UX Design Patterns and their Importance in software applications

Aug 24, 2022

Let’s start with understanding what a pattern is:



Design patterns are design-level solutions for recurring problems that software engineers come across often.

We see design patterns everywhere from how the elevators are designed in the same way to how all vehicles work in the same fashion. They follow the same logic and give us an effective solution to ease our lives.

What are UX Design Patterns?

I started using design patterns during my internship as a UX Designer when I was working on improving my wireframing skills. I also wanted to check how other apps are solving and using different approaches to the problem.

UX design patterns are the general approaches in design that are broadly used to solve common usability issues.

It is important to use UX design patterns as users have some expectations around digital products as per their past experiences of how the products work. Also, for the designers, it saves their time and effort in finding the solution to problems that other people have already dealt with.

How to Apply UX Design Patterns?

  1. Figure out the problems that require solutions.
  2. See how other people are solving it on their site.
  3. Look out for different UX patterns and select the one that works the best for your problem.

Types of UX Design Patterns

Commonly, we have four types of UX design patterns that target different core site functions. They include:

  • Input and output: Ever wondered how to take simple input from the users which might include a form? Input-output patterns show us the right way to take data and how to show results to the user. They manage how users submit or include information into a site and how the site gives input or answers. The core idea is to allow users to input the information and give them feedback so they know whether they do everything correctly is simple. Examples can be: Form submissions, Success/fail messages, App notifications, and Progress bars/steps.

The above designs act as calendar pickers which is a very common input task in mobile apps.

  • Navigation: Honestly, I did not know when to keep the bottom navigation and when to hide it when I started as a designer. But thanks navigation patterns of other existing apps which helped me to learn how to guide a user through your app. These design patterns guide users when they are exploring a site and they assist them with tracking down their way back to the landing page. Basic and clear route designs provide the user with a comprehension of where they are currently, where they were on the previous step and how to arrive at the spot they need.

Some of the most commonly used navigation patterns are:

  1. Hamburger Menu: Who has not seen a hamburger menu before??? It makes the User Interface and Navigation cleaner. Perhaps the most terrible thing you can do while planning an application is to overburden your users with decisions, making decision fatigue. The hamburger menu moves everything concealed flawlessly. This holds users back from getting diverted from the main features that you believe your users should see. Furthermore, the hamburger considers direct access, and that implies that permits a user to get to a "preferred item, rather than driving users to go through your content in serial order."
  2. Tab Bar: Tabs help to arrange and permit navigation between categories of content that are connected and to a similar degree of hierarchy. The Tab Bar contains the Tab Scroller and Tab parts.
  3. Wizard: Use when the user needs to input complex data into a system but the tasks are more easily achieved by splitting the process into a series of smaller and simpler steps.
  4. Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs comprise a list of links that assist a user with imagining a page's hierarchy between the parent page and child page in a site and allow a user to navigate to any of the parent pages.

The above design shows steppers in the flow of account creation.

  • Content Structuring: These UX patterns can be dashboards, FAQs or anything which gives structure to the information display, giving it meaning and decreasing the visual clutter.

The above screenshot is of the Spotify app and shows how it uses dashboard design to structure its content.

  • Social Sharing: With the rise of social media, apps have also become the place for sharing information with your social circle. Most of the apps have a feature to share their content and that too at the click of a button.

These UX patterns help users to engage with site content and share it. Social media patterns are used to build trust, facilitate communication and user engagement, share content, and so on. Some examples of social media patterns are chats, testimonials to build a social reputation, leaderboards to boost engagement, auto-sharing, and invite a friend.

  • Rating and Reviews: These are other examples of building trust. Recently my office got shifted to a new location and I wanted to look for good places to have lunch. I saw google reviews of multiple restaurants before going.

Resources for Finding UX Design Patterns

I am sure after knowing all the patterns you might be curious to know where we can get a list of existing patterns that people have curated and tested.

Here’s the list of websites you can refer to:

  1. https://designvault.io: It includes popular patterns for onboarding, navigation, content, and elements. It also includes mobile app screenshots.
  2. https://www.checklist.design: It provides a complete checklist of all screens, elements and flows that you need to remember while designing an app.
  3. https://littlebigdetails.com: It consists of some of the best apps that are using their designs to solve interesting problems.
  4. https://www.landingfolio.com: It consists of a collection of landing pages to get inspiration.
  5. https://screenlane.com: Good for daily mobile designs inspirations

By understanding these UX patterns, we can get an idea of how to structure content and flow on our site. but at the same time, these UX patterns are not cookie-cutter solutions and can be modified as per the production needs.

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