Category: Author: Jaren Martineau
I often like to look back at the past and compare the present. It gives me insights into what the future may hold. It is interesting to see how things used to be, what everyone en masse used to think, and to see how far we have come. When it comes to the Internet, one handy tool for doing this is archive.org. Archive.org describes themselves as the Internet Archive. They have several archival tools available and the one I like to use most often is the Wayback Machine. This tool lets you see snapshots of webpages that have been archived throughout time. It lets you see how web content and web pages used to be on specific dates in the past. It is often extremely eye-opening — and sometimes downright hilarious — to see how websites use to be. Take for example Yahoo! Here is what their homepage looked like back in October of 1996:
Keep in mind that this is how Yahoo! looked nearly 20 years ago! You can see just how basic the website was and how it was primarily a conglomeration of website links. A combination of factors including advances in technology, demand from users, and growth have dramatically transformed what Yahoo! looks like and what it delivers. The same can be said of other websites. Let’s look at another Internet giant, Google. Here is how their website looked back in 1998:
This is Google in it’s primitive state. The logo looks very dated and the functionality has drastically changed. The Internet was a much different place back then. The way Google search worked back in 1998 was also very different than what we have today. It is fun to look back at the history of the Internet and of specific websites. But what does this mean for us today? How can looking back at the past help us to improve our future?
“History never repeats itself, but it rhymes”, is a phrase often attributed to Mark Twain. We won’t see the same changes in the Internet as we have seen in the past, but many of these changes will likely happen as a result of similar factors or in a similar way. The Internet has responded often with changes in technology and changes in how people use technology. For example, as Internet connections became faster and cheaper, the Internet responded with improved website images, media, and video. With improved developments in encryption technologies came a rise in e-commerce. Currently, the Internet is responding to changes in mobile technology. Just a few short years ago, it was very rare for someone to use the Internet from any device other than a desktop or laptop computer. Today, a very significant chunk of Internet traffic is coming from mobile devices and this segment is expected to continue to grow.
It can often be difficult to predict very far into the future, but with the continued growth in mobile Internet use, what further changes might this bring about? People want to be able to do as much as possible from the comfort of their mobile phones. The future of the web is mobile. Websites that work well on mobile devices and that allow mobile users to be able to do everything that they want to do will be more successful than websites that do not. Mobile users will want to quickly and easily make purchases from their phones. They will want simplified ways of entering information and of retrieving information. They will want a fast and safe experience — all from a mobile device.
Does your website cater to mobile users? Do you have a mobile responsive web design? Or does your website still look like Yahoo! from 1996?