The advent of Google Chrome 71 and the new material design

There is turmoil at Google. The most clicked search engine in the world (first site by number of visitors globally) is changing its look for the umpteenth time, opening a new frontier in the field of web design. The event certainly does not come by chance: just last month there were two important birthdays, the twentieth of the foundation of the company Google Inc. and the tenth of the launch of Google Chrome, today the undisputed leader in the panorama of web browsers, at least in the western world. Perhaps to flex its muscles, perhaps not to betray expectations, perhaps to continue in the footsteps already traced by material design, or perhaps for these (and other) reasons together, the mountain view colossus, the American city where Google is based, has decided to go big. And so, together with the spread of the seventy-first version of Google Chrome, here comes the news of further releases to support material design.

The applications and virtual environments involved are many and range from Google News to Google Pay, from Google Assistant to Google Apps, from Google Maps to Android Messages. For some the passage is still in progress, for others it is already possible to observe the variations on the theme. Here is an indicative list of what you may already have noticed about graphic material design if you use Google products on your PC, tablet or smartphone:

  • Choice between dark and light shades (on Windows and Linux available with third-party tools)
  • The open tab is white, the others grey
  • Corners, trapezoids, edges disappear, in their place rounded lines and rounded shapes (see search bar)
  • New icons and colors in pure material design style

FUNCTIONS AND SHORTCUTS OF THE MATERIAL DESIGN BY GOOGLE

As it is easy to guess from the name, material design is not limited to just the graphic design. If this remains the protagonist and engine of change, hand in hand we notice and will notice in the future some steps forward also on the front of usability and then of the user experience. Here too, we see a list of evolutions in progress, more or less significant based on the habits of each:

  • Password storage and connection with other Google Chrome connected to the same account
  • Ability to create new passwords and associate them with a specific site (thus avoiding dangerous repetitions)
  • Keyboard or smartphone touch display shortcuts to speed up searches, translations and other operations
  • Saving of credit card codes and data on request

FROM SIMPLE NAVIGATION TO THE CONCEPT OF LOOK & FEEL

For those like us who work in the digital field every day, what might appear to less expert eyes than trivial changes seem rather small pieces of an epochal revolution. Without having to show it from the rooftops, Google is not only "updating" its browser and the numerous applications connected to it, but it is profoundly changing the experience that a user feels (let's even say lives) while browsing, consulting a map, payment for a service, writing a message… We are therefore entering in the middle of the look & feel era, a phase that is distinguished by the thinning of the barrier between screen and reality. The modern user is no longer limited to pressing a key with his finger or mouse: on the contrary, he perceives a certain atmosphere, becomes familiar with the size of the site in front of him, assimilates information intuitively, scrolls in seconds myriads of data. An advance of what Does the future hold for virtual reality? For posterity the answer, certainly the trend is marked, and leading it is the leading company in the contemporary digital sector.

WHAT ABOUT THE WEBSITES? HOW TO ADAPT TO THE MATERIAL DESIGN OF CHROME

If it is true that the changes to Google Chrome and the Google suite do not substantially interfere with the functionality and design of a website, it is also true that the user accustomed to this type of look & feel focused on material design will hardly like explore in portals, ecommerce and old blogs (read with graphic theme not up to par and outdated functionality). THE Google Fontt which we talked about in a previous editorial, represent in this sense the tip of the iceberg of a now irreversible path. How to face the turning point? And what concrete measures to take? Unfortunately or fortunately there is no single technical handbook written in stone, what we can and must do is look for a common thread in the heterogeneous magma of information, statements made by Google engineers, rumors, confirmations and denials of authoritative sources. Without wrapping our heads, it will not necessarily be necessary to "redo" the site, but rather see it again in the light of material design.

Ecommerce, blog or online magazine not imported: how we proceeded to update the privacy and cookie policy in view of the GDPR, so we will have to move to better meet user expectations. A good road map could start from Checking the site's responsive technology: Is it navigable from mobile devices effectively? If the answer is yes, let's go further and check the purely graphic aspects of material design: do icons, banners and contents reflect the 3D style and fonts of material design? If we want to go further, let's add the use of Google Fonts in the titles and texts present. Lastly, let's evaluate the overall performance of the site in terms of page loading speed, code cleaning, broken images and links... In short, let's make an effort to look at Chrome's material design as an opportunity to renew graphics and communication, more that as yet another unexpected rock. If you haven't done anything in this direction yet, I suggest you take advantage of it, take the time to plan your strategy and seize the opportunity to take flight and shine in the firmament of the web. We are here to help you.