Goodbye Skeumorphic Designs
Apps relied heavily on drop shadows, simulated textures, and varied lighting effects that mimicked real-world objects, which was called Skeumorphism.
With the rapid adoption of smartphones and mobile devices with touch control surfaces in just the last several years, the thinking was that we, the users, needed skeumorphic user interfaces to teach us how to use these new devices.
The thinking went like this: By mimicking real-world materials and real-world mechanics, skeumorphic user interfaces allowed us to transition from the more familiar input devices (e.g., keyboards, push buttons, notebooks, and so on) to touch-based interactions (e.g., gestures, virtual buttons, etc.) much easier.
Now that touchscreen interfaces are more prevalent, and their use is more apparent to people, we can observe app developers slowly shedding those skeumorphic visual cues in user interfaces in favor of flatter and — dare I say — simpler interfaces.
What is Flat Design?
Flat UIs rely mostly on simple lines, contrasting colors, and legibility to maximize the effectiveness of the design.
Of course, these themes aren’t new to design.
The flattening of user interfaces could be likened to the proliferation of Swiss design styles in the 1950’s with the style’s emphasis on clean lines, legibility, and use of photography.
Today’s flat designs operate on principles similar to the International Typographic Style or Swiss Design: They are meant to enhance the reader’s experience.
Flat Design Showcase
With Apple’s announcement of their newest iOS, we can’t help but be excited about what this next evolution of user interfaces will bring to the App store.
Here are some examples of apps that already embody parts of the Flat Design style.
Share your thoughts about the subject of Flat Design and iOS 7’s move towards flatter UIs in the comments below.