Flat design is a popular style in user interface design that emphasizes simplicity, using two-dimensional elements and bold colors. It stands in contrast to skeuomorphic design, which aims to replicate physical objects with three-dimensional effects. Flat design became popular with the release of major software like Windows 8, Apple’s iOS 7, and Google’s Material Design, all of which adopted this style.
This design style was initially created for responsive design, where a website’s content adjusts to the screen size of a device. The use of simple shapes and minimal textures in a flat design allows for smooth scaling and quick loading, which is particularly important for devices with slower internet speeds. By minimizing visual distractions like textures and shadows, the flat design provides a streamlined user experience.
However, the lack of three-dimensional elements in flat design can impact the user experience as it may take away the cues that indicate interactivity. For example, buttons in flat design may not stand out from other elements on a webpage, making them less noticeable. To address this issue, a trend known as “flat design 2.0” or “almost flat design” has emerged. This trend combines the clean and simple visuals of flat design with subtle skeuomorphic qualities such as color variations and shadows, providing increased depth and dimension and improved usability. For instance, both Google’s Material Design and Apple’s iOS interfaces utilize shadows and blurring effects to make the interfaces more intuitive to use.
Advantages of flat design
#1 Flat Design Enhances Readability
One key aspect of flat design is readability. Users can easily view and comprehend website content, regardless of whether they are using desktops or mobile devices, thanks to flat design. It replaces complicated images with simplified icons and vectors, making it effortless for users to understand any idea presented.
In addition, flat design emphasizes legible typography and sans-serif fonts, with a background color contrasting the text.
The flat design places emphasis on the content, making it the centerpiece.
Flat design emphasizes minimalism.
It lacks extraneous elements that lack value for users, with the goal of directing users’ attention to the website’s main content.
#3 Speeds up Page Loading Slow-loading websites and apps are frustrating to use, causing users to quickly leave. When you need to display a lot of content to your users but still want to maintain a fast website, you have two options: using low-resolution images and graphics or implementing a flat design. A flat design is the obvious choice in this scenario.
Flat-design websites load faster compared to those using heavy images and graphics. With the absence of gradients, serif fonts, and other skeuomorphic elements, flat design elements have smaller file sizes. Smaller file sizes lead to faster loading times compared to larger files. Google even changed its logo to a sans-serif font to reduce the logo’s size and speed up its homepage’s loading time.
From a developer’s viewpoint, flat design also speeds up the process. Flat web pages consist of vector or code-based graphics, contributing to faster page loading times.
A fast-loading website can positively impact a business’s bottom line by increasing conversions and revenue.
#4 Boosts SEO
Website page loading speed is a crucial factor in SEO. By reducing website load time, the flat design enhances a website’s search engine ranking. In comparison, graphic-heavy slow websites receive lower scores from search engines.
Flat-design websites have a higher chance of appearing at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), attracting users with high buying intent. These users are more likely to convert.