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Is “Material Design” a good thing for Google?

Advent of this year has brought us some really exciting developments in to the tech industry. First WWDC 2014 unveiled some promising new developments such as the OSX 10.10 Yosemite and interesting new development features and advancements with forthcoming iOS 8, moreover 2014 seems to be a exciting year for wearable devices as well. Google’s I/O 2014 did not disappoint us either some key announcements which hint a pivotal change to the Google with wearables, cars and TVs etc.

Google has shifted towards synchronising its interface and making the overall user experience in to a well balanced eco-system. The google devices such as android TV, Android wear etc will be a very well synchronised system if everything turns in to fruition and we might be living in an android world, atleast if we let Google’s vision do the talking. 

Android L & Googles new “Material Design”:

Google’s new design approach is a profound change to its current User interface and experience. If we focus on the UI/UX, It is sort of mix between windows 8 and iOS7 with similar design approach yet with an added flavour of Google in it. Also google is now setting the stage for 64-bit devices with the anticipated release of Android L expected to hit the market by year end. This clearly means that Google paced up to compete toe-to-toe with the 64-bit market segment against Apple with much pounding from Apple.

“Apple changed the timing for everybody when they came out with the 64-bit iPhone,” said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, who is happy to see 64-bit finally reach Android.

During its I/O keynote, Google announced its new design vision that will debut with Android L alongside its other Android-related initiatives, including Android Wear, Android TV and Android Auto. Android L will be featuring in the upcoming android devices and other web products which will signify a cohesive user experience across all platforms/products.

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The New Look

The above picture highlights how the contact info screen will look like in the new Android L. It is pretty safe to say that this is a huge change from Google’s so called “Holo UI”. The design is not just focused on simplicity but also making sure to keep things interesting and not to make the experience drab. That is one of the reasons why we guess the UI/UX is so focused on smooth transitional animations and flows.

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So why is it called Material design, you’re asking? As we saw Mattias Duarte explain today, this new playbook is all about three-dimensionality: Thinking of pixels not just as 2D spots of color, but as 3D cubes with depth and weight.

Material design is a breakthrough in at-least to a philosophical point as it shows in the behaviour of its User interface. It is sort of a next step in the realm of minimal user interfaces where it advances the ideology of skeumorphism and rather mimicing the look it is based upon creating a behavior where every piece/element of the UI and actual weight as if it was an actual object and the same goes for shadows and animations.

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 Web & Beyond

Flat design was all about getting rid of extra visual crap that cluttered up our screens. Which was great. But it also got rid of some very important details that make screens easier to read and interact with; shadows, for example.

“The fundamentals of light, surface, and movement are key to conveying how objects interact,” Google’s team explains in a manifesto of sorts available here as a PDF. “Realistic lighting shows seams, divides space, and indicates moving parts.”

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Conclusion:

Google’s new philosophy might change the entire order of how we interact with the digital environment and also the cohesive user experience will add  to that. A unified experience seems like it might create a Google world with a well synced ecosystem of apps & devices.

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Check out the following link for more info and designer resources:

https://www.google.com/design/spec/material-design/introduction.html

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