As time goes on website developers not only deal with changing technology, but with changing website designs. Years ago developers focused on skeuomorphism as they thought this was the most creative and innovative technique. Recently, we have seen both flat and material design come into the spotlight. These versions of modern website design offer quicker production techniques and faster load times, however they have lost some of the creative ability skeuomorphism brought to websites. All of these designs both new and old can contribute to a creative website design if chosen correctly. To find the best option for your company check out these three popular website designs and see if you can determine which one is best for you.

Skeuomorphism

For years skeuomorphic design has given the user something they want in a website, the feeling of being at home. This theme gives elements within a webpage a more realistic look allowing the user to feel like they are in an actual scene as the elements appear in a 3-D view. This realistic view is critical for the layout as the objects appear to the user just as its material, shape and function would in real life. Unfortunately, due to the newer trends mentioned earlier, skeuomorphism is now becoming less relevant and developers are moving towards cleaner more modern design elements.

Pros:

  • It allows the user to feel a connection with the website as the objects appear familiar
  • The designer has the ability to trigger emotions by creating scenes within the web page
  • It gives the developer more creative options to express the company’s brand
  • It gives the appearance the user can “click” on the objects, increasing the UX

Cons:

  • Too many design elements can confuse the user
  • Strong focus on design takes away from the actual content
  • Heavy design elements can lead to longer load times
  • Incorrect use of shadows and textures can alter the actual appearance of the product

Flat Design

Unlike skeuomorphism, flat design brings a new simple and elegant template to the world. For developers it is considered a more clean cut and simplistic approach to websites. Flat design utilizes the 2-D interface options while allowing some room for creativity by developers. It focuses more on functionality than on the visual display by appearing on a completely flat surface. This becomes more beneficial for users as there are no flashy elements to confuse them while they navigate the website. This clean-cut appearance allows for any company to look professional and welcoming. Although there is the large support for this clean cut look there are still some designers who miss the creative flexibly skeuomorphism brought.

Pros:

  • Lack of intricate design elements allow for the site to function on several devices
  • Eliminates unnecessary elements to create a more simplistic design
  • Allows the user to quickly go through content
  • Allows for quick load times, as there is a lack of intricate designs

Cons:

  • Limited design options regarding color, shapes and icon designs
  • No shadows or shading on icons can confuse the user due to lack of guidance
  • Can create a generic looking site, not allowing for your brand to stand out
  • Lack of contrast and design has the possibility to bore users

Material Design

Compared to flat design, material design provides the user the opportunity to explore many different areas in a new and interactive way. With the use of the z-axis, material design brings back some elements of skeuomorphism which allows for objects to appear in a three-dimensional way. Material design may not come with load times as fast as flat design, but they do provide developers with more color and layout options. Due to the use of the z-axis, it has the ability to guide the user through the webpage. With the illusion of one object floating over another, it is clear what buttons are clickable and where the user should go next. Although it can take longer to implement the theme, it makes the interaction with the UI feel real to the user, which in the long run can be beneficial for your business.

Pros:

  • Comes with a set of detailed descriptions, leaves little room for guess work
  • Site becomes easier to navigate with the usage of the z-axis
  • Website has the ability to perform across platforms
  • Provides built-in animations which eliminates the need to manually manage them

Cons:

  • Has the potential to drain users batteries due to the large amount of animations
  • It is connected to Google, which may limited your uniqueness
  • Changing guidelines may be hard for some to keep up with
  • Takes longer to implement than a flat design

With all of these different design options the one thing to keep in mind is, who are you trying to reach? Would your users prefer something clean and simple or more exciting and interactive? Once you know the answers to these questions you can pick a website design to fit you. The important concept to always remember is, no matter how professional or artistic your website may look be sure your users understand it. Being able to provide your customers with a user-friendly website that also allows them to interact and not get bored will be beneficial for your company as they will spend more time searching. More time searching is beneficial for your company as this has the potential to lead to large conversion rates.

 

flat-vs-material-Example

Image Credit: PXL Bros

To learn more about different web designs and how the proper one can help your business, contact us today for a free consultation.