“Failing to keep up with trends in web design could potentially liquidate a business’ user base,” says Ryan Iusi, Front End Developer with motum b2b.

Long gone are the days when businesses could toss together a quick webpage with basic contact info and an email form. Now, your website needs to be functional, versatile, and visually stimulating.

“No longer are we thinking about the Internet in terms of old-fashioned static print design, we’re now thinking in terms of action, transitions and depth,” Iusi explains.   

The new movement in web design is called “material design” and you can bet your website development budget you’ll be seeing more of it in the next couple of years.

We sat down with Iusi to talk material design: what it is, why it’s better and what it means for users.

Is material design the next great thing in web design?

I would like to think so. I think it’s a natural step from flat design. To take a step back, flat design was the successor to something called skeuomorphism. That was a design principal that was based on the idea that things should resemble their real world counterparts. For instance, you would have a calendar that looked like it was bound in leather. Flat design was the next step.  Flat design decided that we didn’t need this flashy realism, that what we need is functionality and usability. It stripped away all of the flashy things in order to create very bold and concise objects and elements that could be very easily distinguished from other elements. Flat design moved towards responsive design in a good way. Skeuomorphism, because it tried to base itself in reality, wasn’t really good at being translatable across multiple resolutions. Flat design, because it was very minimalist, was easily translatable and scalable. So that’s why flat design is wildly used right now.

Ok, so we had skeuomorphism, now we mostly have flat. What’s material design bringing?

It’s a marriage of old and new design principles, but at the forefront is the user experience. Material design accomplishes a more tactile and intuitive approach to user navigation, which in turn is more engaging and memorable. It takes the principals of flat design, such as being able to scale itself across multiple devices and browsers, as well as the design principal of bold colours and bold textures, while taking other elements from skeuomorphism, specifically the Z-axis. The Z-axis is where you get depth. Basically, it’s adding the realism factor back into flat design but it isn’t taking it to the extreme where you are going to see a leather-bound header, but you might see that the header is slightly raised above the content below it.

How pervasive do you think material design will be in the next year or two?

It will be really important to Android users. Material design is essentially Google’s name-design philosophy right now and for the foreseeable future. So you’ll see material design on Android devices, on Google driven websites. It’s all done on material design and anything that’s done under the umbrella of Google will probably start folding in material design into its future user interface.  So right now, people with Android phones that update their OS will be witnessing and interacting with material design.

At the end of the day, why is material design good for users?

Material design accomplishes a more tactile and intuitive approach to user navigation, which in turn is more engaging and memorable. It’s no wonder why when a design works on the Web, it gets repeated over and over again. That’s because users demand consistent and easy-to-follow experiences. Material design is an attempt to make the Internet a more comfortable and consistent place.

You can learn more about material design here and here.

Categories: Blog

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