Inspiration plays a major part during the formative stages of design. All great things stem from inspiration. However, when it comes to designing mobile app UX and UI, you might struggle for ideas, especially if you are a novice designer (or not a designer at all).
Fortunately, there are a few common approaches that will help you find inspiring design ideas. In this article, we’ll explore four popular ways to find inspiration and turn it into mobile app reality.
1. Examine Existing Apps
Taking a look at what other designers do can be pretty helpful when you’re stuck on design decisions. Find a few apps from the App Store that mirror the functionality you’re looking to create, download and work with them for a while. Put yourself in the place of the user, not the developer, and gather your opinions on those apps:
- Examine existing user flows and find all pain-points.
- Ask yourself the question: “How would I improve this design?”
Tip: When using an app, note down important findings for future reference. Use these notes later in your design and development process.
2. Explore Case Studies
Design is problem-solving—mobile design is no exception to this. All too often when we have a specific problem, we try to solve it on our own. But chances are, somebody has solved it before. There are plenty of brilliant designers around the globe working on similar projects. Some of them share their solutions with the community. These solutions are often presented in the form of case studies. All you need to do is to find a relevant example.
“Good designers copy, great designers steal” Pablo Picasso
It’s important to remember that design talent isn’t about creating new patterns or visual elements, it’s about finding the best way to solve a problem with the least amount of effort.
- A good case study provides a lot more than just insights on how to design a certain element or part of a user flow, it also contains insights from user testing. The outcome of a design solution (with core metrics provided in the case study) will help you understand whether it was successful or not.
- Behance and Medium are great places to search for case studies.
Image credit: Denys Nevozhai (via Behance)
Image credit: Stacey Wang (via uxdesign.cc)
3. Train Your Design Eye
The ability to critique and identify good design is critical for creatives. You can develop this ability by critically reviewing and observing the design work of others (both expert and ameteur) on a daily basis. This is sometimes called “getting a daily dose of inspiration”. By developing your taste and ability to identify strengths and weaknesses in the designs of others, you can set a high bar for your own work.
Image credit: Anish Chandran (via Dribbble)
4. Look At the Designs Around You
As a creative, it’s important to remember that inspiration can come from anywhere. You never know when you might see something that inspires your next great idea. Don’t limit yourself only to the digital medium. Seek out photo galleries, posters, videos, print magazines—anything that gets your creative juices flowing can be valuable for your process. Often, the best examples of typography, grid systems, and color combinations can be found in mediums outside of the one you normally design for.
A film poster designed by Jan Tschichold
Now You’re Ready To Go
Let’s quickly summarize what we’ve learned so far. When you want to get inspired:
- Find and carefully examine apps which really impress you.
- Use case-studies to learn from other designers.
- Make a habit of regularly visiting reliable sources of content that excite you.
- Push yourself to continually seek out new sources of inspiration.
Hopefully, these tips will help you come up with better concepts for your next mobile app project. If you’re ready to put your new-found inspiration into action, start by creating or logging into your Dropsource account and create a stunning looking mobile app.