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How to Get Better at Design?

Forums > SwiftUI

I've written a few apps using SwiftUI. They pretty much do what I want them to do, but the look and feel leaves a lot to be desired. Especially when I compare them to the apps I use every day, like Things and Drafts.

What are good resources for app design?

   

This is a generic answer for anyone thinking about careers developing iOS, MacOS, and similar applications.

Hacking with Swift is the number one resource for diving into the application development pool. @twoStraws paces his lessons from absolute beginner through to working applications. And it's brilliant how he'll show working code, code that you or I would write, then a few lessons later teach a slicker, more concise, swiftier way to write the same code.

You build your knowledge upon previous lessons.

Development Teams


From the gist of your message, you're a hobbiest? You're crafting you own applcation to share with family, co-workers, or perhaps push to the Apple App Store to bolster a resume? Nice!

In many larger organizations, developers and interface designers work together. But their jobs are separate. A developer will have the freedom to design logic, data flow, message types, json structures, business rules. But they will be given explicit instructions how the interface should look.

You're making an application for a Uni? Here are their school colors and logo. This is a local green grocer's application? Here's a high resolution image of their market, and here are some seasonal vegetables. Use these! You'll even be told how much blur to put on a logo, what opacity to add to a background image, and just how rounded to make the text field's corners. You may not even have a say in the order of the fields on a screen. That's a designer's job, not a programmer's.

Of course your team may work differently. But this might explain (a bit?) why @twoStraws' lessons are focused on application functionality, and a little bit less on look and feel.

User Interface


Now, think of the same type of lessons and objectives, but only for the look and feel of your application. This is almost surely an entirely different career path! There are years of lessons with complementary and contrasting colors. Dozens of homework assignments on shading and opacity. You'll take back-to-back terms learning fonts, learning about legibility and setting moods.

@twoStraws really doesn't touch but the surface of some of these topics.

Interface Design


You can start with the Google. Perhaps the key word you want to search is UX. The term UI brings you to many topics about how to make buttons, swipe gestures, and text boxes. The keyword UX describes the artistic look and feel of applications.

See --> UX for iOS 15

Also, take a peek at Pinterest, of all places. You'll find some clever collections of ideas there.

   

When you find useful links, or even some basic UX tutorials, please return here and share your knowledge!

I did sign up for a UX newsletter from Erik Kennedy. Occasionally I'll look in and read a blog post. Erik sells online UX courses. Since he charges I am not providing a link here.

I have no affiliation with him, other than getting an occasional newsletter on UX Design.

   

Two suggestions:

Check out the designs at places like Dribbble and find elements you like or that inspire you. Try to replicate them in code.

Look at the world around you for inspiration. I was working on something and completely unsatisfied with my initial boring design but couldn't come up with anything else that I liked. Then, one morning in the shower, I saw something on the label of a shampoo bottle that sparked an idea and I changed the whole look of my app into something I love now.

   

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