THE WEB ADAPTATION TO THE TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION

A few will remember the first websites…, me among them. In cathodic ray tubes screens, it was a first glimpse at the beginning of the web: no styles, no applications in the web client, all treated by the server, with a raw and direct vision of the information, without any clear standard. Something unknown was dawning, yet nobody knew what it would turn into…
It all started by looking at the end user, the one without an idea of the capabilities of those machines, who could access specific information and also appear attractive and easy to read for him/her.
Then the scripting language JavaScript showed up, creating the first web standards in the year 1995. Cascading Style Sheets ‘CSS’, also emerge in the scene, making the web more attractive, and giving it a more human, less machine look.
It was all starting to take form.

This all evolved in an almost imperceptible way to what it is nowadays. At the beginning, with only desktop computers, with screens that doesn’t allow a big detail, the websites were as basic as possible.
The screens began to gain quality, and laptops started to appear, with smaller screens. This made it necessary to adapt the pages to the new sizes, without neglecting the bigger screens; an inkling of what is known today as “responsive web”.
It wasn’t until the arrival of the smartphones, when the web made a 180 degree turn.
Now the information wasn’t only wanted in user’s homes, now we had devices and technology that started to bring information to us anywhere.
At the beginning the transition was chaotic, trying to make the user view the same website in a desktop screen as in a mobile phone screen, which was4 times smaller. Some tricks were used, such as zooming in the page, or doing two versions of the same page, trying to know if you were accessing from a mobile phone, or a desktop computer, and show the respective adapted version.

Different factors made this method obsolete because you had to make two designs, and create these two designs from scratch. This doubled the time spent on a single website.
With a bigger inflow of mobile phones in our lives and the bigger use of these, the designs focused more on the small screens, and less on the desktop browsers.
This, inevitably, took us to responsive websites, that are the adaptation of mobile webs to desktop screens using exclusively CSS and JavaScript, with just one design, and loading all, indistinctly, in one go.
Right now, we are still in a transition and adaptation to all technologies that surround us. With web VR around the corner, the future is starting to be noticed, with some pages that have dared to take the first steps. Personally, I think that we have a little more time left until being able to surf into virtual environments as foretold by Futurama.

 
 

– Héctor López –