Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 10th May 2018 22:37 UTC
Google

Duarte, along with seven other designers at Google, was speaking to about a dozen reporters about what's next for Material Design, Google's system for creating software design. Maybe it's the (lapsed) Lutheran in me, but calling the original Material Design a "gospel" struck a chord. It was religiously adhered to by the Android faithful ever since it launched. Apps that followed Material Design were holy; apps that didn't were anathema. I can't count the number of times I saw an app get dismissed by the Android community because it wasn't updated for Material Design.

And to extend the metaphor (yes, please grant me an indulgence on this), it was also a very restrictive doctrine. The tools it offered helped make many Android apps feel consistent, but it also stripped away too much differentiation between them. They all ended up feeling the same. More importantly, many app makers didn't want to give up their brand to Material Design. It made too many apps look and feel identical.

Simply put, people were being too dogmatic about how Material Design apps should look.

I have a long posting history at OSNews talking about how I value consistency in GUI design, because the more consistent my UI, the less I have to think about using said UI. To me, the strictness of Material Design is a feature, not a bug - and seeing its designers consider it the other way around has me shaking my head. I don't give a rat's butt about "brands" and "differentiation" - I just want to use my damn software with as little effort as possible.

Less auteur app design, more standard controls and views.

I've been using an iPhone X since it came out, and the utter lack of consistency between iOS applications remains a stumbling block to me to this day. It'd be a shame if Material Design went down the same dark path.

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Hear, hear!
by woegjiub on Thu 10th May 2018 23:07 UTC
woegjiub
Member since:
2008-11-25

Fuck your brand, give me something simple and tidy that does the job.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hear, hear!
by coherence on Thu 10th May 2018 23:09 UTC in reply to "Hear, hear!"
coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

Unfortunately what you are presenting is a false dichotomy.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by coherence
by coherence on Thu 10th May 2018 23:08 UTC
coherence
Member since:
2018-02-04

I don't think you really got what they are saying.

Patterns in UI design is generally more important than the apps looking consistent. Also generally it is better if a website / web app / mobile app work consistently withing themselves. Discord on iOS doesn't work like other iOS apps. However it is still consistent withing itself and I can navigate around it pretty easily (yes I use Discord for work btw).

Almost all modern UI frameworks work around atomic web design principles, which are meant to be extended.

http://bradfrost.com/blog/post/atomic-web-design/

To be honest Thom, the only way to know whether it is a problem is to do proper user testing and usage metrics.

Edited 2018-05-10 23:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by coherence
by Verenkeitin on Fri 11th May 2018 18:38 UTC in reply to "Comment by coherence"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01

Patterns in UI design is generally more important than the apps looking consistent. Also generally it is better if a website / web app / mobile app work consistently withing themselves. Discord on iOS doesn't work like other iOS apps. However it is still consistent withing itself and I can navigate around it pretty easily (yes I use Discord for work btw).


This. The order of importance of consistency goes something like this:

1. Consistency inside an application.
2. Consistency between applications belonging to same suite.
3. Consistency between applications on the same platform.

Adhering to material/modern/metro/fluent/whatever guidelines is the least important kind of consistency.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by coherence
by coherence on Sat 12th May 2018 10:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by coherence"
coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

I agree.

Edited 2018-05-12 10:46 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Material design:making life hard
by Wondercool on Fri 11th May 2018 00:12 UTC
Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

I really hope Material design vanishes sooner rather than later

I NEVER know if something is interactive. I keep on pressing bits of the screen as there is no indication.

My 70+ year old mother has given up, she wants her ipad back

Reply Score: 3

cosmotic Member since:
2010-01-31

I totally agree.

I'm a huge proponent for consistency but Material Design just strikes out as a good pattern to replicate. All caps all over, undefined interactive/non-interactive elements (like you mention), confusing and mismatching physical metaphors, terrible affordances, haphazard (and often poor) detrimental animation, the list goes on and on.

The focus on visual appeal and whiz-bang wow-factor took way too much from the usability.

The implementations were also all over the place; every google app did things just slightly differently and it was exceedingly frustrating that things were not consistent. They looked consistent on the surface but it was a total mess otherwise.

Both Microsoft and Apple had this almost totally put to bed in the mid nineties. I don't know what happened.

Reply Score: 0

coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

All caps all over, undefined interactive/non-interactive elements (like you mention), confusing and mismatching physical metaphors, terrible affordances, haphazard (and often poor) detrimental animation, the list goes on and on.


What are you on about?

https://material.io/develop/web/

Material is pretty bare bones, and almost every framework I've used with it (e.g. Angular Material) you can turn anything flash like animations off. You can theme it (it is just CSS). You are supposed to add to it.

The main problem I have with Material is that it is bland out of the box. Then again it really is supposed to be.

Yes the default button style is a bit off, but other than that it is fine.

Edited 2018-05-11 04:02 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Fri 11th May 2018 00:54 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

Yeah I think people forget what old Android apps looked like... completely random

Reply Score: 2

Agree
by romma on Fri 11th May 2018 11:42 UTC
romma
Member since:
2016-09-22

I do agree, the consistent look merely expresses the fact that the UI is a set of controls, such as popup menu and text entry box, and these controls work the same for most purposes.

I love using 3d modelling software, where there is a large set of special tools, and again, you can devise these to do what they need to do, without having to change all the other stuff which should basically be the same for any app.

And I never liked themes and skins, because the theme rarely truly expresses the underlying design, which is why cross-platform kits often look wrong. Like someone wearing the wrong size dress or suit.

As for bad UIs which are just visually non-functional -- is that a button? is there something hidden in a non obvious region I am meant to scroll to? if I right click on this blank area, does it do anything? -- I kinda blame that on the web, where we all got used to pages of text which became multimedia which became apps and brought upon us the whole UI mess.

Apple have done some shockingly bad things in iOS. Like the buttons for setting music to repeat, being hidden in an area at the bottom of the card, a card which gives no hint that you can scroll down to see more controls. It was months before I found it. I only found it as I had to go looking for it, because I knew the buttons used to exist.

And the bad design just spreads. I cannot believe how bad the shiny new YouTube app is on the AppleTV. I mean, it is really really terrible. If it was about branding, well their brand has been made to look stinky by bad interface.

The stupid thing doesn't even remember your position in a video properly. Never mind the bar with "icons" which you can never select because it turns into a slide out panel and all that.

People who think that is fine have had their sense or order ruined by all these years on the web.

Reply Score: 1

Looks doesn't matter, behaviour matters
by leos on Fri 11th May 2018 16:30 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

I never understood why people care so much about the look of the app. Looks don't matter as long as they aren't confusing, it's the behaviour that is critical. Does it confuse me if one button has rounded edges and the other does not? Nope. Does it slow me down if one app does a flat simple design and another uses a more detailed one? Not in the slightest.

However it does matter hugely if the interactions are not the same. On the desktop it mostly mattered that keyboard shortcuts were the same across apps and on mobile it matters that shortcuts and common tasks were in similar places. It matters that the scroll behaviour is the same, it matters that when I swipe from the left edge it goes back a screen.

The visual style doesn't matter in the slightest, and I completely agree that some apps do well to customize it and there is zero advantage to forcing them into Google's vision of good design (which in my opinion is not good design to start with).

Reply Score: 0

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

On the desktop it mostly mattered that keyboard shortcuts were the same across apps

There's much more to consistency of desktops than keyboard shortucts... Perhaps you hardly realise this because most GUIs are descendants of the Xerox desktop.

Reply Score: 2

Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

You don’t give a rat’s ass because you don’t make a livIng off of your brand. And if people don’t know your brand and you DO make a living off of it, then people don’t care about YOUR brand and YOUR product and people just start using whatever came last because there isn’t enough difference for anyone to care. And when nobody cares there isn’t a reason to care. And when there isn’t a reason to care nobody cars and EVERYTHING GETS RUINED!!!

Not caring about Brand is like not caring about Blood. Guess what. Whatout Blood you don’t Live. Without Brands, the only companies that survive are ones that create crappy products and put all their money into advertising trying to make their products look great while flooding all media channels with their crap leaving no room for people that spent their money on product quality.

If you don’t get that, you deserve to only have crap for everything in your life.

That’s not the kind of world I want to live in.

Reply Score: 0

grat Member since:
2006-02-02

Maybe it's not so much your brand that turns them off as your ranting?

Several years ago, the organization I work for had a "town hall" event, where the CEO spent 20 minutes discussing the new logo for our organization-- he went into detail about how they chose the colors, the font, the spacing, the symbology of the colors, the font, and the special centerpiece of the logo that tied it all together.

I'll never get those twenty minutes back.

I understand that it's important, and I appreciate that they put the effort into it-- but as an IT guy, all I need to know is what our organization's official name is, and where to find the stock clipart.

Oh, and two years later, at great expense, they completely rebranded the organization, changed the name, and threw out everything but the color choice. *sigh*

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

That was an A+ rant.

I completely disagree. Do you know or care about the brand of screws that are inside your car right now?


It really doesn't matter as long as they meet a specification provided by the car manufacturer. That is what most tools and products should be. Brand matters where there is no spec, or its a very low barrier to entry.

Reply Score: 3

jgfenix Member since:
2006-05-25

I know that some brands are trustworthy and make products of quality. Between a known and trustworthy brand and an unknown one I know what I would choose.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I know that some brands are trustworthy and make products of quality.


Do you really?

Have you really looked into who owns what, and who manufactures what, these days?

As it stands, in the computing world, previously Apple was the only brand to ever gain widespread reputation as a synonym for quality. Now it seems even that is coming to a readjustment.

Reply Score: 3

coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

As much as you will disagree, outside the OSNews sphere and the general commentards on most tech sites. Microsoft is an extremely well respected.

Reply Score: 4

acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

.. Microsoft is an extremely well respected.


It depends on what kind of interaction with which platform of them you are referring to: for documentation/information, they are outstanding compared to any other thing out there. It you take it out and look only from an agnostic development POV, it was a mixed bag but, granted, they are progressing by leaps and bounds now.

Edited 2018-05-12 11:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

Personally I hate working with any of their large software products e.g. Sharepoint, Dynamics etc.

I do like working with .NET, TypeScript, SQL Server (the only reason I prefer SQL Server is the tooling is pretty easy to use out of the box compared to its peers), VS and VSCode.

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

outside the OSNews sphere and the general commentards on most tech sites. Microsoft is an extremely well respected.


And? Outside of the "tech site" sphere, Apple had the reputation. And I said it's now coming back to a readjustment for Apple. So I didn't say it has been the same for Apple.

Reply Score: 2

coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

I disagree.

Loads of people in the UK think a lot of Apple stuff is just bit of "bling". Most people respect Samsung, LG, Dell and Lenovo (more recently).

Unfortunately a lot of actual data (the thing you don't have) about consumer perception in the UK is hidden behind paywalls.

Edited 2018-05-13 02:45 UTC

Reply Score: 2

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

I disagree.

Loads of people in the UK think a lot of Apple stuff is just bit of "bling". Most people respect Samsung, LG, Dell and Lenovo (more recently).


Do you continue to completely miss the part where I say:

And I said it's now coming back to a readjustment for Apple.


Do you need me to explain this to you?

Reply Score: 2

coherence Member since:
2018-02-04

I don't know why everyone is treating this like some great dichotomy.

Branding is important, Good design is important. They are not mutually exclusive of each other.

Reply Score: 3