The other day I discussed my thoughts on the new Material Design Google has introduced at Google I/O last year. I was impressed with the fact that Google had finally taken a deliberate action to make the UI a first class citizen. And that they had given developers a target to shoot for so that maybe, just maybe 3rd party applications might start having a consistent look and feel in the Android ecosystem.
Material is the metaphor
This is NOT a skeuomorphic design idea. It is not so literal as that, but at the same time it is purposefully meant to be familiar in action and form like something from the real world. The connection between the physical and the digital is clear, making the UI intuitive and functional. Despite the physical world connection, and very much in contrast to the idea of skeuomorphism, Material Design is not constrained by the rules of the physical world.
“The fundamentals of light, surface, and movement are key to conveying how objects move, interact, and exist in space and in relation to each other. Realistic lighting shows seams, divides space, and indicates moving parts.”
Bold, graphic, intentional
We can see how Material Design represents that with which we interact on a daily basis, but at the same time, the world of the abstract and bold free to be included as part of the design palette as well. So what we end up with is a very deliberate and complete looking user experience that somehow is easy to use, but also very abstract all at the same time.
“The foundational elements of print-based design—typography, grids, space, scale, color, and use of imagery—guide visual treatments. These elements do far more than please the eye. They create hierarchy, meaning, and focus.”
Motion provides meaning
Okay, so everything up to this point is, as I have said too many times already, familiar in how you interact with the UI. What is very new however, is that motion has been invited into the family to be a first class citizen as well. Sure, there has been some motion in other mobile operating systems, but it has always been very limited. Not so in Google’s Matieral design where movement is critical to complete the loop of bringing the physical to the digital.
“Motion is meaningful and appropriate, serving to focus attention and maintain continuity. Feedback is subtle yet clear. Transitions are efﬁcient yet coherent.”
At the end of the day, I am very much onboard with these and all the other more recent changes to Android. So much so, I am thinking of selling my current Samsung Galaxy Note 2, with it’s nasty TouchWiz, and purchasing a Nexus 6. I am just so in love with stock Android at this point. I love how defined and certain and worked out Material Design is. Okay, enough swooning. I highly suggest you go and check it out yourself. It isn’t all about bright colors. Well done Google, well done.
What are your thoughts on Google’s Material Design?