So with SharePoint 2013 and Windows 8 we’ve seen a new “flat” design trend, right? Heck, even iOS7 “transformed” into a “funky new cybernetic” GUI (I bet Steve is rolling in his grave! LOL) Suddenly every icon is square..or a circle, and the old rounded corner is no more.
So, why is this so? My own theory is that computers are becoming more complex and there is a push to output more and more information and details onto various sizes of screen and types of device. With that, a good IA is going to try and balance out the UI to prevent clutter. So, flatten the screen and put the information forward. Adding natural elements to your design is fine, when you are trying to focus the user on the design, but it becomes a really serious distraction when you are trying to focus the user on the information. Hence, rounded corners, “3d elements”, “real textures” and “shades” — go bye bye. Not to mention, it takes a lot more raw CPU cycles required to output a bitmap rather than a simple color:
mov ax, 0600h
mov bh, 11110000
mov cx, 0000h
mov dx, 1010h
Voila! Now your battery lasts longer! So with that, you can see there are very good practical reasons to drip the IO required to read the PNG into memory, then blast it out onto a square surface, pixel by pixel.
Oh, and so what’s the deal with rounded corners? Read the Steve Jobs biography… more Skeumorphism. It’s pretty clear that he was the father of the rounded corner in personal computing and it stuck around as long as he had. Good riddance. I bet the next version of MacOS will be shockingly different.