Flat Design 2.0 – here’s what you need to know
In the noughties, flat design evolved past its skeuomorphic predecessor to offer faster loading websites that were minimalistic in design and offered users a clean, clear interface.
Moving away from the 3D effects that had come to characterise the web, flat design replaced the familiar blue underlined text, shiny buttons, shadows and gradients that acted as prompts for where to click on a web page.
Flat design stripped away the frills and concentrated on the essentials. This helped to improve the focus on content and gave users a faster web experience.
It wasn’t perfect, however, and it became harder for users to discern where to click and to distinguish actionable text. 3D effects mimicked the real-life look of three-dimensional objects, bringing a familiarity that enhanced user experience. Flat design was criticised for hurting usability by being too flat and taking away the cues and consistency necessary for optimal usability. Web designers creating a flat interface, says Marc Schenker from the Web Designer Depot, put greater emphasis on keeping things minimal rather than prioritising user experience.
Enter Flat 2.0
Flat 2.0 has been developed as a compromise between heavy three-dimensional and flat design. Sometimes called ‘Almost Flat’, Flat 2.0 brings back some of the subtle shadows, highlights and layers associated with 3D design while retaining the advantages of minimalism − clarity, faster page loading times and clean design. If used well, Flat 2.0 addresses the usability issues of flat design while attempting to further bridge the gap between the real and digital worlds. Businesses such as London website design agency https://www.britishwebsites.co.uk use responsive flat design that mixes styles to create fun and engaging content navigation.
Learning from experience
Understanding why traditional flat design progressed into Flat 2.0 gives a foundation from which to develop a web design style that includes the latest findings on how to improve user experience. According to Jerry Cao, writing for tech news site The Next Web, this is especially important for sites with more complex content that can benefit from the practicality and usability proposed by Flat 2.0.
Essentially, the main lesson to take from Flat 2.0 is that good web design should address the problems users face and communicate with them using clear visuals and accessible design.