Last Updated on April 8, 2016
There’s no denying that flat design is everywhere you look these days. Like always, web design is rapidly changing and evolving. The entire industry is currently shifting from 3D and skeuomorphism to flat and minimal design.
Flat web design is a concept that focuses on the user and only features two dimensions to promote straightforward device navigation. It introduces simple design elements like blocks, shapes and high color contrasts, which can be easily moved, resized or changed. There has been much debate about its best uses and limitations, so we have compiled a list of 5 main pros and cons to help you decide when to use it:
Flat design: passing trend or revolution?
Due to the current popularity of flat design, the sites that get it right tend to attract a lot of attention and recognition from designers, bloggers, developers and social influencers. However, the risky side of following the trend is sustainability. Some designers argue that using flat design means that the website will probably need to be reviewed sooner than expected, when the concept falls out of favour.
Simpler interfaces but decreased usability?
Flat designs are ideal to implement on simpler mobile interfaces, due to the consistent use of larger buttons and simple structure. Furthermore, flat design elements eliminate the need for zooming to find links and that improves user engagement on mobile. It is important to assess a website’s goals in order to decide whether flat design is a good option or not.
Color used as a powerful tool, but is it enough?
Flat design involves the use of contrasting colour variations that are used as a tool to ‘guide’ the user and increase engagement on a site or app. This type of look and feel can work very well for some websites but not for others. Some sites do need additional elements to engage the user further to achieve their conversion objectives.
Attractive typography, but simple fonts:
Flat design features such simple elements, so the correct use of typography is essential. The focus here should be on matching the tone of the typefaces to the overall design theme. As a result, many flat design concepts use simple and bold fonts rather than embellished styles that would look out-of-place within a more simple design approach. The use of such fonts might not be right for all websites or brands, so careful consideration must be given to the overall ‘fit’.
Sharp and clean, but not visually appealing enough for some:
Flat design promotes sharp and clean visuals. The buttons, shapes, lines, imagery and corners have a minimalist look and feel. However, some argue that it also looks too simple and can create issues with the visual hierarchy of the site.
Web design is evolving, and to choose between a flat or skeuomorphic concept, designers need to evaluate the pros and cons of each approach in context with the website’s objectives. Flat design is surely one of the more popular design concepts out there at the moment; but it is only one design style of many and will work for some projects but not for others.