Google Announces Universal Design Language for Desktops, Tablets and More

By Matt Paulson June 27, 2014

Google appears to be on the cusp of completely re-designing how their apps work across multiple apps with the announcement of a new universal design language, going by the name 'Material Design'. Material design is expected to be a part of the next generation of Google's Android mobile operating system, currently known simply as 'L.' The new design is engineered to focus on the user first and is meant to evoke the look and feel of ink and paper consistently across all platforms.

The framework, which was publicly released at, is aimed particularly at developers who build apps and other programs for Google's many platforms. The goal is that these apps all have a consistent look and feel to them, much like Apple's design strategies for Mac and iOS developers.

“We imagined... what if pixels didn't just have color, but also depth?” asked Matias Duarte upon announcing the design language. “What if there was a material that could change its texture? This lead us to something we call 'material design.'” Duarte is Googe's Director of Android OS User Experence.

Though the actual material the apps are displayed on are immutable computer screens, the visual language is meant to appear almost as if the textures are popping right out of the screen. The word Material is used as a metaphor in this circumstance, in the sense that the on-screen material features intuitive and natural surfaces that are meant to look as crisp and real as actual paper and ink might. Lighting effects and bold colors are used to show clear seams and divides between different parts of an app that not only divide space in a user-friendly manner but also make clear which parts of the app are capable of moving.

Speaking of movement, animation is another feature that Material Design focuses on. All movement (and indeed all imagery) is meant to be as deliberate as possible, and thus is synchronized to operate smoothly in a single environment while still conveying meaning.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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