Google Gave Away a $1 Million Design Guide for Free

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Material Design

Google introduced the world, and more specifically designers, to a whole new way of thinking about User Interface and User Experience design at Google’s annual I/O conference back in June of 2014. And ever since that day, the way we have experienced apps and websites has changed forever. But what is Material Design? Basically it’s Google’s design Bible. It’s a foundation of design principles that make the screen on your phone, tablet or computer more intuitive and friendly to use.

To better understand what that hell I’m talking about, let’s take a look at Material Design in action…

If that video didn’t sell you then check out these top 10 reasons you need to use Google’s Material Design for all of your design needs…

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1) Google gives you the playbook for FREE.

This is clearly the greatest benefit of using Material Design. Google spent months and months with the world’s greatest designers formulating a design best practice guide. This type of information is something people pay $ 100s to have access to. But Google gave it away… for FREE.

That’s right. Everything you need to know is here in Google’s Material Design Guide.

2) No more stressing about tough design questions.

Gone are the days of beating your head against the wall trying to find a solution to what should be a simple UI or UX problem. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel anymore. There are basic design principles that Material Design preaches that when followed, provide you the solution to any design issue.

3) Your website will most likely rank better in search results.

To be honest, this one is not based on any real data. This is strictly an assumption. But why would Google tell you to build your website in such a way that it doesn’t favor in search engine results? Your site becomes easier to crawl which let’s Google understand the content on your site. And lastly, your site will be responsive. Meaning it will be user-friendly no matter if the user is on their computer, tablet or phone. Google tends to rank responsive sites higher in search results because they provide a better experience for the searcher.

4) You keep consistency between the mobile, tablet and desktop experience.

The great part about Google’s Material Design Guide is that it explains design principles for both mobile, tablet and desktop versions of your product. This means your desktop user experience stays consistent as you pull up your site on your phone. There is nothing more frustrating than designing an element that looks awesome on desktop but does not translate well over in to mobile. All of Material Design’s principles take in to consideration their responsiveness to all devices.

5) Roboto font is clean and easy to read on any screen size.

Along with the general guidelines around elements like layout, menu structure and iconography, Google also introduced a brand new custom font called Roboto. This font is pretty sleek. If you haven’t already noticed, it’s very easy to read. There is a psychology behind font design that allows certain fonts to be better for long form content than others. Some of those factors include line thickness, curviness and angles of the letters, and spacing between the letters. Roboto was not only designed to look good on a larger screen like a desktop, but also read well on smaller screens like a phone or watch.

Get yours today: Download Roboto.

6) Material Design is already becoming the industry UX/UI standard.

You have probably already been to a site or an app that utilizes the Material Design principles without even knowing. It’s beginning to show up everywhere. Here are just a few example apps and sites that are doing Material Design right:

7) There are multiple resources dedicated to supporting Material Design.

Ever since it’s debut, Material Design has sparked a number of design sites dedicated on providing designers resources for building their sites using Material Design. Some of those sites include: MaterialUp.com, ThemeForest, Polymer, and GitHub.

MaterialUp (@MaterialUp) is a fantastic source for searching and discovering great ways people are using Material Design in their apps and websites. The entire site is designed, of course, in Material Design. Which makes it very easy to use and navigate.

8) Your products become more intuitive to your users.

Whenever you build a site or an app, you’re building it to serve a purpose. Obvious, right? But not all sites and apps fulfill that purpose well. This is typically due to a poorly design user experience or wireframe. Your users may find it hard to find the main call to action on the page. Or, they don’t understand where their eyes should start on the page and where they should go next.

All of these problems are solved by following the basic foundation principles of Material Design. With an intuitive layout, your users are able to find or complete what they need quicker. Leaving you with a happy user.

9) It’s designed to be responsive so going from mobile to desktop is easy.

Not everybody designs both a website and a mobile site together. The trend nowadays is to build for mobile first and then expand that experience in to a desktop version. I personally agree with this tactic as it forces you to think simple and to the point about what you want on your site. Rather than designing out a complex desktop version that is hard to translate in to a mobile site.

The great thing about Material Design is the foundation of the design is set for a mobile experience but it translates that experience in to desktop as well. This means that you should build your mobile site out first and your desktop site will become a piece of cake to build.

10) Your app or website’s UI/UX is going to be f**king sexy!!

Let’s face it. All the above are cool and all. But at the end of the day, your site or app is going to look like a professionally done, 21st century product. People take you more seriously when you look that way. By utilizing Material Design you have an asset you can feel proud of. One that you want to show off to the world. Rather than always saying “it’s a starter site. We’re going to update it this year some time.” So join the craze. Drink the punch.

Check out how Material Design was born from the minds of the Google design team…

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The Guardians of Peace Gave a Social Media Lesson to the World

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The Guardians of Peace Gave a Social Media Lesson to the World

We are observing a political and diplomatic nightmare with the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment by the so-called Guardians of Peace.  After leaking thousands of internal documents and emails, the group threatened to further mayhem if Sony released The Interview as planned. (Just a reminder: the plot of the film is about a fictional assassination attempt on North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un.) The effects of this attack have been propagated not through servers per se…but by word-of-mouth and social media.

A digital influence coup

The main digital influence principle is very simple: a digital influencer is anyone who has the capacity to influence one or more people. The Guardians of Peace used this adage in a very smart way, only releasing the beginning of plot, then letting rumors grow and define next episodes.

The storytelling is skilled: the group offered a perfect Hollywood-like script to the general public, the story of supposedly North Koreans hacktivists trying to impose their dogma on America. It sounds like a Sunday treat on Netflix, but word-of-mouth amplifiers (to summarize: journalists, top bloggers, etc.) bought this story. Making the fictional plot…true. 

Bringing personal, business, glamourous layers to the story

The magic of this coup lies in the wide diversity of stakeholders who had an opinion on Sonygate. Gossip spread through the Hollywood press, repeatedly shared all over the world by celebrity columnists in every single lifestyle magazine. Political observers are still frenetically commenting on the story; but instead of questioning the facts (like George Clooney actually did), they were commenting with their own tweets or articles. 

Sony Pictures also increased the trap on that matter: how to still make money while the film seems forbidden in theaters? Would there be a way to make money while surfing on the buzz? Sony Picutres has been, in less than few days, both a victim, a guilty organization, an enemy and an ally. Massive confusion helped make the story even more interesting, as no one really understands what is going on. Except the Guardians of Peace.

Disaligning Hollywood and the White House

A spectacular ally named President Obama joined the fun, accusing Sony of having reacted badly: 

“I wish they had spoken to me first (…) I would have told them do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks.”

In response, the Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO (who actively supported Barack Obama during the last elections) said that the President might be misinformed on the real situation and balance of power between the studio and the theaters.

President Obama, by explicitly naming “some dictators” as the enemy, and by threatening to put North Korea back on state terror list, gave an amazing accelerator to the Guardians of Peace impact: there are now two camps, two states, whereas most cyber-security experts demonstrated why North Korea might not be the leader of this attack.

What can be done and can’t be done…

The measures are really not easy to implement: North Korea is an utterly isolated country and we can’t seriously imagine sending US troops into North Korea in the short term…for this affair.

North Koreans can’t, of course, ask for a joint inquiry, but at any rate we can’t seriously imagine the US working hand-in-hand with the Koreans.

Sony can’t really attack anyone, using the First Amendment as explained by Leslie Franck:

“Courts try not to decide First Amendment protection based on the content of the speech, but rather whether there is a public policy interest in protecting it. I can’t think of one reason that publishing this information would counteract the protections of the First Amendment.”

The biggest fear that this digital influence case study suggests lies in the fact that no one can be held responsible. Not a state, nor identified people. This is a new legal and political imbroglio which will probably not go in favour of our privacy.

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