When we first started using handheld devices, it meant small screen size, few functions and sluggish connections. A mobile phone was more of a basic utility that didn’t pay much attention to the user experience. But over the years, mobile devices have become faster and more responsive with advanced computing capability, doing much more than simple calling or texting. They have penetrated more into the human lifestyle and if anything this trend will only continue to accelerate. This calls for thought into a visual language providing consistent user experience and giving birth to a new concept: Material Design.
After the announcement of Apple’s flat design in iOS 7 last year and as mentioned in my iOS 7: The flat new world article, now it’s time for Google to make a statement in the design world. At the annual Google I/O conference held in June 2014, they presented their Material Design concept. Design is continuously evolving and Material Design is the new design language that allows for a unified experience across different screen sizes and platforms.
Material Design is expected to introduce a consistent look-and-feel across different devices ranging from laptops, tablets, smartphones, watches, and beyond. It’s flat, chic and modern. It exists to cater to the large audience so everybody can understand and connect to things faster. It boasts a cleaner design and relies on shadows and responsive surfaces, bold colors, clear margins, adaptive grids, well-distinguished depths and thoughtful details. Google tries to depict paper and its properties as the unifying guidelines because people have a long history of using paper and its surface, as they are physical and present in the real world. It allows the user’s mind to work less.
Material design will be used in Android L, the newest version of the Android OS, expected to be out by the end of 2014. Material design will also be seen in Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, and will be gradually extended over all the Google products providing a unified experience across applications and devices. The amount of thinking that has gone into this new design principle is quite impressive. It is an attempt to connect the digital world with the physical one.
I would love to try the new Material Design. I switched to Windows phone last year and it seems I’ll change my phone again soon.
Sources: Google Inc.