Are flat interfaces a trend towards digital authenticity, or a reality of competing platforms?
A lot has been said recently about "skeuomorphism" -- both real skeuomorphism and the design-heavy skins for which it's often confused. There's even been a trend, real and perceived, towards flatter, squarer, more "digitally" authentic operating systems, themes, and apps, often credited to Microsoft's Windows Phone or Google's more recent Android design aesthetic. But is it a backlash against gradients and curves and shadows, or is it something else? Marc Edwards of Bjango argues it might just be something else -- the realities faced by competing hardware.
In interface design, square finished corners are faster, because there’s no masking. Not including shadows is faster, because there’s less compositing. Drawing a flat colour is faster than drawing a gradient. When you have three or six pixel densities, drawing sharp textures is almost impossible, unless you include bitmap assets for every size you’re targeting.
It's not about skeuomorphism or digital authenticity. It's about usability, and performance is part of that equation. No more spoilers -- go read his conclusion.