A few months ago now, a friend on Twitter suggested that I create a short list of what I deemed to be the best designed applications available for iPhone, to date. With 64,096 applications available for sale, Apple’s App Store is becoming that of a crowded place.
Today, I’d like to highlight just a few apps which have caught my eye for one reason …
The user interface of an app (for me) is the be all and end all of the application’s function to me, and if the app’s UI prevents me from using the application effectively, it’s obviously not a very good application to start with.
With company’s experiencing fierce marketing tactics being used against them daily to secure your taps, it’s becoming increasingly clear that if the UI of your application is not up to the mark, or doesn’t explicitly look and feel like a beautifully designed Mac-type app, your not going to get the sales.
Today, I’m throwing aside those 59p flashlights, and fart machines to bring you a short list of applications I personally think have made (or are about to make) their mark on the store, with their gorgeously designed user interfaces. From games, to utilities to business apps, we’ll look at them all.
Note that this list is not ‘ranked’ in any way.
1. Tweet Reel
Designed by Collin Tolloch, TweetReel is an app which allows anyone with the new iPhone 3GS to record and publish video to social networking site Twitter. Not only does TweetReel allow you to tweet the video you just recorded on the move, your video will also be uploaded to Tweet Reel’s video upload site for the world to see.
Simple in it’s approach, the app boasts a clean UI with vibrant colours and from a user standpoint, a clean cut and highly understandable UI. Contrasted to the UI of it’s free counterpart, TwitVid [App Store], in our opinion, TweetReel has the better UI.
Designed by Kieffer Bros, Lexic is a word puzzle similar to Wurdle [App Store]. The aim is simple, your presented with a 7 x 5 grid of random letters. Your aim is to find words in this grid by touching and dragging lines in different directions.
This app just screams polish from start to finish. You only have to look at the screenshots above. The use of visually pleasing finishes, including polished wood, shiny metals and iTunes styled slightly-opaque buttons, makes you want to lick the screen.
3. Awesome Note
Designed by BRID, Awesome note is a notes taking application, which oozes style – But it’s not just a pretty face. With the ability to create, save and orangise notes into certain categories, customise folders by colour codes and unique icons, create edit and delete folders, 11 different note backdrops and backup and restore – you pretty much can’t go wrong with this app.
Although there are a few hundred applications on the store which allow you to take notes in other fang-dangled ways, Awesome note’s UI is fresh, clean and inviting. A must for notes on the go.
4. Drum Tracker
Designed by Simple is Beautiful, DrumTracker is a Drum step sequencer. With the ability to compose 16-step patterns of drum fills and breaks, modify pattern step velocity, sample offset and pan and pitch, as well as looking great, DrumTracker is a spiffy drum machine for your iPhone.
The app takes the rouged ‘screwed metal’ approach to it’s UI, and in my opinion – it works. Checkout the screenshot above, or hit below to go to the App Store.
Designed by David Lochhead, ColorToy is considered a must for any graphic designer. The application allows you to carry a full color scheme generator in your pocket.
The app’s UI is also gorgeous. Using light gradients for backdrop, and the actual function for decoration, this app has a simple yet elegant style.
The app uses a ‘Polaroid’ type scrollable UI. The clever use of light Apple-esque vivid blues contrasted with gradiented blacks, really give Flickit that polished look.
You knew it was coming. You just knew it. Designed by Andrew Kaz and Phil Ryu, Classics is a slick book reader for a closed selection of ‘Classic’ books. With it’s seamless page-turning animation, bookmarking system, and superb graphics, one part of me wishes the guys would break this ‘closed’ approach to this app, and blast it wide open, like Stanza [App Store] – it’s rival.
The use of clever textures and shadows really make for a great user experience, not to mention that awesome book cover artwork and clean cut page layout. This application probably has one of the best user interfaces on the App Store, I just wish the app was more .. open.
You may have read our recent advanced preview of Keymote by Iced Cocoa. It’s an application which allows you to set wireless keyboard shortcuts dubbed ‘key sets’ to be used to ‘remote control’ any supported application over the air. But it’s not just functional. It has a face, and a damn good looking one too.
Keymote is probably one of the only third-party apps I’ve seen which seems to explicitly follow that Mac-esque look and feel, and (of course) iPhone OS. The use of slightly off white shaded calculator-style buttons, and a ‘Store’ interface based on the design concept behind Apple’s own mobile App Store, makes this an app you could literally purchase solely on face value.
We’re in constant contact with Iced Cocoa, and Keymote has been submitted. It should be available shortly. Until then why not enter yourself into our exclusive contest in which you could win a copy of Keymote for iPhone, when the app eventually does hit the App Store! :D
Designed by Tapbots, and considered by many a pioneer in iPhone user interface design, Convertbot is a futuristic looking application which allows you to convert a whole range of units. Using a robot like interface, the app uses clean cut layouts and soft gradients to create a stunning interface experience.
You literally have to use this application to see what I’m getting at here. It’s a trend-setter. You may find yourself purchasing it just to play around with it’s UI. I for one wouldn’t blame you.
Designed by XK72, BirdBrain is an application I only just came across recently. Basically in a nutshell the application allows you to follow what’s happening with your Twitter ‘follower’ and ‘following’ count, in real time.
Although a simple concept, the app lays out the statistics in a clean, fresh and inviting way. All the data is easy accessible and readable. From the tab bar icon design, to the login screen, BirdBrain is solid and usable.
What have we learnt ..
If there’s one thing we can learn from these types of application’s it’s that user interface is king. It’s the very fabric in which apps function. It also seals the experience you offer your customers, and users. If your user interface sucks, your users won’t like your application. These are just a few examples of good user interfaces. There are tonnes of great applications which didn’t make the cut.
If your a developer I hope I’ve inspired you to create, or keep creating great user experiences for iPhone (and iPod touch) users. If your an App Store customer, I hope I’ve inspired you to keep supporting developers who are bringing these fantastic-looking apps to this new emerging platform.
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