Design is one of the most important things in a product’s success. In the current world where digital brands rule, it has never been more emphasized for designers to prioritize the user interaction with the designs rather than the physical product itself. Therefore, as great design thinkers, we all should come to know about the importance of Material Design just to keep up with what’s going on.
But first, where exactly do the User Interface (UI) design and the User Experience (UX) get mixed up? Well, for a great digital brand, these both are necessary and are quite useful. That is why, the interface is the brand.
History of Material Design
So, who has been doing these design rules? Well, this all started when Apple set some User Interface guidelines for iOS software. All they wanted is to standardize their products across the board for use with the numerous varying Apple hardware. Nowadays, Google is working on it. They have had a hard time standardizing UI design because of the variation of screen sizes of the devices that use Android. So, it is obvious that it will be a lot harder to make a standard design for all devices than making the same for iOS devices. Material Design’s importance popped up in designers’ minds back then.
In late 2015, Google came up with a guideline with a specific set of design rules called the Material Design Guideline. As Google’s literal words, these guidelines are meant to “create a visual language for our users that synthesizes the classic principles of good design with the innovation and possibility of technology and science”. Moreover, they do state that these are a system for uniting style, branding, interaction, and motion under a consistent set of principles.
What did Material Design Bring to the Table?
Now here comes the conflict. Some designers found Material Design amazing and dived right into it while others were having a hard time. The answer to the question – how important is material design, should solve all the misconceptions. Does it really solve the problem of different screen sizes? Does it help us to create wonderful UI and UX?
Let’s take Android for an example. The designers want Android designs to mimic the real world as much as possible. For instance, the buttons have a slight shadow under the 3D effect, just like when a piece of object is landed on a flat surface. This concept, however, is the exact opposite of iOS as they do not go for shadow.
It Gives us a Meaning
Movements in particular, are great ways to help users know about their required actions. Also, they can be useful when it comes to providing feedback to users. As an example, in an Android Device, when you tap and hold down an icon, a popup appears and shows you the available actions that can be performed.
Making everything communicative with the user is all Material design stands for.
A DESIGNER’S THOUGHT
In the past, mimicking the real world with the design was making objects that looked similar to real life objects. But as soon as they realized it takes a lot of computing power and time to make those happen, they quickly moved to building a clean UI. The cleaner the design is, the faster it renders. This also helps a designer to get help from the Material Design guidelines.
Take Youtube for an example. Doesn’t it look cleaner today than it looked five years ago? This way, it looks much faster, and the UI is perfect for us.
However, if the UI is the main weapon for UX, material design guidelines are very important to make it cleaner and real-world alike. This mostly deals with the screen size problem for Android devices. Also, it partially solves the problems of fragmentation in third-party softwares. Material Design is the ultimate solution to different screen sizes. As Google says, the importance of Material Design pays off in building unified experience across platforms and device sizes.
With all that being said, Material Design is very important, but not a solid grammar. It is also not rocket science that requires years of study. A set of guidelines that are usually used to create a great User Experience will always be appreciated by great designers. The adaptable system which it is, gives us some best practices for creating interfaces. Also, it is a connection point between designers and developers. Material Design is the path of creating great products and your brand within a short time and less effort.