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Flat is the New Black

Simple, clean, and well..flat. This new trend is sweeping screens of all sizes this year and taking a 2-D approach to web design. Flat doesn’t need to be associated with boring; bright colors, pictures that pop, and unique type can spruce up this simple design. This shift has lead to the elimination of skeuomorphic designs, which use depth and dimension to create the illusion of a 3-D “real life” object. A perfect example of this is the old newsstand on your iPad with its wood grain and 3-D shelves. The new iOS 7 from Apple solidified this trend with their new flat interface, but they didn’t pioneer this change. Windows 8 was made available about a year ago and its bold, solid colors and 2-D block images are exemplary of this design trend.

 

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Grids, and Circles, and Apps..Oh My!

Windows 8 didn’t only influence a 2-D revolution, it also introduced a widely used design known as “Metro”. The Metro design lays out content in a grid-like structure featuring boxes with pictures and text, sometimes varying in width and height. A perfect example of this is the Google Chrome Web Store, where the grid layout features apps for the Google browser, complete with rollover and carousel features. Not all grids are made in square form and circular alternatives are becoming popular, as well.  Similar to the grid design, many website are now also featuring app-like layouts that mimic our handheld mobile devices.

 

To Infinity and Beyond

Although lots of scrolling has been frowned upon in years past, website are starting to adopt infinite scrolling capabilities on their pages that automatically produce more content as you continue to scroll down a seemingly endless page. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest have had a huge role in this shift, but the increase in mobile internet use is also a factor. Navigating through pages and a number of tiny icons on website that are built poorly for mobile users gets old. Being able to continuously scroll through content allows for better viewing. Wanelo is a popular consumer product sharing site where users can post the products they love in preset categories, much like Pinterest. It’s easy to get lost in their thousands of posts because you can scroll forever and ever and ever for an endless user experience.

 

Visuals vs Content

Homepages are popping up more and more featuring large images with lots of white space, or one single image as an entire background with very little text. These are often pleasing to the eye but not so pleasing to Google when it comes to your search engine optimization efforts. Lots of flash, huge images, and large type leave little room for content, which is where your keywords and SEO building strategies depend on. Find a balance between the two, and make sure your snazzy design isn’t hurting your web presence.