Material Design is a visual language developed by Google, which was introduced a few years ago. It defines the way in which apps should look and behave. Google have tried to outline a simple, modern and unified solution for their product design. Compare this to Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines which is a lot more open and allows each application to have more of its own personality. Both approaches have their advantages.
At Glisser we’re currently working on a greatly improved front and backend redesign of the platform in the background, with some of the exciting new features also filtering through into the current platform. From a frontend design point of view, it’s a great opportunity to address any of the feedback we’ve had so far about the existing platform.
We’ve decided to follow Material Design for three main reasons:
Some of the most interesting feedback we received was that whilst the platform works well, it’s not always clear how to use everything on it. The learning curve to using the platform had sometimes got in the way of using it to its full potential. This meant that the redesign had to feel more intuitive, natural, and easy to pick up.
Without even realising perhaps, you will almost certainly have used Material Design and be instinctively familiar with it. Do you use YouTube, Google Search, Google Drive, or even the Android operating system? If so you’ll immediately feel at home on our new platform. For a presenter it’s important, but for an audience member it’s vital, we’ve got a matter of seconds to convince them before they put their phone away and give up. So rather than develop our own, unique visual language it made sense to make the Glisser web-app feel like any other app on your device.
Quicker to Implement
We’re a small team, but we pride ourselves on how quick we are to respond and react. When we bring out a new feature it needs to be defined and agreed, designed, written up, developed, tested, and launched. To have a defined design framework to rely on means we can concentrate on how it will work, and how it looks tends to just slot into place based on existing reusable objects.
User testing can also be a long process, but having tested the components already in other features means we can focus just on what’s new. What this means for you is quicker, more frequent releases of the Glisser platform.
Although not exclusive to Material Design, implementing reusable elements means that the system doesn’t have to load new content layouts and components for every screen or view. Whatever we can reuse, we do, which means that we can cut page load times without compromising on design – if anything the overall consistency aids the design.
This means a quicker, leaner platform for both audience members and presenters.
Whist we do embrace Google’s Material Design, it’s important to remember that they are only guidelines to aid continuity. There are some complex problems that will need you to break the rules, and that’s ok.