Here at Mediacake we love the flat user interface (UI) trend in web design. It feels as though web design is finally coming into its own and maturing from the ugly duckling of the 1990s into a majestic swan. But as the flat web design trend picks up speed, it seems that everyone who is anyone is jumping on the bandwagon and websites are starting to look homogenised, which would be fine if we intended to pour them on cereals, but alas, we don’t.
Flat UI is great, but not when it gets in the way of clarity and great content. As the old adage goes “form follows function”. Yet it seems that sometimes, our modern, ultra-sleek, mobile-responsive websites ask function to follow their form.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like.
Design is how it works. Steve Jobs
Putting things into perspective…
That’s why we believe it’s vastly important to take a step back and ask “does this design really add value to the business model?” If you’re adding a slider just because it’s cool to have a slider but the design you’re working with doesn’t warrant one then you’re creeping it the territory of art.
As web designers, we’re not artists, but rather a kind of digital artisan, who creates beautiful yet functional items for the World Wide Web. What good would a chair be if you couldn’t sit on it? What good is a website if it doesn’t convert visitors into paying customers? You get the idea.
When we design websites here at Mediacake, we’re not just blindly following the latest trends, but instead we work with latest tools and standards to build websites as we’ve always done: robust, reliable, and long lasting. As long as we focus on the clarity of the content it’s fine to follow an industry standard, but not without taking into consideration the key values of the clients we work with.
Focus on quality, consistency, and user experience
So in answer to the question “are all websites starting to look the same” we’d say, yes, a lot of them probably are, but then haven’t they always? One thing we have to consider as designers is that people get accustomed to clichés, and if you break the mould too fast and too furiously, you may leave web users somewhat bemused. Take Windows 8 for example, great if your average computer user doesn’t mind learning a new hieroglyphic language.
The important point to take away is, while we should wholeheartedly embrace new changes in web design, we shouldn’t forget to question the relevance of them and how they add to the overall user experience. We don’t design websites for browsers, we design them for people.