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Who invented web design?

Photo of a really old computer which would have been used to see some of the first web design

Over 3.4 billion people used the internet in the world in 2016. Today, the majority of people browse the internet regularly. The internet and how we use it in our lives have changed as a result of web design over the years. So you ask, how did we get to where we are today? Who invented web design? When did web design start?


We’re about to delve into the development and history of online website design to examine how best practices have changed over time.


It all began thirty years ago in a computer lab…

The first days of web design (1991-1994)

The first

Tim Berners-Lee designed the first website on the World Wide Web while working at the Swiss scientific facility CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research). The initial CERN website, which was created to provide information to other researchers, is still accessible.


In addition to being recognised as the first web developer and the guy who invented web design. Berners-Lee also developed the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which he used to write the CERN website. He later founded the World Wide Web Consortium, which continues to direct the creation of web standards today.

Early days

In the early days of web design, allocating data to columns and rows in a table using HTML was the only method of organising information. Just text, no colour blocks, pictures, or graphics. A far cry from what we now refer to as “web design.”


The World Wide Web kept expanding, and the first search engine was created just two years later. An online page called ALIWEB (Archie Like Indexing for the Web) categorised connections into sections on computing, entertainment, daily life, finances, newsstands, recreation, and shopping.


A novel method of categorisation was also used by ALIWEB – colour. The categories were divided by a yellow background, which made it simpler for users to find what they were looking for quickly. ALIWEB is still active today, much like the original website.

More websites

The idea of leveraging website design to further corporate objectives expanded along with the number of websites. Around 1993, landing pages started to appear. They attracted viewers with colour and calls to action like “Click Here to Enter” or “Sign Up Now.”


The first web banner ad was created in 1994 by Hotwire (now Wired Magazine), with the subliminal message, “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here?” And you will. Brilliant.

Websites by numbers

In the early 1990s, the popularity of websites skyrocketed. 1991 – A single website and 2,738 in total in 1994. A little background – In 1994, Jeff Bezos started Amazon.com!

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