Types of web design – choosing the one that suits you best

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There’s been a great debate this past year in the tech community. A lot of change has happened in terms of design, and it was one of the first time the public heard terms such as “flat design”, “parallax”, “material design”,  “realism design” and many others, and even it still isn’t an interest of your average consumer, or a choice he makes consciously, it is something that goes a long way. For many years, there hasn’t been the idea of flat design, or realism for that matter, mostly because there was only one of them. At the time, designers assumed that people would feel comfortable and familiar seeing things in three dimensions. It is quite easy to intuit such a thing, because it worked, nobody wanted everything different, design in web or software wasn’t a thing people critiqued, just something they quietly liked or not.

As times changed, designers noticed that things were much cluttered for no apparent reason, once the Y2K scare worn off, once everybody had to be in contact with technology on an everyday basis, the people realised that a lot of unnecessary thing were happening in front of their face, and made their voices heard. Now that I’ve got you here, we need to understand what we’re debating. Realism in digital design has a simple philosophy, it imitates reality. Everything is embossed appropriately, shadows are used, 3D effects are being rendered, this comes with a few advantages, it is a bit easier to tell the difference between things happening on screen, it is a bit more intuitive and other minor bits and bobs. Flat design is an innovative idea that came from the rationalist school of design. It is too easy to say that everything from realism has been flattened, but in the end that is really the truth. Colour schemes were changed, simplicity became king, and things just became… flat. In the most counterintuitive of twists, flat design came to be known as looking more “natural” then the old, realist cluttered design.

We have seen the changes everywhere without realising what is happening. The first one was Microsoft, changing the whole aesthetic of Windows, the old 4-squared coloured flag is now just four white oddly-shaped squares. Google and Apple followed shortly, each in their own unique way, still keeping a few realist elements, likely for a nice balance. But where the difference between the two is really noticeable, is in web design, because in the online element, there is a major difference that tips the balance massively on one side. Flat design uses about a quarter of the data realism does. Since it has much less to render, it is easier to download and load up, and that is the reason why we see more and more businesses stripping off their old sites in favour of new ones. Again, a balance must be met, and in the future, with enough development, it will be found, but right now, in 2015, flat is king, and is surely going to continue advancing companies with minimum intrusion of the customer. It will that is, until something better comes along. But if the short history lesson I gave at the beginning is anything to go by, it will take some time. Flat is here to stay.

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