Flat Web Design
In the web design world, we are in the middle of what seems to be a design revolution. The hottest topic that web designers have been arguing about for the last few years has been the relative pros and cons of flat web design. Flat web design is basically a 2 dimensional approach to all aspects of web page design. This contrasts sharply with the traditional shiny, glassy, reflective, drop shadow drenched design elements that are still highly popular but are being overtaken now by the flat 2 dimensional approach, and for good reason.
Mobile web design is big business, there are currently as many mobile devices connected to the Internet as there are people on the planet. All web designers now have to ensure their web pages look good on a mobile device and therefore a smaller screen. Back in the day when web design was aimed at desktop and laptop user, pages were designed to look good on big screens and the trend was towards 3D design and with the proliferation of multi million colour displays, the designers had a field day using fantastically realistic buttons and animated graphical devices to mimic the “real” world.
Operating systems and software applications all used this with a few exceptions that really stood out from the rest and seem to have set the tone for the graphic revolution that is happening now. Ableton live is a highly popular music sequencer package that seems to have been at least 5 years ahead of its time graphically as it used this type of flat 2 dimensional graphical design. A more popular example would be Facebook, which has never succumbed to the shiny 3D graphic look and has always looked flat, which may be at least in part contributory to its worldwide appeal.
Responsive web design is the single most important aspect of web design this year- basically it means putting in extra effort into a web site’s design so that it looks good on multiple devices, namely PCs, tablets and mobile phones. Instead of having to create multiple web sites for each type of display, the designer can create one web site that automatically adjusts and resizes all of its design elements to display intelligently on whatever device it is being accessed by. Not so long ago, mobile- friendly web sites sported the familiar (although not quite so easy to read) 3D elements into their design and this obviously had to go and the most logical and efficient answer was the 2D display option, which was always available but, up until the mobile internet explosion, pretty much ignored as looking too old- fashioned.
The use of drop shadows, reflections and beveled surfaces simply does not look as engaging on a small screen, especially when the user is pressed for time and needs the information fast, or when they are on the move. When presented with the information they need in a clean, graphically pleasing 2 dimensional “flat” way with minimal visual distractions users come back and use those apps or web sites again and again. Web sites simply have to be user- friendly and graphical elements need to be clean, functional and informative with a subtle use of graphic simplicity, with mobiles this is simply a deal- breaker if your web site fails to meet these criteria.