Since its introduction in 2014, material design has been the official design language of Google. It's designed to benefit the user and provide consistency and continuity across Google's many products and Android app interfaces. From Android Developers to Full Stack Web Developers and beyond, anyone working in software or mobile app design should at least be familiar with Google user interface guidelines.
The goal of providing the guidelines for developers is to create a unified experience for users whether they're on a desktop, laptop, or a mobile device. The impetus in creating them was a shift toward Google becoming more mobile-centric, affecting the way designers code and change the user interface. Three main principles form the background of Google design guidelines, each of which are discussed briefly below.
Principle 1: Material Is the Metaphor
While material design itself uses the metaphor of a flat sheet of paper as its guide, there's nothing flat about it. Google chooses paper because it's thin and flat, but it can also be shaped into a three-dimensional design. It's a step toward realism. This first principle is all about grounding by connecting it with touch and sense. Unlike actual paper, material design can be moved, rearranged and split as needed to create a realistic user experience.
Principle 2: Bold, Graphic, Intentional
The second principle behind material design is all about enhancing the user experience. Designers should use design elements like color, typography, space, and scale to create meaning and focus. Color choice, imagery and white space all combine for Google products that deliver an optimal user experience.
Principle 3: Motion Provides Meaning
Animation doesn't disrupt the user experience. Instead, it enhances the design and puts a fine point on the notion that the user is the one in control. Actions of the primary user are the impetus of initiating motion and transforming the design as motion cascades, and visual feedback makes the user feel more connected. This third principle is key to making the user experience more immersive.
Google's material design gives you clear guidelines for developing apps – both mobile and on the Web. It also provides integrated tools that make animation simpler. If you're just starting out in Web design or creating mobile apps, playing around with Google's material design can give you a feel for things. But it's also helpful to take a free course or consider a Udacity Nanodegree program to sharpen your skills, gain career-ready projects for your portfolio, and take your career to the next level.