Using Material Design is not a political choice. It's an interface choice. If you really stretch the argument, it's an organizational choice. We live in a hyper-political environment, all the more reason to choose our words carefully.
This article has all sorts of views that I vehemently disagree with -- which is awesome, differing points of view are great -- but let's not turn the choice of UI frameworks into some us-versus-them discussion.
It’s kinda taking it for the extreme, but I agree with it that, from a certain perspective, it will is or will become political.
More and more people are using these types of design frameworks to get things done faster, at the cost of not funding different ways and different interfaces.
Things like this will turn design into a commodity. With all types of pros and cons associated with that.
Which this in mind, using Material Design is just as political as being vegetarian on environmental friendly.
The challenge is that these frameworks are the culmination of countless (literally millions of hours) of aggregate research, iteration, evolution, that's come to this point. From the 50,000 foot view, there isn't any UI design system or framework that breaks out of our fundamental UI model.
This is all to say that if you want to not use these patterns - specifically to aid user cognition - you need to come up with an alternate that is measurable better. Otherwise, you're not using it just to not use it - at the risk of a less usable design.
If we want design to not be a commodity, we need to prove that our solutions are better than out-of-the-box solutions and better to the extent that it's worth the investment in custom design/development.
In my humble opinion, the future value of designers is to understand what people need, how we can serve them and leverage existing UI patterns to make that happen - or break out when we know it will absolutely benefit people.
Otherwise we're only doing it to make a statement.
Agree. And that’s the choice we have to make.
Solutions that are pre-designed, with the use of factual, project-specific data (both analytical and user research) will probably always (should be, if done correctly) be better than out of the box solutions. The problem is that developers take the frameworks as the perfect choice, very often not willing to alter this choice. And I doubt those frameworks are "the culmination of countless hours of research, iteration, evolution"... let's not go too far with this. It's just iteration within developers. They work OK but they are not perfection or even close. They are the starting points, not the end of the design process for particular environments. They will never be.
I think choosing material design is incredibly political; making the choice of picking it for an interface is simultaneously greatly benefitting Google, as it is making unaffiliated apps look like Google's apps. If enough designers started using it, everything we see will look like a Google app, which is not only uninteresting, but has the potential to be dangerous when dealing with a corporation as large and powerful as Google.
This. Why is this issue being framed so fanatically? It’s a bit ridiculous.
Screams "First year academic" to me.
Designers don't make functioning apps, developers do. The goal of Material Design is to remove "design" as a required skill to make a usable app in order to avoid having continuing damage done to the Android brand via the visual and behavioral abominations that used to represent the bulk of Android apps.
Kinda. Apple has design guidelines for iOS since the begining, but they are iOS only. Material design goes one step further and aims also for the web.
Yeah and then we come up with thousands of apps and websites looking basically the same - just like frameworks the developers used to build them. Developers MAKE but solutions need to be designed and unfortunately, it turns out that in this race of economic optimization the design stages are omitted. One of the symptoms are the job ads like "UX Developer" where you have 50% of UX Design and 50% of coder/developer tasks in the description. YEAH, SURE. And then we have all the drawbacks of solutions not being designed but just produced - bad UX, illogical, data-driven interface, elements of the UI done "because it's faster to implement", etc. Good things are designed, not just made, remember that. You will learn it eventually, arguing the idiocy of developers being able to design or design being something that can be avoided.
I would say that making frameworks "do the job of good design" is like saying CMS templates do the job of a developer - why code something, why program? You install a CMS, a template and off we go. Wonderful, right?
If you work on enterprise products which are platforms and have products, services and a marketplace/app store, you are better off with using material design framework as a starting point.
Those enterprise products can go over 1000 screens. And sometimes with
- Executives that don't understand design
- Small Design team
- Scarcity of talented designers in the city
- Scarcity of frontend developers in the city
In those cases, Material design is a great common ground/solution.
I think framework choice is largely dependent on competence, size of team, importance of design in a company. I guess its mostly an organizational choice like P.J. Onori said too.
that is a far stretch.
That’s why, more than ever, movements like Web-Brutalism that have the boldness and the courage to question those “rational aesthetics”, dictated by science and technology, are very relevant.
Movements like Brutalism in Web UI's exist because creative minds are desperately trying to break out of increasingly stronger trends. Trends more then before dominate what we consider "beautiful enough" nowadays. Something is considered good design by subconsciously determining how much it has adapted current trends in visual design.
Yes, we need to break free from that, but I don't think it is a political choice.