40+ Helpful Resources On User Interface Design Patterns

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If there is a commonly reoccurring need for a particular solution, there is a great probability that someone has – by now – solved that need and has finished the legwork involved in researching and constructing something that resolves it. At the very least, you will find documentation on general solutions to related problems that will enable you to gain insight on best practices, effective techniques, and real-world examples on the thing you are creating.

A design pattern refers to a reusable and applicable solution to general real-world problems. For example, a solution for navigating around a website is site navigation (a list of links that point to different sections of the site), a solution for displaying content in a compact space are module tabs.

There are many ways to tackle a specific requirement – and as a designer – the most important thing you can do is selecting the option that best reflects the needs of your users.

In this article, we share with you the best of the best, cream of the crop sites, galleries, online publications, and libraries devoted to sharing information and exploring concepts pertaining to User Interface design patterns. Use these recommended sources to gain knowledge about a particular UI problem or to gain inspiration and insight on best practices, techniques, and examples of exemplary UI designs. Great thank-you goes to Pavel Konoplitski for providing us with related resources.

UI Design Patterns for Sites and Web Applications

UI-patterns.com
UI-patterns.com is a large collection of design patterns for UI designers to gain inspiration from. The site allows users to keep sets of their own (publicly accessible to site visitors) so that you can see other UI design pattern collections.

UI Patterns

Konigi
Konigi highlights exemplary interaction design and visual design use in the real-world. There are plenty of ways to utilize, navigate, and find your desired content on the site, including a Tags page featuring popular keywords used in entries within the showcase split up into three categories: keyword, product, and company.

Konigi

QUINCE: X Patterns Explorer
QUINCE is a beautiful and stunning web application that helps you explore an innumerable amount of user experience design patterns such as date pickers and two-panel selectors. The application requires the Silverlight plugin and is best viewed under Internet Explorer (though we have verified it to work well in Firefox and Safari).

QUINCE: X Patterns Explorer

Interaction Design Pattern Library
Welie.com has an interaction design pattern library maintained by Martijn van Welie, a Ph. D. graduate in Human Computer Interaction who now works as an Interaction Design Senior Consultant for Philips Design. The library features a ton of design patterns involving various site tasks such as navigating around a site, searching a site, and basic interactions such as slideshows. Each pattern follows a specific format: (1) the problem, (2) the solution, (3) when to use the pattern, (4) why you should use the design pattern, and (5) examples of the pattern in use.

Screenshot

Pattern Tap
Created and maintained by Matthew Smith and Chris Pollock, Pattern Tap is a gallery of popular web-based User Interface components and design patterns such as slideshows and breadcrumbs. Pattern Tap allows users to create their own sets, and they now have over 7,000 user sets. There’s plenty of inspiration to be gained at Pattern Tap.

Pattern Tap

design|snips
This design gallery focuses on common web page components such as navigation as well as popular design trends such as Grid layouts. design|snips has over 30 categories so that you can easily find the design pattern/trend that you’re interested in. What’s more, users are allowed to rate each design featured in the gallery so that you can see what the overall consensus is with regards to the effectiveness and appeal of a design being shown.

design|snips

UI Scraps
Written by Experience Designer Jason Robb, UI Scraps is a weblog that catalogs, good, bad, and notable interface designs. Expect to find critiques of submission forms and praises for good designs and UI Scraps.

UI Scraps

The UI Pattern Factory
The UI Pattern Factory is a UI design library and gallery. What’s great at UIPF is that they sometimes share videos in each entry to improve the description of design problems and solutions. Entries are further enhanced by user-submitted examples of the pattern, which they archive in their Flickr group: UIPatternFactory.com.

The UI Pattern Factory

Yahoo! Design Pattern Library
The Yahoo! Design Pattern Library, maintained and presented by the Yahoo! Developer Network (YDN), shares design patterns to the web design and web development community. They also have a recently-launched forum where you can swap stories with fellow UI designers and discuss patterns showcased in the design pattern library.

Yahoo! Design Pattern Library

StyleIgnite
StyleIgnite archives and displays the latest trends in web design. Hundreds of styles that are submitted by users are there for you to check out and gain inspiration from. What’s unique about StyleIgnite is that not only are they a gallery, but they also provide you with code snippets and assets to achieve the designs that you like.

blink design library
blink design library is a weblog-formatted design library that centers a post’s topic on a particular user interaction pattern with the aim of cataloging and exploring that subject. You will find topics and discussions on common interaction components such as buttons and web forms.

patternBrowser
patternBrowser is a unique web application for browsing user interface design patterns on a variety of products including mobile devices. It is a great resource for quickly finding a ton of inspiration in a compact, well-organized, and very searchable manner.

patternBrowser

Web Design Practices
Web Design Practices is a gallery of web design patterns such as breadcrumb navigation with very thoughtful and comprehensive write-ups on each design pattern, often including statistics and helpful resources about a particular website component.

Web Design Practices

Web Design Practices

Elements of Design
Elements of Design focuses on particular components of a web design such as login forms and site navigation in the hopes of inspiring designers, as well as to highlight prevalent patterns for typical website needs and features.

Elements of Design

User Interface Engineering
User Interface Engineering is an organization on usability, web design, and information architecture. It is a great place for learning about effective design patterns for common UI problems. For example, you can learn about faceted search or previous and next actions in web forms.

CSSbake
CSSbake is a unique web design gallery that focuses on website components rather than the overall web design. For example, you can find showcases of good navigation or beautiful comment sections. CSSbake “focuses on the ingredients that make a site good” and is a great place to attain inspiration for common User Interface design patterns.

CSSbake

UI Patterns
UI Patterns is a UI design library that follows a weblog format where each post is a design pattern and a showcase of it in use on a website or web application.

UI Patterns

Functioning Form
Functioning Form is the weblog of UI designer and author Luke Wroblewski. You can learn about designing for humans by reading through his insightful articles on the site and find useful lists such as a collection of resources on website buttons.

MephoBox
MephoBox is a design gallery that presents web design patterns and trends such as login forms and typography use with the aim of inspiring designers with their own work. Users can vote on designs and leave comments on them, allowing viewers to sort results by “most popular” and “most viewed” for quickly finding well-liked designs.

MephoBox

Designing Interfaces
Designing Interfaces is a book format site for the book, “Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design” written by Jennifer Tidwell. In the site, you will find loads of design patterns and articles on interaction design. You’ll learn about topics such as organizing site content, soliciting actions and commands from users, and presenting complex data.

Designing Interfaces

UIZEN
UIZEN is a collection of user interface designs that features real-world websites and web applications. The site serves as a useful reference for times when you are in need of effective design inspiration.

UXmatters
UXmatters is a web magazine dedicated to sharing information about the user experience. In the publication, you will find a ton of information on effective and usable design patterns and techniques regarding the design of interfaces centered around its users.

Boxes and Arrows
Boxes and Arrows is an online publication dedicated to the art and science of designs. In the site, you will find plenty of information regarding effective interaction designs such as how to get a web form’s structure right and designing for user-generated and social media based content. The tone and style of Boxes and Arrows is professional and academe-centric so articles usually leverage information from research and academic papers.

Niche and Specialized Design Pattern Resources

Design Patterns for Data Graphics
This resource deals with the discussion of useful design patterns for presenting data. You will find information and downloads on suggested diverging color themes (to easily distinguish related data sets between each other) and data resolution.

Design Patterns for Data Graphics

Patterns Of cooperative INTERaction
This web page shares information on cooperative (social/team-based) systems design patterns. Here, you will find resources and articles on topics such as multiple presentations of information and collaboration in small groups.

Information Design Patterns
There is an art and a science behind presenting information to users. This site discusses and shares information regarding effective and usable information and data structures.

Information Design Patterns

Learnability Gallery
What makes information and interfaces learnable? How can you present data so that users are able to absorb the content you are presenting? This visual gallery features effective design patterns that expose techniques for designing information with high-learnability.

Information Design Patterns

Designing Social Interfaces
In this resource, you will find patterns for social and collaborative sites and applications. The site is a wiki-style site that allows for user-generated and user-edited content, and is a companion site for a book called “Designing Social Interfaces“. You will find insights on how to effectively present content and build features into your project that leverage the advantages of collective and shared knowledge.

Designing Social Interfaces

Open Source Design Pattern Library
This resource features design patterns as it pertains to open source websites and applications. Users are able to submit their own pattern entries to share.

Open Source Design Pattern Library

hcipatterns.org
This resource deals with pattern languages in Human-Computer Interaction and user interface design. You can learn about common language patterns, tools used in the study of HCI, and additional useful news and information.

Common Ground
Common Ground is a documentation of a pattern language for Human-Computer Interaction design. You will find a lot of wonderful resources on HCI such as WYSIWYG Editor design patterns and presenting information to users using step-by-step instructions.

ecommr
ecommr is a website showcase of the best (and worst) e-commerce site and web application designs. The site explores topics in e-commerce content presentation and user interface patterns that allow for a great user experience. They focus on entire site designs as well as specific components of an e-commerce website such as customer service landing pages and size charts.

ecommr

Ajax Patterns
Ajax Patterns is a wiki-style site discussing design patterns that apply the use of Ajax techniques. It is a massive resource for web application developers to gain insight on design patterns involving highly-responsive Rich-Internet Applications.

30 Essential Controls
This article is a discussion on design patterns involved in the creation of RIA’s. It talks about important user controls that application designers can take advantage of to clearly denote actions that they’re able to perform when interfacing with an application.

30 Essential Controls

Design For Mobile
This site is dedicated to designing mobile applications and websites. The site is a wiki so the content is truly collaborative and user-edited. With mobile devices becoming very prevalent, the need for compatible and usable mobile systems grows, and this should be your first stop to learning more about this emerging field in web technology.

Wiki Patterns
Wikis allow for shared collaboration and puts the responsibility of creating and maintaining the site’s content towards its users. This resource discusses effective design patterns for creating (or implementing) a user-friendly wiki.

Flickr Collections and Groups

Flickr is a wonderful and visual-based resource for learning and finding design patterns. In this section, we share with you some notable collections and groups to peruse for interaction design pattern research and inspiration.

Design Patterns
This Flickr collection maintained by Chris Messina is a showcase of unique and interesting interfaces on the web. The collection is well-organized into sub-sets such as Drag and Drop interfaces and Calendar Views.

Design Patterns

Design Patterns Group
In this Flickr Group, there are over 300 items that you can browse through to see interface design trends. With a membership of over 360 Flickr users, you’ll be sure to encounter fresh content on a regular basis.

Web Form Design: Filling In the Blanks
Maintained by Luke Wroblewski, this Flickr set is a collection of images pertaining to web form design. It is a handy and inspirational resource to have around for times when you are crafting highly-usable web forms.

[Design Solutions]
This Flickr collection by User Experience Designer Gustavo Pimenta presents common interactive design patterns neatly subcategorized into sets such as Graphs and Logins.

[Design Solutions]

namics UI Pattern Library
This public Flickr group consists of 9 Flickr members and is a group intended for capturing UI design pattern trends from the real-world.

Search Patterns
Peter Morville has a Flickr collection dedicated to gathering design patterns for effective search, subcategorized into helpful sets such as Web Search and Advanced Search.

Flickr Collection: Search Patterns

Related content

If you enjoyed this article, please check out the following article which you might also like:

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Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a web publication for web developers and designers, and the Deputy Editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers and digital artists. He has over seven years of experience as professional web developer and web designer and has written a book on JavaScript.

  1. 1

    nice resources ;)

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  2. 2

    Nice collection for bookmark !! Thanks for the effort.

    DKumar M.
    @instantshift

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  3. 3

    Awesome post.

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  4. 4

    Fantastic resource! This beats the crap out of “60 Rare and Unusual Vintage Signs”..

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  5. 5

    Huge resources! Thanks

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  6. 6

    I wish you can make a template for me to mess with!

    My site’s comment area is damn boring! Rockbunch.com/ mind me not, ain’t fun to look at it for a sec!

    -1
  7. 7

    Brilliant resource. Would also recommend usability.org which has a great 292 page book free for download.

    -1
  8. 8

    I have to suggest one overlooked on this list, a book and companion site called “Designing Web Interfaces” by Bill Scott & Theresa Neil (my mentor). You can visit the blog at http://designingwebinterfaces.com. There is also a companion Flickr site but I can’t remember the address off hand, it’s linked from the main blog site.

    The focus is generally on web and desktop application design rather than general website design. It’s a great book & tremendously useful. It should probably be added to this already great list of resources.

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  9. 9

    very useful, personally i have started to “record” such patterns my self using OneNote 2007, and have to say is very useful, though did not think to research such things

    as always a great post

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  10. 10

    Awesome list of resources. Thanks guys.

    -1
  11. 11

    This is way I’m here every day !! Thanks a ton !!!

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  12. 12

    Nice list….
    I would like to suggest one more site for UI inspirations – http://www.wb4d.com

    thanks

    1
  13. 13

    Thanks, good collection of interface resources here. I particularly like Smashing Magazine’s posts on UI design and WordPress themes.

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  14. 14

    pretty useful post.
    thanks.

    2
  15. 15

    Wow! This is a really great and useful article!
    Great job Jacob and thank you Smashing Magazine for sharing this with us!

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  16. 16

    UI is the most important part of any system.
    Thanks for great collection!

    1
  17. 17

    Useful overview. Just spotted that the link to Open Source Design Pattern Library contains a ‘v’ too much.

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  18. 18

    great list, will take them in the evening with a tea to shuffle

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  19. 19

    Very useful post, will help a lot in designing interfaces.
    Thanx Smash

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  20. 20

    The headlines on your blog posts use a font size that is too large. I find myself wanting to step back away from my monitor to read them.

    2
  21. 21

    Thank you, Jacob! Great collection of resources, very helpful.

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  22. 22

    Raj Subramaniam

    June 16, 2009 12:12 am

    Real good resource, just what I was looking for..
    Thanks a lot….

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  23. 23

    Nice collection, I use pattern tap alot, has some really great stuff on there!

    Thanks SM!

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  24. 24

    Great Post….very helpful resources.

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  25. 25

    Evan the Web Designer

    June 16, 2009 1:53 am

    a great collection of work.

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  26. 26

    Handy, and inspiring for new web projects. Thanks :)

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  27. 27

    Very good list of resources. Thanks Jacob!

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  28. 28

    one of the best article ever! thanks!

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  29. 29

    thanks for feeding us again sm, keep it up!!!

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  30. 30

    I thought I’d offer the “UI Scrapbook” collection of ui element screenshots: http://browsertoolkit.com/ui_scrapbook.html

    There are a ton of good examples, and the color palettes from the images are already exported to hex colors.

    Cheers,
    PD

    2
  31. 31

    Hey, really appreciate the notice of Quince!

    I’d like to note that the experience should be essentially the same in IE, FF, Safari, and even Chrome, on both Win and Intel-based Macs, i.e., it’s not better on Win/IE as said. If you find any problems, please do let us know. We also offer the pattern content in plain HTML+CSS for those who can’t run Silverlight.

    Anyways, great list, and we’re honored to be among those enumerated.

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  32. 32

    Aweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesomeeeeeeeeeeeee

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  33. 33

    really nice links
    thanks a lot

    2
  34. 34

    WOOOOAH! That first site linked? It’s data is from 2002!!! Not exactly current (or even relevant anymore, at the rate the web changes)

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  35. 35

    I wonder if these type of pattern libraries exist for other discipline i.e. product design and architecture?

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  36. 36

    Overall interesting but some of those links are OLD, one is from 2002! Makes me wonder how old some of the other info is.

    2
  37. 37

    Aaah! nice post and very useful too.I always follow Pattern tap before starting any project …MephoBox is new to me but dam good..Thanks!!

    Neha

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  38. 38

    Thank you for featuring CSSbake! Great resource list :)

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  39. 39

    Thanks so much, but where do you find all that stunning stuff !

    1
  40. 40

    Stefan Freimark

    June 16, 2009 2:41 pm

    I’d like to add Markus Drews’ picasaweb.google.com/konfiguratorpatterns – a pattern library for product configurators (German). His Master’s Thesis Master’s Thesis is about the same topic.

    1
  41. 41

    Abdulsalam Alasaadi

    June 16, 2009 9:50 pm

    another great article.. keep it up SMASHINGMAGAZINE

    1
  42. 42

    Really loved this article

    1
  43. 43

    I’d like to suggest another handy resource which is pretty recent Web & Patterns

    1
  44. 44

    Best post in a looong time!

    1
  45. 45

    very good collection

    Thanks Smashing

    1
  46. 46

    The best post I’ve seen there! I’ve been studying some of the resources some half a year ago, but the list of other resources is just awesome!

    1
  47. 47

    nice resources, there’s a lot of user interface sites. thanks Smashing.

    1
  48. 48

    One of the best posts yet! Thanks

    1
  49. 49

    Quite Informative. Thanks for the post :)

    1
  50. 50

    Fantastic post! Nice resources.
    Thanks for the post!

    1
  51. 51

    Thanks for mentioning UI Scraps! Much appreciated! =)

    Cheers,

    Jason R.

    1
  52. 52

    Thank you for including our post on 30 Essential Controls for RIAs. You have pulled together a great set of resources.

    We also have a post with 12 Standard Screen Patterns for productivity web applications.

    And 100s of patterns for rich interactions posted on Designing Web Interfaces- explore the book section and all the examples from the book are on Flikr.

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  53. 53

    Thanks for adding the 30 essential controls article. Following on with what Theresa mentioned you might find useful to add our Flickr collection directly. In addition to the 300+ pattern examples (http://www.flickr.com/photos/designingwebinterfaces/collections/72157606817815788/) I added 500+ screencasts (interface movies @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/designingwebinterfaces/collections/72157611425349742/) of patterns in action. Prior to my current role at Netflix, I was the curator of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library. So some of this is a follow on to that work.

    Thanks!

    1
  54. 54

    Oh one more site I did not see mentioned. The Design of Sites was one of the first Design Pattern books and is a great resource: http://www.designofsites.com/design-patterns/. The site has a pattern explorer as well.

    Thanks for pulling this together!

    1
  55. 55

    Thanks!

    1
  56. 56

    Interactive design is one profession in which you’re never bored.

    1
  57. 57

    Great! A must-read for all web designers.
    Thanks

    1
  58. 58

    My modest collection of UI pearls: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uipearls/

    1
  59. 59

    very usefull !!!

    1
  60. 60

    we are testing your “pattern” for moderated comments.

    1
  61. 61

    Great resources, amazing article. Thank you

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  62. 62

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  63. 63

    Great list of resources!

    I wrote a book on Web Application Design Patterns. Some of the readers may find it useful. See: amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_5_11?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=web+application+design+patterns&x=0&y=0&sprefix=web+applica

    1
  64. 64

    Thanks for the great share!

    1
  65. 65

    Useful post, Just subscribed to your feed.

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  66. 66

    good list….really help full….thnks…love. parry

    1
  67. 67

    Nice and useful list! Another place to visit for .NET design patterns (coding) is http://www.dofactory.com.

    2
  68. 68

    I had stopped by the site and took a look at your ranking for some of your terms and just wondered if you’d be at all interested in having your site improved in terms of where it’s ranked on the major engines, Google Yahoo etc. with the terms you’d like as well as some I’d like to suggest. I can get your site on page 1 and have done so for about 283 people to date. Yes, I’m a real person, Yes, I actually just came back from viewing your site. I already know you get a ton of offers day to day. This is obviously different, I have plenty of references, work from home alone, have been doing this since 92 and still find time to raise 3 little girls.

    Call me at home if you want to, I work at home all day long helping people out with their traffic and sites, automating page content updates via rss feeds (google loves that), doing press releases, article creation and distribution, building one way inbound links, graphic and site design, I can even add (by the thousands) targeted social media followers (like twitter) to your account all day long, automating messeges you want to send out to them about your site. Posting ads on top various high traffic classified ad sites various cities, states etc. I have clients that are swearing by what it is I do for them and would love to show you some examples if you’re at all interested.

    Winston
    312.204.7203

    -1
  69. 69

    Tons of resources here. Thanks for the great compilation.

    1
  70. 70

    Great post, really informative.

    1
  71. 71

    Lots of great ideas and great components here. The one UI component I have never been able to find for the web is a good multi-user/multi-group calendar like a few hosted ones. Does anyone know of one that can be linked to a private MySQL database? All the web calendar components I have been able to find are essentially single-user that can’t be filtered to show events from just one or more venues/groups.

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  72. 72

    Web Design Practices has not been updated for ages.

    1
  73. 73

    Thanks for this great selection!

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  74. 74

    I like your post. I found it when I was looking through digg. I’ll go bookmark your site now.http://www.raybanstoreuk.com/

    2
  75. 75

    Prismic Reflections

    August 11, 2011 4:19 am

    impressive designs….thanks for sharing

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  76. 76

    I relay inspired by all those great collection…..

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  77. 77

    thanks for all these collection sending

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  78. 78

    Great collection. Thanks for sharing!

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  79. 79

    Tnx ,very good :) <3

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  80. 80

    Love this resource ** however** please note that your link to UI Patterns is incorrect. It currently goes to uipatterns.net It should go to uipatterns.com

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