Blowing the noise away and bringing to the user an amazing experience.
I’ve been designing websites for longer than some co-workers have experienced the ability of talk. Given that information, if you are old enough, you can figure out I’ve survived the 'Under Construction' Animated GIFs Age, the Bevel and Emboss Effect Age, the Flash Animated Age, and the craziest trends. Regardless of who created and spread the concept, our days are filled with websites and apps designed upon a Flat Concept. If you have established in you mind - and you should! - that design is much more about function than art or looks or fashion, it makes a lot of sense being right in the middle of a Flat Design Age.
Going Flat is, most of all, an exercise of getting rid of possible distractions for the user experience you aim to create. Reduce the noise in you message. Users are bombed with information everywhere, all the time. Given that, it helps a lot getting one’s attention if your message is clean, simple and minimalistic.
A user shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to understand what you’re saying. Open spaces, airiness and flat color areas helps bringing comfort to the experience and creating the perfect focus zones. Short text tags, flat illustrations and a well designed iconography helps users understand straight away what a focus zone is about. PS: please, try to create you own icons. It’s worthy, I promise! A bit of Adobe Illustrator and this article can help you.
It’s not about how good your site / app looks. It’s about how well it works for your audience.
And you still have technical pluses:
Flat design illustrations tend to be lightweight if compared to 3D style stuff
Also lightweight, they are scalable and work well for retina displays
I brought to my routine as a designer a very interesting creative exercise, you should try at some point. As soon as I get all the information about a product, I go on Pinterest and spend 30-60 minutes looking for inspirational photographs related to the theme. Photographs collected, I pick a couple of favourite ones, go on Photoshop and spend another hour trying to get rid of all superficial layers on information. Textures? Off. Shadows? Off. Until all that lays in front of me is a flat color palette I can apply to my design. The best part is, the sub-products of this exercise can still be helpful:
If you are short of time or inspiration, there’s a few tools you can have a go:
It's some sort of mantra, or pray, for me today. I open it religiously in the morning, and spend at least 15 minutes absorbing colours, spaces and shapes.
It helps you creating and managing your own icon fonts easily.
Suggests trendy flat colors in different formats, such as Hex and RGBA.
Gives you a good palette of flat colors, grouped by color.