Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, published a website in August 1991. Berners-Lee was the first to combine Internet communication (which had been carrying email and the Usenet for decades) with hypertext (which had also been around for decades, but limited to browsing information stored on a single computer, such as interactive CD-ROM design).
Websites are written in a markup language called HTML, and early versions of HTML were very basic, only giving websites basic structure (headings and paragraphs), and the ability to link using hypertext. This was new and different to existing forms of communication – users could easily navigate to other pages by following hyperlinks from page to page.
As the Web and web design progressed, the markup language used to make it became more complex and flexible, giving the ability to add objects like images and tables to a page. Features like tables, which were originally intended to be used to display tabular information, were soon subverted for use as invisible layout devices. With the advent of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), table-based layout is increasingly regarded as outdated. Database integration technologies such as server-side scripting and design standards like CSS further changed and enhanced the way the Web is made.
The introduction of Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash) into an already interactivity-ready scene has further changed the face of the Web, giving new power to designers and media creators, and offering new interactivity features to users, often at the expense of usability for persons with disabilities, search engine visibility and browser functions available to HTML.