Responsive design is the standard approach for cross-platform development. But, that philosophy only addresses dimensional layout properties. Google wants to standardize the actual interaction properties for its Android-based experiences.
Google unveiled a cross-platform design language at the Google I/O 2014 conference this week. They call it “Material Design”. It is an attempt to bring structure, rationale, consistency and a universal look and feel to user experiences on all devices including mobile, desktop and Google Glass.
“We imagined… what if pixels didn’t just have color, but also depth? What if there was a material that could change its texture? This lead us to something we call ‘material design,” says Matias Durate, Director of Android operating system User Experience at Google. “Unlike real paper, our digital material can expand and reform intelligently. Material has physical surfaces and edges. Seams and shadows provide meaning about what you can touch.”
Apple already has their own guidelines for iOS development, and now Google is proposing that Material Design become the go-to standard for creating seamless and thoughtful user interactions on Android platforms including Chrome. Material Design features new animation capabilities, has built-in realtime UI shadows, and “hero” elements that can be passed from screen-to-screen.
The newly available Material Design PDF is a great primer on the types of things all interactive designers should be considering when creating user experiences. Visual cues, dimension, and “movement with a purpose” are all hallmarks of great interactive design.
What do you think of Google’s Material Design approach?