Have you ever visited a website that makes you leave as soon as you see it? We all have. The scary thing is that your website could be one of them. Many people, especially the newest generation of consumers, are starting to dislike the look and functionality of well-built websites from just a couple years ago. Why? Because there is too much “going on”, making the browsing experience too difficult.
If your website looks dated, then it probably has more issues than just appearance; it probably hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices, for example. Considering that mobile devices make up roughly 30% of web traffic in the U.S., it is generally considered a good idea to make sure your website is accessible to those users. If your website is too difficult for them to use, they will find another. Those people were your potential customers, gone because they didn’t like using your website.
Mobile versions of websites have solved the issue for many people, but they’ve almost worked too well. Websites created for mobile devices are convenient to use, and that is why web viewers are starting to dislike many full-size websites. This has created a new style of web design, called “flat design”.
This trending style isn’t only a result of personal preferences, though. There are reasons it is so popular this year.
Flat Design is the result of logical choices
Flat websites are easier to use.
Content is blocked out in easily understandable sections. Gradients, shadows, embossed and beveled buttons, and large amounts of text are all “going out-of-style”. “CLICK HERE” buttons, for example, are being replaced with buttons that the user can tell are clickable by their appearance and placement. Convenience for the user is one of the main focus points of the design.
Simple-color images are smaller
The fewer the colors in an image, the smaller the file-size. Huge, high quality images load reasonably quickly on a high-speed connection, but many people don’t have fast connections. Mobile devices often times don’t have enough “service” to take full advantage of their mobile networks, and the “free high-speed wi-fi” options available to travelers is usually mediocre at best. Flat design combined with well-written Sass CSS, could help your website load significantly faster, which increases your favor with Google’s ranking algorithm.
Navigation is difficult on phone and tablets.
Devices that use a touch screen instead of a mouse don’t have the ability to hover, which many websites utilize in their menus. This makes it difficult for mobile users to navigate. Flat design solves this issue by avoiding complex navigation and website “depth”, making the website easily navigatable for both mobile and desktop users.
Large blocks of text aren’t useful.
Flat design uses less text than a run-of-the-mill website, because more isn’t always better. Although plentiful textual information looks good to Google’s bots, your viewers aren’t reading most of it. Studies show that readers scan large amounts of text to find what they are looking for in a pattern that resembles an “F”. The first couple headings are scanned over, then the rest of the content in glanced at vertically in an attempt to find something interesting. Knowing this, your website should deliver what your business has to offer before your viewers get bored with reading about it (it happens fast). Your first two headings (remember that “F” pattern) should display your most important information. Flat design gets rid of the low-value content to make space for high-value content, or give the design some empty space, or breathing room, if there is “too much going on”. That means you shouldn’t have have more than a couple headings for any subject on a main page.
Flat Design retains your website appearance across devices.
The blocked out and straight-to-the-point content of a flat design can be scaled easily without losing the core of your website’s design. The result is a website that is visually and functionally similar across all devices, making flat design an appealing choice when developing a “responsive” website.
Of course, flat design isn’t the only way to go. There are many styles of web design that also work well, but flat design solves a lot of problems that are difficult to work around otherwise. Not everyone likes the look or functionality of flat design, but you still need to make sure your website is accessible for everyone. If you have a live website already, try clearing your cache and loading it with you have a slow connection, or navigating through the site with a touch-screen.