I am at the cross roads whether to use material design or not for startup website. I want to give the visitors feeling of that

  • It protect your privacy (ie: does not sell ads based on user data),
  • Community driven instead of company driven

(Visitors should feel a sense of trustworthiness)

Some of us get the mixed feelings when we think about Google

  • Trust feeling: Big reputed company
  • Distrust feeling

IMHO Material Design is tightly associated with Google's brand. Yes of course you can use material theming to kind of unique brand identity, most of us know when we see something designed using material design.

And I am aware that material design is just guidelines, not rules.

I will be developing the website using already existing component frameworks(Material-UI,Bootstrap)

So my question is:

Should I use Material Design wih theming or Bootstrap with customization to give the user of sense of trust?

  • I think this question is primarily opinion based, but very interesting, so very curious about the answers. Nevertheless, my opinion is that most Material Design based apps looks "meh" and when I see one I automatically think in someone doing something fast with little to no effort. Not necessarily untrustable, just like someone that didn't care. But it's just a personal opinion and on the other hand, we did a lot of MD apps/sites so it's not necessarily true. But even on those we did, I felt they were "meh" as if nobody cared (and we did care a lot)
    – Devin
    Jun 24, 2019 at 17:34
  • 1
    @Devin I agree it could be opinion based. I answered not which one is better, but trying to prompt consideration of what defines 'trust'. Trust as I understand it, has several dimensions. I don't know if I hit the mark at all.
    – Mike M
    Jun 24, 2019 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


Trust has multiple dimensions and can be built through familiar interaction patterns, effective writing, and branding. Frameworks are only one dimension.

What interaction frameworks (and patterns) are your users more likely to be exposed to?


An interaction framework is used both to save development resources, but from the users point of view, its value is a coherent interaction model.

If you're developing for a specific context, i.e. mobile, perhaps users are used to material framework mobile interactions. But I don't have research / hard and fast rules on which to use.

Instead, I think of it as: defining the dimensions of trust.

From the Neilsen Norman Group: Variations on Practiced Patterns Cause Mistakes

Familiarity is acquired through repetition. Like all human learning, learning a new interface or a new interaction pattern follows a power law: it requires many repetitions before people will become as fast and efficient as with an old, much practiced interface.

Trust is not just visual. From a system standpoint, it's reliability that things will work the way I understand them to. Alot of this relies on past expectations.

Good ux writing goes a long way

Trust is also built through writing. It's being explicit about privacy, marketing and what your company does with all of their data. Good clear communication (and help) goes a long way.

Visuals and branding

From a brand standpoint, you can hang your own graphics on either. Since your goal (I assume) is to facilitate a completion of a well defined user need, test and use what might be most familiar.

  • While familiarity, good ux writing, visual and branding can give some sense of trust, IMHO majorly it comes down to first visual impression and past knowledge associated with that experience. ex: when we saw website using MD website someone may get feeling oh this look like gmail, oh companies like Google relies on user data to sell ads, can I trust this website using MD, although they claim to provide trust? may be yes, may be not. answer depend on user past experience.
    – user158
    Jun 25, 2019 at 4:27
  • Anyway IMHO it seems to me using non MD design have higher chance of establishing trust with my intentions (privacy, community driven), since most people are exposed to Google services on daily basis.
    – user158
    Jun 25, 2019 at 4:30

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