Material Design is the latest design language that has been developed by Google for all platforms. There is a fairly good chance that you have already encountered material design if you are using any of Google’s services. So, what’s the purpose of the design? For starters, the design primarily aims at unifying the user experience across varying platforms. Material design should not be confused with flat design. The primary difference is that material design takes into account the z-axis and uses layers.
Let’s get into what benefits Material Design has to offer:
When you design an interface using Material Design, minimal input process is required. This allows you to deliver an efficient output. One added advantage of using Material Design when designing your web apps is the familiarity it brings along with it. Since most people already use Google services and apps on a daily basis, they will be familiar with the user experience.
Documented set of rules
Material Design has a pre-defined set of rules regarding the styles and principles. This gives the designer the luxury of not worrying about the concept details. The outline for Material Design was developed in a way that allows anyone to easily comprehend and outline the design with out a steep learning curve. The concept makes the basic assumption that every thing is a special type of paper (Google calls this quantum paper) that is capable of taking different shapes and forms depending on the application used. The design does a good job of providing consistency on different screens and viewport sizes.
Web apps designed using Material Design respond to frequent actions like mouse and touch (if it’s a touch screen device). The response tells the user that they are interacting with a virtual object and prompts them with appropriate course of action.
Borrows from skeuomorphic and flat design
As sated earlier in the article, the biggest difference between Flat Design (latest design language of Microsoft) and Material Design is that Flat Design does not try and emulate the real world look and feel while Skeuomorphic Design (see design language of Apple prior to iOS 7) tries to emulate all the real world aspects. Material Design, on the other hand, does not try to emulate real world objects. Material Design gives the designer the flexibility of designing the digital elements into whatever the designer wishes to make them into. The reality is of no concern whatsoever. If you don’t find the approach very useful, then Material Design solves the problem by borrowing some elements from the Skeuomorphic Design approach, which you can incorporate in your final design.
Material Design is the latest and greatest design standard to come out of Google. Not only does it give you an opportunity to make your existing web apps and mobile applications beautiful and elegant but it also provides you with a unifying design strategy that spawns cross platforms.