As everybody knows that flat design was introduced by Microsoft. Wikipedia tells that Microsoft’s notion of flat design is derived from its very own Zune device launched in 2006 which contained flat elements. Microsoft continued to make use of flat design elements in their 2010 windows phone-7 which contained the metro grids. It is true that Windows-8 couldn’t be able to impress the audience but its flat layout is much appreciated and publicized. There is no doubt that Microsoft’s flat design inspire the web and other giants like Google, Apple and many more.
Today every mobile app whether Android or IOS is designed on flat UI. Even the websites are now designed with flat elements and many websites choose to include Windows-8 Metro grid layout. If you take a look at Oracle homepage you’ll see that they are using metro grids too. Back in the days Apple Inc. used to brag for its gradient and box-shadow design, but now Apple itself has adapted the flat UI methodology to upkeep with the modern design. Now the days of gradients and shadows are far gone.
The search engine giant Google has also adopted flat layout on their every website and mobile apps like Gmail. Twitter has also been switched to flat design lately in 2014. So why everybody is copying Microsoft? And why doesn’t Microsoft take action against it? Simply because they are very generous towards building a better web. The metroui.org.ua openly articulates that Metro-UI is open source and anyone can build or design using the Metro grid layout.
If Apple would be in Microsoft’s place then they would have sued thousands of websites and apps for copying their design or layout, remember the Apple vs Samsung lawsuit of 2012, well jokes aside!
Lets move ahead.
How Flat design inspires the web?
The introduction to flat UI has brought a squad of advantages with it, some of them are elaborated below:
1. Clutter free experience
Flat UI has kicked the clutter out of the web up to a certain level till now. This phenomenon has also enhanced readability and enriched user experience. The web will continue to look cleaner as more and more webmasters and app developers follow the same trend.
2. Easy for developers
The flat UI evidently makes it easy for the developers to design appealing graphics and web UI with ease, as they aren’t required to compose 3D elements, box shadows and gradients anymore.
3. Introduced Minimal layout
Flat UI has also carried the minimal layout along the way. Any designer who doesn’t wish to use too many colors can also implement the same flat layout by adopting white, black and grey shades altogether.
4. Made websites lightweight
Solid colors are in general requires less code as compared to 3D objects and gradient colors. Flat UI reduces the size of CSS style sheets which makes a web page to load faster as compared to a website retaining 3D objects and gradients.
5. Cross browser support
Flat design is supported by modern as well as old browsers especially old IE6 which doesn’t support gradients pretty well. Flat websites play much friendly with mobile browsers too.
Microsoft’s Flat Design inspire the web in numerous ways. Firstly, they made the flat user interface open source that enabled countless websites to implement it. Secondly, they made other giants like Apple, Google, Twitter and many more aroused with the new trend. Microsoft still cherishes the value of Flat Design but anybody is free to use it for building websites, apps or anything else they feel like. This demonstrates a big favor of Microsoft towards building a better and lighter design trend.