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How Famous WebDev Blogs Designs Evolved

An overview of the progression of the famous web development blogs from the past to the present.

The only way to know you’re moving is to reference the past, and since we learn history so we do not repeat our mistakes today we want to go over the progression of famous web blogs and how they [...]

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An overview of the progression of the famous web development blogs from the past to the present.

The only way to know you’re moving is to reference the past, and since we learn history so we do not repeat our mistakes today we want to go over the progression of famous web blogs and how they have evolved.


Launched: 1998

Interesting links:

A List Apart 4.0

aListApart in 1998 (wow, long time ago)

alistapart 98

Ahhh, reminiscing in the past where bright colors and loads of awesome gifs made the web what it was, this design (not fully visible as the archive was rather new back then) features a lot of the cliches from the oldern days of the web. Most of you guys didn’t even own a computer back then :P (or maybe you did).

aListApart in 2000

alistapart 2000

In the year 2000 the desing got slimer, with a lot more focus on content and navigation. The colors remain yet for a little while longer.

aListApart in 2004

alist 2004

Ahh here is the start of the amazing clarity and simplicity we have come to expect from the great ALA. Keeping the 2 column layout with a navigation element on top, very nice typography readable posts. Overall a very well designed website for its day.

aListApart in 2006

alistapart 2006

The design you are most likely used to seeing today. With a very authentic look by using a combination of a very light baige and the always classical look with the Serif fonts.

aListApart in 2010. “A Book Apart” is still “coming soon” lol :)

alistapart 2010

Not a huge change here as the design didn’t change just a few of the graphics moved around the site.


Launched: 2007

Interesting links:

About the CSS-Tricks Redesign | CSS-Tricks

Design V6

CSS-Tricks in 2007

css tricks 2007

Very clean tab oriented design. With a repeating background pattern to give the website a nice feel.

CSS-Tricks in 2008

css-tricks 2008

Keeping the overall style and adding visual enhancements, for example the right columnt recieved a lot of attention, and the searchbar was moved lower than the RSS subscriptions… might it be that to a blogger it is more important that people follow your rss than to search something. The menu goes on top right makes it very common and easy to find.

CSS-Tricks in 2009

css-tricks 2009

Huge change from rounded corner columns to straight edge. The right columnt now huge as it takes in more ads (more ads more money…) the tabs come back in and the search bar goes on top right. Website background now white instead.

CSS-Tricks in 2010

css-tricks 2010

Very big revamn here, let’s start with the simplest of things “videos” menu item becomes screencasts, a very logical step. Since Screencasts are way less missleading. The right column feels less like a colun and more like a part of the initial columnt with floating elements inside of it. The later articles have a page feel. The footer includes a picture of the owner of CSS-Tricks Chris.


Launched: 2006

Interesting links:

About Smashing Magazine

SmashingMagazine in 2006

smashing 2006

I would like to believe there were more images than that. Although i’m a fan of simlicity. Anyways the design is very basic, navigation on the right, huge titles, tiny font size. No logo instead we see a font rendering. Can’t complain besides it being crazy simple.

SmashingMagazine in 2010

smashing 2010

Ahh and here is the amazing design we have come to love (it actually changed a little while ago, but smaller improvements). The design is VERY clean, very straight forward, and it’s simplicity makes it what it is. Literally 2 color pallete of overall design… so beautiful yet so simple.


HongKiat in 2007

hongkiat 2007

Simple very column oriented design, personally i am not a huge fan of gigantic columns that overwhelm you with information, but overall the design is not bad.

HongKiat in 2010

hongkiat 2010

And today hongkiat is very clean, nice big main column (compared to the old design) with a very nice top navigation that allows you to switch through the categories of the website. Clean and to the point!


DesignShack in 2005

shack 2005

The one thing i admire, and have always admired, about DesignShack is their non-comforming designs. In 2005 their website was very gallery-esque.

DesignShack in 2007

shack 2007

Personally not a huge fan of dark backgrounds for blogs, but in this case very clean and sexy design.

DesignShack in 2010

shack 2010

Their current design has a very well created multi-column layout that includes a lot of easy to read content. Keeping with their unorthodox designs.

What are we seeing from the blogs above… we see a movememnt towards simplicity and ease of use. This can be accomplished by great typography, or a light load of graphics to accomplish more. Even though its easy to get caught in a zone where you want to add everything in one little box because its all amazing stuff, but being able to analyze what is vital and what can take the bleachers is one of the most important thigns you will learn in web design. Hope this post helps you see the progression of the web :) signing out, yours truly Angel Grablev.

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Slobodan Kustrimovic

This author has yet to fill his BIO.

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  • It’s interresting to see how old design were not so good. How it improved for maximum usability… And now the main point seems to show ads not displaying usefull information.

    The ads are now very agressive and ruin the design… In fact, if you like the site content and go here ofen… you have to block the pub or change the design with greasemonkey !

  • That’s a great observation Nicolas! Especially websites like Nettuts and Queness, the amount of ADs is just crazy. The content is good, but it seems extraordinary the way ads are becoming 40-50% of the webpages.

  • Well i don’t agree :P (angel/admin i noticed we never agree on anything haha).

    Nicolas, let me ask you a question. When you’re watching TV are there a lot of commercials?

    If you want free content, then just get used to it and in return click an ad and buy a service you might need as a return to the free content you learned a lot from and probably make your living with that knowledge you got from that FREE content. You don’t have to buy, just click an ad that’s ok too.
    Give something back, don’t just take.

  • Yeah there is merit to Slobodan’s statement. But Netutts has no excuse, they have a premium membership system that gives them enough money to maintain the site, and the least they can do is remove ads from the people who pay premium!

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