Flat Design on the Web: Future, Fad, or Something in Between

Written by Tyler Groskreutz on May 18, 2016

Website Magazine released an article today in which they state that flat design, which has become more popular as a result Windows Phone 8 interface design, is here to stay. I don’t think that’s entirely true, but its unlikely that it is a fad either.

In the article, Website Magazine’s Creative Director Jesse Erbach states that yesterday’s release of iOS7 and it’s flatter design along with the restrictions Apple has now put on the design of apps when allowing them in its app store was an indicator of whats to come. What Erbach is not considering is that by Apple placing higher restrictions on apps, there will be fewer apps available in its app store, at least initially. Also, Apple is implementing the flaws of the Windows 8 Phone. Studies show that users don’t like the flat broad expanses of color because it is boring. The other major gripe against Window Phone 8 is that it lacks apps for users to download, which may be what iPhone users may be heading toward with the new standards to a lesser extent.

Later in the article, Erbach mistakenly groups app design and web design together. You can’t do this. While both categories need to have code that is lightweight for fast load times, the concept is pushed further in apps because the heart and soul of an app is its interactions which command the greatest portion of the code weight and gradients and image based buttons have a significantly longer load than their flat counter-parts.

Flat design will continue thrive in the eCommerce world, where a website leans more on functionality and User Experience than it does on award-winning design. However the problem with stating that flat design will be the future of branded or informational websites is a mistake, because, like template websites, they will all begin to look the same. Also, website design tend to undergo an ebb and flow. While many of them are trending toward flat design now, they will experience a need to differentiate themselves from the sea of websites that look exactly like them, and once the sites have gone too crazy, wild, and awesome they will come back toward flat design to gain back some functionality.

In conclusion, the websites that will have the most success are the ones that can find happy balance between the wild and crazy and flat functional design. Meanwhile, flat design may thrive in the user interfaces of app design and eCommerce websites, but less so in the your phone’s interface.

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