After the post I wrote last week, I run out into a text written by Henri Liriani about what's the real meaning of flat design.
Besides the fact this post is kinda old, it explains some excellent concepts about UI design. I selected a couple of highlights that are worth reading:
When computers and their UIs were new to everyone, skeumorphism was a necessary tool that established symbolic continuity from the real world into the digital.
Of course, how can you blame someone who used skeumorphism to illustrate something as basic as a saving button? Can you imagine how difficult could it be to teach someone how to use a simple flat design from the beginning?
If not, picture yourself trying to explain how to use iOS 7 to a gown up parent. There would be a lot of whats and whys for every single icon.
There was a time when skeumorphism was pretty damn cool, and this was necessary for an app to be different from the rest:
There was a whole generation of “delicious” OS X apps that were sold based on how cool they looked. Apps weren’t being sold for their functions, but for their novel and often gimmicky GUIs—and that’s problematic. It’s a UI’s job to get out of the way and make the function(s) of the app as easy to perform as possible, not to be the star of the show.
Why a background made of photorealistic leather was more important than a simple GUI? Because we were focused on the visual impact, and not in the user experience itself.
That's why apps like Clear showed us how a simple UI was everything we needed for a simple task manager.
Then, how did Apple reacted to this? They created iOS 7. The perfect mix between User Interface and User Experience.
Apple got to know their own product better. They figured out that margins around content were virtually useless on a space as small as the iPhone screen, and that the physical device provided “margins” anyway. They found that tap regions make more sense than buttons, as long as there are strict and consistent guidelines in place to keep the UI language coherent. iOS 7 was a complete reevaluation of everything on the screen. This is why I hate just calling it “flat design.”
Of course this is the beginning. It's only been a year since Apple's new mobile operating system was released. But why Apple choose to do this on iOS and not on Mac OS X?
Mobile is the most exponential growing market of the past few years. And because it's always with you, you have more time to learn from it.
It's almost certainly that Mac OS X's UI will eventually be upgraded to a more flat stylish design.
And damn we are ready for that.