By John Eberhard

Web design has changed a lot over the last 10-15 years and continues to change. I’m going to give a summary of what I think the significant changes have been, based on my experience as a web designer for the last 20+ years.

  1. Site width

This is one of the most visible changes in web design. Sites used to be 600-700 pixels wide, back when computer monitors used to be much lower resolution. I’m not shy. I’ll show a couple sites I designed many years ago that are still up that are narrower than what you see today.




Compare this with some of the newer sites I have designed where the content is at least 1100 pixels wide, and some of the content, like photo or video backgrounds, goes the total width of your screen.






  1. Slide Show or Video Background on Home Page

This trend has become nearly universal, with many sites having a slide show or video background at the top of the home page (but not the same video on sub-pages). These are usually full width, and have the advantage of adding some movement to the site.

One caution is you have to make sure that the slide show or video doesn’t slow your loading speed down too much. Google has made page loading speed a primary ranking criteria, so you can’t go overboard. I usually limit the slides to 5-6, and videos to under 10 seconds. Then I check the page loading speed to ensure that the content above the fold (what you can see without scrolling) loads in less than 2.5 seconds.

Here are some sites I’ve designed with slide shows or videos on top of the home page:






  1. Mobile Friendly

Since over half of all people visiting your site these days are doing so on a mobile phone, web design has had to shift to accommodate this and make sure website content displays correctly and can be read on a mobile.

There have been changes on how to do this over the years but now most sites are what is called responsive design, which means that the content shifts around to fit on the mobile screen, and the text is always large enough to read.

Some web design programs allow you to create certain content that only shows on a mobile, and not on a desktop or tablet. So you can create certain things that look great on a mobile, with separate versions for desktop.

  1. Page Loading Speed

A couple years ago Google made page loading speed a primary ranking criteria. The most important metric here is called “Largest Contentful Paint” (I didn’t make this term up), which is how long it takes for the content above the fold to load. Above the fold means what you see on the screen before scrolling down. Largest Contentful Paint or LCP should be under 2.5 seconds. There are a number of tools online to help you measure this.

This affects web design because you can’t go hog wild with huge pictures or video backgrounds, as those take longer to load.

  1. SSL Certificate

An SSL Certificate (Secure Socket Layer) means that the site content is secure and safe to visit. When you have a certificate, it shows up in the web address that starts with https rather than http.

I recommend that everyone today get an SSL certificate for their site. Search engines will actually penalize you in rankings if you do not, and some browsers will display a “not secure” message near the top. Some hosting companies will provide an SSL for free, some charge up to $100 per year for it.

  1. Big Visuals

Earlier I mentioned big slide shows or video backgrounds on the home page. But there has been a trend to put large, high impact visuals on nearly every page of a website. The idea is to hit the visitor with big pictures and videos, as that has become the norm, and pages with just text or small pictures can’t compete for people’s attention anymore.

I will sometimes make pages where there’s a video at the top, then large photos used as backgrounds for text lower down on the page, like this:




Of course it’s also important to have a coherent color scheme.


In order to be competitive in your market, it is important to stay up on the latest trends in web design. An older, outdated looking site is not going to make a good impression. Apply the things above and you’ll be competitive.