With millions of mobile devices, increasingly being capable of running demanding tasks, mobile apps are becoming more functional. And with so many functionalities, it becomes important to place access to every feature just a couple of taps away.
Keeping this in mind, we app developers often refer to other similar apps or online sites showcasing several design templates for the said theme. While some of them stand out to the eye, most of the times they can be overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, looking for design inspirations in other places isn’t wrong, but most of the times the designs we find are incomplete which hurts the very purpose of a good UI – to make the actions feel smooth and accessible to the user.
Say that I want to make a cool looking yet minimal music player which no one has seen before, but being a developer by profession and not a UI designer, I am bound to look online for some design inspirations. While doing this, I came across a good looking UI mock-up of the music player, which shows a classical record-like looking album art with a nice arrangement of other icons and controls, all perfectly placed and curated. I finalized the design and started working on the app, and then all of a sudden, I am blank! Why do you ask? Well that’s because the design that I found online was not of music player instead was just of the “Currently playing" screen, but what about the previous screens?
For example, when the user opens the app for the first time and needs to select music to play, what will that UI look like?
This is the issue with some of the designs that we find online. They are often incomplete and show just the arrangement of UI elements that look good together to the viewer. While mostly neglecting the real constraints of the platform which can change the way how the design looks.
Agreed that if tried almost all types of gestures or designs can be implemented on all platforms even if it requires a little too much expertise, but then it won’t fit the platform’s design guidelines. Moreover, if I am even successfully able to implement the design, what about other screens? Either I’ll have to look up again for templates or see some other apps implementation, but doing so well make my app’s user experience inconsistent.
So, what should be done?
If you are inexperienced or amateur in making app designs and want to explore some designs to implement, make sure to look for illustrations which are complete. Complete in the way that most if not all screens that will be required in the real app are illustrated. This will make sure that your app’s UI will remain consistent throughout. Also, observe the distinguishing factors of several design mock-ups that make them unique and stand out from others. Feel free to change the color scheme according to your preferences.
While if you are experienced in designing app UI, still explore designs but make sure that your UI principles are in line with the designs that you see. So that even if the designs are incomplete, you can build the remaining UIs yourself that too without making it inconsistent. (Read: https://www.terasoltechnologies.com/blog/developing-successful-mobile-applications-7-steps/
As for the last tip: looking for UI in other similar apps is a relatively much safer option, considering that it will definitely have a complete UI. Also, never make an exact copy!
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