The keynote at Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) I/O developers conference introduced the concept of Material Design, a design language for Android devices that has actually been in the works for years, according to TechCrunch. The comprehensive design for the user interface shows up across the entire family of Android devices, and represents a departure from the interface’s past conventions, plus Google’s answer to design trends popularized by devices by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington spoke with Jon Wiley, Google’s principal designer for search and maps. Wiley said that the Material Design concept represents a new, comprehensive way of thinking about how users interact with a variety of high-resolution, touchscreen devices, with a wide array of different screen sizes. “They have all the expectations that they have with beautiful, functional, useful design in the physical world that we’ve had for a very long time, they’re bringing those expectations to the software that they’re interacting with because of the nature of the medium.”
Wiley describes the process of designing the interface to mimic the real-world counterparts to the various parts and functions of the interface. The interface plays by the basic rules of physics that users expect, based upon their experiences in the real world, and then figures out where to diverge from them in order to create an interface that users will learn how to interact with and recognize across devices. “What’s nice about software is that it doesn’t have to be completely constrained by real-world physics, but you do want to set up an environment where it’s internally consistent.”