19 exceptionally well designed mobile app experiences

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December 19, 2014
19 exceptionally well designed mobile app experiences.

Mobile apps are becoming increasingly refined: Where once an app performed numerous functions, now there are apps that focus on a single task. As users become more adept with their devices, and more comfortable replying on apps, this trend is only set to continue.

Designing mobile apps — whether as web apps, or native apps — relies on great UX and careful UI planning. Below, I’ve pulled together 19 apps that get everything right; most are simple, minimal, and flat; all are successful.

If you’re designing mobile experiences, then here are 19 apps that will inspire you to embrace small screens and single-task applications.

1. Rubie


Rubie is a simple and colorful game. It was created by Corey Haggard. What makes this app beautiful is its stunning darker hues. The background is this darker off gray navy while the Rubie jewels have spectacular vivid colors. It’s nice that the game has a simple layout and graphics as well.

2. Sky


Sky is another color-filled app. The background is always a slight gradient that changes its hue based on the temperature. Once again the overall interface is pretty minimal. However, the fun and great looking background make the whole app significantly more appealing.

3. Timeful


Timeful is a smart calendar that schedules things for you, with the aim of getting things done. The overall interface is super clean. Often, actually way too often, calendar interfaces become quickly cluttered. But with the light tones and well organized and spaced out elements this app is easy to look at. For a calendar app, this is uber important.

4. Clear


A super minimalistic to-do list, Clear, helps you stay organized by decluttering your to-do’s. The app has actually come a long way by allowing various lists but way back when all it was made up of was yellow to red list of tasks. The simplicity and minimalism of this app help make it a great tool in getting your priorities and tasks straight.

5. Squarespace blog


Squarespace has such a sophisticated and clean design style. Their mobile app is an extension of that aesthetic. This use of slick typography, white space and light gray with charcoal hues is exceptionally executed. Their app looks light, and looks like a delight to use.

6. Peek


Peek is a calendar app with a non traditional twist. First of all, the app is super colourful. They use vivid red, yellow, blue and green hues in addition to some darker tones and it looks wonderful. Their app is pretty cool because it uses different gestures and paradigms compared to a typical calendar app but it works in their favor to be different.

7. Hotel Tonight


If you need a last minute hotel reservation in a major city Hotel Tonight’s got your back. Oh, and you can do it all in style. Their dark website combined with light fonts create a very elegant feel.

8. Steller


For those of you who love photography and stories this app is for you. Steller is a photostory app that is filled with beautiful and amazing stories told by a wide verity of people. The app’s UI is pretty great because it keeps things simple and it doesn’t interfere with the overall experience. After all, the idea is to pay attention to the stories, not the app itself.

9. Authentic Weather


If you are looking for a weather app that is a smart ass and has a minimal design, Authentic Weather is it. This app is just fantastic with its remarks which almost always involve cursing. But, it’s also minimal in its approach. At first glance all you get is the current forecast; if you want more you can tap anywhere on the screen.

10. Lovely


Lovely has a lot of information to show you on any given screen. Rending apartments is complicated because there is so much information to process about any given apartment. However, Lovely is well organized and showcases lots of information in a good manner. It’s easy to scan apartment lists to see what each has to offer as the UI is visually light.

11. Tumblr


Tumblr’s menu is simply amazing; the icons are beautifully crafted, they aren’t fun but they are full of personality that most social media sites lack today. The icons make posting something on Tumblr just a little bit more fun.

12. Thinglist


For a to do list like app, this is pretty cute. It has personality spilling from every angle such as its round font and great colors. However, the key component are the great icons.

13. Fancy


Fancy is an app where you can browse through various cool products or keep a list of products you see online you’d like to purchase eventually. It’s a great place to find gifts or great finds. They have a lot, I really mean a lot, of content to show off but they do so well. The app has a clean design and a well organized display that allows the products to be viewed with ease.

14. Uniqlo Wake Up


Uniqlo’s alarm clock is pretty interesting. It has a lovely friendly design. The app definitely wants to embrace simplicity and cleanliness; just look at it and you’ll see that there aint much to it. The interfaces are clean with little on them. The focus is kept on the current weather and time. What makes this app interesting is that when the alarm goes off the app sings to you the current time and weather conditions. Yup, it’s something else.

15. Litely


Cole Rise created Litely to improve smartphone photo editing. One of his key goals was to strive for simplicity. This app is elegant and sophisticated in its design, especially of the UI; there is not a lot going on either as the focus is placed upon the photo you are trying to edit. It’s such a beautiful app.

16. Rise


Rise is a different kind of alarm clock. It has a different user experience where you set the alarm time by moving the timer up or down the screen. The time the alarm is set determines the background of the app. The UI and the design of this app is minimal for sure but the beautiful hues of the gradient background are so strong and bold; they make the app stand out so much.

17. Google Translate


Such an overlooked app but so well executed. Google has been sprucing up their design game over the last year especially with Material Design announced earlier this year. You can see that a simple app like Google Translate can take light hues like whites and light grays and make them look elegant, sophisticated, and most importantly, pleasant. This is one hell of a uncomplicated design that looks darn good too!

18. WillCall


If music entertainment is your thing, WillCall can help you find the best events around town. What the app’s design did right is created a dark color scheme, which reinforces the dark nature of music events like shows and concerts. It’s nice to see that the app reflects the real world; it’s also nice to see a well designed and good looking darker app, as they are not that common.

19. Code Academy

19-codeacademy < p class="p1">Code Academy’s app looks pretty darn good. Learning programming on a phone can be challenging because it’s a small screen. However, Code Academy’s app has the right idea: The different section within each page or screen is well defined through background colors. They took away everything unnecessary and kept the styling pretty elementary in order to keep the focus of the experience on learning.

Paula Borowska

Paula is a freelance web designer who documents her travels with photos and words. She works with small companies to help them create products that change the lives for their customers all in the hopes of gaining more customers and retaining their current ones longer.

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