Trending web designs – is a flat design right for your business?

Web design trends come and go, but sometimes a trend comes along that just makes sense. For the past few years we have seen the demise of the skeuopmorphic designs and the upsurge in flat designs. Why is this?

Well let’s take a look at both of these designs, so you can decide for yourself which type of web design is best for your business.

Skeuopmorphic designs

In a nutshell, skeuopmorphic designs were meant to give us a sense of familiarity with the real world and it did this by adding a cartoonish realism to our websites. So we were bombarded with bevelling and shadowing, and 3D images with multiple textures, colours and fonts.

Whilst this design was meant to be visually stimulating by using rich and dramatic, but familiar imagery, the result in many cases was an overwhelming sense of information and colour, virtually a visual pollution on our senses.

Advantages of this design: The use of familiar visual imagery can be comforting to users. For example, by using a familiar image that represents an action, images can be used to show people what to do next in a list of tasks.

Disadvantages of this design: When overused this design can be too visually stimulating and gaudy. The main problems revolve around a cluttered screen and slower loading times and simply put, bad designs that confuse and intimidate people. It takes real skill and a keen desire to make these designs look good and function well.

Flat designs

Flat designs are the complete opposite of Skeuopmorphic designs. Whereas the latter designs focused on visual distractions, flat designs focus on usability and content. This means that flat designs are far less distracting to the eye and tend towards a crisp and streamlined appearance.

With skeuopmorphic designs, it was almost as if they were trying to overcome the limitations of a 2D screen, flat designs on the other hand, embrace the simplicity of 2D and focus on speed and functionality.

One of the reasons why flat designs are becoming so popular is because they remove all the clutter from web pages. We all know that internet usage is becoming a large part of people’s lives now and what they want is information. They don’t want to be visually distracted and bombarded with information, they just want to find what they need and move on.

Since a flat 2D screen is less visually stimulating and less cluttered than a skeuopmorphic design it also displays very well on mobile devices. This was another driver towards flat designs, the fact that more and more people are searching the internet on mobile devices meant that designs needed to be simpler and visually uncluttered on such small hand held screens. This led to responsive web pages which lend themselves very well to flat designs.

Advantages of this design: Simple, clean web pages that load fast and focus on functionality and a positive user experience.

Disadvantages of this design: Due to its simplicity, a flat design can be difficult to execute well so the focus needs to be on good design as well as functionality. You don’t want a design that is boring, so there needs to be a balance between visual stimulation, minimalism and functionality.

If you believe that a skeuopmorphic design is best for your business, make sure that it is as uncluttered as possible and actually achieves the outcome you desire for your business. In other words, don’t overdo skeuopmorphic designs – remember less is more.

For help with web designs or branding for your business, feel free to contact us at our Northern Beaches studio in Sydney.

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