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40+ Helpful Resources On User Interface Design Patterns

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.

You may want to take a look at the following related posts:

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 Link

UI-patterns.com4
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 Patterns5

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 Library6
Welie.com has an interaction design pattern library maintained by Martijn van Welie7, 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 slideshows8. 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.

Screenshot9

Pattern Tap10
Created and maintained by Matthew Smith and Chris Pollock11, Pattern Tap is a gallery of popular web-based User Interface components and design patterns such as slideshows12 and breadcrumbs13. 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 Tap14

design|snips15
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|snips16

UI Scraps17
Written by Experience Designer Jason Robb18, UI Scraps is a weblog that catalogs, good, bad, and notable interface designs. Expect to find critiques of submission forms19 and praises for good designs20 and UI Scraps.

UI Scraps21

The UI Pattern Factory22
The UI Pattern Factory is a UI design library and gallery. What’s great at UIPF is that they sometimes share videos23 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.com24.

The UI Pattern Factory25

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 forum26 where you can swap stories with fellow UI designers and discuss patterns showcased in the design pattern library.

Yahoo! Design Pattern LibraryStyleIgnite
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.

patternBrowser27
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.

patternBrowser28

Web Design Practices29
Web Design Practices is a gallery of web design patterns such as breadcrumb navigation30 with very thoughtful and comprehensive write-ups on each design pattern, often including statistics and helpful resources about a particular website component.

Web Design Practices31
Web Design Practices32

Elements of Design33
Elements of Design focuses on particular components of a web design such as login forms34 and site navigation35 in the hopes of inspiring designers, as well as to highlight prevalent patterns for typical website needs and features.

Elements of Design36

User Interface Engineering37
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 search38 or previous and next actions in web forms39.

CSSbake40
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 navigation41 or beautiful comment sections42. CSSbake “focuses on the ingredients that make a site good” and is a great place to attain inspiration for common User Interface design patterns.

CSSbake43

UI Patterns44
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 Patterns45

Functioning Form46
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 buttons47.

MephoBox48
MephoBox is a design gallery that presents web design patterns and trends such as login forms49 and typography use50 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.

MephoBox51

Designing Interfaces52
Designing Interfaces is a book format site for the book, “Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design53” 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 Interfaces54

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.

UXmatters55
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 Arrows56
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 content57. 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 Link

Design Patterns for Data Graphics58
This resource deals with the discussion of useful design patterns for presenting data. You will find information and downloads on suggested diverging color themes59 (to easily distinguish related data sets between each other) and data resolution60.

Design Patterns for Data Graphics61

Patterns Of cooperative INTERaction62
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 information63 and collaboration in small groups64.

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 PatternsLearnability Gallery65
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 Patterns66

Designing Social Interfaces67
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 Interfaces68“. 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 Interfaces69

Open Source Design Pattern Library70
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 Library71

hcipatterns.org72
This resource deals with pattern languages in Human-Computer Interaction and user interface design. You can learn about common language patterns, tools73 used in the study of HCI, and additional useful news and information.

Common Ground74
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 patterns75 and presenting information to users using step-by-step instructions76.

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.

ecommrAjax 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 Controls77
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 Controls78

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 Link

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 Patterns79
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 interfaces80 and Calendar Views81.

Design Patterns82

Design Patterns Group83
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 Blanks84
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]85
This Flickr collection by User Experience Designer Gustavo Pimenta presents common interactive design patterns neatly subcategorized into sets such as Graphs86 and Logins87.

[Design Solutions]88

namics UI Pattern Library89
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 Patterns90
Peter Morville has a Flickr collection dedicated to gathering design patterns for effective search, subcategorized into helpful sets such as Web Search91 and Advanced Search92.

Flickr Collection: Search Patterns93

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

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/taking-pattern-libraries-next-level/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/06/10-ui-design-patterns-you-should-be-paying-attention-to/
  3. 3 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/designing-user-interfaces-for-business-web-applications/
  4. 4 http://ui-patterns.com/
  5. 5 http://ui-patterns.com/
  6. 6 http://www.welie.com/patterns/index.php
  7. 7 http://www.welie.com/about/index.php
  8. 8 http://www.welie.com/patterns/showPattern.php?patternID=slideshow
  9. 9 http://www.welie.com/patterns/index.php
  10. 10 http://patterntap.com/
  11. 11 http://sim.plified.com/
  12. 12 http://patterntap.com/tap/collection/slideshows
  13. 13 http://patterntap.com/tap/collection/breadcrumbs
  14. 14 http://patterntap.com/
  15. 15 http://designsnips.com/
  16. 16 http://designsnips.com/
  17. 17 http://uiscraps.tumblr.com/
  18. 18 http://jasonrobb.com/
  19. 19 http://uiscraps.tumblr.com/post/92427024/97-bottles-error-message-fail-disappointing-error
  20. 20 http://uiscraps.tumblr.com/post/90007981/disambiguity-article-dates-are-awesome-i-love
  21. 21 http://uiscraps.tumblr.com/
  22. 22 http://uipatternfactory.com/
  23. 23 http://uipatternfactory.com/p=refining-search/
  24. 24 http://www.flickr.com/groups/uipatternfactory/
  25. 25 http://uipatternfactory.com/
  26. 26 http://developer.yahoo.net/forum/index.php?showforum=12
  27. 27 http://www.patternbrowser.org/code/pattern/pattern.php?4,1,0,1,0,6.php
  28. 28 http://www.patternbrowser.org/code/pattern/pattern.php?4,1,0,1,0,6.php
  29. 29 http://www.webdesignpractices.com/
  30. 30 http://www.webdesignpractices.com/navigation/breadcrumb.html
  31. 31 http://www.webdesignpractices.com/
  32. 32 http://www.webdesignpractices.com/
  33. 33 http://www.smileycat.com/design_elements/
  34. 34 http://www.smileycat.com/design_elements/login_forms/
  35. 35 http://www.smileycat.com/design_elements/navigation/
  36. 36 http://www.smileycat.com/design_elements/
  37. 37 http://www.uie.com/articles/
  38. 38 http://www.uie.com/articles/faceted_search/
  39. 39 http://www.uie.com/articles/previous_next_luke/
  40. 40 http://www.cssbake.com/
  41. 41 http://www.cssbake.com/ingredients/navigation/
  42. 42 http://www.cssbake.com/ingredients/comments/
  43. 43 http://www.cssbake.com/
  44. 44 http://www.uipatterns.net/
  45. 45 http://www.uipatterns.net/
  46. 46 http://www.lukew.com/ff/
  47. 47 http://www.lukew.com/ff/entry.asp?740
  48. 48 http://box.mepholio.com/
  49. 49 http://box.mepholio.com/collections/13/popular
  50. 50 http://box.mepholio.com/collections/27/recent
  51. 51 http://box.mepholio.com/
  52. 52 http://designinginterfaces.com/
  53. 53 http://designinginterfaces.com/
  54. 54 http://designinginterfaces.com/
  55. 55 http://www.uxmatters.com/index.php
  56. 56 http://www.boxesandarrows.com/
  57. 57 http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/designing-the
  58. 58 http://geography.uoregon.edu/datagraphics/patterns/index.htm
  59. 59 http://geography.uoregon.edu/datagraphics/color_scales.htm
  60. 60 http://geography.uoregon.edu/datagraphics/patterns/index.htm#Resolution%20indicates%20data%20quality
  61. 61 http://geography.uoregon.edu/datagraphics/patterns/index.htm
  62. 62 http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/research/cseg/projects/pointer/patterns.html
  63. 63 http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/research/cseg/projects/pointer/patterns/multipleRepresentationsOfInfo/multipleRepresentationsOfInfo.html
  64. 64 http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/research/cseg/projects/pointer/patterns/collocatedTeamwork/collocatedTeamwork.html
  65. 65 http://www.usabilityinstitute.com/resources/learnabilityGallery.htm
  66. 66 http://www.usabilityinstitute.com/resources/learnabilityGallery.htm
  67. 67 http://www.designingsocialinterfaces.com/patterns.wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
  68. 68 http://www.designingsocialinterfaces.com/
  69. 69 http://www.designingsocialinterfaces.com/patterns.wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
  70. 70 http://www.uidesignpatterns.org/
  71. 71 http://www.uidesignpatterns.org/
  72. 72 http://www.hcipatterns.org/
  73. 73 http://www.hcipatterns.org/tools.html
  74. 74 http://www.mit.edu/~jtidwell/common_ground.html
  75. 75 http://www.mit.edu/~jtidwell/language/wysiwyg_editor.html
  76. 76 http://www.mit.edu/~jtidwell/language/step-by-step_instructions.html
  77. 77 http://designingwebinterfaces.com/essential_controls
  78. 78 http://designingwebinterfaces.com/essential_controls
  79. 79 http://www.flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/collections/72157600001823120/
  80. 80 http://www.flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/sets/72157601069327862/
  81. 81 http://www.flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/sets/152201/
  82. 82 http://www.flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/collections/72157600001823120/
  83. 83 http://www.flickr.com/groups/designpatterns/
  84. 84 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosenfeldmedia/sets/72157604272550634/
  85. 85 http://www.flickr.com/photos/guspim/collections/72157600047307884/
  86. 86 http://www.flickr.com/photos/guspim/sets/72157603690235070/
  87. 87 http://www.flickr.com/photos/guspim/sets/72157600048694309/
  88. 88 http://www.flickr.com/photos/guspim/collections/72157600047307884/
  89. 89 http://www.flickr.com/groups/namics_uipatterns/
  90. 90 http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/collections/72157603785835882/
  91. 91 http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/collections/72157603790573187/
  92. 92 http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/collections/72157603790640389/
  93. 93 http://www.flickr.com/photos/morville/collections/72157603785835882/
  94. 94 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/17/breadcrumbs-in-web-design-examples-and-best-practices-2/
  95. 95 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/16/evolve-your-user-interface-to-educate-your-users/
  96. 96 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/04/06/showcase-of-well-designed-tabbed-navigation/
  97. 97 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/24/designing-drop-down-menus-examples-and-best-practices/

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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

    Sloppy Hand

    June 15, 2009 5:44 pm

    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!

    -3
  2. 2

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

    0
  3. 3

    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.

    1
  4. 4

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

    thanks

    0
  5. 5

    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.

    1
  6. 6

    nice resources ;)

    2
  7. 7

    Nice collection for bookmark !! Thanks for the effort.

    DKumar M.
    @instantshift

    0
  8. 8

    Alan Manning

    June 15, 2009 3:49 pm

    Awesome post.

    1
  9. 9

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

    0
  10. 10

    Montana Flynn

    June 15, 2009 4:53 pm

    Huge resources! Thanks

    0
  11. 11

    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

    2
  12. 12

    Darwin Santos

    June 15, 2009 7:25 pm

    Awesome list of resources. Thanks guys.

    -1
  13. 13

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

    -1
  14. 14

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

    1
  15. 15

    pretty useful post.
    thanks.

    2
  16. 16

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

    0
  17. 17

    Roman Gaponov

    June 15, 2009 10:50 pm

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

    1
  18. 18

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

    2
  19. 19

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

    2
  20. 20

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

    2

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