Do Regular Users Really Care if Your Website Is Flat?


Flat design has started a revolution that affected a big chunk of web design as we perceive it. It has changed most of websites’ colors schemes, iconography, layout and more. It has made leaps in starting a total revamp where the third dimension in designing has been eliminated and much simpler designs are in style.

Indeed, flat design is now the trend and I see why web designers suddenly went gaga over this new design trend. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Flat design websites are easy to read
  • They are trendy
  • They are clean-looking
  • They are bright
  • They are lively
  • They focus on great typography
  • They are are simple to use



Having said that, one may easily conclude that flat design really is something you should follow. However, some websites like Reddit have not adapted this trend. Some websites still function well despite their non-compliance with flat design.


This might lead to a wonder. Reddit has not adapted the flat design trend, yet it functions and generates traffic like it always does. Some websites don’t get the popularity they want despite shifting into flat design. And so, a question now arises:

“Do Regular Users Really Care if Your Website is Flat?”


I asked around and a vocal minority of web designers have said their views on the topic. Let us see some of what other average web designers have to say:

Tiero starts with the three tenets in web design to focus on: (1) Content. (2) Accessibility (or simplicity). And (3) No stupid crap.

BlueParukia added, “People care only about the content and a good design is one that doesn’t draw attention to itself but to the content on the page. It should not make things difficult for the user trying to find information and should take little time to load.”

DeathShadow agreed by saying that quality, content and accessibility were what really matters in a website. Anything other than those were mere waste of bandwidth, code and time. To him, content were really the primordial concern a web designer should focus on.

He added that some people who claim to be SEO experts “are so concerned with getting traffic to the site they stop caring about if that traffic consists of visitors who actually care about the content, if that content is even relevant to the topic the site is supposed to be about, or even if the visitors can get at the content.”

According to him, this is why most Google searches in the past two years had no relevant results until page 2. He challenged that the biggest question a designer should focus on when creating a website is, “How does this make the site more useful to visitors?”

Content Is King


Clearly, these people agree in one thing: Content is still king. It means that regular users really don’t care if the website is flat or skeumorphic. Regular users still care about what will they get from your website. I have to agree with DeathShadow when he said that a web designer must always ask himself about how the website would be useful to visitors.

You, as the designer, should always focus in creating a design that is content-conscious. Every element that you put in the page should always lead to great content. Thinking about that would lead you to faster and more efficient ways into reaching your goals.

A few other designers agree to this.

Kristina Halvorson, a content specialist, said that the design decisions you had made as a designer should always be driven by content. You created the layout to support the content and not the other way.

“Copywriting is interface design. If you think every pixel, every icon, every typeface matters, then you also need to believe every letter matters,” Getting Real by 37 Signals says.


Hearing from these people would make us conclude one thing: we may never know if users really care if your website is flat or not. Heck, it’s not really the first thing they look for upon visiting your website. Web users look for content. If a website is beautifully designed but the content sucks, then the design’s beauty is tarnished.

But just because I am saying that content precedes over design, it doesn’t mean that you design your website like a two-year-old kid would do, no. You have to understand that the design should always highlight the content. Your role as the designer, is to beautify the website so that the visitors will stay for what really matters. The content.

Do you agree with me? Or do you have your own rebuttals? Let me hear them.



  1. Content, yes, but let’s not forget that the first impressions of the website are very important. Particularly if the user visits website for the first time.

    I found that people, even those that don’t know the difference between flat and skeumorphic design, they will definitely understand modern.

  2. Ultimately its about value. I don’t think users care too much whether the site is flat, skeuomorphic or old schools HTML if it offers value (craigslist, wikipedia, google, USGS). And most websites out there offer none.

    As a software developer, I’m surprised how many times I have been asked to make a site pop, rather than spend that time adding additional value (e.g. accessibility, improve performance or simply workflows). This makes me believe this is a marketing fad and perceived value.

    Do you really need any design to view your bank balance? I’d argue that if you design online banking another financial applications using the techniques and constraints of the 1999 internet, you’re site will be faster and valuable. We really don’t need JavaScript or CSS to have an online banking application or a blog.

    There are a class of applications, like Maps, that can only work over an internet with the capacity and capabilities we have today.

  3. HateFlatFad

    Do users care? Well, I personally hate the flat fad with a passion.

    I have yet to see a site embrace flat and not make it hard to navigate and look like the a 5 year-old’s box of reject crayons.

    As a general rule, flat replaces beauty with stale; Artistic with dull; durability with plastic.

    Replacing buttons with text that may or may not be something that can be interacted with is a fundamental failure for the design paradigm.

    A better question is Do YOUR users care? No, they don’t come back.

  4. I love the flat design trend, and I’ll be sad to see it go. In general, I don’t think users consciously care, *unless* they are looking for a web designer to build a website in that style. On a subconscious level, I think it gives the impression that your company is modern and keeping up with the latest trends.

  5. I don’t think it matters if it’s Flat Design, Skeuomorphic, Minimalistic, etc. to me they are all just styles which are dependent on who the site is for, Reddit being a prime example in the article. Different styles will suit different companies or clients and it’s all down to which one is best for them and best represents their company’s style and visual identity. Like the article said, content is the main factor.

    Personally, I see why Flat Design is popular, it’s new, it’s different, and it’s trendy. But I think one problem is that things will become saturated if everyone jumps on board with Flat Design. There won’t be any variety in web design. Flat Design is certainly worthy to reside alongside the other styles, but I don’t think it will take over as ‘The’ style to use.

  6. That is interesting how the trend goes to simplicity from the flashy graphics. I personally prefer it that way, no distractions, just focusing on what matters.