Flat and Thin

In the last several years at Gippsland Web Design, we’ve seen a rapid shift in software and app interface design, from 3-D to flat and minimal, like the new iPhone interface.

Although this trend has become nearly standard, let’s take a moment to consider how we got here and what influence it’s having on interface design as a whole.

So, how did the collective consciousness swing from a love of all things textured, beveled and drop-shadowed to a desire for flat colors and simple typography? Many factors have fuelled this transition, but here are a couple that stand out.

As a constantly connected culture, we deal with a nonstop flow of information, some of it important and relevant, most of it not. We are constantly evaluating, filtering and, of course, creating content, and it all gets pretty exhausting.

Just think of all those hours sitting in front of Facebook, trying to think … what’ll I post next?

In addition, much of our content consumption has moved to devices with small screens, thus exacerbating that feeling of overload. Becoming overwhelmed is all too easy, and a reduction of clutter in a user interface can create a little visual peace.

In a similar trend, a lot of disruptive Web apps and services are offering highly focused tools with extremely limited feature sets. Whereas traditional software developers tend to load their products with a glut of features to justify the high price tags, this shift towards focused micro-apps favors simplicity over feature set. Simpler apps mean simpler interfaces.

This is the theme we stuck to when creating the Lakes Entrance Mobile App and the Wwoof Mobile App … clean, simple and easy to navigate.

As so often happens when new devices and technologies enter the market, we become fascinated by what they can do and how we can advance interactivity. This interface frenzy is usually followed by a return to a focus on content.

Media consumption, whether of text, audio or video, is probably the activity we engage in most on our devices, and for that use case, we just want the interface to get out of the way.

Keep this in mind when building your Website, remembering that because it is a Responsive Website, it must and will be viewed on Mobile Phones and Tablets.

As smartphone and tablet adoption has rapidly penetrated all user demographics, concern about the obviousness of controls has reduced. Whereas we once feared that users might miss a button if it didn’t pop off the screen, we are now willing to explore subtler interactions.

When you’re planning your new website build, or considering an upgrade to your existing website, take time to think about what you think is important to your particular market. Are your Buttons important? Are your images important? Is your text content important?

Also consider the geographics of where your customers reside. Gippsland? Melbourne? Interstate? Overseas?

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