Flat design is popping up all over the place with interfaces from Microsoft, Apple, and Google with Android are leading the way. What is flat design? It is a move away from trying to make synthetic things look “real” on the screen with unnecessary frills and to just get down to basics, it lets an interface just live for what it was intended to be…functional. It is a move away from what is what has been called skeuomorphic design, which can be full of unnecessary frills based on an unnoticed tradition of what we expect things to look like but are not needed. With constant visual information overload and the adoption of mobile devices for everyday use, a simple and to-the-point interface is necessary to get the task done efficiently. It is a minimalist design that puts function before appearance in a good way, it looks clean an ditches the clutter.
It’s about big clean blocks that work for mobile and desktop alike and while flat design is simple to look at, it doesn’t have to be boring. Big images, colored tiles and big clean text can have a very sleek look, and serve the function of easy navigation with fingers on a screen. Some recent examples are the Google Play store, MS Metro, our site, this site, and another simple example here. Check those out and you will get the general idea.
While there is never a one-size-fits-all school for design, removing the need to think about navigation as much as possible while still looking great is the ultimate goal, especially with mobile devices. When people don’t have to ‘think’ and they just ‘go’ where they want on a website or app, they end up doing a lot more business with those companies. This trend is really making headway and we will probably see a lot more of it coming up because it makes sense for the many ways we view the web.