flat design website

Learn what a flat design website is.

Flat layout is a development style for apps with flat, two-dimensional features and bright colours. The skeuomorphic form also coincides with the perception of three dimensions through clones of real-life elements. With the launch of Windows 8, Apple’s iOS 7 and Google’s Material Design, all using flat design, its prominence has become prevalent.

Flat design was originally designed to be responsive, where the content of the website size is smoothly based on the screen size of the device. The flat model means dynamic models perform well and easily (most critical because mobile devices operate slower Internet speeds) with the use of simple shapes and minimal textures. Through increasing graphical distortion (in the form of reflections and shadows), flat architecture allows consumers to view more effectively and optimally.

Nonetheless, flat architecture has limitations in terms of user interface, despite its popularity. The lack of three-dimensional effects (e.g. drop shadows) eliminates the indications of how a user interacts with a design. For example, the flat design buttons do not appear separate and thus clickable from other visual elements on a webpage.

This risk renders flat design more and more natural, also named “Flat Design 2.0” or “Almost Flat Design,” which takes smooth, simple flat design photos and introduces subtle sceptical features such as color variance and shadows. In fact, this pattern is also becoming more and more popular. This enhanced depth and dimension increases visual variety and improves usability. For example, Google’s Material Design and iOS Apps render their apps more easy to use, by extensively incorporating shadows and/or blurring effects.

Flat design is an interface design which rejects the 3D skeuomorphic elements. It does not abandon skeuomorphing in its entirety, contrary to popular opinion, but rather concentrates on the minimalist form of rendering objects. It prevents the excessive use of gradients, textures and drop shadows designed for 3D effects for simple elements focusing on simple flat elements.

A minimalist approach to interfaces design is a flat design. The purpose is to reduce design complexity and thus improve user experience. It is not the only approach to UI design and material design and skeuomorphism (in rich design) can be taken into account when creating a UI. It’s important to find out what your users want, without having their input first and without relying on standard user interface design approaches.

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Keith Rainz

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