Google does without material design for iOS apps

Google does without material design for iOS apps

Tech Highlights:

  • change was Advertise on Twitter Written by Jeff Verquin, Design Architect at Google Design on Apple platforms. I’d recommend reading the full thread if you’re interested, but Verkoeyen says his team “switched open source material component libraries for iOS into maintenance mode” earlier this year. Material Design is a set of interior design conventions from Google, which it introduced in 2014 in order to standardize the look and feel of its apps and services across mobile, Chrome OS, and the web.

  • Google is phasing out its use of Material Design user interface components for its iOS apps in favor of relying more on Apple’s UIKit. The company says the result of the switch should be less effort for its iOS development team, but more importantly, it’s possible that the change will mean Google’s iOS apps will look less like hackers on Apple devices. Instead of bowing to Android UI conventions, they should look and feel like they belong on iOS.

Verkoeyen said Google developed its own Material Design components for iOS, but over time, it found that these were “slowly drifting more and more from the fundamentals of the Apple platform because those fundamentals were also evolving year after year.” Rather than making work for itself by filling in these gaps, Verkoeyen says Google has now decided to use Apple’s UIKit for its iOS apps. He notes that doing so “will result in tighter integrations with the operating system than we can reasonably achieve via custom solutions.”

As longtime Apple journalist Jason Snell commented: “This is good news. It’s good for Google developers, who no longer have to create this custom code. More importantly, it’s useful for people who use Google apps on iOS, because With any luck, they will update faster, perform better, and feel like proper iOS apps, not invaders from some other platforms.”

Verkoeyen’s wording is somewhat slanted here, but many interpret the thread — including referring to “tighter integrations” — to mean that Google’s iOS apps will, in the future, follow more Apple’s mobile OS design agreements. That could mean using fewer custom buttons that look like they belong in Android, for example.

The proof of the candy’s existence lies in the eating, however, and until Google actually begins updating its iOS apps over the coming years, we won’t really know how it plans to marry the two design approaches. Let’s hope it does the right thing, and makes things easier for users. We’ll see.

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