Flat Design Principles
A flat design is a modern minimalistic or simple style of user interface. It has become predominant in recent times and is emerging as one of the most sought after style of interface. Flat design gives more importance to content and functionality rather than cheap graphics and decorations. It helps the users get only what they want from a particular site and doesn't complicate things by adding in too many unwanted features. It is much easier to develop and proves to be more effective.
It is used in graphical user interfaces, mostly in web applications and mobile apps. It is said that this style mostly emerged from Bauhaus. Microsoft was the first to introduce flat design in their platforms such as windows media center and Zune mp3 player. The Windows 8 OS also uses flat design elements.
Principles Of Flat Design
- Choosing the right color combination: Flat design makes use of bright and vibrant colors. This helps the users differentiate various features easily. Another style of flat design also uses black, white and the intermediate colors to design an interface. Though it would look dull, it would look pretty neat and tidy. Choosing bright colors would also attract more users and keep it more interesting.
- Choosing the right font: There are various fonts available online. But, flat designs require a font that is simple and moderately stylish. Choosing fonts which are too stylish are not preferred as it wouldn't look crisp and clear. Most flat design models use the font 'Sans Serif'. Other alternatives are Times New Roman, Arial and Lucid.
- Choose a simple background: The background shouldn't be too noisy and distracting. Choosing a chaotic background wallpaper would deviate from the basic idea of keeping things simple. It is advisable to choose a plain background with mild colors. The background should be such that the users would want to stay on the website. It shouldn't be harming their eyes.
- Keep effects away: A flat design will never have sassy effects. Just simple slide effects are recommended. Addition of too many effects would bring in a lot of noise. They are intended towards showing depth of the content.
- Make use of various shapes: Shapes such as circles, squares, etc. can be used to highlight various options and features. They must divide features from each other and provided depth.
- Keep the icons simple: The icons used should be standard and simple. It would be confusing to the users if much-complicated icons are used. They must serve the purpose and guide the users.
- Avoid Skeuomorphs: They tend to confuse the users. Instead, seams and shadows can be used to highlight certain functions and add depth to them.
- Deliver the information to the point: The basic purpose of the website is to give information about a particular concept to the user. It should be done is a creative and simple way.
- Standard navigation must be used: This is one of the most important things to remember. The navigation on a website should be user friendly and simple. Usage of complex design elements would prevent the users from accessing the website more often.
- Applying the basic concept of grids and other geometric shapes: Usage of grids and lines would ensure that data would be arranged in a systematic manner. It avoids confusion and keeps everything neat.
- Avoid 3D figures: It is advisable to use only 2D elements when it comes to icons and effects
- Keeping it simple: The basic concept of flat design is keeping the design of the user interface simple. The designers must keep the basic requirement in mind and not deviate from it. They must concentrate only the required features and additional decorations must be let go of. It involves the UI, sounds, colors, windows, etc.
Big Companies Use Flat Design
Microsoft uses flat design user interface. They used it in their Windows 8 Operating System and it received great feedback from most of its users. It is filled with various box shaped icons, which represent various applications.
Apple made use flat design UI in their operating system iOS7. It has a simple look and flat colors are incorporated in it.
Google also uses flat design and it can be seen in Google now. It uses a very simple and user-friendly interface. It makes use of card like elements in which the information is displayed, which can then be swiped off after viewing.
Incorporating the use of flat design depends on the target audience. It's up to the company whether or not to make use of it. However, flat designs are definitely creating a new trend and online giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace are using them. Sometimes, it is better to keep things simple and it would look neat and attractive.