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Everything you should know about material design

Material Design has been well-established in the digital world of design for quite some time now. Originally, Google launched it in 2014. Since then, the implementation has been with ups and downs. In this article, I would like to highlight why we believe in Material Design and why you should too. 

How Material Design is meant to be

Material Design has been the answer to many years of frustration from app and website users. In the early years of the internet, there were many websites where it seemed that web designers wanted to make it difficult how a visitor could contact them. Many visitors felt like Alice in Wonderland while looking for specific services. Matias Duarte of Google created the Material Design guidelines as a help for Web developers/web designers who can’t or won’t put too much time into the design. With the help of the guidelines, they were now able to quickly make a website with great design. However, Material had to be a basis on which to build, not the final product.

The name Material Design is derived from what the intended result is. As in the early internet years, the goal was to make the computer and phone experience much like real, encapsulating the aspects of real materials. The elements in Material Design were therefore supposed to feel and react like real paper or real cards. This was quite a significant insight for the design world.

However, Google’s Material Design did undergo a change. In 2018, the next stage was released. This next stage was deliberately not called Material Design 2, the reason for the change was that many developers and companies could not fit their brands into it as many of the apps were looking very similar to each other. However, the goal of Material Design was not for everything to look the same but mainly to work the same.

In October 2021 Google released another version of Material Design. Material Design 3 (or Material You). This latest iteration marked a new approach to app design. In this, the focus was on dynamically personalizing the app experience to each user’s tastes. Google’s ambition with Materiel You is  to  “Create designs that are personal for every style, accessible for every need, alive and adaptive for every screen.” With this new version, Google also makes it easier for designers to build responsive and accessible apps. Giving designers more control over contrast, size, and spacing. 

How to recognise Material Design

Material Design is composed of several layers. By default, you have a menu bar at the top that is always visible at the top and you can use the hamburger menu to slide in the entire menu. A certain 3d effect has been created by putting down a realistic shadow that also changes when you interact with it. 

Another characteristic of Material Design is the floating round action button, which hovers over the app/website, so to speak. This action button quickly gives users the option to perform the most important action from that spot in the app/website, such as composing an e-mail or calling a phone number for contact.

Why Material Designs increases conversion

The human brain works at its best when it can continuously recognize models, this ensures that the least energy is used. So there is room to learn new things. When you first start driving you have to think very consciously about who has the right of way, and over time everything becomes more and more automatic until you don’t have to think about it anymore. When these traffic rules are constantly changing, it becomes incredibly stressful.

We are constantly creating models of the world and predicting what these models look like. When you have a digital world with no rules, where everything reacts in new ways and there are virtually no models, it’s very stressful.  “And you don’t want that if you just want to get something done, like Android,” Duarte said.

On the web, there are many well-known conventions. These are written and unwritten rules that you enforce so that when a user visits a site he or she knows what to expect. 

Examples conventions:

– The Logo in your menu is a URL to home

– There is a direct link from any webpage on your website to the contact page

– if you hover over a button you get an indication

– You rarely write text from the left of the page to the right but max 2/3 (with exceptions)

How can you test whether Conversion has increased?

In Buttonizer, you can attach a separate tag to each button in Google analytics, making it easy to test which button performs the best. So you can design each button differently and see which button gets the most clicks.

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