Is Android’s Material Design a Game Changer?

colorA shift in UX trends for Android can lead to big changes in IOS design standards, and vice versa. In 2015, Google is setting the pace with their all-in approach towards Material Design.

This design language, developed by Google, offers an intuitive layout inspired by pen and paper and ‘real world’ stacked documents. Material design is one more major step in the trend of maximizing space. Its end function is more efficient mobile browsing. If you’re an android app user, you’ve already experienced material design. If you have Android 5.0 or greater, your interface is built entirely from material design standards.

Google searching may even soon utilize a new material design interface.

Material design has fans beyond the Android faithful. Indeed, its ‘flat design’ principles are largely inspired by those developed by an organization not typically associated with elegant designMicrosoft. Unfortunately for Microsoft, Google is refining and capitalizing on these design standards with far more impact. (I’ll refrain from asking Microsoft how it feels to be on the other side of that exchange…)

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And what, exactly, is material design? Google breaks it down best. But the general idea behind material design is that it offers a sleak, flat surface with useful depth effects. It all amounts to an extremely efficient means of visually organizing information. Cards of distinct data are stacked and organized appropriately, with visual cues like shading and color balance that remain consistent with all apps built with material design. Once you quickly learn to navigate one material design, you’ve effectively mastered them all.

Material design built apps are fast, efficient, and easy to build or customize–even the graphic elements are highly malleable and mostly ‘idiot-proof’.

Perhaps such a standardized offering is a game changer for Android?

Google is certainly banking on it. This is going to be interesting to watch.

 

How do you like your Burger (menu)?

As a participant in the web space, you have a front row seat to the most heated debates in UI design.

Here’s just one example:

Ever paid attention to that hamburger menu? You know, that little square in the corner of a website? The clickable thing with the three vertical lines (like a burger in between two halves of a bun)? That thing you click to open navigation options?

This thing on the right (minus the cheese):lead_large

You may know this as ‘the hamburger menu’. If not, well… this is the hamburger menu. You’ve clicked on these UI tools a million times in the past couple years. They’re everywhere now, usually on the top left corner of a mobile optimized site.

The reason this tool has become so prevelant is simple: they free up site space. They allow site designers to focus on crisp, active imagery. The theory is that most people prefer to read as little as possible (particularly when they first visit a new site). They browse faster than ever and you’re more likely to hold attention with imagery that entices them to then take a deeper dive, ‘bite into the burger’, basically.

This tool helps pave the way for sites to utilize modern, image-driven UX standards.

Of course, this doesn’t prevent folks from hating them. The gist of the debate is that they hide too much content. Would you prefer to have those embedded options more freely available, even if the clutter up the site’s front page? Haven’t any number of sites proved that options can still be integrated into the main page while remaining aesthetically pleasing?

What say you:

Do you have a horse in this race?

How do you like your burger?

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Optimization: Lost in Translation

Let me know if you’ve ever experienced this:

You just visited a site you knew well. But this time, you visited the site on your tablet or smart phone. Instead of finding what you were looking for instantly, you struggle to navigate through the site effectively.  In fact, this non-intuitive mobile layout might make certain functionalities almost impossible to find.

Sound familiar?

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It’s a common problem. We’ve all experienced this. A mobile layout can hide content in dropdown menus, etc. An off-the-rack CMS might provide built-in site optimization, but that doesn’t mean that the content a site’s visitors are most interested in will be organized efficiently. Obviously, this can be a serious problem.

You may have heard this statistic before: as of 2014, sites are now accessed on mobile and tablet devices more than traditional computers. If the site feature being sought isn’t easily accessible in the mobile-optimized site, there’s a good chance you’ll seek the better optimized service offered by the competition.

What about you?

Has a poorly optimized site ever encouraged you to go with a competing service? Share your experience(s) in the comments below!