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Certain I'm the minority, but flat UI can be successful and very effective. With limited user paths and a design aesthetic that leans towards minimalism I have found that the user efficiently accomplishes the 'goals' assigned to them. However, if flat UI is treated as fashion often is (ignoring practicality, testing, and user metrics) then no doubt it will be unsuccessful. No research to refer you to, but I believe many major players in the industry adopted flat UI in an attempt to create a modern appealing look for their brand, and then went about optimizing the UI as they saw fit based upon user metrics and testing. As a designer I often continue to find myself influenced by pseudomorphic design and other formerly trendy design styles, but my goal is always to create something usable and unique rather than adhere to a current design trend. :D

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