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To flat or not to flat

Updated: Mar 21, 2018

This week's article from Nielson Norman Group https://www.nngroup.com/articles/flat-ui-less-attention-cause-uncertainty/ brings up a question I have been pondering. Which is, with Super Flat design enjoying its peak and it being a major component of automatically adjusting design systems like card based design and perhaps some degree of atomic design. Skeuomorphism and flat design seem to be constantly at war, and it's interesting to have this new information as an ingredient in the design butter churn. Sometimes great design comes at the cost of functionality but when each missed click out of millions of clicks adds up to millions of dollars, this kind of approach doesn't make a lot of sense. I think that designers could be choosing their signifiers more carefully. Not to say that we need to return to literal graphics. But it looks like the scales are beginning to tip the other way.


Now if only NNG will get around to solving the correct answer to whether people understand information better with one or two spaces after a period.


Update: There is some interesting debate going on about how much this brings up issues of flatness /shadows vs. other signifiers https://medium.com/@seandexter1/flat-design-why-you-should-question-nielsen-normans-research-on-the-trendy-design-style-39a991517e02


Update: they responded to the controversy.




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