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Understanding Mobile UI Design in 2021


With the world changing at the fastest speed possible, the first computers in the world have now advanced to handy smartphones. The days of needing a desktop to Google or storing data are long gone. The new decade is all about the usage of smartphones and the smarter versions always find an open market. At the same time, there is also a constant talk of making the smarter versions of smartphones be more user-friendly than ever. The big giants are constantly looking for ways to ensure that the mobile UI design is created in such a way that they are easier to use than the competitors and provides the best of services to the customers. This would further encourage the use of smartphones and increase sales.

What Is Mobile UI Design?

A mobile interface design refers to everything that you see on your mobile display screen. When you switch on your mobile phone, the lock screen, home screen, applications or the menu section and everything in it, is mobile UI design. The display of every app on your phone and the ones that are already in there and the functions that lead you to be able to use your phone for various things all fall under the mobile UI design roof.

Even the simple mobile UI design is very different from the UI design for desktop computers and laptops. Mobile offers a much smaller screen and the ability to touch the screen to use the phone. So the controls and the designs created for mobile is somewhat more descriptive than the ones on other devices.

For example, the use of symbols is much more extensive as there isn’t enough space for labels which the designer get in computers. The symbols must not only be smaller in size to fit in the phone screen but also have enough graphical presentation for the users to understand the meaning without trying too hard to comprehend.

Some of the best mobile UI designs follow certain practices that are common amongst all.

  • The way the mobile UI is designed, its important the information, commands and the content of the phone are placed and composed in a manner that is easy for the users to understand. Some of the apps will be different but the most inbuilt apps will have a consistency making it quick for the user to learn the interface.
  • The size of the app will be enough to be touched and operated by just one finger. This is called fat fingering. The apps cannot be too small or too big in any direction to avoid the selection of any other apps that may not be needed.
  • The number of controls and command the user must use to operate a feature or an app shouldn’t be too much. As the user might get confused with too many steps to follow.

Types Of Mobile UI Design Patterns

The most important thing to remember is that not all mobile UI design is the same as the other. Smartphones from different brands can have different interfaces or patterns depending on the services they aim to provide to their customers. And each thing that you see has a different meaning and processing rules to make the user’s experience better with time.

The different types of mobile UI design patterns are as follows:

Splash Screen

Splash-Screen types of mobile ui design pattern

When you are launching an app to use and you see the first screen that shows the name of the app, its called a splash screen. It’s not just an introduction to the app but also a way to conceal the processing time to get the app ready for your use.

To keep the user interested and engaged with the app while everything is being prepared, the mobile UI design ensures that they put some illustrations or headlines or any kind of additional content like the loading pop up message or the moving dots, etc. This helps the user to know that the app is being prepared in the back.

Meanwhile, there are certain things that the designers must follow to have a better impression of the user.

Keep it simple

When you are presenting a splash screen, the idea is to keep the user engaged while the app is loading behind the scenes. Don’t overwhelm the user with too much information. Having a name, the logo with some background image is more than enough.

3 Seconds Rule

It’s best to not have the slash screen on display for more than three seconds. The user might feel a delay if there is more than that and think that the app is too slow. However, if it is going to take longer than that, have a progress bar for the user to stay updated in each step.


As important splash screens can be, sometimes it is a healthy practice to skip it. When your mobile UI design interface realises that the user is using the app frequently, try to avoid the splash screen. Some experts suggest that with modern technology some apps do favour not having splash screen at all and show the skeleton of the app instead.

Not having a splash screen is best when you don’t need to reinstate the brand identity amongst the users.

On-boarding screens

Onboarding-screen types of mobile ui design pattern

The onboarding screens are a couple of screens that help you understand the main features of the mobile’s main features. The aim is to guide you through the mobile UI design and make the usage easier.

Some designers in the past have raised concerns over the necessity of having onboarding screens. But in reality, it can be a little tricky to use the phone if the user is completely unaware of the new interface.

The way onboarding screens will be displayed depends on the company and the designers. But there are certain basic purposes that the designers aim to achieve with their designs. It is as follows:

  • Familiarize user with app functions and mobile UI design
  • Register the user-id
  • Use registered information for better personalization

One basic rule of the onboarding screens is that they are displayed only once and mostly to first-time users. It’s not going to be displayed every time you use the app or restart your mobile phone.

Home Screens

home-screen types of mobile ui design pattern

Once you are all set up with the mobile phone and familiar with the mobile UI design, the first thing you see every time you unlock your phone is the home screen. It shows the menu and the key features of the phone that you use. It is crucial for the users to make sure that the home screens features the most frequently used applications in the phone. While it can be customized, some of the basic apps are already put in place.

Mostly the home screen features the search option(s) to guide the user as to where they can find other features and apps. At the same time, the home screen should not merge with the apps. The icons over the screen should be visible and have an obvious purpose.

Log-in Screens

Login-screen types of mobile ui design pattern

With the advanced technology, most of the mobile UI design apps and new mobile phones usually ask for a login id when you first start to use them. While it is not always very appealing to log-in but it helps the mobile or the app to customize the features as per the choices of the user.

However, it is up to the designer to take the right mobile UI design inspiration and make the experience as quick, interactive and smooth as possible.

Profile Screens

Profile screen

For the profile design, the aim is to ensure the profile screen provides customization to the fullest along with a strong mobile UI design. For example, if your app checks on the workout sessions of the users. Then the user would want to know their progress in the profile screen and further activities that are to be done.

Profile screens must avoid any unnecessary complex mobile UI design or distractions that could confuse the user. Everything must be clearly laid out for easy understanding.

Stats Screen

stats-screen types of mobile ui design pattern

Depending on the feature and the purpose of the application, certain apps offer a stats screen. Creating a perfect and interactive stats screen in a mobile phone can be a tricky part because of tons of information available for the app to take data from.

A stats screen that is easy to understand, is interactive and does not give out too much information is dependent on the designer’s expertise in the field of mobile UI design.

Calendar Screens

Calendar screen

Calendar screens are mostly based on the fact that the users are most likely to link them with their google or iCloud accounts. It would help them in keeping their schedules on track and set a reminder for things that they need to do. Some users also use the calendar to remember the birthdays of their friends and loved ones along with information about festivals and holidays.

So a calendar screen need not be too complicated and intricate. The calendar screens across various mobile UI designs is voluntarily kept simple and convenient.

App Screens

App screens types of mobile ui design pattern

Different mobile apps will feature different types of screens depending on the purpose and the services provided by the app. The idea of every mobile UI design for the app is to provide the right information to the user and keep them engaged for as long as possible. For apps that are built for food delivery or e-commerce, the aim is to engage the customer enough to make a purchase. The screens build for such apps will provide more customization based on their past purchases or the things that they search for.

If the apps are about staying connected and the social media, the screen’s interaction will more or less depend on the posts that they like or spend more time in reading and reacting on. The more content is displayed as per the user’s preferences, the more engaging will the app be. And the user will spend a longer time than usual.


In the end, it always comes down to a smooth experience for the user. The success of any mobile UI design is dependant on the way the users interact and understand it. As a designer, your job is to ensure that the user has the most convenient experience while using a smartphone or the app. The screens must also be interactive and engaging and constantly need to be upgraded as the times pass and trends change.

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