With over three million smartphone users worldwide, there’s no doubt about the need for a mobile app in today’s climate. No matter how small or big, any business needs to build an attractive mobile app to attract customers and promote its brand name.
However, designing an app can sometimes be a little daunting as most business owners do not understand the nitty-gritty of what users expect from a brand. When you finally put pen to paper to finally design the app of your dreams, you suddenly realize that using a well-designed app and designing one yourself are quite different from each other, and in reality, you do not have the inspiration to design what’s required.
The good news here is that just like any art form, you can take inspiration and study other people’s work instead of forming ideas out of thin air. The best way to move forward in a scenario where you do not know what you’re supposed to do is to take inspiration from people who’ve come before you and who know what’s required out of an app. By examining these apps, you can take note of what designs have successfully worked and apply those principles to your own design.
However, choosing the best-designed apps out of the millions of apps that have already been created is not an easy task. You do not need to worry though. To help you with the planning of your app we’ve compiled a list of 15 apps that have fully mastered the art of creating User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
Mobile Apps for Inspiration
One of the most important things when it comes to designing the UI of an app is understanding your user base and delivering something that would perfectly fit their tastes and requirements. Headspace, a mobile app for mindfulness and guided meditation, has perfectly understood the needs of its users and created its interface keeping that in mind.
Headspace is an app that aims to help you get better sleep, improve concentration, reduce anxiety and stress, and keep an overall calmer mindset. That's why it is important that its interface should also reflect all this and help a user achieve the peace they’re looking for. Thus, their main mission for overall calmness and peace is reflected beautifully in their app’s pleasant and simple design.
Headspace is an app that’s well-liked by experienced as well as newer users. When you’re trying to center and train your mind, the last thing that’s going to help you is a cluttered and clunky interface. That’s why Headspace has opted for a soothing color palette, simple instructions & text, and clean & light UI to help you achieve your goals.
2. Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle is an app that’s acclaimed for its innovative UI and ability to help users transform their sleeping habits. It is a sleep tracking app that helps you uncover insights about your sleeping patterns- such as when you enter which stage of sleep- which helps in improving overall sleep.
Sleep Cycle’s innovative patented technology is designed to monitor your sleep movements using vibrations and sounds. This app is designed in a way that each night when you sleep, the app generates a chart of your sleep depth over time and analyzes the quality of your sleep and restfulness with intuitive visuals. Moreover, the app has been designed using a dark yet soothing color palette and creative illustrations to help your mind adjust to the lighting and create an overall calming effect. Also, Sleep Cycle comes with an alarm feature that wakes you between sleep cycles, which helps you feel refreshed and ready to take on the world.
In addition to all the amazing free features, the premium membership of the app gives you access to features such as a weather display, online backup of sleep data, sleep notes, a personalized wakeup window, a heart rate monitor, and overall in-depth sleep statistics.
Duolingo is one of the most popular language-teaching apps and one of the major factors behind its earning this status is thanks to its innovative and engaging UX design. Duolingo has cracked the code when it comes to understanding its customer base. It has made learning a new language approachable and accessible for its users by creating a classroom-like aesthetic. It uses playful and bright colors, clear and conversational instructions, and fun illustrated visuals to attract its customers and make learning fun for everyone.
Moreover, Duolingo has designed its app keeping new smartphone users in mind and has fully incorporated the use of touchscreen features while building its interface. Most of their activities are conducted on a touchscreen interface. For instance, instead of asking the users to type a word (which can be tedious for many people), the app instructs the users to translate sentences by selecting full words and placing them in the correct order. Moreover, users can analyze their learning progress within individual lessons as well as the entire language module.
If you’re looking to improve the interface of your feature-heavy app then you must take inspiration from Snapseed. Developed by Google, it is a professional mobile photo editor. The app allows you to fine-tune and edit things like contrast, brightness, shadows, saturation, curves, and much more.
It is one of the most recommended photo editing apps that’s easy enough to understand for beginners but at the same time offers advanced features that cater to professional editors. One of the most astounding qualities of Snapseed is that it offers a variety of features without its interface feeling cluttered.
Snapseed’s design is highly inspired and modern with a minimalistic approach. Using a color palette that’s simple, with slim fonts and icons, Snapseed offers a pleasant aesthetic to its users. In addition, the latest version of the app offers even more options for faster editing, a selection tool, an enhanced perspective tool, QR codes, and an insights stream that offers advice related to photography.
DoorDash is the perfect example of a new-age, minimalistic app. The creators of this app understood that cluttered, text-heavy app is finally out of fashion and nowadays what attracts customers is a simple, easy-to-use, and aesthetically pleasing application. That’s why they forgo smothering users with a flood of options and a complex interface, and instead used the whitespace to their advantage.
DoorDash is one of the leading forces when it comes to food. They allow users to order delivery from the greatest selection of top-notch local and national restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores- with more than 310,000 menus across 4,000+ cities in Canada, Australia, and the U.S. In addition, it offers great features like real-time tracking, no minimums, scheduling deliveries, etc. Once you’ve provided your location, you can get recommendations for nearby restaurants that offer pickup and delivery, along with the option to track your order or get time estimates for your delivery.
Every aspect of DoorDash is designed for user convenience, which is a major lesson for developers who wish to build a similar app.
If there’s an app that has fully adopted the concept of urbanization then it’s Transit. Learning the ins and outs of a city’s Transporation system is one of the most daunting tasks and most people end up feeling lost or abandoned in a city. Sometimes asking a local around cannot be an option due to problems such as the language barrier. This is where Transit comes to your rescue. It is an app that provides real-time transportation data in 200+ cities across Europe, New Zealand, North America, and Australia.
Transit is the perfect solution to all your transportation troubles as it plans your entire trip for you step-by-step, offers recommendations for the mode of transportation, and optimizes your route by syncing it with real-time location feeds for buses and trains.
All these great features of Transit are presented to the users in a very simple and easy-to-use interface. This app has made use of the colors very smartly by using colors that draw the eyes to different transportation options, the text isn’t cluttered, and there’s a navigation option to your rescue if you ever lose your way.
7. Hotel Tonight
Hotel Tonight has revolutionized the way hotels are booked as they’ve eliminated the endless scrolling to find the perfect hotel with the best rate. Now you can book a hotel with just three taps and one swipe.
This app lets you reserve a hotel at the last minute and at the same time makes sure you are offered the best prices. The makers of the Hotel Tonight understand that the users are most likely in a rush when they’re using the app, which is why they’ve incorporated a feature that allows you to choose your location first, and then the app list all the best deals available at the moment. And for the users that have time to spare, it offers different categories of hotels- Basic, Hip, and Luxe.
Moreover, if you need to change the location or timeframe of your search, it can be achieved with just a couple of taps, which trigger the full-screen map to display a clear picture of all the options available to you.
With over 45 million users, Lifesum is one of the leading apps when it comes to health and lifestyle. It is an app that inspires its users to adopt a healthy lifestyle through habit-building. It offers many services such as personalized meal and diet plans, calorie counters, exercise, and food tracking, healthy recipes, and more, all in one place.
The idea behind Lifesum’s inception is to inspire users to make healthy food choices, and at the same time plan and track their exercise routines. Although there are many apps in the market that might offer the same services, what sets Lifesum apart from all the competitors is its simplicity. While all the other apps in the industry are data-heavy, Lifesum focuses on presenting its health-related metrics in a friendly way and at the same time keeps the mood encouraging and positive.
Along with offering simple visualizations, Lifesum also presents its nutrition overview and exercise habits in an easy-to-read manner.
One of the main reasons why Evernote is one of the leading notes making apps in the market is its unparalleled number of offerings, simple interface, and easy-to-use convenience. Every developer should take inspiration from Evernote when it comes to creating an app that packs a vast number of features but at the same time keeps the interface user-friendly and tidy.
It offers a variety of formats to store ideas such as basic notes, article clips, journals, and document attachments. Moreover, Evernote moves beyond just writing by allowing users to capture ideas in the form of sketches, videos, or audio clips. It also allows you to stay productive by syncing all your devices.
Even though Evernote offers a huge number of features but that does not affect its interface which remains clutter-free and simple to grasp. So, when the next time a new idea pops into your head, you do not waste any time jotting it down on the Evernote app.
10. iA Writer
iA Writer is one of the best mobile applications when it comes to writing for multiple platforms. It’s more of a simple text editor that’s specifically designed to keep writers in mind and provides a focused experience for drafting essays, books, poems, business proposals, and more.
This app chooses not to overwhelm its users with multiple themes and customization options; that’s why iA Writer comes with just two interface themes i.e., Typography and Minimalism. Both these themes offer the option for users to toggle between dark and light modes and follow a soothing and simple color palette of white and gray shades.
Moreover, iA Writer offers a unique focus mode to increase concentration and a convenient file browser to access all documents which prevent the user from losing track of their work. Some of the other exciting features of iA Writer include a synchronized scrolling markdown preview, configuration keyboard bar, real-time Dropbox and iCloud sync, and customized retina displays.
Borrowing books from a library has always been considered an in-person experience, however, Libby is a revolutionary mobile application that has brought the library experience to a digital realm. Libby is a mobile application that helps bring the local library to your mobile phone. It allows you to borrow eBooks and audiobooks free of cost, and once you’ve finished reading the book, you can return them with just a simple tap.
Borrowing a book has become easier than ever using Libby's advanced search tool, and in addition to that, it offers filtering tools that allow you to search for a book by category, availability, format, and more. The procedure of reserving titles is likewise simple – Libby gives you time frames for when you may expect to receive your copy when you place your hold.
Finally, Libby has one of the greatest reading interfaces we've seen in the market. In both the eBook and audiobook categories, it gives users the option to add and review bookmarks, download books for offline reading, and tag their books with custom categories.
Sweetgreen app is one of the most convenient ways to get healthy and feel-good food on demand. It is a dedicated mobile app for a popular salad franchise and works as the perfect health companion for its most loyal customers. This app gives you the benefit of pre-ordering salads on the go from your convenient locations, be it your home or office. It allows users to make payments with their phones and receive reward points for each transaction.
The overall design of the Sweetgreen app is visually consistent and user-friendly. The app comes with a map, branded color palette that’s appealing to the eyes, and photographs of its salad offerings that help the customers make decisions. Aside from ordering and paying, the app has a number of useful functions, such as changing existing salads, quick reordering, saving favorite salads, and sharing your personalized salads with friends.
The idea behind creating the Days app is quite simple and unique- you can set dates for important events and the app would count down the days for you. It appears simple to create a plain, uninspiring design for such an app based on the idea alone. Days, on the other hand, keeps its interface interesting, simple, and elegant.
Days help you mark memorable milestones without the fluff by combining events with photographs and allowing you to post countdowns on your home screen. Moreover, it uses your phone's camera to capture photos in-app because images are such an important part of the app's design. In addition to this, Days offers many other features such as home screen widgets, tracking recurring events, a countdown calendar, intuitive swiping, and more.
Days' attractive full-screen event pages, categories for better navigation, setting reminders, recurring events, and using motions to slide between events are some other prominent design elements that set the app apart from its competition.
It allows you to choose from thousands of programming topics that help you to study coding principles, brush up on your programming skills, or remain up to date on the latest coding trends. SoloLearn includes courses and quizzes to help you improve your skills, as well as coding competitions and an iOS code generator to help you create and test your apps.
SoloLearn is designed to keep user experience in mind, and it utilizes the mobile screen space expertly. Its color coding and helpful explanations make it feasible for beginners to learn the grammar of over a dozen different languages even on smartphone screens. SoloLearn also has integrated a large community component as it allows users to create profiles and share their course progress with other students.
15. Artifact Uprising
The Artifact Uprising app lets you move images off your iPhone and into your life with high-quality photo prints and upgraded design. Access photographs from Instagram or your camera roll with ease, and create meaningful photo items in no time. Create a personalized picture book with your iPhone photos, wedding photos, travel memories, or regular family events.
The interface in Artifact Uprising is simple but effective in keeping the focus on your artwork. It follows a minimal design with a grey and white color palette to keep the focus on images and not on the clutter surrounding the image. The app is also quite straightforward to navigate; as it’s easy to choose the type of product you want, define the size and quality of the product, and choose the image(s) you want to print. It also integrates with your Instagram library and lets you choose images from there as well.
Whether you’re building the next best food ordering app or looking forward to revolutionizing the learning industry- the design of your app and your users’ experience should be your topmost priority. Fortunately, you have plenty to draw inspiration from.
However, as we’ve already mentioned above, a good design is more than just choosing the right color palette (although it is quite important). If you’re looking to build an app that makes an impact then you must make sure all the design elements function as a coherent experience for your users. So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and build the app worthy of being someday added to a list of best-designed apps in the world.