Trending Deeper Into Minimalist Flat Web Design
What Is “Flat Website Design”?
“Flat Web” describes a current trend focused on minimalist web design. Graphics are colorful, two-dimensional and feature high contrast. Minimalist design concepts follow through in user interface, white space and content layout. One or more “call to action” stands boldly out to capture and funnel a website visitor’s intent. Flat web design is easy to read and navigate to what existing and future clients need. Flat web design gets to the point.
Those who label trends make it sound like Flat web design is new and trendy. This is not the case when it comes to my web design experience. In fact what is now called “Flat Web”, has been fundamental to my projects since the early nineties. Back then I called it “K.I.S.S.”, “Keep Internet Sites Simple. Early in what was then a hobby, building fast loading websites was a priority due to the fact most users accessed the Internet via slow modems or marginally faster DSL services. Flat web design principals also helped overcome browsers developers like AOL, Netscape, Internet Explorer who didn’t coordinate much beyond basic HTML standards of the time. Everybody wanted their proprietary code to rule the future of the Internet.
Flat Web Design, AMP Pages and Mobile Browsing
Flat website design is a good place for many website owners to start dealing with the future of the Internet if Google’s focus on Accelerated Mobile Pages prevails as the standard. The “AMP Project” is all about putting the minimal content up necessary to parse web content to site visitors who use mobile devices.
Developers have chased technology, increasing the complexity of content being delivered to mobile devices, despite some glaring reasons that suggest otherwise. As of 2012, mobile devices that can access the Internet have outsold desktops and laptops combined. Mobile devices with Internet browsers are now the primary technology accessing online content. It is likely that many put a better computer in their pocket or purse than they every put on their desk!
The Flat Web brings back a lot of common sense in design, content management and lead generation.
A Few Simple Examples Related To Design:
- Graphics using bold, high contrast colors are far more consumable on even the largest phone screens, in particular when the sun is out or your phone’s screen is set to lower brightness when it detects low light environments.
- High contrast text over background is also easier to read under varying light conditions. Lower contrast between text and the background, makes content harder to read. A fast way to encourage a visitor to “bounce” away is to make them strain, squint or re-read.
- Vector graphics are typically smaller files that maintain their integrity as they are resized, where photographs overlaid with text tend to be larger files that do not resolve well as they are resized.
The examples above are focused on practical reasons two-dimensional images are fundamental to Flat Web design. Flat design is smart and visitor friendly which should make it an easy to adopt design principal for any website.
Do Search Engine & Browser Developers Have Another Agenda?
These are front end experiences, but technology companies like Google are pushing websites to go on a code diet. I see reasons why, Google in particular, wants the content in websites to be “lighter”. One main reasons wraps around “monetization” of the Internet and the future of tiered web content delivery. My personal opinion is that Google and other companies want the “saved” bandwidth for themselves. Google wants your website to be lighter, but won’t mind at all if you embed YouTube videos in those “lighter” web pages.
Could There Be An Ulterior Motive Beyond Monetization?
Google in particular, is 100% focused on the mobile web and their idea of high quality content”. Imagine this scenario. What if the search engine changes that Google put in play in April 2015, were setting the foundation for formalizing their own “Tiered Internet” infrastructure. As it is, websites that are not mobile responsive were penalized in the April 2015 update of Google’s search engine algorithm. An update that excludes a group as not “high quality” is the same as making “high quality” content a more desirable “tier”.
Imagine if George Orwell was writing about the digital world…