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Material Design has a comprehensive set of components, but no design framework can reasonably hope to cover all widgets.

Many of the UX StackExchange questions on Material Design on this site relate to a core question of what is and is not allowed under Material Design.


Question:

If there is a control that is not specified by Material Design, should I:

  • Use it?
  • Not use it?
  • Check with someone/something and if so, what?

For example, iOS-style pagination, Windows-style file selector, or Tinder-style swipe interactions....but obviously there are many more widgets out there which are not covered.

Material Design guidelines seem silent on what to do here.

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    Here's a related-ish question on following, and breaking, guidelines: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/66885/…. My answer points to issues with just ignoring guidelines for a different set of patterns, but gives an example where a single app on two platforms can succeed and look/behave nearly identical. – Evil Closet Monkey Apr 17 '15 at 22:34
  • @EvilClosetMonkey great link.... +1 on your answer there and thanks. The question you linked should have had more visibility/audience – tohster Apr 18 '15 at 15:29
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A key strength of Material design is that it is defined from abstract principles downwards.

While specification does include definition of components, it is (a) not prescriptive, and most importantly (b) there is enough mid-level and high-level guidance that a designer can create a new component that fits in with the other Material design components.

Explicitly goal is to "Develop a single underlying system that allows for a unified experience across platforms and device sizes."

Now "create your own components" does not mean "make any visual design you like". If component does not meet the design guidelines or even philosophy then will not fit in to the Material design system.

As a concrete example say you want a 3D effect on you control. This is material design guidance

Now the Windows 95(tm) UI would not conform as they are 3D objects flat on screen rather than flat objects floating.

(Image used with permission from Microsoft.) Windows 95(tm) UI. "Used with permission from Microsoft."

Neither would Material design colour guidance allow a screen to be coloured like this.

While one could arguably make a very ugly and ill fitting component that follows the Material design guiding rules and principles, it probably would be easier to make one that fits.

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Provided the control can be styled and made to behave within the guidelines of material style and consistent behaviour, I'd say use it.

I get the impression that the Material Design guidelines are largely concerned with how an app appears and behaves, and doesn't necessarily prescribe a narrow list of controls you can choose from.

In cases where you want to use a control that hasn't been explicitly defined by the guidelines, consider the design process that went into Material. Imagine the item being made of paper/ink, and how it would react in that form. There is probably a lot of guidance to be taken from existing controls, too.

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