Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Feb 2013 22:52 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces "If you're paying attention to what's going on in the design world, you've probably noticed the ongoing debate around skeuomorphism vs. flat design." Good overview of the subject from Sacha Greif. This is a very important point: "But where the main victim of realism is merely good taste, taking minimalism too far can have serious consequences on usability. Users have come to rely on a lot of subtle clues to make their way through an interface: buttons have slight gradients and rounded corners, form fields have a soft inner shadow, and navigation bars 'float' over the rest of the content. Remove all these clues, and you end up with a flat world where every element is suddenly placed at the same level, potentially leading to confusion: Is this a button, or simply a banner? Will anything happen if I tap this?"
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minimalism =!= removing useful features.
by Nth_Man on Tue 12th Feb 2013 23:19 UTC
Member since:

Is this a button, or simply a banner? Will anything happen if I tap this?"

Good question. Let's not confuse users.

There's a difference between minimalism and removing useful features.

Reply Score: 10

phoenix Member since:

Too bad the Windows 8 UI team didn't read this before cementing "everything is just text" into the Metro/Modern UI. ;)

There are several screens in Win8 where there's no indication of what's clickable. Headings, icons, text, links, buttons, everything is the same, with just minor variations in font (mainly size).

Reply Parent Score: 14

siride Member since:

Dear God, this.

I just installed Office 2013 and I can't stand it. In addition to adding useless padding inside the UI (a la Gnome/GTK), the completely flat design makes it hard to see what's what and distinguish toolbars from tree views and menus and lists. It's a mess. And it's ugly to boot.

Reply Parent Score: 13

wannabe geek Member since:

"Is this a button, or simply a banner? Will anything happen if I tap this?"


Web browsers have long addressed this kind of usability problem in a beautiful, minimalistic way ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

bassbeast Member since:

But you don't need to copy real world objects to do this. After all hyperlinks don't copy the real world yet its pretty obvious what is a hyperlink and what is not, because it gives a visual clue. its bold, or underlined, or a different color or all of the above.

Frankly most of this stuff just screams "We wanna look cool!" and using win 8 (as much as I hate that POS) as an example is wrong because I doubt you'd find many usability experts that would call Win 8 anything but a failure in design as NOTHING has any real visual clues in that OS. Oh and the calc example also sucks, what do you want them to do, put the numbers on backwards? All keypads have had a similar layout since touch dialing so that is what folks are comfortable with, blame ma bell.

But at the end of the day let's call a spade a spade and just admit everybody is copying Apple okay? if Apple said calcs should be backwards and all buttons should look like pimples every stupid thing would look like that within a year. its hot, lots of money there, i get that. But don't make it out to be any kind of major design choice as its not. Its no different than how every app in the 90s looked like Win98, that was what was popular and where the money was so that was what you got.

Reply Parent Score: 1