Reduce Web Clutter With Flat Design in 2014

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Flat WebsiteWhat makes your website design a success? Often times, wowing the viewers that we unveil or submit a site design to is a metric of success. Although praise and acceptance from our clients and bosses is nothing to be taken lightly, we should all really be focusing on the usability of the design. Website design is the key element in directing users, and what they do, buy, or comment on any given site. Arguably, this can be best achieved with a flat design philosophy. What is flat design? To answer that effectively, we first have to explore what is not flat design. Industry leaders in user interface design have often opted for a more complicated, visually intricate skeumorphic design. Skeumorphism is the practice of taking cues and visual behaviors from the physical world all around us. This can be seen in making an e-book sit on a wood grain book shelf until you select to read it, then there are elements that remind the user of a physical book, such as a page turning effect. We have all seen this, and the popularity of this type of design is the “wow” factor that it initially receives from users. There is a time and place for this, but it needs to be noted that the end product is not any more usable or effective because of theses cute details. Flat design is the opposite of this, presenting the content and design elements to users as a simple, straight forward interface.

It needs to be affirmed that this does not mean that a skeumorphic design is complicated, better, and fascinating, while the alternative is too simple, boring, or easy to implement correctly. It could be argued that the opposite is true, meaning a simple and elegant design is a better medium for the user, but harder to pull off well. The overpowering flashing of lights on the Las Vegas Strip are beautiful in one way, while the simple grace of the Mona Lisa is beautiful in another. If you are going to use the flat design methodology for your next project, you will need to remember a few fundamentals that will drive your success:

Keep it SimpleFlat Icons

More is not always better. One of the most prevalent problems with web design is a confusing user interface. Keeping things as close to possible to their most basic elements is often the key for an elegant and effective user interface. Remember that the flow of the design makes perfect sense to you…but you have spent quite a bit of time with it. Could a user understand where to go for what they want, or where you want to get them to, in less than 15 seconds?

Use Color…Correctly

Again, more is not better. Pick an attractive, sensible color scheme. Make sure the palette you choose is appropriate for the driving purpose of the site, and then stick to it!

Be Creative

Flat design does not remotely mean boring design. Think Flat Screen not Flat Soda. Use the minimalist approach to show off your talents as a web designer. Be innovative!

Going forward with a flat design, where appropriate, will set you apart from other designers. You will be not only on the cutting edge of design styles, but also usability for your users. That is the only wow factor you will need to impress your supervisors or clients!
If you would like your next web site designed with a flat theme, contact us today!

Chris is a father of 4 and works full time as a network engineer. He loves The Office, P & R, brewing (and drinking) beer, and of course Web Design and SEO.

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