At Propelics, our UX/UI design team focuses first on a mobile application’s visual architecture—usability and wireframes—long before we even give a thought to a project’s design. In this industry, the period between research and planning and deciding upon colors can seem a bit long—though in reality it’s not any longer than it ought to be.
Whenever we are stuck on the best way to solve an interface puzzle, we always find the quickest way to a solution is to check out other great UI examples, not to copy them, but to gain UI inspiration through others’ work, and to see how great designers and UI architects have approached similar situations.
Of course, when doing so, it is crucial to also keep in mind the client for whom you are designing along with the particulars of the job. Every platform has its own unique quirks. When it comes to mobile apps the best practice is to first understand and identify any UX/UI differences across platforms (iOS to Android being the most obvious).
This being said, I hope you find these five examples of sites and resources useful the next time you’re trying to determine the best design direction for a mobile user interface.
This site is the Mecca for iOS User Experience and Human Interface Guidelines. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of Apple’s control types and interaction methods for iPhone, iPad and now Apple Watch. Pay close attention to the exact layout proportions, things like top bar, list items height and tab bars. The little things mean a lot!
If you’re building an app for Android, here is where you’ll find all the relevant Material Design documentation—Android’s new design environment (starting with version 5.0 devices). These guidelines are well worth a close read, the level of specification is great and they cover all aspects of UX-UI design.
Most importantly, be sure you understand and are able to identify all the differences between the two platforms if your app idea is covering both. No matter the device, taking into account everything from navigational button-styles to variations in text input to keyboard height differences—plus so much more—will make all the difference when trying to create a truly native experience for the user.
3) UI patterns
A bit of inspiration is always welcome. This site is a huge compilation of mobile UI examples—the best of the best according to the owners. I agree with the quality of most of them. Here you can find screen designs for iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple Watch. Quickly looking through a bunch of great screens to see how the heavy-hitters are dealing with similar usability issues and then borrowing bits and pieces from the best examples is the perfect shortcut to discovering your own original designs.
Every so often, for one reason or another, our clients fail to provide a company color palette. Beginning the UI design phase without a palette can wind up leading to frustration—for the designer! Because colors are so much about preferences, a designer lacking a color direction might naturally gravitate towards using his or her favorite colors, only to end up being disappointed when the client disagrees with the choices. Colour Lovers helps you select gorgeous color palettes with good contrast by searching thousands of existing compositions or by creating your own original color sets. More importantly, however, whenever a client disagrees with your color choices, don’t take it personally!
Of course, we all know about Pinterest, the web’s premier source for image collections about anything. But have you ever considered using it as a design resource? If you ever find you’re having an off day and creativity and inspiration aren’t coming very easily, try Pinterest. This social platform contains images of literally everything. From a UI design perspective you can find thousands of different styles, whether for mobile, web, desktop or whatever. Other platforms like Dribbble or Behance are geared more towards digital design, but Pinterest has the answers to everything, even how you should decorate your studio!
I hope you find this list valuable. If you know of some others you think are great for finding inspiration, please let us know, the design community will thank you. Alternately, if your company needs better design but finds its completely stumped as to what to do, check out our Mobile UI/UX Design Kickstart, then give Propelics a call. Whether your company is redesigning an existing app (or suite of apps) or is looking to add new devices to its portfolio, our 2-week Mobile UI/UX Design Kickstart will have your apps looking and feeling amazing in no time.