and logo design for clients in Canada as well as closer to home. She has also been heavily involved in designing an infographic for Re:Source, a social enterprise which aims to help address the cause and effect of social exclusion in Cornwall.
Mia has written a blog post for Leap about her views on website design:
The ‘good old days’ of web design
During my time working at the local pub, I have patiently listened to my fair share of drunken ramblings from the regulars (dubbed ‘the Grumpy Old Men’). They sip their ale and endlessly talk about the (rubbish) weather or ‘the good old days’. So now that I have been offered the opportunity to write a blog entry for Leap, I’m taking this chance to have a ramble myself about the ‘good old days’. However, the ‘good old days’ in question being the early days of ‘the information superhighway’, more commonly known as ‘the web’.
It must have been about 15 years ago when our first family computer was installed. When I was the age best spent grazing up knees and playing kiss chase, admittedly I was more likely found trawling the internet, captivated by the websites that were around at the time. 5 years later, I started to learn how to code websites and just like that, I had entered into the world of graphic design. However, digitally, it was a design world far removed from the one today.
The progression of technology in my lifetime (23 years) has been staggering to say the least, and I think this is especially true for the Internet and its role within society. Back in the day, the World Wide Web was only accessible and appealing to tech-savvy readers of ‘Wired’ magazine, whereas now, almost everyone uses it in someway or another. Back in the day, the World Wide Web was typically only viewed on a clunky, humming 15-inch monitor, whereas today it can be loaded instantly on a laptop, an Android phone, an iPod Touch, an iPad, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, to name a few. So it’s no wonder that designers and developers have had to put adaptability, content and structure at the top of the agenda when making a new website. And they have done a pretty great job of it, in my opinion, especially considering responsive and adaptive web design are relatively young concepts.
In recent years, websites have gone super streamlined: fancy shadow effects ditched in favour of flat design, we have embraced icons, making glossy buttons a thing of the past and who needs a drop-down menu when there’s parallax scrolling? In short, as the Internet has taken a more complex form, designers have wisely responded by simplifying visual elements, making the web easy and accessible for everyone, not the mind-boggling conundrum it really is. Of course, there are still web designers doing crazy things with code and pushing visual boundaries, but today the trend is to make websites fit people’s expectations and eliminate the possibility of user confusion.
I don’t hold it against designers for one minute that web design has gone the way it has (especially when you can do things like order a takeaway, on your phone, in five minutes, with a few thumb-swipes). But I do feel a sense of nostalgia for how webpages used to look and think that in our quest for simplicity, we have lost some of the spark and emotion that captured my imagination in the first place.
In the late 90s and early 00s, designers were limited by the constraints of tables, Flash CSS, yet the design possibilities on offer were in a whole new and exciting realm than design for print. This led to an abundance of digital creativity, each web page looking vastly different from the next. Okay, so maybe some were a bit eager with the neon colours, dizzying background animations and guilty of using Times New Roman, Courier, Verdana and Arial in the same paragraph, but there was something exciting about waiting for a webpage to load and being surprised and intrigued by what (finally) awaited you.
As a (slightly obsessive) side project, I have collated screenshots of how web design has changed over time. So if you fancy a trip down memory lane, then head to www.lookedlikethis.tumblr.com where my web design timeline exists. You can also visit the internet archive: www.waybackmachine.org which is a brilliant resource allowing you to type in a website and see how it has changed throughout its history. For a more curated archive, visit www.webbyawards.com where you can find the crème de la crème of webpage design, past and current.
No Comments - Click here to leave a comment