Google’s Material Design has unified Android and Web Apps in a way that
Apple has failed to do.
But, is Material Design a system, a framework, or a design philosophy?
None of the above.
Back in 2012, Patrick Gibson said, “Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services.”
At the time Android’s Jelly Bean had barely gone to market, Nexus 7 was the flagship device for the new operating system, Game Center still featured that horrendous green wallpaper, and MobileMe still existed.
System, Framework, Philosophy
At the time, Gibson’s post was a warning message to Apple: your elegant UI soon will not sustain your failed attempts at web services.
Google’s Material Design initiative practically made Gibson’s statement come true. Google succeeded in creating a consistent design language for the branding of Android and Web Apps.
Simple Is Better
Material Design is based on simplicity.
Unlike other design languages, like Microsoft Metro, it gives physical traits to digital elements, such as shadows, movement, positions in 3 planes, etc. All this is combined with animations to make these elements come alive.
We can find examples of Material Design, from Google+, to YouTube, Android (Lollipop+), and Google Apps for iOS.
Material Design for Developers
During the 2015 Google I/O, the Android Design Library was launched. It makes it easy for developers to implement UIs with Material Design. You can even implement some elements by placing properties in your XML layouts and have them running within minutes.
I encourage you to learn more about Material Design in this talk by Matias Duarte.
Another very important resource is the Material Design Guideline. There you’ll find concrete examples of layouts, tables, dialogs, interactions, etc. You can also find some DOs and DON’Ts when implementing the spec in your applications.
By the Numbers
A year after the introduction of Material Design, more than 20, use support libraries (including the new design library) and give your applications a new life.
Your users will appreciate it.