We live in a digital world where business takes place over the internet, and much of that internet access is through mobile devices. But as website design has evolved, sites have gone from dynamic pages with flashy and realistic icons to what is now known as flat design.
But just what is flat web design? Flat graphic design for websites is a design style that emphasizes simplicity and minimalism. Flat design has enhanced the web user experience while helping those businesses behind the sites improve their conversions and drive growth.
Whether you are a small business or a major corporation, having a presence on the internet has become essential in today's world. And when it comes to your web design style, keeping up with the trends ensures that your website visitors can effectively navigate and use the presented content, which can help drive future growth and business.
This article will further explore the principles of flat web design, how to implement a flat design on your website, and more. Continue reading to learn how a flat web design can enhance the user experience and drive visitors to your brand's website.
What is flat design?
Flat design simplifies website design with minimalist styling, a large amount of white space, bright colors, and bold fonts. Flat website design is often confused with a minimalist design, but there are a few key differences.
While flat design prioritizes minimalism, it also provides a vibrant and enhanced user experience through elements like animations and icon designs that add to the user interface but still adhere to the design principles.
There are many flat design examples that you can find online. These simplified websites have been so successful at conveying the same information as sites that use complex graphic elements that they have become increasingly more common. Most successful businesses have shifted to a flat or semi-flat design for their web presence, and the use of flat design principles continues to spread as new websites are built.
History of flat design
Flat design came about in 2012 as a response to what had become an overuse of skeuomorphic design. By 2010, many websites attempted to mimic real life with images and icons that showed actual products, leading to complicated layouts and longer load times for web pages. To address this, web designers began implementing more minimalist designs based on the Swiss Style.
These new designs, which were quickly adopted across the internet by other major technology companies, replaced realistic icons and flashy colors with easy-to-read fonts and layouts.
Subsequently, Flat 2.0 combines the layout and color scheme of the original flat design style with some aspects of material design that include raised buttons or links and has become the standard for many websites.
Key flat design elements
In general, the flat design style includes four major components:
- Bright colors: The use of bright colors helps provide users with visual cues to guide them throughout your website.
- Simple shapes: Objects are depicted using simple two-dimensional vector art rather than complex 3D skeuomorphic images.
- Minimal textures: Drop shadows and gradients are not used in flat design. Instead, flat design uses minimal textures to reduce visual noise and create a better user experience.
- Simple fonts: Using simple sans-serif fonts provides faster loading and ease of reading for users.
Benefits of flat website design for conversion rates
When a website visitor can easily browse a site, find what they are looking for, and make a purchase without the web design style hindering that process, they are more likely to add to your overall conversion rate.
Using flat design elements can help improve the user experience, encouraging users to stay on your site and making them more likely to return.
One of the key aspects of flat design is a more aesthetic and intuitive web layout. Users are presented with easy-to-understand images, icons, and fonts, and the bright colors and ample whitespace are used to guide where a visitor looks and clicks on the site.
These features provide a user with a distraction-free environment that is more intuitive and easier to follow. Additionally, high-contrast colors and simple fonts can be used for accessible website design, making your website usable by an increased number of visitors.
Faster loading times
By simplifying a site to use a flat style web design, the 2D vector graphics and simplified font will require fewer resources to load, speeding up the rendering process and allowing the page to load faster.
Increases visual hierarchy
Websites have gone from single to multiple pages, with each page including various sections and pieces of information. With these enhanced hierarchies, it has become necessary for web and UX designers to include elements that express different levels of content. In flat web design, visual elements are used to increase visual hierarchy.
Through the use of different colored backgrounds and font sizes, the web design can remain flat or semi-flat, but a user is still able to easily discern different sections on pages or navigate from page to page.
More compatibility with devices
As more users turn to their mobile devices to view websites, a flat design enables your site to be viewed regardless of the device. Websites that do not incorporate flat or semi-flat design principles are likely difficult to view on a smaller screen.
However, the 2D vector art and simplified fonts of flat design are easily resized to fit the screen size, regardless of the device used. You can also use a flat design web template to help create a website that is accessible on various devices.