Beautiful Implementations of Material Design in Mobile Apps

Many people these days look for beautiful implementations of Material Design in mobile apps for inspiration.

Yes, Material design came and changed design history and during recent two years it was quite popular in mobile apps design and there is a great number of beautiful implementations of Material Design in mobile apps.

But before that, let us understand what Material Design is and why it has become the most popular and successful design language.

What is material design?

Material Design is a design language developed in 2014 by Google. Expanding upon the “card” motifs that debuted in Google Now, Material Design makes more liberal use of grid based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows.

As of 2015 most of Google’s mobile applications for Android had applied the new design language, including Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, Google Maps, Inbox, all of the Google Play-branded applications, and to a smaller extent the Chrome browser and Google Keep. The desktop web-interfaces of Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Inbox have incorporated it as well.

The canonical implementation of Material Design for web application user interfaces is called Polymer.
It consists of the Polymer library, a shim that provides a Web Components API for browsers that do not implement the standard natively, and an elements catalog, including the “paper elements collection” that features visual elements of the Material Design.

The system, which focuses on grid-based layouts, transition effects, and depth, soon made its way into Android apps and brought the system up to the design standard of iOS.

The principles of Material Design

Visual cues inspired

Google uses the term “tactile reality” to describe their design philosophy, because the surfaces and edges within material design are inspired by real life paper and ink studies. This helps users to visually understand the digital interface on their screen without any difficulty. Design that’s grounded in reality makes objects on the screen recognizable and easy to interact with.

Bold aesthetics

Color choices in material design are bold and deliberate. Eye-catching color schemes work with foundational print-based design techniques to immerse the user in the experience. Intentional white space, edge-to-edge imagery and large typography are used to place an emphasis on user actions. This way, the user quickly understands the purpose and functionality of the interface on their screen.

Meaning made through motion

Instead of animations that are artificial and mechanical, motion in material design appears fluid and natural. Google recommends doing this in a few different ways:

  • Natural acceleration and deceleration: To avoid unnatural motion, elements on a page should accelerate and decelerate smoothly. Abrupt starts, stops and changes in direction are jarring and distracting to the user.
  • Visual continuity: A transition between two visual states should be smooth and effortless so the user is not sidetracked. Too many bells and whistles as a website or app moves from one page to the next are unnecessary.
  • Hierarchical timing: Elements that contain the most important content should be emphasized by being placed on the easiest path for the eye to follow. In other words, it’s important to draw attention to important elements.
  • Consistent choreography: Animated elements shouldn’t transition randomly, since that can be distracting. Instead, they should travel in orderly paths that make sense.

Material Design doesn’t just create order, it creates order with purpose and meaning. It’s a sensory expression of Google’s brand. If it finds purchase, it could be the first serious threat to Apple’s apparent monopoly on sublime user experience. As an iPhone devotee, I have to confess that for the first time I’ve begun casting sidelong glances Android’s way.

The mind numbing specificity of Material Design is a response to two facts:

  • If it’s possible for a developer to ruin a UI, they will.
  • The alternative to good design isn’t no design, it’s bad design.

Now, here are some of the most beautiful implementations of Material Design in mobile apps.

Who can implement Material Design better than those who created it. Google Calendar is one of the most beautiful implementations of Material Design in mobile apps. With more than 1.000.000 downloads, it surely rocks the party.

Google Calendar

For starters, Google’s app finally did away with the conventional skeuomorphic design most calendar apps use that mimics the layout of a physical planner.

There is no more restriction by the need to write down our schedule on paper. Google’s calendar gives you a vertical layout and places the current day at the top of the page. This way, you only see the upcoming days and events. Days where nothing is happening are condensed and this further streamlines the experience to show you only what’s actually useful.

This single change to the interface simultaneously allows the user to remain at the center of the experience so that the UI moves around them. Throw in some parallax scrolling and you have a really great looking app that combines.

Evernote

Evernote is often praised for its take on material design and is an eye catchy example of the beautiful implementations of Material Design in mobile apps

The app has a strong and consistent color scheme throughout and is as well-designed as it is functional.  Icons clearly and efficiently denote whether it’s a text note, a hand-written note or a photo you’ll be taking. The Elephant icon is simple and elegant, while the website, iOS and Windows 10 apps are also just as thoughtfully designed and laid out.

Microsoft Health

Microsoft Health is actually one of the best examples on the Play Store.

The app is designed to work with the Band fitness tracker and shows all your stats in a simple vertical layout along with plane white icons. When clicked on one of these headings and the panel will ‘open out’ to reveal your stats. The UI is great for letting you get an overview at a glance while having the option to go deeper if required, which is a hallmark of good app design.

Fabulous: Motivate Me 

Many people think, that Fabulous: Motivate Me is the most precise and deeply thought Material design implementation in mobile apps. The app explores new material design principles in all the normal ways with its crisp, flat images and bold colors but it also has some of the most attractive animations on the Play Store.

The list wouldn’t be complete without Facebook Live’s mobile application.

The app  is a very minimal, yet effective example of Material Design. It uses shadowing in a way that is not typically seen; by using light shadows instead of dark to provide depth.

It makes interesting use of iconography, animation, and interaction design – key aspects of Material.

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