“Simplicity [is] the art of maximizing the amount of work not done.” That is one of the principles from the Agile Manifesto and which also happens to be a pattern of flat design. Flat design has been a hot topic on the Internet for the past year. Let’s review some of the technical benefits of flat design and help you deduce why you should be using it for your web application. If you are more interested in general high-level benefits from flat design, refer to our article 5 Reasons to Use Flat Design for Business Success.
Vector Graphics are Responsive
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is an image format that is rendered in the client’s browser using stored values for all of its combined shapes. The same principle can be applied to a lot of different practices in the software industry such as drawing shapes in video games. Simply by storing the vertices (points) and the relationships between each one, the client’s browser begins a game of connect the dots, followed by adding color to the faces and edges created by the lines. Because the image is dynamically rendered every time it is used, it will be drawn to the precise size that you determine. This can allow your web application to have smooth and crisp lines on any device screen, hence being responsive.
Using Fonts as Assets
Say what? Remember the old font called Wingdings? Same concept, turn your simple UI assets into custom pictographic font characters. This allows you to place your flat, yet elegant, icons where you want them via a few simple keystrokes. These won’t automatically be responsive, but with minimal CSS, you can use different font sizes for your various supported device screens. An excellent example of this is a CSS toolkit called Font-Awesome which comes with a library of already created pictographic fonts. Welcome to the future, where we revert to using Wingdings.
Faster Conversion of Mocks
Since flat design is simpler than most design, it is much easier and quicker to convert mock-ups into fully formed CSS. To put some more icing on that cake, you can take it a step further and use Code Hints in the Brackets Text Editor to extract layers from PSD into CSS. And since it will be a simpler design, there will be fewer layers to convert resulting in reduced CSS which would also imply easier tweaking after your conversion.
Reduce Defects and Bugs
There are many ways that flat design can simplify your code and website, which is not only faster and easier development, but will also result in fewer defects showing up throughout development. According to Steve McConnell, the author of Code Complete, the density of defects increase with the size of a project. That means for every 1000 lines of code, the ratio of defects per line of code actually increases. This is a prime example of how simplicity can reduce the number of possible defects.
Fewer lines of CSS? Check. Fewer assets to handle? Check. Easier integration of Responsive design? Check. Improving your page performance? Check. It’s not just a trendy design style, but an incredibly well-calculated strategy that will benefit your development and design teams.