A Look at the Material Design for Android

Android L with its Material Design renders consistently on any form factor that Android runs.

At the Google I/O 2014, Google introduced a new design language called the Material Design. The new approach standardizes how the graphic layout of Android will look, and is mean’t to make apps that are readable everywhere.

It’s a simpler, brighter, and clearer way of designing 3-dimensional looking objects with depth and weight. For example, rather displaying Google Now cards as 2D objects, they can now float over the home screen with complete realistic shadow and depth. Realistic lighting shows seams, divides space, and indicates moving parts.

According to the Google manifesto on Material Design, this approach is mean’t to satisfy the diverse spectrum of human needs that continue to evolve.

The new Material Design approach includes:

  1. Surfaces are Intuitive and Natural

The use of familiar tactile attributes on surfaces and edges help the brain to quickly understand affordances.

2. Dimensionality Affords Interaction

Realistic lighting shows seams, space divisions, and help indicate moving parts. This is all done use of light, surface, and movement to convey how objects interact.

3. One Adaptive Design

A single underlying design system organizations interactions and space so that each view is tailored to the size and interaction appropriate to that particular device. As a result, colors, iconography hierarchy, and spacial relationships remain constant.

4. Content is Bold, Graphic, and Intentional

In order to create immersion and clarity, deliberate color choices, large-scale typography, edge-to-edge imagery, and intentional white space are used. Bold design creates hierarchy, meaning, and focus.

5. Color, Surface, and Iconography Emphasize Actions

User action is the essence of experience design. Inflection points thus become the primary actions that transform the whole design. Emphasizing these points makes core functionality immediately apparent and provides waypoints for the user.

6. Users Initiate Change

Changes in the interface derive their energy from user actions. Motion cascades from touch reinforces the user as the prime mover.

7. Animation is Choreographed on a Shared Stage


Since all actions take place in a single environment, objects are presented to the user without breaking the continuity of experience. This takes place even as they transform and reorganize.

8. Motion Provides Meaning

Motion is meaningful and appropriate and serves to focus attention and maintain continuity. Feedback is subtle yet clear while transitions are efficient yet coherent.

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