An Overview of Web Development and Design
According to World Wide Web pioneer Timothy Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web's initial purpose was to provide "an interactive world of shared information through which people could communicate with each other and with machines" (1996: p 1). Originally developed at the European Center of Nuclear Energy (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, the Web emerged in 1989 as a way for Dr. Berners-Lee and some of his distant associates to work on particle physics projects. He designed a method of links that was usable by all computers and hypertext was the language; we know it as http. With its knowledge-sharing capabilities, the invention of the Web quickly spread to universities and science research communities all over the world. Since it was primarily used for text, actual web design in these early days was not particularly significant. Around this same time, researchers at the National Center for Super Computing Applications at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana also worked and researched web technology. In 1992, only 26 hosts were serving web sites.
The real boom in Web and Internet use began in 1993 when Marc Andreessen developed the first graphical browser named Mosaic. Capable of displaying images and text, the graphical browser made multimedia possible. Coupled with http, access to the internet became easier and more attractive for the general public's use. In 1994, Andreessen developed his own company to distribute a newly developed version of the browser, Netscape Navigator/Communicator, commercially. It became an extremely successful browser and produced tremendous profits for the company.
Web architecture continued to evolve at this time and, as it did, Web Design started to matter a lot. Users found the Graphical User Interface (GUI) especially attractive. Today FTP, HTTP, HTML allow for easy storage and retrieval; URLs provide a smooth extension to access the information from different parts of the Internet. Java language and Dynamic HTML (combination of HTML, style sheets and scripts) allow people to use full computer equipment to work with animated graphics and music. The combination of these elements enabled the evolution of the Web as a significant source of information that we use today in education, at home, and for business.
As the power of the Web increased along with the number of people who purchased PCs and learned to "surf", business took notice of new possibilities for sales. Today the Web is used not only as an effective marketing tool, but also as a place where actual business is transacted. In 2001, the World Trade Organization estimates transactions through the Internet of tree hundred billion dollars. As a result of this tremendous growth, many of today’s web producers focus on the e-commerce field. Design and content of commercial sites are important. However, as the field has exploded, regulations have also developed. For example, web designers today are...