24 April 2014
When Windows 8 'Metro interface' came along, everyone (including Apple) sat up and took notice. The revolutionary tile interface of Windows 8 set it apart from any other operating systems at that time and it started a trend.
Up until that point Apple's operating system and visual style had been very realistic. The trouble with realism or 'skeuomorphisim' as it is correctly called, is that this realism requires images and graphics that deliver the realism at the cost of extra file sizes – all this adds time to the downloads across browsers. Today with the growth in mobile the shift to lighter sites is here to stay and reducing the 'weight' of a site plays in to the hands of flat design.
Flat design brings to the fore the practice of removing dimensional realism from visual elements. No drop shadows, leather textures, shiny surfaces or notepad backgrounds.
For further reading on the subject visit: http://sachagreif.com/flat-pixels/