A popular and effective user interface is that which solely focuses on the users experience and interaction. The goal of a good user interface is to make the interaction between the user and itself as simple, efficient and less time consuming as possible. It is extremely crucial for the UI not to draw attention towards itself instead direct efforts towards its usability. A user interface includes the total “user experience” enlisting its aesthetics, response time, and importantly the content that is presented to the user within the context of the user interface.
Conventionally, web designers have all along focused on display of their skills in terms of packing websites with flashy illustrations and animations to supposedly woo more site-visitors. This set the trend of a concept of skeuomorphic design which attempted bringing realistic features to screen with faux-realistic texture quality, drop shadows and real object aspects. This trend lowly began eating away at the fundamental point of the functional capability of the UI. Soon this gave way to the more simple pragmatic approach to designing user interfaces, the flat UI design.
What is Flat UI?
Flat UI is the classic, digital aesthetic design approach which is minimalistic and centered towards usability alone. It emphasizes on clean, spacious, sharp edged, bright and flat two dimensional illustrations with icons and UI elements bring crisp and free of feathered edges to them. In flat design, anything other than what is required is classified as clutter; it is nowhere near boring. Bright, contrast in colors make illustrations and buttons pop out of backgrounds easily catches the user s eye and also managed to guide him more effectively. The following are some pointers you may need to remember while you consider a flat design model-
• Emphasis on color- Flat design schemes use a lot of bright colors. Mainly because of flat design being devoid of other frills, it includes color blocking and shapes and bars to tints and basically anything to do with colors.
• Typography –Structure of words play an important role or rather is the backbone to an effective UI. Right from describing what the site has, use of navigational tools and communicating messages, an attractive typeface is a major aspect to flat designs.
• Use of words- Fewer and simple use of words makes your flat design that much more user-friendly.
• Simple UI elements-As long as all of the UI elements listed are defined and have a clear function, they will be effective. This can come in the form of color, outlining, boxing or even with the use of a different typeface as well.
• Appropriate hierarchy to be defined- The users have to be clearly instructed at each stage about how navigation is done and go ahead using your site without really to much of thought going into it. Links need to be clearly distinguished with a box enclosure or provision of a different color.
However simple and minimal the concept of flat designing may sound, it is important to note that this concept actually embraces the limitations of a digital experience and works around it. How much can you imagine really? What is two dimensional will remain that way, do you not think so? Flat design pulls the core aspect of skeuomorphism in terms of having to look friendly and approachable to users, and presents a clear, defined and an engaging interface. The following are the advantages of aflat UI design–
Why Flat UI? Skeuomorphism Vs Flat design.
1) Skeuomorphism actually limits creativity, purely because of the fact that its sticks to irrelevant standards in a digital format. On the other hand a flat UI is tailored to fit an on-screen experience, the ideas of having to mimic an actual physical experience is absent.
2) Skeuomorphic elements look out of place when it is combined with certain less dimensional elements and most often tend to look out of place. Sticking to a bright attractive form of design that fits with the screen would certainly provide an enhanced user experience.
3) Skeuomorphic elements tend to consume unnecessary screen space and load time of the device; flat designs overcome this drawback effectively.
Flat design is becoming increasing popular given its ability to adapt to new discoveries; Flat design is all set to bring a paradigm shift into digital design, where functionality and aesthetic attributes are balanced out in manner to enhance user experience. Flat design recognizes that sense of familiarity which is important to the user; striking the right balance that is needed between the medium and the user. This “back to the basics” design process is now taking the world of web and application designing by storm and futuristically looks like it has secured itself an assured place in building optimal user interfaces.