Did you notice that most websites are almost the same in looks? Most websites have the top navigational bar. Mobile apps use the tab bars. And most logins require you to input the username and password.

While everything seems like a trend, designers do follow several design patterns to shape the world. In this article, common UI Design Patterns, we will discuss everything you need to know about UI design patterns.

In this guide, we will also cover the following topics:

An introduction to UI design patterns

There is a reason why design patterns exist. The most common one is because, design patterns are the reusable solution to a common, occurring problem.

Design patterns provide an identifiable and predictable solution to an interface design problem.

This idea came from architecture and programming, where it finds ways to optimize solutions that are working well within some given contexts. The solutions that emerged frequently enough then became recognized as a formula that can be reused.

Another reason why design patterns exist is that the structural and behavioral features of a pattern provide familiarity to the users.

The UI and UX design team can leverage this knowledge instead of reinventing the wheel. This will provide greater ease and use of their product.

However, while design patterns are useful for informing design decisions around a particular problem, UI designers are free to modify these patterns based on their users and business needs.


The UI design patterns

We’ve discussed that user interfaces patterns are based on recurring solutions to recurring problems in the user interface.

These UI design patterns help us avoid reinventing the wheel, which makes designing a reliable and faster solution to interface design problems.

We have also discussed that while the UI design patterns are considered the bread and butter of UI design, they are not from a designer’s mind. These design patterns came from architecture and programming sectors designed to optimize the user’s interface development process.

One of the best ways to save time, effort, and even cost is by creating a library of components that contain solutions to common user problems.

This way, a lot of UX developers were able to cut down the time spent in the creation and testing phases, which in the long-run has expedited the overall development process. This process was adapted by UI designers who easily picked up the advantages of using UI design patterns.

You can see a lot of user interfaces common design patterns. They are everywhere. You can see them on sites and apps. These are using patterns that are very familiar to users.

It will only take seconds for one user to understand what to do within an interface that is designed with common UI design patterns This showed that adopting common patterns can leverage knowledge and skills and increase the ease of product use.


The importance of UI design patterns

Cost-efficient UX strategy

More than just common features that can be copied and pasted into an interface, the UI patterns are also visual cost-efficient strategies for the UX team.

The common language between UX designers

UI patterns also serve as the common language for UX designers, keeping away any misunderstandings. It also provides consistency which is very helpful when it comes to projects with multiple designers.

Enhances user retention

UI patterns are also important when it comes to user retention. You will notice this advantage when browsing so many different websites and apps. It feels easy to navigate them simply because they all share common UI design patterns.

Without these UI patterns, it could leave the users confused. When users become used to seeing specific patterns, a slight change in these patterns results to lower user retention and fewer conversions.

Thanks to UI design patterns, it keeps the cognitive load to a minimum because of making an intuitive user interface.


Common examples of UI design patterns

Responsive Web Design Patterns

The digital age, along with the rise of smartphones and other mobile and touchscreen devices changed the usability of websites and apps.

You will notice that most screens got smaller, and people interact with touchscreens differ significantly from desktops.

Thus, it is always best to design your website to be responsive, to cater to this growing need from the users.

Ease of registration

A lot of people are lazy to register or create an account online. To make users fully appreciate the registration process, UX designers should resolve this challenge to encourage the users to register on the website or app.

UX and UI designers should take the “lazy registration” approach, which is related to account registration patterns.

So, when is the best time to use lazy registration? This design pattern is best applied to these situations:

  • When users try out a website, app, product, or service for the first time before making any decision
  • When users need to get familiarized with the interface before they are sign-up. This can be a crucial step in the process of deciding to register or not on the website or app

The goal of this design pattern is to allow users to use your system first before taking any appropriate action, like user registration.

When users are satisfied with the website or app, it helps them decide whether to register or not. In this case, registering on the website or app will just be a small step rather than a process that users feel obliged to do so.

You can take the “lazy registration” example on most shopping carts today. The shopping cart is a good example of this pattern, where users can browse and choose products and only require registering when they check out.

Infinite scrolling feed

An infinitely scroll in the feed auto loads the content of a website or app when the user scrolls to the bottom of the window. This gives an “endless flow” of content, keeping the user engagement high and interaction cost low.

The infinite scroll is the opposite of pagination, which separates the content into multiple pages of a website.

This UI design pattern works best on websites where users tend to explore without a piece of specific information in mind. Infinite scrolling mechanisms also might include an animated icon to indicate that more content is being loaded.

Pull-to-Refresh feature

The pull-to-refresh concept is what it says it is—it loads new content on a mobile feed or refreshes a page by pulling downward with a finger, then release.

Since this feature is so convenient and gives users more control over their feed, this design pattern is widely implemented across both mobile websites and applications.

UX designers should require a “refresh indicator” to be displayed in the form of text, icon, or animation. They should also make the user must pull the contents downward past a set threshold to trigger the refresh. Otherwise, the content should snap back in place with no refresh.

One-Finger Mobile Layout

This mobile UI web design pattern applies to mobile website layouts in general. It encourages UI designers to take into account the user gripping their mobile device with one hand.

In a sense, the higher an element is on the screen, the harder it is to reach with one’s thumb. Thus, for convenience and accessibility reasons, UI designers should always be mindful when placing interactive elements at the very top of mobile web pages.

A clear call to action

While a simple web form only allows us to input one action (such as submit, save, or send), some users may feel the challenge of distinguishing between the primary and secondary call to action.

Let us define first what are primary and secondary actions:

Primary actions should lead to the completion of a form. Like for example, clicking the “Save” or “Send” button.

Secondary actions usually do not lead to a form’s completion. This may include clicking the “Cancel” button.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Which are the primary and secondary actions when you see save, save and continue, and publish buttons all in a single row?

When users are faced with several options, UX designers should highlight the primary actions and un-emphasize the secondary actions.

There are two ways this can be done:

  • Provide different colors to the primary and secondary actions. For example, UX designers can give primary actions a vibrant color and secondary actions a shade of gray
  • Styling the primary actions as buttons and secondary actions as links

The above ways both provide a clear distinction between the primary and secondary actions. As a result, you relieve the users from the challenge of thinking about which option to choose in order to complete their actions.

Hamburger Button

The hamburger button is a UI design pattern that solves the navigation area when there is limited space. It condenses a website’s primary navigation into an icon of three horizontally stacked lines, and when pressed, a menu of navigation links appears.

These hamburger buttons have become very common since a lot of people are now using mobile devices. However, there are some websites that also use this style of the button on their desktop view.

When it comes to designing for mobile, make sure that the icon is large enough to be visible and pressable. UX designers should place menu items spaced far enough so users don’t inadvertently press the wrong link. The hamburger button should also allow users to close the menu without selecting a menu option.

Utilize breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs is another UI design pattern that has a good purpose: it provides users the path from the homepage of the site and points their current location on the page.

They serve as secondary navigation, assisting the users to understand the hierarchy and structure of the website.

If you are familiar with breadcrumbs, it starts with the home page and ends with the page that the user is currently viewing. You also notice that each label in a breadcrumb trail is linked to its respective page or section in the hierarchy, except the current page, which is unlinked.

This is a UI design pattern that takes very minimal space and is usually positioned at the top of the page (below the header and above the content).

They should not appear on the home page as they serve no purpose there.

Add a Wizard help

A wizard serves as a guide for users to help them complete a relatively complex series of steps to accomplish some greater goal.

Wizards usually break down the process with each step, requiring users to complete it before advancing to the next step.

A common example of applications using this UI pattern includes creating a user account, completing checkout, or following a tutorial.

The wizard UI design pattern shows in a window just one step, which is usually accompanied by clear language, a button to navigate backward, the ability for the user to undo the steps, a progress bar, and an option to cancel the wizard at any point.

Make the form fields a requirement

It is always essential to make the user interface obvious to the user. This design pattern applies just very much to forms.

One of the best ways to make the interface of web forms obvious is by marking required fields. The goal of these markers is to alert the user to the information they will need to provide. This UI design pattern is helpful to users, making them feel that they do not have to fill out the entire form on submission.

A general practice, UX designers should remove all optional fields and retain only the information that is necessary for the user.

The rule of thumb is the simpler and shorter the form is, the better is the user experience.

You can position the required field markers in one of these two places:

  • Next to the labels, which allows users to quickly scan the form
  • Next to or inside the form fields

When it comes to deciding on which fields to require, always consider the total number of fields in the form. If the form is complex and most of its fields are required, the user may likely see it as unnecessary clutter.


The importance of subscription plans

This design pattern is suitable if the website offers one product or service that comes in various plans or requires regular payments like monthly payments. Each subscription plan should be descriptive and provide the following information:

  • Name of the plan (example: Basic, Gold, Platinum)
  • Subscription price, and its validity
  • Features (with the cheapest plan having fewer features)
  • Sign up button

Always show your plans in order, in which most plans are arranged from the most to the least expensive. You can also highlight the plan you recommend to your users to subscribe by using a different CTA button color or size.


10 best websites to find UI design patterns

Pttrns

Pttrns is the home for an enormously stunning and clean collection of user interface design patterns for both iOS and Android apps. It also hosts a wide selection of mobile design elements.

Designers can also see a neat timeline feature to show how a design has changed over the years for the chosen platform.

It’s one of those websites that can give you the right inspiration if you’re looking for one.

Dribbble

Dribble as all designers know, is one of the leading sites when it comes to creative design patterns. The website features design references for websites, mobile apps, and animations. It provides beautiful user interface design patterns on a multitude of platforms.

The presentation of design references on the website is also very appealing. Dribble also provides typography and branding solutions.

Theme Forest

ThemeForest is another popular website for design reference. Almost all designers know about this website as it has become one of the go-to sites for designs.

ThemeForest provides a large database of design templates, including a vast range of web solutions that include:

  • eCommerce Websites
  • Content Management Systems
  • Admin Portals
  • Website Templates
Awwwards

Awwwards perhaps has the best and most frequently updated designs available online.

As the website name suggests, it provides a judging system to reward the best submissions and feature them on the website.

The reward system inspires designers to enhance their skills and at the same time be inspired by the top designers.

The website also uses a comprehensive tagging system that makes it helpful to search for various design elements.

Behance

Behance is a design elements platform for both the web and mobile apps on a massive scale. This website caters to graphics, illustrations, motion elements, and a whole lot more.

It provides a vast range of design inspirations for all designers in various industries.

UI Garage

UI Garage is a platform for both web and mobile app design references. UI Garage supports platforms in Android, iOS, and web. All the information on the website is very straightforward so it is easy for designers to navigate the website.

Everything on the website is properly categorized by design elements, making it easier and faster for designers to look for designs.

UI Recipes

UI Recipes is a good design reference for UI designers as it provides an analysis of the top UI patterns and the latest design trends from the top mobile and web apps. It also provides user interface designer action points for designing specific user tasks.

UIPatterns.io

UIPatterns.io is not just another pattern library website. This is different from other design pattern websites since UX and UI designers can see the different design solutions and also interact with them to get the whole design experience.

Mobbin

Mobbin is an iOS-only app design reference website. Their website has a rich collection of iOS apps that they have dissected for our satisfaction.

It has loads of sample design elements with screenshots, proving itself as a reasonable source of inspiration.

If you are new to designing iOS apps and are looking for some app UI design patterns, this website is a must-try.

SaasPages

SaaSPages help SaaS companies build the best landing pages to help them convert more visitors into paying customers.


Google Material Design

Google Material Design Components section may be known to only focus on Google’s own components, the website is a good reference in comparison to other web and app solutions out there, including clear do's and don'ts in UI design.


Conclusion

The design ideology clearly has changed a lot over the years. As UX and UI designers, we must stay updated on best design practices that cater to the needs of the users.

This article is helpful for you to check out the various design resources where you can find the most current UI design patterns.

You can refer to our mentioned design websites to help you achieve success. We strongly suggest you go through these websites when working on your next design project. Good luck!

Mary Ann Dalangin

About the author

A content marketing strategist and a UX writer with years of experience in the digital marketing industry.

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