Considering that the operating system was almost universally despised upon release (rightly or wrongly), the impact of Windows 8 on user interface design is continuing to be felt in the tech world (in fairness Windows 8 wasn’t the first to do this, but its impact is probably the biggest) . The latest software to move to a flat, non-skeuomorphic interface is Spotify, with a brand new look for Windows, unifying the design across all its supported platforms.
While the new design looks fantastic, the most striking aspect is the way the old version suddenly look so out date. It’s the same with iOS – just take a look at the UI of an iPhone running iOS 6 and it’s amazing how old fashioned it looks, even though we’ve only had iOS 7 since last September. Take a look at the new design:
In addition to the wholesale move towards a much darker interface, the buttons have now totally lost their skeuomorphic design. While there are still some instances of great skeuomorphic design, people and technology are now at a stage where making a virtual interface button look like an actual physical button is pretty much redundant. It’s all part of a general trend towards a design ethos that treats digital design as a standalone prospect, rather than just an extension of traditional design.
Naturally, this ethos extends to web design, and the last 12 months have seen a massive shift towards flat, “modern UI” design. Eventually, as always, another trend will come along and make the flat designs all look horribly out of date, which is a very strange thought. It’s hard to look at something like the new Spotify design and imagine how it could ever possibly look out of date, but then most people would have probably said the same thing when the iPhone’s original interface was revealed. Only time will tell.