AMA: I'm Matias Duarte, a VP of Design at Google!

over 2 years ago from , VP Design, Google

I’ve worked on the design of a bunch of operating systems over the years (some of which people actually liked) including Android, Palm WebOS, Helio, and Sidekick. Last year I worked on Material - a cross platform, responsive design system. You can check it out at http://www.google.com/design/spec/

I have a comp-sci degree, but in school I spent most of my time in painting class, and yet my first job was making video games… go figure.

I believe that stories are the most powerful force in the universe.

(I'll start answering questions at 1pm EST, see you in 30 mins!)

Edit: That’s all the time I have today. Sorry I couldn’t answer everything. Thanks again!

102 comments

  • louie solomonlouie solomon, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias,

    Google seems to be taking prototyping seriously with their investment in RelativeWave Form. There have also been a lot of discussions here recently about Facebook's Origami, FramerJS, Pixate, AE, etc.

    How do you feel about the current state of prototyping in terms of software, workflow, and usability for designers? Did you use any of these when concepting Material Design animations and interactions?

    15 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Our team uses a wide array of tools, including all of the ones you mention above and some homegrown solutions. Without them we never would have been able to put the focus on motion that we needed to in Material Design.

      That said, there are still some huge problems designers face in trying to make software. Prototyping interaction and navigation, designing complex and interactive motion, getting our designs into code without losing fidelity, and even basic collaboration and version management. We’re serious about all these topics and we want to see how we can help make a world where a designer will never have to export a redline or have the wrong icon in the build ever again.

      16 points
  • Gabe WillGabe Will, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hey Matias,

    Thanks a lot for doing this. Super pumped to get to ask you a few questions, so I'll jump right in.

    • A couple years ago, you said that Android was about a third of the way to where you wanted it to be. With the release of Material Design, how close are you now? Edit: Already answered.

    • Thanks in part to Android's new direction, motion design is playing a bigger part in apps than ever. As developers and designers get more comfortable with animations, what do you see as the next frontier of app design?

    • As head of design at Google, you obviously aren't pushing pixels around, but you're often credited with the look and feel of the platform. What role do you play in defining Android's direction?

    Bonus: Are you sick of the whole Lord Duarte / #Holoyolo thing? Be honest with me.

    Thanks again for the AMA. Looking forward to your answers.

    12 points
  • Aaron SagrayAaron Sagray, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    How did you go about creating a design culture at Google – a company that was formerly primarily engineering-driven?

    11 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      For starters we were really lucky in having two key ingredients: A bunch of awesome designers. Like probably many of you, before joining Google I had assumed that the company simply hadn’t hired good talent. That was absolutely not the case, Google had a strong cadre of exceptional and talented designer leaders - folks like Jon Wiley, Jason Cornwell, Hector Ouilhet, Margaret Lee. Google just didn’t know how to empower them. Leadership that was visionary enough to know that it wanted to improve in design, but humble enough to know that the company needed to do something different. Consistently since becoming CEO Larry set out the challenge to Google to find new ways to work, because it needed to become better at design.

      With those two ingredients, the job for all of us together was to find allies who were excited and open minded about working in a different way, and then simply do great work with them. At first our wins were small, but over time they gathered momentum.

      12 points
      • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

        "Like probably many of you, before joining Google I had assumed that the company simply hadn’t hired good talent. That was absolutely not the case, "

        This is a mistake I'll stop making. "Bad design! All they need is a good designer!" What I've found in these instances is companies that don't value good design, and aren't structured for the possibility of good design.

        6 points
  • Raffaello SanzioRaffaello Sanzio, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    I can't believe Matias Duarte did it.

    In the future, I'll tell my grandchildren that I requested this AMA: https://news.layervault.com/stories/41377-request-for-amas

    6 points
  • Mitch SaidMitch Said, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    The hamburger menu has gotten a bad UX rap of late - did Google Design have any concerns with it as a prominent MD pattern? (also just realized that you share initials with Material Design - coincidence?)

    6 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Hell yeah. We agonized over it!

      It’s pretty clear that “hamburgers” can be overused. It’s just too easy for someone trying to “clean up” their app to shove all that stuff in the drawer where it gets lost - out of sight and out of mind. However there are a lot of secondary functions that are really nice to tuck out of the way, so we tried to include it as a possible pattern with strong guidance around when it’s appropriate to use. Maybe we didn’t do a good enough job on that, and that’s one of the things you can expect us to keep doing with the spec going forward: making it clearer and easier to use.

      14 points
      • Asher SimondsAsher Simonds, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

        On a related note, it'd be great to see more use case examples in the guidelines that don't use the navigation drawer pattern. As it stands, nearly every top-level render in the spec show it and it might (if subconsciously) steer people into thinking that's the only way to structure their app on Android.

        Food for thought.

        14 points
  • Paul MacgregorPaul Macgregor, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias.

    Do you feel Material works (or can work) as successfully on desktop as it does on mobile and touch devices?

    And how important was that distinction when developing the language?

    5 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Not yet. We can do a lot better both with our apps that use material on desktop, and with formalizing good rules around desktop application. For example we know we need to do a better job of providing patterns for greater information and control density.

      That’s something else that we’re going to keep doing with Material - evolving and changing the system itself to make it better and more universal.

      11 points
      • Wes OudshoornWes Oudshoorn, over 2 years ago

        Exactly what I have been struggling with when trying to use material design principles in projects where there's loads of data. I would be very curious what a team of designers at Google would make of an application like Google Analytics.

        What advice would you give when it comes to designing these types of interfaces?

        1 point
  • Nirawit JittipairojNirawit Jittipairoj, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    The webOS phones had a striking unity between the software and hardware design, with the playful icons and colors and the pebble-inspired design. Some other amazing phones like the Nokia N9 had married the software and hardware and felt great to use.

    Now that you are working on Android and have less control of hardware design for non-Nexus devices, do you still see this issue as a problem? If so, how do you think this can be addressed while still giving manufacturers the ability to express their brand?

    What advice do you have for students looking to get into the field? You mention motion design a lot in your talk, is that valued over HCI and more static visual and interaction design?

    Old-school designers seem to be very authoritarian but it seems that newer, tech-focused designers have to take a softer approach. You have successfully led teams at many different tech companies and pioneered many new interfaces and design languages. What do you think made you so successful at this, do you see your ability to code as a factor?

    Thank you, you are my greatest source of inspiration!

    5 points
  • Kelly SuttonKelly Sutton, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    Thanks for being here today on Designer News. We’re happy to host you.

    One question, multiple parts:

    • When operating at the scale of the Android user base, how does that affect your design decsisions? How do you effectively delegate design decisions? How do you remain empathetic with your end users at that scale? How has Material helped that?
    5 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      That’s like seven questions in one! I’m gonna take em one at a time between any other questions that come in.

      Designing for an operating system changes how you think about design. You can’t optimize for one product, or even your company’s portfolio of products, but have to keep in mind the entire ecosystem that includes everything from one finger games to complex business collaboration tools. In some ways it’s harder because you have to test your decisions and systems more thoroughly, but in other ways it’s liberating because the ‘right’ answer is always what’s right for the users and developers. For example when we introduced a way to have actions attached to notifications in Jelly Bean, we knew we wanted to re-use the concept of an action on other devices (like watches, or even TVs and cars). But we didn’t have a system that was strong enough to express everything a developer might want to do. So we had to compromise on a system that was well designed for the common case, but allowed expressiveness on the part of a designer or developer who wanted to break the boundaries.

      7 points
  • Raveesh BhallaRaveesh Bhalla, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias,

    Thanks so much for doing this! I'm a Google Expert for Design/UX, and had a question on a topic I'm researching currently:

    Material Design is probably the largest design project you've taken on in your professional career based on the sheer volume of users it is intended for (which is in billions). And it gets even more complicated considering it's a design language that other services would need to adopt, and its cross platform.

    What kind of user studies did you do? How widescale was it, and how diverse were your focus groups? I'm particularly interested in how much your focus was on users from developing countries, where the Android user base in a pure numbers form is insane and only going to get bigger.

    3 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Much like the Material Design effort itself involved basically every design team inside Google, we approached research - both the formative, and validation - as something that we needed to do together and that we couldn’t centralize.

      There were lots of specific studies that we ran from the core team - mostly to validate the usability of certain controls or conventions - like the toggles and the FAB, and with a strong focus on accessibility.

      We also leveraged every study from every team implementing Material - piggybacking additional questions where it seemed appropriate - to validate the use of Material in context.

      We also run a large amount of foundational research to help us understand device use, and for the last few years that effort has been international with a particular focus on developing countries. That’s not to say developing an international design system is not daunting. We actually had some goofs in the original spec for dialogs that didn’t provide enough cues for what’s actionable in certain locales - that’s why in addition to usability we also worked with i18n experts and specialists from different markets.

      4 points
  • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias - no questions, just wanted to say I'm a shameless fanboy of Google's design work, especially now that the identity is tightening up across products. I once had a really awkward interview where I mentioned loving the look of Google+ (with a side note that I don't believe its failures are UX or UI design related) and the dude told me it was shit and designed for babies. I stuck to my guns and blew the interview. Thanks for all your work.

    3 points
  • krishnan srinivasankrishnan srinivasan, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    First of all, I wanted to say thank you. Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich were some of the most compelling UI/UX designs I had ever come across, and they taught me a lot about how I thought about function and form.

    My question is: what sources of inspiration do you draw from when you are thinking of design. What made you want to design in the first place? Do you typically have a design routine or method that you practice every time start a new project?

    2 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      I have a mantra I follow when tackling design projects, which is focus on the problem. Too many times I’ve fallen in love with an idea and wasted a bunch of time. However if you focus on something that’s a problem - something that causes pain or frustration or is an unmet need - you know you’re not just building a fantasy.

      I like to have all projects be summarized in one page: What’s the problem? A real tangible problem we’re solving - not how, just what. What’s the opportunity? How will the world be better if the problem was solved. Again, not how will the problem be solved, but what’s the end result? How can you tell without seeing someone use your product that after the fact you actually solved their problem. What’s the plan? Not a solution. A plan, a first draft, a germ of an idea that you’re willing to throw out when it turns out not to actually solve the problem.

      At the start of every crit, it’s nice to have this one pager, and a summary of our user research posted on the wall next to the designs. Those two things serve to keep us honest about our work.

      7 points
  • Alex Wu, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    What are your favorite things to snack on and what kind of music do you listen to while working?

    Is it mind-blowing to believe that there will be a whole new platform to design for when Android Auto becomes mainstream? Is Material Design ready to address that?

    2 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Salami and cheese. If I’m alone at home, I would basically subsist off that stuff.

      When I was younger I would basically pick one track of some crazy fast Rotterdam style techno and just put it on repeat for hours.

      Nowadays actually I like to not have any music at all when I’m working. I don't know, I find it distracting now.

      5 points
  • Paul @StammyPaul @Stammy, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hey Matias!

    I've got an easy one - what's your favorite design detail in L (and/or across all Google products)?

    Mine is how the settings gear rotates in along with opacity as you pull down on the notifications panel.. as if it's really traveling on its own.

    2 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      I think the solution of notifications as a stack of cards is surprisingly elegant. It has the attributes of a drawer with scrolling content in it, without the heavy handedness of a drawer which cover the screen - just the cards and how they stack at both ends.

      It seems like a simple problem, but if you really sit down and study it you'll see it's quite tricky!

      4 points
  • Ben RegaliBen Regali, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    I appreciate that you take the time to do this AMA.

    Here is my question: Working in a very tech/developer driven company like google, what kind of efforts do you think are necessary/important to keep designers happy?

    2 points
  • Carolyn YooCarolyn Yoo, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    Great to see you here and thank you for joining us!

    • What is your advice for design beginners/those just starting out?
    • Any personal projects you are working on?
    2 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Design. Design. Design.

      Seriously, this is a craft that you get better at by doing. Anything you can do to stretch those design muscles the better. Do a conceptual redesign of something you think could be better. Work on a small project with friends. Never stop designing.

      Personally right now I’m noodling around a “digitally assisted” board game (terrible name I know). I’m trying to see how to make something that’s fun to play face to face where the board and pieces have value and meaning beyond looking pretty and being in a common space, but where phones and tablets let you do things you couldn’t do in cardboard.

      It has nothing to do with my day job, but it’s nice to have a project that you can stay completely hands on with.

      1 point
  • Pavel SikunPavel Sikun, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    I remember someday you said that you see android design finished for thirty percent. AFAIK it was in the times of honeycomb. What stage is this design currently?

    2 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      With Lollipop we’ve tackled many of the things I’d wanted to get to when we first started (before Gingerbread) - the ability to do smooth animation between any screen in the system, lockscreen and actionable notifications, a document centric model for applications. The problem is that my ambitions have also grown, so… I’m moving the goal posts out on myself here!

      6 points
  • Pavlo DudkaPavlo Dudka, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias! Google Design Guidelines (and common sense) tells you to respect platform you are designing an application for. It makes total sense. Android community hates when iOS design is getting ported as-is to Android platform. It breaks well-known experience to Android users and makes life harder. At the same time there is a number of Google apps on iOS which are heavily using Material design (and other Android UX principles) in their implementation. Just a few most noticeable examples - is Android share button, drawer icon, overflow appbar menu, FABs in such apps like Google Chrome, Google Maps, Youtube. Was it done intentionally? Or there is a technical constrain behind that like code sharing or something?

    2 points
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Material Design needs to be a cross platform design, which makes this question of what conventions to adjust to when moving between platforms particularly important.

      In most cases we’re absolutely intentionally applying patterns we think are universal to all our platforms. For example the FAB - which is a just a way to focus the user on the single most important meta action. You might remember a number of apps which explored this type of pattern on Android and iOS before. It seems pretty clear that it can be used universally.

      With regards to iconography I’m actually personally frustrated about that. This isn’t a technical constraint, but perhaps more of a business or ecosystem constraint. “Hamburger” as much as it’s an oddly empty glyph, has at least been adopted universally.

      On the other hand, “show me more options”, and “share” have been subject to the whims of various platforms for the last decade. Frankly I think this kind of thing is ridiculous.

      I’ve seen usability study after study that shows the glyphs we currently use cause confusion to first time users. The problem is exacerbated by the reality that our users use a mix of platforms during the day. Asking designers to use text is not an option - these common functions can take up too much space and are often hard to label meaningfully.

      It’d be like if you bought a Walkman(™) from Sony and the “play” button was a triangle, but if you’d bought a competing cassette player from Philips the same function was labeled with a circular arrow. Or if stop signs in Mississippi could be blue squares, while Massachusetts has red octagons.

      I feel like what we need as a design community is a consensus on open source and standard iconography for these common user actions. This is not about branding, but about basic usability.

      14 points
      • Yakim van ZuijlenYakim van Zuijlen, over 2 years ago

        Great point about the cross-platform inconsistency of icons.

        0 points
      • Evan DinsmoreEvan Dinsmore, over 2 years ago

        Unfortunately missed your AMA, but in case you have time:

        You might remember a number of apps which explored this type of pattern on Android and iOS before. It seems pretty clear that it can be used universally.

        Some of these same apps moved to something more iOS-standard. Path moved to using a "+" in a tab bar when they replaced their hamburger button. Quora moved theirs to the top-right, or a textbox if you haven't scrolled. Off the top of my head I can't actually think of many other apps that used a button similar to a FAB.

        What I wonder is if those changes were made because, despite the pattern itself potentially being superior in terms of ergonomics and discoverability, they're trumped by what users already expect. In the same way that multiple icons are used to convey ideas such as "Share", multiple design patterns across a platform could be confusing. The hamburger menu, for example, I don't think is necessarily a bad pattern, but people who use iOS devices aren't expecting them, because they're not something they typically interact with. I would argue that the best pattern for a particular platform depends on what's been advocated for and most heavily used (tab bars on iOS, for example), because most other patterns require the user to re-learn something just for your app (or in Google's case, suite of apps). I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts about that.

        0 points
  • Faiz MalkaniFaiz Malkani, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hey Matias!

    Thank you so much for doing this! Super excited about it. My questions

    • At one of your interviews, you mentioned that design without constraints is just art. Can you talk a bit on this, regarding the lack of constraints in web design and the resultant inconsistencies produced.
    • With sites like Dribbble and Behance showcasing popular designs, a large number of designers often draw more than just inspiration from them rather than take risks, resulting in a lot of designs getting stuck in a rut. What are your thoughts on this?
    • With your prominence in the design field, a significantly large number of designers look up to you. My question is, whom do you look up to in the design field?

    Thank you once again!

    1 point
  • Simon DuncanSimon Duncan, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias - I'm a fan of your work and your philosophies.

    Is there anything in the world of design that's a pet peeve of yours? Anything that gets under your skin, time after time?

    1 point
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      The freaking lack of consensus on universal iconography (see other post) is my pet peeve!

      Well at least for today. :-)

      3 points
  • Trevor FogleTrevor Fogle, over 2 years ago

    Do you ever get frustrated by OEM skins? I work with electronics on a daily basis, specifically mobile devices. Most customers I talk to have a bad taste in their mouth for Android, and it typically stems from issues caused by customizations made by manufacturers, such as: lack of software updates, glitchiness, lag, unessecary applications, and highly unintuitive UX modifications. Are there any plans to reign these detracting modifications in, or is that at least something you'd like to see?

    1 point
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      I get frustrated by everything in the world that isn’t absolutely perfect and beautiful. The most frustrating UI I’ve dealt with today is simply trying to keep up with all these questions! :-)

      What I’d really like to see with Android is an ecosystem where there are customizations out there that can serve every different taste and need, but can hang together so that users can choose which device fits them without having to relearn anything.

      Think of driving a car - no matter whether it’s a Honda or BMW or a Tesla, it’s going to have a steering wheel, the brake on one side and the throttle on the other. They may have totally different dash configurations and styling - which is appropriate for their different needs - but you know how to drive them all, and frankly they’re all great cars.

      6 points
  • Darren SilinskiDarren Silinski, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matias,

    Thanks for doing this AMA. I love what you guys have done with Material Design, and I feel that the design evolution of Android has increased by leaps and bounds since you took the reins.

    I'd much prefer to keep my phone as close to stock Android as possible, and the best way to do that is to download the Google apps (Calendar, Messenger/Hangouts, etc) however there are notable ones that are absent - such as the dialer, Contacts, etc. Are there plans for Google to continue the trend of pulling out apps and putting them in the Play Store so we can totally enjoy Material Design as Google intended no matter what phone we use?

    Also, are there plans to implement a change to Android so the notification shade can be a download-able app, instead of baked into the system? This also goes further to letting users customize their phones and perhaps download the "stock" Shade from the Play Store, should Google decide to put it up there.

    Thanks again for your hard work - not just to you, but to the entire Android team!

    Best Regards,

    Darren

    1 point
  • Mario SerraferoMario Serrafero, over 2 years ago

    Hello Matias,

    Thank you very much for reaching out to everyone who wants to know more about your creations. I personally love your work and I believe you brought Android up to speed with the competition, and now it has surpassed the rest in many aspects thanks to the latest design implementations. These are my questions for you:

    • What do you think was the hardest part about working around the graphical limitations of low-end specifications when designing the highly-animated Material Design?

    • What originally made you pursue the idea of Material Design further, and how different was the original design language from what we see on our phones now?

    • Do you see yourself revamping or scratching Material Design any time soon, or do you think this one will stick for a while?

    • Will we ever see darker themes adopted in Google's vision of Material Design? Given the popularity of dark or black themes for night time or AMOLED efficiency, how do you think the lack of these options affected Material Design and how can Google address this?

    -Do you have any advice for making Material Design fit within the brand of a cross-platform service?

    Thanks again for answering our questions and providing us with amazing eye-candy!

    1 point
  • Eduardo Ramirez HolguinEduardo Ramirez Holguin, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matias,

    Thanks for doing this!

    1. One of my favorite things about Material Design is the animations. Can you elaborate on what your team's process was for working on them?

    2. How long (in terms of time and Android releases) did it take to bring them from concept to implementation?

    3. Off topic but very curious: Does anybody ever assume you're Dominican? Your name and last name are also the names of two of our founding fathers :)

    1 point
  • Greg BeldamGreg Beldam, over 2 years ago

    Thanks for doing this!

    How big is your design group? How is it roughly structured and what is the most challenging thing about that scale?

    1 point
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago

      Not as big as I’d like, but more than big enough to cause trouble.

      Scaling (which Kelly also asked about indirectly) is the hardest thing for me. When it’s just a small group of you that can all sit together, it’s easy to stay in sync. As you get multiple groups, you can kind of fake it by checking in regularly, and doing crits on a strict schedule. However when you need to run dozen of projects you really need to focus on expressing your design ideas as goals, and your critiques as problems and *considerations. You need to give room for all the other designers involved to creatively solve those themselves. That doesn’t mean you don’t sweat and point out the details and hold a high bar.

      Actually this is a much better way to lead even at a small scale, but it’s a hard transition - at least it was for me!

      3 points
  • Matthew Williams, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    How was a data driven company like Google able to overcome years of legacy design to implement a completely new design language like Material Design?

    Was it a complete revamp and now you will begin the testing and iteration? Or was there quantitative testing before launching 100%?

    Really impressed with how seamless and efficient Material Design has been rolled out in such a large organization.

    Thanks!

    1 point
  • Rafael SandovalRafael Sandoval, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hey Matias,

    Fellow artist here. I saw that you wrote how you spent most of your time in painting class. I was wondering if you had an online portfolio of your older, physical work (paintings, drawings, sculptures?, etc). Would be interesting to see.

    Also, which fine artists and/or art movements inspired you?

    I've been splitting my time studying design & creating fine art. Thanks, Big fan of what you and the team have been doing!

    1 point
    • Matias Duarte, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

      I actually studied quite a bit of art history in school, so it's easier to say what I'm not inspired by.

      I guess personally I'm most comfortable working in the abstract expressionist school. Gorky and Matta are the painters my work is most similar too. Though my figurative influences are heavily pop cultural ... maybe cross the above two with Takashi Murakami and Audrey Kawasaki?

      Amusingly, I discovered I had a strong affinity and love for Matta's work before I knew he was also Chilean!

      1 point
  • Alexander JAlexander J, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias, thanks for doing this. Can you tell us anything about the next Android version's design?

    0 points
  • prajyot mainkarprajyot mainkar, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    Thanks for this AMA initiative. We should actualy have this often so that UI /UX members can interact.

    With Material design, Google, instead of trying to impose a strict visual aesthetic, defined a set of principles that leave more freedom to individual designers.

    I speak to several developers who are yet to be have their apps migrated to material design. I have seen you too sharing some of the apps on your G+. My question to you is, what has been the adoption rate ot MD so far OR statistically, how many apps have got the MD makeover. May be you can share stats regarding anyone of the app categories.

    0 points
  • Ke WangKe Wang, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias, You're my HERO since the launch of webOS! I'm a graduate student pretty new to this filed and here are my two questions:

    What's your take on the first job of making video games and what's your mindset as you developing your career up till now?

    Is there any practices you did everyday that's benefiting your skills in an incremental manner?

    Thanks!

    0 points
  • Hardik Pandya, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias,

    Is MD team completely in-house or remote? I mean it's hard to imagine designers working remotely while still staying in sync over the work.

    0 points
  • Bas KeetelaarBas Keetelaar, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    I'm really wondering what your office/workspace looks like. I'm sure it's as interesting as the shirts you wear!

    0 points
  • Ritik ShahRitik Shah, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matias! Thanks for the AMA initiative. Just wanted to ask you that are you aware of reddit.com/r/androidcirclejerk and the massive fan-following you have got there? Thanks!

    0 points
  • Safa PaksuSafa Paksu, over 2 years ago

    Hi Marias. I'm a designer and blogger in Turkey. Can we see Google Design site in Turkish?

    0 points
  • D LD L, over 2 years ago

    Bonus hardball question: Don't know if you've noticed but some people on the internet are mad about Lollipop's new interruption system/the removal of silent from the rocker. Could you break down some of the reasoning behind the changes?

    0 points
  • D LD L, over 2 years ago

    Do you have any pointers for designing for "context" aka Android Wear? The Wear design guidelines are helpful, but its still tricky due to the newness of the category.

    0 points
  • Paco Espinar, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias I'm 17 and I'm starting in this beatiful world of design. In your opinion which would be the most important steps to become a "successful" designer? Could you recomend a good book about design to read? That'd be nice too ;) Thank you!

    0 points
  • Salman AhmadSalman Ahmad, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    There are tons of Windows enthusiasts that claim that you copied Material Design from Metro, me along with a ton of other people know that this is untrue. Does Google ever intend to advertise or showcase how Material is truly different, unique and better than competing design languages?

    Also what steps(if any) are you guys taking to ensure that as many app developers as possible take advantage of material design alongside all the other improvements in 5.0?

    Thanks for your time!

    0 points
  • Joshua HaleJoshua Hale, over 2 years ago

    Matias, thank you for taking the time to do an AMA.

    I work in an enterprise environment for app development and it's a long road to try and push for new UI enhancements for most of the applications we deliver. I was wondering if there are some good spins that I could make on Material Design that would be key points a business would listen to in order to update their applications.

    0 points
  • Josh Beveridge, over 2 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to give us insight into your process, Matias.

    As someone who found formal training via post-secondary education inefficient and wrong for my learning style, what are your suggestions for moving forward in the field of UI/UX design? I've discovered that working directly with my team and learning on the job are providing me with more information and experience than school ever offered. Would you recommend returning simply for a degree if I intend to move forward in my career?

    0 points
  • James CliburnJames Cliburn, over 2 years ago

    Just thought of another one;

    For platforms (apps, websites, etc) that have implemented Material thus far, what are ones you think have hit the nail?

    0 points
  • Sam GarsonSam Garson, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias, thanks for your time.

    I'll be direct—what methods of testing design in terms of both usability and business feasibility do you use before spending the cost of development? Do you use any data driven metric-based methods?

    (Also—awesome work on the Material system, apart from being really great looking, I think we should be thinking conceptually about usability in the way the Material spec recommends. Thanks!)

    0 points
  • D LD L, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias,

    1. Who are your design heroes?

    2. Could you describe your personal philosophy when it comes to design/making tradeoffs?

    3. Does having a Comp Sci degree change your approach compared to designers with a more traditional design education?

    0 points
  • Joel ChristensenJoel Christensen, over 2 years ago

    how much actual coding do you do while designing things?

    0 points
  • Ed WhiteEd White, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias! Thanks for doing this AMA. You've been at the forefront of a lot of exciting change at Google, and I was curious about your experience from the management/bureaucracy perspective.

    Context: Up until around the time you were hired, Google was famously design-illiterate and rather dismissive of the discipline. Marissa Mayer famously tested 41 shades of blue and made the decision using data, rather than tapping into design knowledge. Now Google is often seen as being at the forefront of design, MD in particular being hailed as a visionary achievement.

    Question: In a company that's famously data-driven and (at times) somewhat oblivious to what might generally be called "matters of the heart," how do you and Google's designers get approval for your decisions around Google's UI/UX? Do you need to present an empirical, data-driven component to justify your decisions? What, if anything, do you do to convince your bosses that something like MD is going to have a positive return on investment? How do you translate the value of design into something an engineer or bean-counter can understand?

    Thanks again for your time and your work!

    0 points
  • Viral JoganiViral Jogani, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matias,

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    My questions are:

    +What advice do you have for an up-and-coming designer?

    +How do you recommend they improve as designers?

    +What is your vision of design (mobile, web, anything + everything) for the next 10 years?

    Thanks again and looking forward to your response.

    0 points
  • Alex B.Alex B., over 2 years ago

    Hi, Matias.

    You all have done a great job making Material design simple and easy to understand but with a lot of depth for different content and platforms.

    My question is, why is Google having so much trouble applying it to the apps? If I'm correct, one of the main ideas was creating a seamless environment for the user, but I really can't think of 2 Google apps that follow the guidelines as they should.

    Just to be clear, I don't have a problem with not following the guidelines, but with having a differently applied design for different apps.

    I just can't understand what's the big deal with creating the unified environment Material design promises.

    0 points
  • Jake DavidsonJake Davidson, over 2 years ago

    Hey Matias Whats on your homescreen and are you happy with the nexus 6

    0 points
  • Asher SimondsAsher Simonds, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Matias:

    I'm sure building the Material language we see today meant spending countless hours of user testing. Of course, building a visual platform used around the world meant exploring outside our own hemisphere. This is especially important now that developing markets have become the center of attention for the mobile industry.

    How did cultural norms and preferences from outside the west (and, in some cases, inside) impact the decisions your team made? Any particularly interesting stories worth telling?

    PS - You should recreate one of your shirts as your icon here.

    0 points
  • James CliburnJames Cliburn, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    In terms of Card components, I know that before Material Design was established, designers had been using them to style both static list items and actionable unique items.

    But even now with their use clearly defined, I've still seen some apps updated to the new aesthetic still use them for homogenous, not actionable/dismissible items.

    Do you have any thoughts on this?

    0 points
  • Esteban RodriguezEsteban Rodriguez, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias!

    Big thanks for doing this AMA! It really gives us some more insight as to who you are as both a designer and person.

    I have only one question: What advice or tips would you give to all of the freelance graphic and motion graphic designers out there in regards to getting recognized?

    Thanks for being my biggest inspiration!

    0 points
  • Rakeeb RajbhandariRakeeb Rajbhandari, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matias,

    I am kinda curious about the things coming actually. So with material design Google has a unified look and feel. The goal you guys were trying to achieve is almost fulfilled now !? What next? What should we expect?

    0 points
  • Keith MyersKeith Myers, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    I appreciate that you take the time to do this AMA and I also wanted to say that I am a huge fan of your work and have been using it since the days of WebOS on the Palm Pre.

    As you know, Material Design has a way of always presenting itself well on devices based on screen size and relevant content. I am personally a huge fan of the look of Lollipop. What is one piece of advice you can give to device manufacturers who choose to use their own skins such as TouchWiz or Sense?

    0 points
  • John DonmoyerJohn Donmoyer, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    You mentioned that your first job was making video games and I was just reflecting on the fact that I haven't noticed a whole lot of cross-pollination of talent between the game industry and the web/mobile product design field. What do you think tech companies can learn from the design trends happening in gaming right now and vice-versa?

    0 points
  • Andre Tacuyan, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias!

    It's awesome that you're doing this! Did you have mentors growing up or when you were entering the design world? How do you feel about mentorship for young designers?

    0 points
  • Nikhileswar JangalaNikhileswar Jangala, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias!

    We are about to design an Android app and our app requirements and google guide lines are not matching. So we would like to break those guide lines and make our app.

    Our app is about finding stays in different locations. People can search for stays, chat with stay owners and book, can explore etc Google suggests that we have to place all of them in a left side drawer but we want people to easily switch between search listings and chats. So we adapted a tab method.

    Problem here is when a user switches tabs (say search tab to chat tab) the context in nav bar changes (say New York, USA in search tab to, Agent Name in chats) which doesn't fit with guidelines. Any solutions for this?

    And again we thought the tabs are of a higher family than the nav bar. So can tabs be placed above the app bar? We are breaking the guidelines but isn't it logical? Please let me know your thoughts. It will help us a lot :)

    Thanks!

    0 points
  • Eugene CheungEugene Cheung, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    I'm a big fan of how Android has evolved over the years, and I've noticed that the latest iteration of the design language (Material Design) has a striking resemblance to the tactile card-based UI from the unfortunately defunct Eel project back from the Palm days (http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/2/5264580/the-lost-secrets-of-webos). Do you see Android as a sort of spiritual successor to webOS, and what do you miss about webOS?

    0 points
  • devashish shukladevashish shukla, over 2 years ago

    WHAT are the things or person or rivals which gives you idea of material design ? and why is your future plan about material design in android 5.2,6.0 ect?

    0 points
  • sanjju simhasanjju simha, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias, How much of UI is affected by UX? Thanks in advance.

    0 points
  • Igor SilvaIgor Silva, over 2 years ago

    Hello Matias ... Thank you for being here.

    I wonder what is the main characteristic that a designer must have to work at Google ?

    Thank U

    0 points
  • Yakim van ZuijlenYakim van Zuijlen, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matias,

    I am currently studying mediadesign. in addition to my studies, I am always eager to learn more about design. I always try to approach design in a broad way. So, I am learning about animation, type design, a bit of programming and I just keep up to date with the latest design techniques. I have also been focussing on learning about the principle’s of design. Which gives me a deeper understanding on how design affects our surroundings.

    Do you have any advice for me, and other students that are starting out in this industry?

    0 points
  • Maximiliano VillarrealMaximiliano Villarreal, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

    Hi Matías. Short question: What are Google plans or your opinion about the lifespan for a design language as MD?

    Thanks, Greetings from Argentina.

    0 points
  • Casey LabattCasey Labatt, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias! First I want to say I'm a huge fan of everything you do, and you're the reason I started designing for Android and why I want to work at Google someday.

    I want to ask a few questions. First, I think everyone here is wondering where you get your awesome shirts.

    Second, more relating to design. The material Guidelines are absolutely incredible. They are so comprehensive and include so much, but not everything. When we run into something that isn't included in the guidelines, what would you say the best course of action is? And what is the best way to share what we came up with, with others?

    Thanks so much for the AMA!!

    0 points
  • Jaroslaw MorawskiJaroslaw Morawski, over 2 years ago

    Mr Duarte,

    Philosophically speaking, do you consider Material Design to be the future of interface design? I know that you've already started adding it to mobile, computer, and web apps, but do you think it's future-proof? When Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich was released, I thought it's the best-looking interface around. Now it feel dated, because it's not colourful. Aren't you afraid that users (and designers alike) will eventually become tired of bold colours and smooth animations? Then your idea of making digital interface more meaningful than they were before may become obsolete.

    Thank you for your work. I personally think that Material Design is the best thing that happened to interface in recent years.

    0 points
  • Marko PrljicMarko Prljic, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias, thanks for coming here :)

    While I was reading about Material design I came across some contradictory statements. I got a reply from Google Design, not sure, maybe it was even you who replied but I'm somehow not !00% on this answer yet. I don't understand why material never bends or folds? Am I missing something?

    There are several explanations of the metaphor:

    "the flexibility of the material " " the rules of physics"

    and so on...

    http://markoprljic.tumblr.com/post/112305446667

    Thanks! Marko.

    0 points
    • Joel ChristensenJoel Christensen, over 2 years ago

      possibly because of the limited depth? folding anything larger than a floating action button would require it to go higher than the maximum elevation (the surface of the display).

      2 points
      • Marko PrljicMarko Prljic, over 2 years ago

        Hmmm, interesting, let me crunch that thought for a moment :) Thanks!

        0 points
      • Brian Nelson, over 2 years ago (edited over 2 years ago )

        Pretty sure that this is exactly right. Thought I saw this in the MD spec at one point, but I think it may have been removed for conciseness.

        Here are two other ways that you can think of this distinction:

        1: Elements (folded or unfolded) always stay in their original state.

        2: Interactive elements in particular can never fold (due to the aforementioned lack of depth in the environment).

        The folding interaction and animation as used by Flipboard and Facebook Paper look pretty unnatural, as they assume a disproportionately large level of depth (~3") on relatively thin devices (less than 0.5").

        0 points
  • John KimJohn Kim, over 2 years ago

    Hello! I recently graduated with a degree in comp-sci. Only after I graduated did I realize that I want to pursue a career in design.

    What advice can you provide to people like me who don't have a formal design education background to break into the field?

    0 points
  • Paul MacgregorPaul Macgregor, over 2 years ago

    One more...

    How late did the name change come in the process, and what led to it (if you are at liberty to discuss)?

    0 points
  • Jared VolpeJared Volpe, over 2 years ago

    Thanks for this AMA Matias. When it comes to design leadership what is your take with regards to both leading a design team and filling the design seat at the 'table'? What are the different needs and issues at a small company where there is one or a few designers and how does that scale when a company grows to say Dropbox size (say 5-20 designers) and then again to say Google size?

    0 points
  • Aaron James, over 2 years ago

    What's up Matias!

    What do you feel is the biggest weakness of Material Design?

    Is this weakness something that can/will be overcome?

    Thanks for your time, high five

    0 points
  • kristian robertsenkristian robertsen, over 2 years ago

    Hello Mathias,

    A pretty significant change to Android in Lollipop was the switch to document-centric applications, and Chrome was first out with applying it with tabs.

    The response has been quite unanimous that this has been a rather awful implementation, as one app alone potentially clutters the task switcher to the point of being unusable and hides old content in that app behind a myriad of apps and "docs" alike. Obviously it was an interesting idea, but now that it's been field-tested and found lacking, does the design team have any special plans for improving upon it?

    0 points
  • Joe WilliamsJoe Williams, over 2 years ago

    Matias,

    When creating design systems like Material - how much does the economy of development, iteration, testing and evolution effect your decisions for the platform? Essentially do you deliver an ideal state of Design and Ease of use or do you temper that with components that reduce development cost? As Material evolves will it be affordable for those that adopted it to change along with it?

    0 points
  • Kevin OhlssonKevin Ohlsson, over 2 years ago

    Ohhsnap, if you ever come to revisit the thread i got a handful of question for you.

    I'm currently writing a paper about color theory and how color is used in marketing. With a background in painting and VP of design at google i suppose you know some about the subjects.

    Q1: What elements of color theory do you apply in your work at google? (Q:1.5, Are there any special resources you recommend reading about the topic? Thinking along the lines of James Gurney).

    Q2: What is googles approach to color between different rural areas? (While blue in the western world means one thing, it communicates something completely different in other parts of the world).

    Q3: Is there anything else in regard to color in marketing, theory, etc, that has especially helped you during your design career?

    If you ever see this, Cheers!

    0 points
  • Max VMax V, over 2 years ago

    OK,another guy that have lost your ama. If you are curios and tomorrow you'll watch this page again,I want to ask you one things. It seems that design isn't the first priority of google/android,indeed in every android app I have found so many inconsistencies,like the famous navigation drawer (different in every app) ,going to the copy/paste dialog,or apps that are forced in new forms,like play music(that need to be rewrited from zero).So the question is:you'll ever make android apps alla the same? Thanks,also if you only see this.

    0 points
  • John WongJohn Wong, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    As the mainstream phone size starts to grow, do you think current design guidelines (including Material) will have to adopt in order to provide a more ergonomic and thumb-friendly experience?

    On top of that do you think Material, a design language made with a 2 dimensional plane in mind is applicable for augmented or virtual reality devices?

    0 points
  • Account Deleted, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias! I have one small question. Cats or dogs? And do you have any?

    0 points
  • Moeed MohammadMoeed Mohammad, over 2 years ago

    Hi Matias,

    How much of Material Design was done at Google vs. how much work Manual Creative? Do you feel comfortable going to an outside agency to define what you're going all in with?

    Thanks

    0 points