Here are three apps that have the minimal design concept nailed down. I use these apps often and like how the controls kind of get out of the way and you get to interact with the app directly.

Google Maps

I loved the Google Maps app the moment I downloaded it. The app uses a minimal number of colours. Different shades of grey is used to make elements stand out or blend in to the background as needed.

The concept of navigation and tab bars are totally missing in the app. Making it look unique.

Flipboard

Flipboard is the best use case when talking about minimalism. The content is front and centre. The only distractions on the screen is the white navigation bar that takes you back to the main screen.

I like this app because the design is so dependent on the content but still manages to present itself gorgeously each time. This is hard to manage especially when you are dealing with feeds from bloggers who sometimes are design-challenged 🙂

Rise

It is hard to get a good screenshot that describes Rise because every screen shows the minimum amount of information possible.

But that is the beauty of it. You are only shown the most important information at any point in time. An alarm clock is simple, show me the time and how long I have to sleep. That is all.

Well done.

The First Really Minimal Vault Template

This month, I have been so inspired by the minimal design concept that I decided to release a design template that embodies minimalism on the Vault. Hopefully this will help you make your own stunning looking apps, apps that will rock your next update and get good reviews from your users.

Take a look at Metropolitan here

We decided to take a shopping app as a basic concept. The design is dependent on the content (products, bags, shoes) just like the Flipboard app but then we use a small number of colours (blue and shades of grey) to make things stand out.

This is live now and you can buy it at a discount now. Go here to find out more and get your copy of Metropolitan

14 comments

  1. Patrick Crask

    I love the minimalist concept. I am currently using a podcast app that is so confusing and crowded with giant control buttons and adds, I don’t know what they were thinking then I here it’s up for App of the year. I don’t know how it’s possible. They could learn a lot from the vault.

    Cheers, Patrick

  2. Ken Heins

    I agree to a point. I would rather have one control too many as opposed to one too few, and I am seeing some apps that do leave the user wondering: where do i go next?
    And I have a problem with icons that are so vague that you have no idea what they do, so you have to click on it just to get some idea of where the designer is going in their thought process. I see no problem with any of these three.

    I do see a problem with a lot of the newer Mac apps. It is easier there to have one or more too few controls for the simple reason that a Mac app is made to use and to need many more functions, therefore a broken chain of thought in navigation has a lot more opportunity to show itself and cause a navigation problem. I an a strong dis-believer in change for the sake of change and I am seeing that, unfortunately so in some Apple apps.

    But thats another story,.

    • tope

      Great to hear that… Yeah, the minimal design concept is actually very interesting to see. What one can do with basic colours eh?

  3. François

    It looks pretty and looks a bit like the new Microsoft’s design, Modern UI/Metro, which is really nice and innovative (my opinion, even though I am a Mac fan :-))! Congrats!

    • tope

      Yeah, have got to give it to them… Well done, Microsoft.. What I fear though is that Win8 design can get old pretty soon.. let’s see

  4. BJM

    Great article, Tope! I agree that skeuomorphism (sp?) was fun, but got in the way too much, and that minimalist design can still provide an excellent user experience while still getting the job done in the app you’re in. Thanks for what you do!

  5. Andy

    At last I think I have found a design people can use easily, while on the move. Fingers crossed it will get me started on my often deferred plans to build an app.