Material Design: The Shifting Landscape of Webpage Design

by / Wednesday, 06 April 2016 / Published in Tech, Web Presence, Web Site

The way we design web pages is under a drastic overhaul.  Like many of the major changes that occur within the tech world, Google is at the forefront of this change.

They have come up with a new visual language, a set of guidelines that govern the way we should develop websites.  The design specification has Material Design imitating the look of paper.  Meaning everything in Google’s design language is three-dimensional.  Components of the web page are broken up into different “cards” with the way that they lay on top of the background.  It’s easier to show you this than tell you though.  Here’s an image from Google’s design documents. 

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 3.00.21 PM

 See how the card looks like it’s floating above the page?  That’s one of the main tenants of Material design.  Every element of the page has a physical representation, the width of a piece of paper and they are all layered on top of one another.

Google isn’t just doing this for the benefit of the web though.  This is a brilliant marketing strategy as well.  They are essentially attempting to make the user interface of both the web and the android marketplace a part of their brand.  The material design standards are gorgeous, easy to use, and instantly recognizable as such.  This puts Google in a place to compete with Apple in the minds of consumers as the go to place for User Interfaces that “just work.”   Some may rally against the idea of a design template for the entire web, saying that it stifles creativity; it restricts design unnecessarily, etc.  I argue that this template is not a mandatory design template, but that for those without the skills

As you know, I’ve been extolling the virtues of good web design for manufacturers here for years, Material Design gives everyone a template, a starting place for all designers to start and have a good looking site from the get-go.

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