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Flat design and mobile advertising


In a guest post for VentureBeat, Patrick Keane writes that the new flat aesthetic in iOS 7 will force mobile advertisers to adjust their approach and will ultimately result in the decline of mobile banner ads.

While I certainly hope that the end result envisioned by Keane comes to pass (after all, who enjoys intrusive banner ads?), I'm not quite sure if I agree with some of his reasoning.

Proferring a line of thinking that's becoming extremely common these days, Keane suggests that the era of skeuomorphism has outworn its welcome.

With the release of digital and mobile technology, skeuomorphism, or design that mimics real world objects, made a lot of sense. But design no longer needs to help us understand technology through this mimicry. We see this in iOS 7′s flat design, or trend of focusing on the function and tossing out things like shadows and texture. Advertisers must, in turn, adapt to the new operating system with more seamlessly integrated, non-interruptive, purpose-driven advertising.

I find arguments attempting to paint skeuomorphism with a broad brush fundamentally lacking. Sure, Apple may have overdone it with the GameCenter app in iOS 6 or the hideous Podcasts app that has thankfully been updated in recent months, but skeumorphism can still be an appropriate design choice in a number of situations.

That aside, Keane writes that the new and simpler design aesthetic in iOS 7 will force advertisers to change their modus operandi. With iOS 7 opting for a cleaner and less-cluttered UI, Keane writes that banner ads will "stick out like a sore thumb" and will potentially "lead to negative sentiments toward a brand."

Not being a fan of mobile banner ads, I certainly hope that Keane's prediction is accurate. Of course, there's a case to be made that mobile banner ads stick out like a sore thumb regardless of what mobile OS they happen to appear on. Put differently, I'm not quite sure that mobile banner ads look more "at home" in iOS 6 than they will in iOS 7.

Further, some of the obnoxious ads I come across while using iOS apps lead me to believe that many mobile advertisers aren't terribly concerned with tailoring their ads to nuanced concepts like design aesthetics. I can only hope that I'm wrong and that iOS 7 will, as Keane envisions, force mobile advertisers to become more creative and less intrusive.

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