After Flat Design
Web and interface design will always be prone to trends – some more dubious than others. We seem to be clear of web 2.0’s glass buttons and have just about escaped the wood effect and faux-stitching of recent years. It seems the design community has rejected skeuomorphism and realism in favour of flat design – which has moved focus away from outdated or incomplete metaphors, and instead uses gestalt theory, good typography and animation to design more elegant interfaces that feel more web-native. This seems like a good move and I’m interested to see what happens from here – which is the purpose of this post.
Dribbble seems inundated with designers who want to latch onto the latest trend, and I wonder whether this ubiquity will provoke a counter-flat-design movement, or whether UI will evolve naturally from this point. It does the design community a great injustice to be limiting ourselves to what is a very specific design aesthetic. Whilst applauding great examples such as Windows 8, Clear, LayerVault and Google Now, we should be asking ourselves whether it owes too much to early web design – which through lack of advanced-CSS left designers with limited tools to style elements – and whether, with the palette of tools available to us at the moment, there are greater opportunities out there.
In truth, I think we will see a reduction in UI elements on the page in the near future, in favour of Natural User Interfaces (NUIs), that rely more on gestures and animations to process actions, and what is left on screen will be more content-centric.
The image pictured is meant to be tongue-in-cheek – not actually a serious UI concept, but just an idea that toys with the idea of taking flat designs to a new level. I wanted to question: in what ways would a rejection of flat design emerge? – A resurgence of three-dimensions without realism? Or would it evolve more slowly through increased levels of interaction and animation?
On the subject of flat design and skeuomorphism, this article makes for a great read: http://sachagreif.com/flat-pixels/