The birth of the internet and a short history of web design

Most of the content of the following article is common knowledge, dust, and bits on the vast sea of interconnected images, avatars, hyperlinks, chats, products, archives, and tools that people use on a daily basis. Nowadays, navigation in the classical sense of the exploring and selection (for cultural and social benefit) is what people are struggling with.

The goal of the following expose is to guide a visual designer at the begging of his/her career. It can also provide relevant information to anyone interested in web design. For a more specialized approach I reccomend to dive deep into Mozzila Learning Center or take ony online classes available on learning platform such as Udemy, Coursera, or CodeAcademy. (I am not affiliate with any of these platforms – my suggestion is not intend for promotion.)

Even with the constant invention of smart tools such as the advanced platforms that can connect the social activity of one person with another, finding what is relevant on the internet and use it to empower is a difficult task that stills needs to be addressed. However, the basic rationality we tend to forget is that knowledge is always contextual; it has history, narrative, and purpose. 

Why thinking in context is important for education?

  • it can help us evaluate the internet’s impact on education;
  • it agrees that communication and social interaction processes are based on the tools and technologies people use;
  • in traditional learning, the process of gaining information and skills is based on understanding the past and its current evolution;
  • a glitch into the past can foresee content production and its impact on the building languages and software;

A short history of the internet

www (World Wide Web) represents all the information stored on servers and connected through hyperlinks that can be accessed by anyone who is connected to the internet.

Conceptualized since 1950, the Internet dates back to the first website, designed at the CERN (1) European Organization for Nuclear Research in March 1989, invented by the British researcher Tim Berners-Lee. It contains information about the World Wide Web (W3) project. The first website can be viewed in the form closest to its initial stage at the following adress (2).

By the end of the following year, Berners-Lee defined basic concepts such as url., Http, html, and wrote the first search engine and server software (3) – made public during the same year. In 1993 CERN released the source code of Berners-Lee’s project offering the possibility of free (open source) and infinite development of the project. By the end of the year, about 500 web servers have been created, and next year the access level will be increased to 10,000 servers, of which 2000 are commercial – registering about 10 million users. Also in the same year, Tim Berners-Lee founded the international community “The World Wide Web Consortium – W3C” (4) which deals with the development and establishment of web standards and protocols.

After 1995, due to the improved connection type and html language, the internet became accessible to the public. According to statistics (5) in 1997, the number of users connected to the Internet was about 120,758,310 and the number of websites 1,117,255. In 1998, Google is founded, which launched one of the most used search engines named after it. Back then, its big data research program was not in the plan.

The Basics of producing online websites

Good design, when it’s done well, becomes invisible. It’s only when it’s done poorly that we notice itJared Spool – Fondator at User Interface Engineering

Most commonly, web design is defined as representing the sum of the processes leading to the production of an informational interface whose main purpose is the visual, coherent and personalized representation of descriptive-interactive information that can represent a person, a product, a product group, a company, a blog, a virtual store, a social application or a collection of applications, etc. Due to the technological evolution, the democratization of the internet and increasing access to the public as well as the signal areas now, we can talk about a variety of types of platforms public or private ones that can be accessed by visitors. The main purpose of web interfaces remains to provide tools for communication, information and facilitating interaction between people. Inevitably, at the end of the 90s, the producers also became preoccupied with the visual aspect of the production of websites.

After 2000 (web 2.0) – when it coincides with the development and separate visual formatting by applying css styles, as well as the emergence of other software intended for the producers or the Javascript language – the number of websites reaches in 2003 to 40,912,332, and the number of users at 778 555 680. By 2016, with the popularization and emergence of various devices that facilitate Internet access from almost any geographical region of the world, over 1,008,232,859 websites are counted, the number of users reaching 3,366,261,156.

Currently, to be viewed, any type of web interface will be accessed through software called search engine or browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera etc) and will be stored on a server to which it will be assigned a url web domain represented by unique codes – DNS (Domain Name System). Browser manufacturers offer increasingly complex services and applications such as emails, online drives, calendars, maps, or entire social networks offering multiple possibilities in information management.

A real space for the virtual machine

The server (6) hosting a website can be located anywhere in the world, depending on the locations of the hosting service company. Depending on the location of the person as well as the quality or support of the broadband (7), the speed of processing and loading a web page may be higher or lower. Because we cannot be sure of the quality of the internet or the processing speed of the device, it is recommended the correct optimization of the resolution of the images uploaded to a website – 72 dpi, saved for web and the use of saved icons in png, svg format. or embedded in fonts. A technique most recently used within social networks is the use of a structure (placeholders) that simulates real content – similar to a wireframe that anticipates content before it is uploaded. See for example the refresh within the Pinterest network that displays for a fraction of second blocks (called cards as a layout technique) of different colors or the monochrome structure implemented according to the brand within the Facebook network that replaces the actual content at a reduced connection.

The interface of a basic website

(if already familiar please kindly scroll down!)

At the simplest level, a website is a collection of Html pages (8) (HyperText mark-up language) connected by links that may contain: texts, images, sounds, videos, animations, link buttons, symbols, menus, interactive maps, advanced scripts, and interactive applications, etc., in general, any type of content produced through manipulation, recording and virtual storage can be easily integrated into an online website. Any form of customization of a basic code of the language “Html” will be done by attaching a “CSS (9)” (Cascading Style sheet). Although CSS formatting can be done directly within the Html structure, separate attribution is recommended through the .css document (according to W3C – World Wide Web Consortium standards).

Next, the browser will interpret the code contained by the Html pages (to which the CSS styles are assigned) sent by the server in order to correctly render the stored information, regardless of the device used at the time of viewing. Depending on the complexity of the type of a website, we can build platforms using these two simple programming languages ​​or we can use more complex languages ​​such as PHP,, Java, Ruby, etc. Traditionally, uploading the content of a website to the server is done using the FTP service. (File Transfer Protocol) – Data and information transfer service.

Produced a few steps before launching a website within the online ecosystem, the interface design represents the process of structuring the information to be transcribed into the code. Besides, this stage represents one of image contouring and brand personalization. Thus following the suggestions offered in the brand identity manual or producing new visual elements and brand systems, the production of an interface has the role of harmonizing the information structure, revealing the desired aesthetic qualities according to the production purpose.

CMS – Friendly tools of DIY culture

To facilitate the possibilities for the modification and subsequent administration of the content currently, online administration platforms called Content Management Systems (CMS) can be used: the most popular being WordPress, Joomla, Weebly, Squarespace, Shopify,, Drupal, Blogspot, Jimdo and others. Each platform works by adjusting predefined themes, settings and technologies. This has generated entire markets, such as themeforest dedicated to the most popular platforms. The purpose of a theme is to provide both the support needed to build a website and the possibility of administration through the associated dashboard. Usually, themes are built to target specific industries.

CMS positive aspects:

  • avoiding the work of programming from ground 0 as well as the pain of administration through various advanced c-panels and non-admin friendly;
  • easy to use by non-coders, easy to set up;
  • most themes are affordable, thus can bring real saving to small companies; (note: a theme can be sold several thousand times, but in some cases, full rights can be bought – depending on the budget of the future owner);
  • if it is modified properly, a 70% uniqueness aspect can be obtained; In general, the content of a website is what offers this uniqueness;
  • the themes available on the market are already adapted for different devices, though they must be tested before (most of the well-respected coders write for responsive design parameters).

CMS negative aspects:

  • most of the available platforms are not completely secure, thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of websites made through WordPress are attacked by hackers every day. These attacks are not (necessarily) related to the purpose and content of the websites – eg. the website of confectionery can also be broken;
  • themes functionalities and customizations tools are limited;
  • to keep up with browser standards and protocols, themes need constant updates (the updates can also brake up website content);
  • The general aspect of a website built through CMS will not be 100% original;
  • CMS themes are not build to sustain large archives or platforms with a large number of pages and sub-pages.


(1) CERN – the acronym named after fr. “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire” CERN organization founded in 1954, being the largest scientific organization of elementary particles, located on the border between Switzerland and France, in Geneva, the place where the Internet was invented.

(2) – “The line-mode browser” is the first search engine that allows users to access web content regardless of computer type.

(3) The first server ran on Tim Berners-Lee’s neXT computer and can be viewed at CERN as an exposed object.

(4) The first founding organizations of the W3C consortium are MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and CERN, currently W3C is a partnership of 414 members. (Educational, governmental institutions, corporations including web producers such as: apple, google, yahoo, adobe, sony, facebook, twitter, dropbox, ebay, etc.)

(5) Stats and numbers are available at:

(6) Servers are computers optimized as a hardware configuration, which operate continuously, connected to the internet, and are specially designed to store, receive and direct information.

(7) Broadband is the data transmission rate that allows the simultaneous transmission on the same medium (cable, for example) of several telephone calls, video materials and any other data, at high speeds, between computers connected to the Internet or other intelligent electronic equipment.

(8) The html pages are made up of labels or tags and have the extension “html” or “htm”. All html pages start and end with the <html> and </html> tags.

(9) .css – is the standard for formatting an html document.