Change in web design – old sites vs new

by | Jun 12, 2018

Can you remember back in the 90s and early noughties? Driverless cars were something only sci-fi writers talked about, Twitter hadn’t been invented and mobile phones resembled a house brick – oh the good old days!

It was also this time that the internet started to explode as more and more people were logging on and browsing the web.

Fast forward twenty or so years and it’s a whole different ball game.

A change in web design was bound to happen!

As consumers, we now all demand ultra fast internet speeds on our mobile devices, intuitive search results and want less hassle. We expect to find what we want in an instant and have the latest updates pushed directly to the palm of our hands.

Here at Midas Creative, we thought it would be good to get all nostalgic and look back at some popular companies and how their web design has changed and adapted to new technology and consumer demands.

Let’s get all retro – Cowabunga dude!

BBC 1997

BBC website 1997

The above is a snapshot of the BBC website back in 1997. It features a blank homepage except for their logo. The navigation on the website is left align and the website doesn’t even have any news content!

BBC 2018

BBC website 2018

How things have changed. Fast forward to 2018 and the site is much lighter, has a clear navigational structure and offers the latest news items. This is perfect for busy people looking for information at the click of a button or a tap of the screen. There is now also the option to optimise your homepage to your preferred liking.

Toyota 1999

There has been a massive change in web design since this early website for Toyota was produced. The 1999 version of the website doesn’t instantly tell you what they do, it goes against the golden bounce rule. If a user can’t find what they are looking for within a few seconds they will ‘bounce’ off the site. It also features a non user friendly barrier page asking you to do something before you’re allowed to see their information.

Toyota 2018

Today, Toyota’s website is much more on point. It has a stylish, clean structure and you’re greeted with a great looking image on the homepage a potential consumer. Thankfully, they no longer ask to you register or login to see their vehicles – that wouldn’t cut the mustard in today’s media hungry world.

Google 1999

This is probably our favourite old website (not a traditional website) snapshot. That fact that Google was in BETA mode and is now the biggest search engine in the world – we all have to start somewhere! Also interesting is the link explaining why you should use Google! Who would have thought all these years on that their company name would become the verb of what they do? Its now “Google it” instead of “find it online” – genius.

Google 2018

Well they are no longer in BETA lol. As you can see not a lot has changed other than they have stripped back their entire page and changed their logo slightly. They have also moved forward and integrated Google voice search, making finding things even easier. No wonder they dominate the internet, it simply does what you want.

Bank of America 1998

Where to click? Which dropdown to choose? That’s a whole lot of different ways to get around their website and find what you’re looking for. Imagine that today, browsing a site like this on a mobile device? It would be one long web page to easily fit enough buttons at the right size for a finger tap. This is one of the reasons a change in web design has come about, to keep up with evolving technology and how visitors access the internet.

Bank of America 2018

Much, much better. You can clearly see where to go. A simple login if you’re a customer makes the site a breeze to use. One of the new elements of their site is that they have adapted to growing consumer trends of product reviews and testimonials. People want to be convinced and reassured by peers that the product is good – something that wasn’t around back in the day (expect for word of mouth).

General Motors 1999

Can you believe how a monumental company like general motors had such a simple site. Two main options here either “look at the vehicles” or “where to buy them”. No ‘USPs’ or reasons to buy, their PR, marketing and sales departments must have been in overdrive. They are one of the biggest companies in the world so they have definitely done something right.

General Motors 2018

Today’s General Motors’ website is a million miles away from their old offering. There are now multiple options on what a visitor can do. They can find out more about the company, read their news or find the perfect vehicle. It’s all done with positive branding that gives you a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

Krispy Kreme 1999

Hmmmmm… a bit of text and a graphic and that is their landing page. That was what the web was like back then, functional. It doesn’t even show you their delicious doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme 2018

Now look at them, focusing on great images to set your taste buds dancing. Simple and good at directing visitors to their products more so than their company identity. It’s more than just text and images now, it’s a whole delicious website loved by millions.

British Airways 1999

This has to be the biggest change in web design on our list… this site really was a click-a-thon. You only wanted to look for a flight and you’ve been given hundreds of options. There is no customer journey throughout the homepage. Other than the guy holding a plane in his hand, you wouldn’t have a clue about what they do.

British Airways 2018

Wow what an improvement. It’s inspirational with beautiful background images selling the ‘lifestyle’ not just a flight. There is no more jumping around this site not knowing where to go. You were only looking for a flight. Guess what?… It’s right in your face. Great effective website design.

Rolex 2000

Rolex’s website from 2000 doesn’t look too dated when compared to the others on the list. Although, saying that, looking at today’s website it is in a different league. It was clean, focused on the product and gave you what you were looking for.

Rolex 2018

If you were only to look at one site today, then it must be this one. Their use of video in the backgrounds and branding is unsurpassed. Rolex’s website is beautiful and refined, it makes you want to buy their amazing watches. Minimalistic menus and great design geared towards making you fall in love with them – we want one.

Ebay 2000

Surely Ebay never looked like this did it? Like all old sites it’s mainly focused on text links and not many images. Again, navigation is all over the place, it’s a miracle that we ever actually bought anything.

Ebay 2018

My look how they have evolved! Again, like many sites now, white space is important allowing a visitor to easily find what they are looking for. They have designed the search box in the most prominent position. They are also now adopting clever methods. Using the latest technology their site will auto suggest similar items to what you’ve previously searched for. It’s a shame to see that they have gotten rid of their ‘extreme sports zone’ – we were up for some roller blading.

Summary

Back then all websites were cutting edge, we loved them all. Therefore, we have the internet that we have today, it’s grown and evolved as we have ourselves. There is something for everyone, no matter what your tastes or interests are. Websites and design will continue to change and adapt to our needs and technology, we’re just excited what the future holds.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed this post which is meant to be a bit of fun.

P.S we would like to thank Wayback Machine for making a great site where you can look back at how the web used to be!

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2 Comments

  1. Monty

    I disagree entirely. Old websites are extremely informative and simple to use.

    Everything important is right in front of you, and your eyes aren’t distracted by meaningless imagery.

    The point of the internet is to convey information, not lose the user in pointless pretty ness.

    Reply
    • Damien Buxton

      Thanks for your point of view Monty, it’s appreciated!

      Websites need to do more than just to ‘convey information’, they need to engage and excite a visitor. Above all, they need to be great to use and simple to navigate. Some old websites didn’t do this at all, but that’s how the web used to be.

      Reply

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