I'm working on an admin portal (angular, jquery, bootstrap..) and I'm pretty comfortable with bootstrap and I think that the bootstrap designs are pretty cool. Now, my colleague insists on changing it to material design.

I get the idea about material design and it does look pretty good in mobile apps but is there any rationale for choosing Material design for web apps?

**** Updated ****

Is it a good idea to use some patterns from the material design and the some from non-material?

  • There is no rationale beyond wanting to use the design patterns defined in Material Design. It may provide a positive for responsive, but is otherwise a personal choice. Material Design is "mobile first", so many patterns do not necessarily translate to the desktop. Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 14:29
  • If you check the Material page, you'll see there are specs for mobile, tablet and desktop. Also, you can use Bootstrap AND Material, I do it every day. Finally, it all depends on the game plan. If you wantto build an app and a website, then it's possible to build the app in Material and the site as (say) "no material". But if you just want a responsive site, then if you use Material it will apply to all sizes
    – Devin
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 14:30
  • Is it a good idea to use some patterns from the material design and the some as non-material?
    – Yellen
    Commented Apr 18, 2015 at 15:03
  • 2
    For inspiration, Material Design for Bootstrap : fezvrasta.github.io/bootstrap-material-design/…
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 13:06

5 Answers 5


Material design provides the following benefits for web apps:

  1. It is a comprehensive UX + style framework, so it can speed up both design and development.
  2. It promotes responsive, multi-client user interfaces, in the sense that keyboard + mouse is a first class input method alongside touch and voice. So if you need your web app to work with mobile/tablets or in the future in an app version, Material Design may promote consistency of experience across clients.
  3. It has a contemporary look/feel and prewired components/colors for you to choose.
  4. A key downside is that Material Design is related to Google/Android, so it may look incongruous on iOS clients relative to more neutral standards like Bootstrap.

Bootstrap and other frameworks also offer some or all these benefits. Only you can decide on the specific cost-benefit tradeoff for your app.

Given that you are web-only, I would guess that #1 and #2 are satisfied for you with Bootstrap, so the principle benefit to Material Design would be #3, which can also be accomplished with Bootstrap depending on your choice of styles.

So it would seem like a lot of effort for not much benefit to me, but only you can decide on the specific tradeoffs.

  • Is it a good idea to use some patterns from the material design and some from non-material?
    – Yellen
    Commented Apr 22, 2015 at 11:31

I worked at Google for 2 years and we had many challenges using the Material design style guide for the non-mobile-only software applications that we were creating. The style guide is clearly for mobile and has no guidelines for how to apply it to non-touch-screen devices (laptop/desktop). Unless you're designing mobile-first, or responsive (assuming some/most users will use a mobile device to access the software) and don't care how that degrades the desktop experience, I wouldn't use it for software that will never ever be mobile.

The fact that this is not AT ALL clear in the criteria for when to use Material Design may or may not be intentional, but either way is very confusing for teams that want a cool, new and fresh design, but provide the best experience for whichever device is commonly used for their solutions.


I would recommend sticking with Bootstrap as it is more design-agnostic. Use it as a starting point framework and build it to your design specification. Material Design is strong in it's statement about how everything should look, feel, and work. This is great for google to create consistency across it's products but likely not a fit for you unless you want to follow the philosophy note for note.


We adopted Material Design on our project because we wanted to take advantage of the specification to rationalize design and implementation. MD establishes a shared language so that everyone in the team can unite style, branding, interaction, and motion under a cohesive set of principles.

We don't digress from this cohesive set of principles UNLESS we absolutely have to. We haven't had to yet. Digressing would mean that we loose the benefit of the thousands of hours of thought (research, design, testing etc) that went into creating that specification.

As the head of UX for our team I wanted to leverage all that work as much as possible and I realised we didn't have the manpower to match that attention to detail.

As a result everyone in our team (including the founders) feel that the product design is a lot better.

  • could you specify what kind of project you're working on? Is it a mobile app or web app or both?
    – Alir Kahi
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 7:59

I personally do not like material design on the web. If you look at http://inbox.google.com, they have used material design, but I believe it is confusing to get around and also a lot of space is wasted. It is frustrating when simple task like opening a folder requires an extra click. It is just not meant for desktop platforms to be used with a mouse (well at least not for now).

  • 2
    Material design is a design language not a UX language. It does have some methodology behind certain use cases for UX. The extra click you are referring to is not a material spec. That's a decision made based on the categorization by which inbox does instead of list out all emails in a massive table. it's a method of organization not a UX spec from material.
    – rohicks
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 15:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.