In the past, web designers put a particular focus on showing off their skills by packing sites with flashy illustrations and animations that supposedly wowed their visitors. Then came a shift toward skeuomorphic design, which attempts to bring real life to the screen, with faux-realistic textures, drop shadows and real object characteristics, making your computer screen mimic real world buttons, dials and sliders.
Today, that’s all now giving way to the flat web design trend, which dispenses with all of these ‘artificial’ design techniques, in favour of a simpler, cleaner appearance. Obvious examples include changes to the Google logo to flat single colour letters, the new Windows 8 interface and changes to mobile phone icons for both Apple iOS and Android. This may be a reaction to past trends with no further to go, but it’s also an appropriate solution to websites being viewed by multiple devices such as PC/laptops, tablets and mobiles. Unnecessary clutter, large graphics and animations simply don’t impress any more serving no functional purpose and harming the user experience with slow downloads. This is the reason for the minimalistic nature of flat design.
However, just because it lacks any flashy design doesn’t mean this style is boring. Bright, contrasting colours make illustrations and buttons pop from backgrounds, easily grab attention, and guide the user’s eye, making a website easier to navigate.
While website design styles come in and out of fashion, your first priority should be to have a website that works as specified. But it should also project the right image. We think the flat, cleaner web design trend will be around longer than most because of the growing use of mobile phones and tablets to use websites.
For more information: Ultimate Guide to Flat Website Design