3 Pet Peeves with Flat UI Design

August 06 2014

Flat Design trend that started in 2013 is showing no sign of slowing down as more and more websites are advancing to implement it. With so much going for it, it has become one of the most popular design trends.

It is actually hard to argue a case against it. The Flat UI brings with it an appropriate package for the modern web. With simple and minimalist web pages that are relatively easy to implement, the design comes with low contrasting color pallets. Clean fonts present data more effectively. This minimalist and beautiful method of presentation is also beneficial to use on mobile devices.

Although, flat design is here to offer a range of benefits, there are 3 major problems with its use. Let’s elaborate these problems one by one.

UI Desing
  • Too much minimalism
    Minimalism is good. It proved beneficial to clean up and condense sites, accounting to a friendly user interface. Moreover, simple web-pages reduce stress on low power devices like mobiles and tablets. However, too much simplicity can result in a featureless site that is dull and boring. Such a website lacks in attracting users or inspiring them with their talents.

    It doesn’t mean that extreme minimalism does not have any place. As an example, Google has done it for over a decade. It just needs to be done in the right context. If web design agencies will try for it, where creativity is the key; it’s not going to work.

  • Mobile first design concept taken too seriously
    Flat designs are, of course, great to implement on mobile devices; and with more and more people connecting with mobiles, it would be foolish to not optimize your site for the same. As mentioned previously, the minimalism in flat design drops intense graphics, and process-heavy elements; attributing to a clean and basic design interface.

    This is all good, but many designers forget about desktop in the process which is still an essential medium; a medium of all times at which most of the web is till consumed.

    Take Windows 8 as an example. In an attempt to create a uniform experience across all devices, Microsoft implemented a metro interface. While the interface got successful on Mobile, Tablet and Xbox, it proved to be a nightmare for PC users. With gestures more suited to fingers than a mouse; Start screen and Apps design more suited for tablets; oversized text; and a lot other issues, Windows 8 represents a clear problem of taking mobile first design more seriously than required.

    The same problem can be witnessed on many other modern websites.

  • Generic Web
    Flat design has gained so much success lately that everyone is going crazy to implement it on their websites as soon as possible or they fear of being left behind. It has become a common notion that you are not keeping up with the web standards if your site isn’t flat.

    But this mentality is constraining the creativity and innovation. Imagine the web world with all the websites following the same designing trend – flat minimalist design, less contrasting colors and use of same type of fonts – it’s going to be generic and generic is boring.


Will the popularity of Flat Design become the cause of its collapse?

The concept of flat design has become overly popular. Flat designing is being increasingly used to develop new websites and redesign the existing websites as well. In fact, flat designs are really great, but the problem is its over popularity that has stifled creativity, turning the web into a generic place.

It feels like the web has lost its x-factor and every designer is given a set of a dozen templates that keeps repeating over and over again from one site to the other. The creativity has been lost. Though the principles of flat design might have a lasting impression on the web, maybe it’s time to invent a new design trend now.

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