Rule Number 1 if you’re going to “borrow” from other great people is to only steal things that are worth stealing. You know, good artists borrow, great artists steal.
We are dealing more and more with people in large corporations suddenly finding themselves tasked like “hey you, design this iPad app!” The problem with that is that these people often don’t yet own an iPad that they use all the time. They are used to thinking in concepts that make sense on Windows machines or in web browsers, but not on a large multitouch panel.
Fortunately for us several people have started collecting examples of great UI designs for us to peruse. My Twitter followers came up with quite a selection.
If you want to ever have a change of being featured by Apple you will have to invest all the resources you can muster in great UX and UI design. The same is true for competing for the Apple Design Award which is only given to the very creme de la creme. The recent winners are linked to from the site.
For every such design award winner there are many more apps that are also very well designed and can serve as shining examples. Have a look and let them inspire you.
- pttrns — designs tagged by category, e.g. “Friends”
- Mobile UI Patterns — designs categorized by function, e.g. “Empty Data Sets”
- TappGala — “The best in mobile interface design”
- TapFancy — “An iPhone app design showcase and gallery”
- Landing Pad — “A showcase of beautiful iPad app design”
iPhone and iPad mixed
- lovely ui — a collection of mobile ui elements, e.g. very nice Walkthroughs
- iOS Inspires Me — Showcase of the best looking iPhone & iPad app icons, app interfaces, app websites & resources
- Patterns of Design — “discovering the best in app design”
- App Sites — not apps, but mobile websites
One site sticks out in particular as it shows common UI patterns with wireframes, but only for Android: Android Patterns. But then again, we won’t need something like this on iOS, because there all gestures and UI paradigms are clear anyway, or aren’t they?
Also of note is the UIKit Artwork Extractor open source project which lets you get your hands on all the artwork bits and pieces that Apple uses in their apps and operating system. That’s not the general design as such to steal hear but you can get insights of which pieces their great UI is composed of.