Don’t Blame Flat UI for your Design Problems(

almost 7 years ago from Pascal Gärtner, Freelance Product Designer

  • Chris MeeksChris Meeks, almost 7 years ago

    I think the article is trying to induce a fist-fight by painting this as a black and white issue. It feels too aggressive and largely uninformed. The tweet that she was responding to simply said that a flat design aesthetic doesn't make something more usable. How she took issue with that, I have no idea.

    She takes that as an excuse to assume that the tweet author was saying, "Skeuomorphism makes an interface more usable." When very clearly, he/she wasn't. So her entire article starts attacking against an invisible statement.

    Finally, I would love it if she actually had any research to back up her claim that a flat interface is innately more usable. She's seemingly saying that drop shadows have no use. I couldn't disagree more.

    5 points
    • Missy TitusMissy Titus, almost 7 years ago

      Hey! Thanks for reading and thanks for the thoughtful critique.

      Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to start a fistfight. I didn't suspect many people would even read the post. My post was mostly trying to refute the idea that Flat UI would make something LESS usable, not necessarily that it WILL make it more usable. The reason I included that tweet was just because that's what spurred my thoughts on it. (And I admit, I should have included the entire twitter conversation, because it was in a reply that the original tweeter actually says he thought Flat made things less usable.)

      My basic point was that skeumorphic, flat, or something in between, if you don't do the work ahead of time to make sure your UX makes sense, your product isn't going to be usable. I wasn't trying to prescribe one over the other. However, upon re-reading, I see how that might not have come through.

      0 points
      • Brooks HassigBrooks Hassig, almost 7 years ago

        Hey Missy – how did you get on Medium? I'm pretty jelly.

        I'm seeing what Chris is saying, though. The focus on extremes eclipsed the more fundamental point that UX thinking must come first. I appreciated that point, because it's true.

        But I've been thinking about blogging about the middle path of flat vs. skeuo. I legitimately believe combining the best of both will yeild the most usable experience. Can you see how some dimensionality would help build visual metaphors for an interface? Those metaphors help users know things like "Oh, this lives off screen" or "Oh, this is probably press-able." That said, too much is crass and, in some philosophical design circles, disingenuous.

        0 points
      • Chris MeeksChris Meeks, almost 7 years ago

        Thanks for the response, Missy. I'm all for people coming out and making statements as you did. I think the clarification that a set of aesthetic choices, flat or not, doesn't make something more or less usable is often (not always) true.

        A great example of this is rounded corners. You could argue rounded corners are skeuomorphic, because they are based on the metaphor of our real life rounded buttons. And rounded boxes test more like buttons in usability tests than square ones do. DN's own comment button is a great example of this!

        0 points