We all need it. Sometimes we have it. Sometimes we loose it. Sometimes we find it in the oddest places. I’m talking about that odd little feeling that can make the day fly by or drag on … inspiration.
I’m always looking for inspiration, whether its for an app design, a new method of working something out, or even just something to get me through a tough day. When you build applications like I do, there are these things called design patterns. Essentially they’re best practices for a design layout, the way its been proven to work efficiently. There are good handful of design pattern sites that have pages and pages of screenshots or sketches to help guide and inspire you.
For a programmer, and if you’re looking at code, you can get some design patterns that help you code, or help you understand how things should work. Sometimes these sites are helpful and other times no so much. I’m always on a quest looking for great sites that I can go to to be inspired. Smashing Magazine is one I like to read. Even though I’m not a designer (which is what a lot of their content is geared toward) I still get inspired reading about the various font treatments, use of white space, or even how to freelance and cut off that terrible client 🙂
I recently found what I think is the best mobile development design pattern site and that is – Inspired UI. They have a list of categories down the left and pages of screenshots from various apps that deal with the type of layout pattern you’re interested in. I had to design a mobile page for building details. On a 3D map of campus, you select a building and the next screen lists all the important information about that building. Feeling uninspired, I krufted up a terrible screen that did have all the information listed, but it was pretty dull. After finding this site, I clicked to the Venue category, and saw a multitude of ways to present that data on the screen.
Now – be advised – I’m not saying – rip off the screen layouts from these design pattern sites. Use them as a basis for your own design. These screens all have common elements to help you understand what details are important. Quite possibly, these might include items you don’t think are important. But when you see they’re on a screen in the Four Square, or Pintrest apps, they just might be valuable to your audience as well.
So a big thanks goes out to @inspireUI because your site helped inspire me and design a screen I was having trouble with.
UPDATE: Just found their facebook page as well if you’re interested.