Website Flat Design & Your Users

it’s said in conference rooms around the globe. You used it as your guiding principle when you had your current site built. And, you’re going to use it again when you have your next site built. It’s been a guiding principle since the mid-90’s, and it will be used well into the foreseeable future.

“Just make it user-friendly!”

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”It’s said in conf rooms everywhere “just make it user-friendly. But, what does that mean?” #webdesign #SmallBiz”” style=”2″]

But, what does user-friendly mean? Does it mean the same thing to you that it does to your designer? How will you know if you get it?

Web Design Is Tough

It’s a subjective thing. Ask most people to define a good website design, and they’ll say something to the effect “I’ll know it when I see it”.

When you reviewed the designs that were presented to you, for your new website what was the deciding factor for the design that you chose? Why was it that when you gathered your team together to evaluate the designs, you couldn’t get everyone to pick just one of them?

Unfortunately, everyone sees design through their own lens. Design is tough! It’s more than just getting the color from your logo correct and using great images.

A good design will draw in your website user. A bad design will push them away.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”A good design will draw in your website user. A bad design will push them away. #digitalmarketing #SmallBiz” style=”2″]

Flat Design, The Latest Trend

flat design exampleBefore we get into whether or not your website should go the Flat Design route, let’s take a minute to clarify what Flat Design is.

Flat Design is a modern or minimalistic way of creating the look and feel of a website. This new design concept really gained in popularity around 2012 and moving forward it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.

You can find examples of Flat Design on a number of very prominent national sites like Apple and Microsoft to a bunch of smaller businesses in your town. You can even find examples of Flat Design websites on Pinterest.

The goal of Flat Design is to present the information on your site simply and directly by using the least amount of distraction as possible.

The typical characteristics of Flat Design are:

  • Simple color pallets
  • No patterns or textures
  • Restricted elements (navigation, graphics, images, etc.)
  • Large amounts of negative space
  • Grid layouts for images

Again, this is a prevalent design trend for all types of user interfaces such as desktop apps, mobile apps, and websites.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”Wondering what Flat Design for #webdesign is? #SmallBiz” style=”2″]

Would You Green Light Flat Design?

This is when you really have to decide what the top priority for your new website, is and  what the best way to achieve that goal is going to be.

Kate Meyer, a user experience specialist with the Nielsen Norman Group, recently published the results of their studies in Flat Design.

There is a ton of information in this article that I don’t have the time or space to get into, here. So, I’m going to give you an overview of their results.

Essentially, they found that a Flat Design that isn’t carefully and thoughtfully executed will sacrifice the user’s needs for a trendy design concept.

As an example, website users inherently can recognize clickable signifiers like text links that are blue and underlined or graphics that are created to look like a 3D button.

With the new Flat Design, that intuitive knowledge has no value and the user has to re-learn how to navigate a site with a Flat Design differently. This sudden change in signifiers ultimately creates confusion which then turns to frustration which then disengages the user giving them a poor UX (user experience).

This is the exact opposite of what you want to happen on your site


Don’t select a design just because it’s cool or because it’s got great images! Just like everything regarding your website, the design has to support the #1 goal of every website…to convert the users.

[socialpug_tweet tweet=”Like everything else about your site, design has to convert #SmallBiz #digitalmarketing” style=”2″]