Every day, we’re leading more and more connected lives, wading around in an ever-deepening data stream that some of us take to readily, while others struggle to keep their heads above the rising tide. But we’re a smart species and we adapt well to change on the evolutionary scale. And while geologic time may be slow, internet time is exactly the opposite — yet we still adapt. Things like email, which just a few years ago was a chore more commonly relegated to the computer desktop, have transitioned into our other devices, so much so that now the majority of users interact with email on their phone or tablet instead. Just as the methods and technologies used to keep us all connected and informed change regularly, so too change the concepts and ideas behind how that data is presented to us.
Getting the feel for it
One of the leading trends in web design and interface development today is the Material Design concept. Its main goal is to keep the principles of good visual design firmly entrenched in how we think about and deal with technology. And it’s so much more than just strong edges, bold colors, and large print. Material Design also gives a better spatial relationship to the data presented, and does so in a way that’s meant to make sense with how you interact with your devices – a way that just “works” right and more importantly “feels” correct, which is no small feat. So if your tablet or phone is running Android Lollipop, it fully utilizes the Material Design concept with its layout and presentation.
What’s old is new again
In the early days of the graphical “World Wide Web”, the browser you used was treated far more like a program such as Word or Excel than it is today. And back then, buttons and dropshadows were all the rage, and found their way onto many a webpage. In the early aughts, the use of these reached epic proportions, causing designers to rail against them and start looking for new, better ways to enhance the user experience within the web browser. Design ideas have come and gone since then (Flash, anyone?), and for a while it was all about multi column sites, then hero images got everyone talking, and of course we can’t forget about parallax scrolling which is still popular. Leap forward to today, and touches of yesterday are still present in Material Design, which uses shadow and light with flat images to create a sense of depth and importance to the information presented. And as it grows in popularity, you’re going to see more and more of it, not just in the apps you use but on the sites you visit as well.