“Less is more, less is more”; it all sounds too familiar today. As I type this out, web designers are furious scrolling through Google and gobbling enough tutorials on simplistic web designs, flat designs and basically anything which sits well with the new Apple wave sweeping across the forums. Any PSD being made is being instructed to adhere to “being flat” before the developer converts it to HTML or WordPress or Joomla. Here are some relevant questions being asked.
“Is it really that good as a design”
This is one of those questions that are tricky to tackle. Common as a design practice- sure but good design is really about translating the concept of the business in a form that is appealing and easy to understand for the audience. Minimalism is all about simplicity, cognitive fluency and quicker appeal. The historic thought behind the design was centered on the concept of stripping away decorative details and making a design appealing using the bare minimums as the larger chunks. The design itself has more aspects to it of course.
“Why is Apple advocating it?”
Because Apple favours a simplistic, integral and consistent design policy for all of its applications and websites. iOS 8 and iPhone 6 were always facing stiff competition from Google so a new buzzword for design had to be brought in. Flat design has always complemented the responsive side of HTML5 and has been the basis behind a lot of good work. Apple is making that design trend now as mainstream as it can be.
From an aesthetic perspective it makes perfect sense for Apple to advocate it as their design does focus primarily on having a simple but appealing user interface. From a business side it is also a good tactic to get on the good side of the web developers and encourage them to explore further with flat design and its counter parts.
The truly bewildering claim for many audiences is the fact that Apple has been indulging in minimalism in their hardware products such as the iPad as well, which is bold enough. We cannot affirm it but we can say that Apple can obviously make the claim.
“What does it mean for developers?”
Good question. And the correct answer should be: it varies. So if you are one of those developers who has been active around the responsive website development then the obvious path for you would be to continue down that track. But if flat design is not your strong point then we do not necessarily advise you to adopt it for the sake of impressing Apple. Sure, Apple is looking at more minimalist experts in an effort to expand its app ad website horizons but that does not necessarily guarantee reward for jumping the gun to minimalism if your expertise lies elsewhere.
“Have other design methodologies lost their vogue? “
As a trend, they are not on top of appeal rating if that is what you mean to ask. But no, other design implementations are not putting your idea or business at a disadvantage. The prime rule behind any website is to map the idea of the business onto the digital front and to make it easily readable. If multiple tabs along the header and content blocks achieve that result then by all means they should be implemented.
To sum up this entire pep talk, PSD engineering is not hard coded or a hard and fast rule of “this or that”. Many designers seem to have forgotten the width of the landscape they available in web design. It is true that you have constraints when you’re designing for a customer or a business but you can always be flexible and creative within those bounds and still come up with a design that does not necessarily have to follow a trend. Remember, the better designer will not just follow the trend, he will aim to set their own.