What Is Flat Design and The Benefits?

October 7, 2013

What Is Flat Design and The Benefits?

flat_design

Have you asked yourself recently What is Flat Design? Web design trends of 2013 includes the use of Flat Design. It’s nothing new, but being used more today than in the past. At this time, web design is evolving toward a cleaner, brighter, and faster experience, as least from a user’s perspective. Some designers say that these changes are long overdue and the effects will forever change the landscape of designing web pages. While the term “flat design” is nothing new; this “new” design approach is catching on quickly.

Flat design and its benefits found its place among the web community and continue to ignite interest as more websites use this design method. Flat design is in effect, a design that uses vibrant colors, compelling 2D graphic designs similar to icons, and plenty of white space to magnify their presence. This is much different from the “norm” as so many websites currently exhibit. Quite often, buttons, or literal images of the actual destination used in these designs contrast the new approach of using flat, 2D graphics with a simple outline of the destination.

Lest we forget, the printed word is much more effective when the proper applications of the rules of typography are adhered to, especially when used in flat design.

Simplistic Web Design

From the design of the tabs, or icons, keeping them simple with a vibrant and contrasting colored background, surrounded by plenty of uncluttered white space is the design goal from the start. The principle of flat design is that of user friendliness and ease of use. On each page of a website, no uncertainty should ever exist about navigation and purpose of the layout design. All functions of the website are clear and easy to understand.

Colors Included in the Web Design

An important criteria designers must understand is the use of colors. From a graphic design perspective, colors can make or break an otherwise great design. That being said, the correct use of colors is very important. Various colors subtly cause emotions to come to life in all of us, and the objective is to use these colors to provoke emotions in the reader/user. The reason might be to elicit a certain response from the user or to guide them smoothly through the website.

Of course, colors alone cannot do this without help, but they can initiate the willingness to be guided in a certain direction. If you want to learn more about color schemes, read our previous blog Choosing a Color Scheme for a Website.

2D Graphics

This style of graphic lends itself well to the typical icons used in devices that guide the user to an action. An example might be an illustration of an envelope. Obviously, it’s the use of a mail icon. This icon is also an active link to a mail program. Another example is an outlined image of a telephone. Simple as they seem, each one is easily understood and leaves no doubt in the user’s mind what they are designed to do.

Typography is Important

To some, this is a foreign term. However, the importance of using the correct fonts in web design cannot be underestimated as it can be overlooked by some of the best designers. A keen eye and serious thought needs to be put into practice when deciding on the correct font usage, as well as the words themselves. If the rules of typography are ignored, a design will come drastically close to the precipice and in the end, will not satisfy the original intent of the site. A good rule of thumb when choosing a font is to favor a sans serif font for flat designs. These fonts fit well with the simplistic design and colors used while giving the reader a comfortable reading experience.

Benefits of Flat Design

From a SEO perspective, the search engines reward fast websites with higher rankings. Why? The simple explanation – fast graphics. All of us know how annoying a slow loading web page can be. A fast loading page is dependent upon several factors, one of which is the memory load caused by slow loading graphics or images. This is due to the size of the file and the drag this produces on the CPU when a browser tries to render the graphics. A properly designed website using flat design will load much faster than a conventional website using memory intensive graphics and images. This is a huge benefit of flat design and your SEO department with thank you too.

With the new app-like icons working together in a proper flat design layout, the reader is much more likely to spend more time on your website, increase traffic and ultimately generate more conversions. This is primarily due to easy navigation and little doubt about finding what they are looking for. Instead of admiring the fancy graphics and flash animation, your readers will engulf themselves in your great content. In addition to the new-style app-like icons, the contrasting colors also help grab the reader’s attention and draw their eyes to the page. This equates into an enjoyable and enriching experience for your reader, and more time spent reading your message.