I always find when looking at book if I encounter early in the book comments such as “…eventually I found out that design is not about the answers, it’s about asking the right questions …” as Antonio Pratas does in the Acknowledgement of Creating Flat Design Websites that the book feels like I can trust the author as this sort of thing is both an honest observation and one that reflects some more considered thinking. The book beards this point out. For example rather than pitching the technology or approach as a tool for all things as many IT books have habit if doing, even in the first couple of chapters we are clearly informed that flat design isn’t necessarily correct approach in all cases and examples are given to illustrate the point.
The opening chapter explains the ideas of flat design vs skeuomorphic, and a brief history of the design approaches and “flat’s” ruse in popularity. Even providing an incredibly simple illustration that doesn’t demand that you be a graphic artist to achieve to show the differences and how you might move from skeuomorphic to flat.
The following chapters look at the consideration for usability, referencing Jakob Neilsen’s work (and if design piques your interest I’d highly recommend the work of Neilsen’s partner at NN/g – Don Norman with writing such as the Design of Everyday Things). The only criticism I might make here is with UI design, and specifically web there are legal (in the UK this cones presently as part if disability discrimination) and industry standards (particularly W3C’s WCAG standard/guidelines) aren’t really mentioned. But if you start digging into good usability material you will encounter these aspects.
From this point when are then guided through a design approach with plenty of recommendations on how to approach the design phase (from the basics of considering your target audience onwards). It is only chapter 5 that really get stuck into web tech with HTML and the Designmodo framework built on Twitter’s Bootstrap and chapter 6 covers building your own flat UI framework. So this book maybe pitched at web app development, but actually the bulk of the books content holds true whether you’re working on web solutions, thick apps for the desktop or the mobile variety as it embodies the principles if good interface design.
Not only does it successfully talk about good design it bridges the gap between techies and graphic artists without the sense it is trying to address either skills base. No mean feat.
Rather than stealing the book’s wealth of useful resources, I’ll point you at links relevant the book and it’s author. From there you’ll find a cast array of helpful resources. The references :
- Packt Book webpage
- Antonio Pratas’ website
- Antonio Pratas on LinkedIn
- An article on skeuomorphic design
- Twitter Bootstrap
- Designmodo framework