Why Should I use Material Design in Android?

Material design is very important for visual aesthetics of an application. It allows Android developers customization with stylized UI widgets, layouts and colors, and applicable themes or APIs for custom shadows and animations. The foundation categories are environment, layout, navigation, color, typography, iconography, shape, motion, interaction, and communication.

Photo by Stephen Frank on Unsplash

Looking at an Android application, you can spot common features between several apps, but there lots of things you may notice that are different as well. After all, those differences are what sets one app apart from the other. We are all familiar with App Bars and Navigation Drawers, which afford a neatly organized, compact feel and saves space for your most important information to be displayed. These are two components among many options in material design.

App Bars are at the top of the screen providing icons for quick reference like Search and Files. The three dots in the top right corner are called an Ellipsis. When used in writing, they are placed horizontally “…” and provides an intentional omission of a word. The three dots are also called an Asterism (***, ⁂, or three dots) and it represents a section break in a document. This “omission” of controls is opened by pressing the three dots and aids in keeping the design of the app compact, but separate from the menu items. It is commonly known as the “More Options” icon.

App Bar with hamburger icon Menu button in top left corner and three-dot More Options icon in top right corner.

The Navigation Drawer holds your Menu functions for the application and is opened by pressing the three-lined horizontal button in the top left corner more commonly referred to as the Hamburger Menu icon (because the three lines looks like a hamburger… you have to use your imagination a bit!).

Material design also streamlines the familiarity that users love but has a plethora of options for customization with different views, like lists and cards, or custom typography. These options allow designers the freedom to create custom animations for touch feedback in UI controls, changes in view state, and activity transitions (Google Developers, 2018). Since space is limited on our digital screens, material design also provides system icons that are used in place of text to symbolize common actions reduced to its simplest form to express specific characteristics.

When you need to change the look and feel of your application, Android Developers (http://developer.android.com) provides Material Design guidelines and resources to help guide the design process and also provides tutorials for the radically ambitious to create their own material design!


Defining Custom Animations. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.androiddocs.com/training/material/animations.html

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