The internet moves at a lightning pace and the same goes for web design trends. Some however, tend to persist. Today we’re looking back at flat design for websites through the telescope of our 2013 piece on this very subject. In the intervening years we’ve seen the rise of the mobile application and the advance of faster technology that allows video to load quickly.
Flat design remains the standard for good reason
Four years ago, we declared that flat design was here to stay and though we aren’t always right, we were on point with this prediction. There are of course some new points to consider on flat design, but for the most part it remains a viable and important design concept.
The main points that were part of our 2013 opinion on flat design were the following:
- Ease of use
- Two dimensional
These all continue to be major draws to flat design. However, there are some other important aspects of flat design that have become increasingly beneficial to both web developers and businesses.
Flat design is easy to develop
The development process for flat design is less time consuming than other forms of design that require complex background images or detailed images. The simple and straightforward design elements of flat design are also simpler and more straightforward for the people doing the coding. That’s a win for everyone, as it lowers costs and increases usability.
Improves loading times
Simple graphics that don’t take up large amounts of file space make a huge difference in terms of loading time. The faster a site loads, the faster the user can see the content. In fact, we know that if a site takes too long to load, users will bail. Every millisecond counts in loading time and flat design has a positive impact on getting those times as quick as possible.
Contributes positively to SEO
Search engines reward websites that give users a great experience. Flat design contributes to user experience by decreasing the load time and working well on mobile. It’s important to note that SEO isn’t just about tags and keywords – it’s about the entire makeup of a website.
Ideal for mobile
Flat design is ideal for mobile sites because the simplicity translates beautifully to screens of any size. Smaller images and less complex designs also means that pages to load faster on mobile devices. Sites that are overly populated with visual distractions just don’t translate well to small devices and there’s a great deal more surfing done on mobile devices today than there was in 2013.
Major points of flat design remain much the same
The major points of flat design remain much the same today as they were three years ago. The key elements are, if anything, even more important in today’s world of mobile dominance. Here are the elements of flat design that we previously highlighted.
- Attractive typography
- Use of color
- A flat design
All four of these continue to be dominant in the world of flat design. However what has changed is that flat design has expanded beyond the bounds of its previous simplicity. In the past three years, we’ve seen designers and developers reinvent the format.
One trend in flat design that’s becoming more dominant is the use of negative space. Websites are getting less crowded as they seek to draw attention to their message in more pointed ways. Learning how to create a website that both attracts and engages the visitor is a central command of UI/UX design, and it’s one that can often be fulfilled through the use of flat design techniques.
Where is flat design going?
Usabilla research shows that nearly 70% of web designers think that flat design will still be a big deal in five years. That number is pretty close to what we would expect from flat design. This is a trend that’s not going anywhere and will most likely increase in popularity.
That’s not to say that things will stay the same. Just as flat design has taken on more negative space and an increased use of video integration since we first wrote about it four years ago, so too can we expect that other big trends will be incorporated into flat design in the future.
The reason that flat design isn’t going anywhere has everything to do with its versatility and usefulness. It’s staying around because it works – for both developers and for end users.