Does Google’s Material Design guidelines harm the mobile apps industry grows?

Datetime:2017-04-21 05:18:25         Topic: APP  Google  Material Design          Share        Original >>
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While Android hit 88% coverage , Google continues to tighten its ecosystem, leaving app developers and designers with less space for creativity and thus less potential for bringing extra value with mobile apps.

Google set out to create a unified ground for how it wants developers to think about application design, starting from the basic layout to visual effect and colors. As part of those guidelines, it recently offered one simple, but a pretty rigorous color tool .

The new tool helps developers create and share color palettes, apply that color scheme to a sample user interface and to various Material Design components in CodePen, a third-party “playground” for front-end web developers.

One Design to Rule Them All

Google’s motives are pretty obvious: to give developers an extensive set of tools, so they could kickstart projects faster and thus boost the market growth. But what if this approach will also shorten the possibility to WOW users and make commercially successful project outside of the entertainment niche.

Make no mistakes, the mobile app market still have plenty of opportunities for newcomers, entrepreneurs, and self-taught developers. The net revenue of Google Apps Store increased by 82% in Q4 2016. But, leave aside this whooping figure and you’ll notice that 90% of Google Play’s revenue came from games.


Mobile gaming industry is definitely the one that goes against all guidelines. While such approach is caused by specifics of the industry itself, there is a small number of successful non-gaming apps that follow material guidelines or without trying to вistance oneself from guidelines. Just take a look at Top Android Apps without games .

Video Streaming

The other promising industry is Video Streaming Apps . Video streaming in the U.S. saw 250% revenue growth ($200 million in revenue), China +370% ($125 million), and the U.K. +420% growth ($15 million). But does it really playing by Google’s rules or just takes traditional TV news broadcasting styles.


E-commerce is going its own way too. We saw an inkling of this trend when people spent $1 billion using mobile apps during Black Friday 2016. However, brick and mortar stores seem to be having some problems. Growth was solid in some areas, but generally much worse than digital-first.

This is where brick and mortar stores will try to go mobile but do they actually succeed by following developers guidelines and making ordinary “material” e-commerce app? Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, and are already there.

While making an Android mobile app for your store, you definitely want to make a unique presentation of the platform.

Social Media Apps.Ok, let’s take it seriously.

The concept, which was developed by Google for Android devices has a neat and clean look. However, when all of the android apps have the exact same look and feel, the only refuge for uniqueness is in color palette, visual effect, and content.

Business & Finance

These industries, as well as health apps, are usually suffering from a big amount of non-visual content. Structuring such content can be hard. This is when app designers and developers adhere to guidelines, primary because they help to make user-friendly design and keep mobile app consistent. The great example in this industry is Mint.

The bottom line

Google’s ecosystem helps us keep close to users. Material Design works because it is based on a pretty tight set of rules and usability patterns. These tight patterns were developed in part to help users understand how to interact with smaller devices.

Material Designwas developed three years ago and most of the users are already pretty familiar with it. But for now, it’s trying to expand far beyond mobile just guidelines.

If you want to stand out and make a difference, don’t blindly mimic it in your android mobile app . Keeping in touch with guidelines — yes, but try to go by your own.

  • Expand the typography.
  • Go beyond the color palette.
  • Use one aspect of it in your design concept.
  • Design icons and unique user interface elements.
  • And stick to your vision!

Good Luck!


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