As with every year, design trends come and go and 2014 brings a host of expected trends in web design. One of those is flat web design.
What was your first reaction to Apple’s iOS 7 upgrade for iPhone? You more than likely loved it or hated it. In either respect, you have to admit it was much more to the point in terms of simplicity and usability. Gone were the gradients, shadows, shines, sheens and excesses that added little or no value to the underlying content. The idea of flat design (with respect to user interface design) is to ask one basic question: Is it needed? Do adding certain design elements further the goal of the user experience? If no, then by all means, remove them. It’s probably not that Apple hated cool shadows, and fx bevels. I believe they just asked themselves the fore mentioned question and pushed ahead to give users a much easier, slimmer and quite frankly, better looking user interface.
Flat design is the anti-thesis of skeuomorphism where in, ux elements on a digital device are designed to look and feel like their real-world counter parts. Take in point Apple’s podcast app from early 2012, which was designed to look like a magnetic tape reel recorder circa 1978. What an unusual real-world reference! I would wager a good portion of iPhone users would still not understand how that even works, let alone adding anything in way of user experience! I digress.
The point is, at Uptown Studios, we aren’t designing your new website to just look awesome because CSS allows gradient generators or we can create awesome looking vintage wood paneling. We first focus on the underlying meaning of your site. What will it do? How will it work? How will users navigate through it? Once those questions are answered we move on to the look and feel stage. And then we can ask ourselves that one other question, Is it needed? Flat design is the product of that question and you will begin to see it used more and more on the web and in apps on your smartphone. It creates user friendly and aesthetically clean design and that’s a good thing for everyone.