Angular Material Design: A Comprehensive Guide to Building UIs

Computers & Technology

  • Author Albert Smith
  • Published April 15, 2024
  • Word count 2,512

In today's digital age, having an attractive and user-friendly interface is crucial for any website or application. This is where Angular Material Design comes into play. Developed by Google, Angular Material Design is a comprehensive framework that provides a set of pre-built, customizable UI components for building modern and responsive user interfaces. With its sleek and modern design, Angular Material Design allows developers to create visually appealing and intuitive UIs that enhance the user experience. In this blog post, we will dive into the world of Angular Material Design and explore how to use its components to create stunning and functional UIs for your projects. So let's get started on this journey of creating beautiful and dynamic user interfaces with Angular Material Design.

Understanding Angular Material Design

Angular Material Design is an extensive UI component library tailored for Angular developers, built on the principles of Material Design, a design language developed by Google. This framework facilitates the creation of dynamic and responsive user interfaces that offer a consistent experience across various platforms. Angular Material is comprehensive, encompassing a wide array of UI components ranging from basic elements like buttons (MatButton) and icons (MatIcon) to more complex constructs such as navigation patterns (MatSidenav, MatToolbar) and data tables (MatTable).

One of the core tenets of Angular Material is its commitment to best practices. This includes a focus on accessibility, ensuring that applications are usable for people with disabilities, and internationalization, making apps accessible to a global audience. Performance is also a key consideration, with the library optimized for fast loading times and smooth interactions.

For developers, Angular Material simplifies the process of building sophisticated UIs. It provides out-of-the-box components that are customizable and adaptable to the needs of nearly any web application. By leveraging Angular Material, developers can create aesthetically pleasing, highly functional user interfaces that align with modern design principles.

Setting Up Angular Material in Your Project

To kickstart your journey with Angular Material in your project, the initial step involves installing the necessary packages. This can be achieved effortlessly through your command line interface (CLI) by executing npm install @angular/material @angular/cdk @angular/animations for npm users, or yarn add @angular/material @angular/cdk @angular/animations if you prefer yarn. These commands pull in the Angular Material library, Angular Component Development Kit (CDK), and the animations package critical for enabling motion in various components.

Following the installation, incorporating the BrowserAnimationsModule into your app’s main module is essential. This module activates Angular's animation capabilities, a prerequisite for many Angular Material components to display their full range of motions and transitions smoothly. Additionally, importing individual component modules into your application is necessary for utilizing specific components. For instance, to add a responsive MatToolbar for app navigation and a dynamic MatTable for displaying data, you would import MatToolbarModule and MatTableModule respectively into your Angular module.

For developers looking for a streamlined setup, Angular Material offers a powerful schematic command ng add @angular/material. This command not only installs the necessary packages but also sets up a default theme, typography, and global Material icons, paving the way for a cohesive and visually appealing UI from the get-go.

Navigating the Component Library

Delving into the Angular Material Component Library unveils a wealth of UI elements designed to streamline the development process and enhance application aesthetics. The library is methodically organized into categories such as form controls, navigation elements, layout utilities, buttons & indicators, popups & modals, and data table utilities, making it easy for developers to find the components needed for their projects. Among these, certain components stand out for their widespread applicability and utility.

For instance, the MatButton component is indispensable for adding clickable elements that trigger actions, with styling options that conform to Material Design guidelines. Similarly, the MatMenu component facilitates the creation of dropdown menus, enhancing navigation within applications. When it comes to organizing data visually, the MatTable component shines, offering capabilities for sorting, pagination, and filtering, thereby handling complex data sets with ease.

Understanding the specifics of these components, along with others in the library, requires familiarity with the Angular Material documentation. This resource is invaluable, providing detailed examples and guidelines on how to implement and customize each component. As developers explore this extensive library, they unlock the potential to craft responsive, engaging, and visually cohesive UIs, leveraging Angular Material's robust toolkit for their application's design needs.

Crafting a Responsive Layout with Angular Flex Layout

Angular Flex Layout is an exceptional tool for developers looking to create responsive layouts within their Angular Material applications. This package leverages the capabilities of Flexbox CSS, allowing for sophisticated layout designs that are both flexible and efficient. After installing Angular Flex Layout, developers can easily apply Flexbox properties directly in their HTML templates using a set of intuitive directives.

For example, to achieve a responsive design, you might use the fxLayout directive to define the direction (row or column) that your Angular Material components should flow within a container. Additionally, fxFlex can adjust the size of these components dynamically based on the viewport size, ensuring your application is visually appealing on devices of any screen size.

In practice, combining Angular Flex Layout with Angular Material components like MatSidenav for side navigation and MatToolbar for application headers enables the creation of responsive UIs that adapt seamlessly to different screen resolutions. Utilizing these tools together, you can structure your application's layout to automatically adjust and reorganize content, providing an optimal user experience across mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.

By integrating Angular Flex Layout into your project, you unlock powerful capabilities to control the spatial distribution, alignment, and sizing of your UI elements, making your application responsive and accessible to all users.

Implementing a Navigation System with Angular Material

Creating an intuitive and efficient navigation system is a cornerstone of user-friendly application design. With Angular Material, developers have access to sophisticated components such as MatSidenav and MatToolbar that facilitate the construction of dynamic navigation structures. MatSidenav is particularly versatile, offering configurations that allow it to either slide over or compress the main content, depending on the application's needs. This feature is invaluable for creating navigational menus that are accessible and non-intrusive, enhancing the overall user experience.

MatToolbar, on the other hand, acts as a robust container for application headers, titles, or action items. Its adaptability makes it an ideal choice for the top part of the application, where users expect to find navigation options or key information.

Integrating these components becomes even more powerful when paired with Angular Router. This combination allows for the development of a multi-layered navigation system that can guide users through different sections of the application seamlessly. For example, using Angular Router to switch between pages from a MatSidenav menu enhances user engagement by providing a smooth, app-like experience. By leveraging these Angular Material components, developers can craft navigation systems that are not only visually appealing but also functional and user-centric.

Utilizing Forms and Input Controls for User Interaction

In the realm of web applications, interaction with users frequently occurs through forms, making their design and functionality paramount for a seamless user experience. Angular Material excels in this domain, offering an extensive array of form controls that blend in effortlessly with Material Design's aesthetic principles. For instance, MatInput provides a versatile field for text input, essential for capturing user data, while MatCheckbox and MatRadioGroup offer options for binary choices and selections from multiple options, respectively. These components are not only visually consistent but come equipped with comprehensive validation and error feedback mechanisms, simplifying the process of gathering and managing user inputs effectively.

Moreover, Angular Material extends its functionality to include more nuanced form elements like MatSelect for dropdown menus and MatSlider for value ranges, enriching the interactive capabilities of forms. Each control is designed to integrate smoothly with Angular's Forms API, supporting both reactive and template-driven forms. This compatibility ensures developers can harness the full power of Angular's form handling, backed by the polished look and feel of Material Design.

By leveraging these input controls, developers can craft forms that are not just functional but also intuitive and engaging, enhancing the overall user experience and encouraging user interaction. Through Angular Material, the complexity of form implementation is significantly reduced, allowing for more focus on creating dynamic and user-friendly interfaces.

Displaying Data with Tables and Lists

Efficient data presentation is pivotal in web applications, where clear and organized displays of information significantly enhance user comprehension and interaction. Angular Material offers two robust components, MatTable and MatList, tailored for such purposes. MatTable is a versatile component adept at handling complex data sets with advanced features like sorting, pagination, and filtering. This capability allows developers to present data in a highly interactive and accessible format, catering to the needs of dynamic applications. For instance, an e-commerce dashboard might utilize MatTable to display order histories, enabling users to sort through their past purchases based on date, amount, or status efficiently.

On the other hand, MatList is ideal for simpler data presentations, providing a variety of options for constructing lists that can include text, icons, and avatars. This component shines in scenarios requiring a straightforward display of items or contacts, enhancing the visual appeal while maintaining a minimalistic design approach. For example, a chat application could use MatList to show a list of conversations, where each item might contain an avatar of the participant, their name, and the last message or time stamp.

By integrating these components into your Angular Material application, you leverage the framework's capabilities to display data in a structured, engaging manner, ensuring your users can navigate and interact with the information effortlessly.

Enhancing Interactivity with Modals, Pop Ups, and Dialogs

Interactivity is a cornerstone of user engagement in modern web applications. Angular Material excels in this domain by providing a suite of components that facilitate the creation of modals, pop ups, and dialogs, enabling developers to design immersive user experiences without detracting from the main content. The MatDialog component is pivotal for presenting information or collecting input from users in a focused setting. For example, a feedback form can be effectively implemented using MatDialog, allowing users to submit their thoughts without leaving the context of the page they are on.

Similarly, MatSnackBar serves as an invaluable tool for displaying brief, non-intrusive messages to users. Whether it's to confirm an action, such as saving a document, or to inform about a minor error, MatSnackBar messages are timed to disappear automatically, making them a subtle yet powerful way to communicate with users.

MatTooltip, on the other hand, enriches user interfaces by providing succinct descriptions or tips when users hover over an element. This is particularly useful for icons or buttons that might not be immediately obvious in their function, enhancing usability without cluttering the UI.

Each of these components can be tailored in appearance and behavior to fit the specific needs of an application, contributing to a polished and cohesive user experience. By leveraging MatDialog, MatSnackBar, and MatTooltip, developers can craft engaging interactions that keep users informed and involved.

Theming and Customization

Angular Material stands out not only for its comprehensive component library but also for its flexible theming capabilities. Leveraging Sass, it offers developers the tools to tailor the aesthetic aspects of their UIs to align with specific branding or stylistic preferences. With a system that facilitates the easy customization of colors, typography, and component density, Angular Material enables a high degree of visual coherence across an application.

For instance, adopting a custom theme allows you to modify the default color palette of components such as MatToolbar or MatButton, ensuring they adhere to your brand's color scheme. Moreover, adjusting typography settings can significantly impact the readability and overall user experience, making text in MatCard or MatDialog components more aligned with your design ethos.

The theming system is designed to be intuitive, allowing for the creation of themes that can be globally applied or scoped to specific components, offering a balance between uniformity and creative expression. This flexibility ensures that every application built with Angular Material not only functions well but also possesses a unique visual identity, reinforcing the brand and enhancing user engagement without sacrificing consistency or usability.

Best Practices for Using Angular Material

To optimize your use of Angular Material, embracing best practices is crucial for maintaining an efficient and streamlined application. Begin by selectively importing only the Angular Material modules that you require for your project. This targeted approach significantly reduces your application's bundle size, enhancing load times and overall performance. For instance, if your application solely requires buttons and forms, import only MatButtonModule and MatFormFieldModule instead of the entire library.

Leverage the Angular CLI to scaffold components, services, and modules, ensuring seamless integration with Angular Material's ecosystem. This not only speeds up development but also maintains consistency and adheres to recommended architectural patterns.

When dealing with data-intensive components like MatTable, be mindful of performance. Implement strategies such as pagination, virtual scrolling, or lazy loading to manage large datasets efficiently, ensuring a smooth user experience without compromising on speed.

Accessibility should never be an afterthought. Angular Material's components come with built-in support for ARIA roles and keyboard navigation, facilitating the creation of applications that are accessible to a wider audience, including those with disabilities. Incorporating these accessibility features from the start underscores a commitment to inclusivity and broadens your application's reach.

By adhering to these best practices, you not only leverage Angular Material's full potential but also craft applications that are performant, accessible, and tailored to your specific needs.


Embarking on the journey of crafting beautiful, responsive, and user-friendly interfaces with Angular Material Design offers developers a powerful toolkit for elevating the user experience of web applications. Throughout this guide, we've explored the vast capabilities of Angular Material, from setting up the framework in your project and navigating its extensive component library, to implementing dynamic navigation systems and engaging users with interactive forms and data displays. We've also delved into the sophisticated mechanisms for creating responsive layouts with Angular Flex Layout, and how modals, pop ups, and dialogs can be used to enhance interactivity and user engagement.

Moreover, the flexible theming and customization options available with Angular Material underscore the framework's ability to tailor applications to specific branding and design requirements, ensuring that each project not only functions seamlessly but also carries a unique visual identity that resonates with users. Emphasizing best practices for using Angular Material, such as selective module importing and accessibility considerations, further strengthens the foundation for developing robust, efficient, and inclusive web applications.

As we conclude, it's evident that Angular Material Design stands as a monumental asset for developers aiming to create aesthetically pleasing, highly functional interfaces that adhere to modern design principles. By leveraging the components and strategies discussed, developers can forge ahead, confident in their ability to harness the full potential of Angular Material Design to craft exceptional user experiences. Whether embarking on a new project or refining an existing application, Angular Material provides the tools and inspiration to push the boundaries of what's possible in UI design, making it an indispensable part of the modern web developer's toolkit.

Albert Smith is Digital Marketing Manager at Hidden Brains, a leading software development company specializing in mobile & web apps. He provides innovative ways to help tech companies, startups and large enterprises build their brand.

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