20 Years of Website Design

The past 20 years of website design shows how far we have come

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Do you remember 1997? Yeah, yeah, we know some of you were still in diapers then. For those of us who do, though, we look back fondly on the early days of our beloved World Wide Web. We waited to hear “You’ve got mail!” and checked daily to see which shows had “jumped the shark.” In 20 years of website design, and Internet usage, we have come a long long way.

If you don’t remember 1997, take a little walk down memory lane with us. Thanks to the magic of the Wayback Machine, we can enjoy snapshots of websites old and new, including these gems:

Cutting-edge technology

Check out the vintage Apple page above. The CD-ROM! Oh, my. (And what the heck is an “emate 300”?)

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You iPhone 7 users should really appreciate how much Apple has progressed in the past two decades.

The 20-year span between these two apple.com screenshots tells a long design story. We have moved from a newspaper-like layout (oh, yeah, remember newspapers?) to hero images and sleek, uncluttered menus.

The 2017 website invites you into an experience without bombarding you up front with text and clutter.

Clunky graphics

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A review of 1997 wouldn’t be complete without a nod to AOL. America Online is how most of us accessed our e-mail and, for many, was our first online experience ever.

This Internet pioneer’s 1997 website shows the relatively primitive nature of Internet design 20 years ago. Using a website back then was more like using a library card catalog: Long lists of words and search terms dominated each plain, white page.

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The original Citysearch page (think 1997’s Yelp) felt more like a page from a grade school textbook.

Modern design

Today, layout and graphics are paramount. Your website design tells your brand story, and it makes it easy for your customer to walk through your brand experience. In some cases, virtual reality allows users to enjoy a literal walk-through, which is especially useful for apartment managers and the multifamily industry.

The site for one of our clients, L45 (below), makes use of some of the best in modern website design.

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Strong images and the right colors begin to tell your brand story long before a customer reads one word. Videos and VR allow your users to access even more detail and to obtain information in an accessible format. Clean menus and uncluttered pages allow your users to easily navigate

Of course, a strong logo and strategic branding support your website design even more. A lot of thought and expertise should go into your branding choices, and your website should show off the absolute best of your brand.


To learn more about Après Creative’s branding and design services, contact us today. We will help you bring your brand into the 21st century.