Just like other art forms, the website experience has evolved and you may be noticing a change in web design. The design community has declared that web 3.0 is here!
Before we dive into what web 3.0 is, let’s take a look at where websites started and how they’ve evolved over the last 20+ years.
In the 90s, the public was introduced to the first websites—static, content-driven websites that were presented by a business or intuition to the consumer. These websites were basic to say the least. They were text heavy with few images and designed within restrictive tables. They were also based on self-written content management systems and were more text and content focused than design focused.
As smart phone and mobile devices became more popular, the need for a different website experience became more apparent. This is where we started to see websites shift from web 1.0 to web 2.0. No longer were websites created within limited tables. They evolved to being created on a responsive grid that rendered beautifully on mobile devices (stretching automatically to the full width of the screen). Self-written content management systems had been replaced by platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. This allowed for designers to create more layout focused designs where they had more freedom to arrange elements on the page. Websites have now become more visually focused with the addition of sliders, galleries, and other graphic elements.
The rise of web 2.0 did great things for how we interact with beautifully designed websites. However, public perception would all start to shift in the 2010s. Theme builder sites like WIX made it easy for the average person to create stylish and professional looking sites. The rise of these cheap, website templates started killing the demand for custom websites. Some even feared the death of web design as an art form all together.
This roadblock in web design would bring about change in user experience. Once again, web design would go through a rebirth and in 2016, we saw the rise of web 3.0. Think of it as designers taking back their artistic freedom. Web 3.0 design takes advantage of more free positioning of design elements, no longer restricted by a grid and hard to replicate with a template. The introduction of elements overlapping and breaking the grid to guide the user through the page created a fresh user experience. Designers also started using the background of the website as a design element. Shapes, curves, vertical & custom typography, and illustrations are being used like never before to impose a specific design navigation path.
Designers have always used psychic lines in print and other mediums to get viewers to focus where we want them to—now, we were doing it with the free position of design elements in web design. The addition of responsive navigation (the little hamburger menu you’re familiar with on mobile) also carried over to desktop design, somewhat blurring the line between the mobile and desktop experience.
…and just like that, users have evolved their perception once again and gravitate to these fresh new web experiences. When you compare web 2.0 to 3.0 you can clearly see how web design deviated and evolved, just in time for the new decade.
Now that web 3.0 has taken the throne and ushered in a new way we interact with the internet—what’s next? Only time will tell.
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