Google Developers Blog Offering Improved Material Design Guidelines

November 4, 2014 - Written By David Steele

The Google Developers Blog has been updated with several new sections and features associated with Android 5.0 Lollipop, including space devoted to product icons, errors, navigational transitions, scrolling techniques and swipe-to-refresh. This follows an update a couple of weeks ago; it’s good to see the site kept fresh. They’ve also updated and added several components including pickers, dialogue boxes and menus. This is useful information for application developers as it provides information necessary for bringing apps into line with Google’s Material Design interface, which until now has been in a preview since it’s release at the summer Google I/O. Two new pages at the source are “What is Material?” and “What’s new,” which are designed to five deeper into the mechanics of the material design mechanics, including looking at material properties and how objects are manipulated in 3D space. Google writes that the “What’s new” area is a highly requested section and has been provided to adore application designers to quickly and easily keep up with the latest developments, the evolution of material design in Google’s terms.
Google’s guidance on application launcher icons and drawers is welcome as it clarifies previously unwritten advice. For icons, Google provide guidance on the lighting, layering and folding of the icon material, which is close to paper. There’s also information provided about color choice and a revised set of application grids. As we’ve recently covered, getting your icon right is an important part of application design: users want something that looks pretty to tap on. All up, the recent post from Google represents the most guidance that has ever been given to developers and designers since Android was first introduced.
It’s easy to understand why: there are many cosmetic changes in Android 5.0 Lollipop compared with previous versions and an important part of the ecosystem is that third party applications look like they belong, it’s also important to write that the changes are more than skin deep. Google’s redesign of Android will bring applications much closer to the operating system (and so the user) than ever before. Lollipop is designed so that moving through the device and installed applications is as seamless as possible: we don’t want the user to see that he or she is moving away from an application designed by Google and therefore assumed to be integrated into the operating system, to an obvious third party application (such as Twitter, as an example). This means that the applications should conform to Google’s guidelines so that they fit. I can see some developers not enjoying this new approach, citing that it’s hard to make their product stand out when it doesn’t look unique. It’s going to be an interesting year in the application arena.