UI Design / UX Design

Learn the Different UI Design Patterns. Become a Better Designer.

Learn the Different UI Design Patterns. Become a Better Designer.


Design Patterns for UI are a great way to solve common problems. They help designers create steady, robust, and easy-to-use interfaces.

Definition of UI Design Patterns

UI design patterns are reusable solutions to common interface issues. They bring a structure to the placement and behavior of user interface elements, resulting in consistent, familiar, and predictable experiences.

Design patterns help designers reduce the risk of something going wrong and speed up the development process. This is because the designer already knows the right design decisions. There's also less development time since the code is kept modularized. This leads to better product quality with fewer issues for users.

Designers must consider broader principles like visibility, feedback, and constraints. This allows them to add concepts like hierarchy, consistency, and navigation into the app. UX designers can use these during each phase of the design process, depending on the level of user-system interaction.

Designers should use UI design patterns when creating applications. This ensures that components appear in expected locations. For example, buttons and elements should be in similar places. Standard interactions should also work in expected ways - like a floppy disk icon for 'save' and a trashcan icon for 'delete.' Menu items should follow left-to-right and top-down movements. All these standards create consistencies throughout applications, giving users expected behaviors and an easier time navigating unfamiliar interfaces.

Types of UI Design Patterns

UI Design Patterns are how we arrange and present user interfaces elements, like menus, buttons, or windows. There are various patterns, from navigational and structural to visual and interactive. Each one has different pros and cons.

Command Patterns

Command is an old and popular design pattern. It lets you control how an event is handled by separating the object that generates it from the objects that handle it. A command object is created with reference to a specific receiver or group of receivers.

In UI design, commands are user-initiated operations. Examples include button clicks, key presses, and cursor movements. There are different Command patterns used in UI Design.

These include:

  • Menu-Based Command Pattern: This is seen in PC software menus with items that have associated actions, like open file/close file/save settings/restore settings, etc. Menu-based commands can be hierarchical, giving access to subcommands and detailed settings.
  • Event-Based Commands: These are triggered by user interaction on buttons or objects like sliders. They generate Events (input) processed by the presenter class by raising the associated methods. Event-based commands allow multiple user interactions while maintaining the application's state.
  • Popup Menus: Popup menus allow quick access to commonly used tasks. They appear on the right mouse click or through keyboard shortcut key combinations and left mouse clicks. When an option is chosen, the associated command is fired, executing related action methods defined for each. This dramatically increases Usability and Efficiency. At the end of the process, memory usage is zero, and everything is returned to its original state.

Navigation Patterns

Navigation patterns are used to aid user interaction in an application. They help people find content and actions quickly and easily. This includes different menus, data structures, information architectures, and interactions. This allows users to understand their location within a site or app.

Common navigation patterns are:

  • Tabs: A popular way to organize a large amount of content. Generally placed horizontally at the top or as a sliding menu.
  • Breadcrumbs: Show a hierarchical trail leading up to the current page. Helpful in reaching deeper levels in a site or app.
  • Accordions: Popular for mobile designs. Collapsible sections let users see info without scrolling.
  • Dropdown Menus: Show subcategories or multi-level content in one place. Save space while keeping navigation together.
  • Hamburger Menus (or Menu Icons): Iconic navigation links that open into menus when tapped/clicked. Often seen as flyout menus on larger tablet and mobile apps.

Input Patterns

Input patterns provide users with a variety of UI controls. This includes buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, select menus, and more. It's an important UI design pattern, allowing users to efficiently interact with an app or website.

Text Fields are used for text input from users. These can be single- or multi-lined, depending on the input type. Buttons let users take action, such as "Submit" or "Send," after entering their info. Checkboxes enable selecting multiple options. Radio buttons permit one choice from a list of options. Select Menus offer a dropdown menu of predetermined choices. Multiple Choice Lists provide various answers that can be chosen via checking off or a dropdown menu.

Layout Patterns

A layout pattern is an arrangement of elements on a page. It's essential to help users understand how to consume information, achieve tasks, and interact with apps. There are various patterns used to reach different design goals.

Floating Layouts draw attention to the main element, usually an image or video. Grid Layout is organized into rows and columns. Fluid Layouts adjust naturally on devices like phones or tablets.

Hierarchical Layouts display multiple content levels, so users can move up or down. Content-Based layouts group items thematically for easy navigation.

Benefits of UI Design Patterns

Web designers, rejoice! UI design patterns are here to make your life easier. What are they? Pre-built components that allow developers to craft a user experience quicker and more smoothly.

Let's look at the benefits: UI design patterns speed up the design process. They also make it simpler. Developers can use them to create a great user experience. Plus, they save precious time and energy.

Improved Usability

UI design patterns can be beneficial for increased Usability. People using digital products come with experiences and expectations from other products they have used before - and UI design patterns aim to meet these expectations. With familiar design patterns, users know how to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, with minimal effort.

Familiarity makes it easier for them to navigate your website or app. The correct design pattern will also help the user in their decision-making. It provides an efficient way of tackling their needs and helps them reach their destination quickly. This reduces cognitive load, so the user can navigate the page.

Additionally, this improved intuition reduces potential mistakes due to standard tools like links or buttons, which are used consistently.

Increased Efficiency

Adopting established UI design patterns can speed up the development process. Experienced developers use these accepted conventions to code faster and troubleshoot and maintain more easily.

Users gain confidence when familiar patterns are used since they don't have to learn new features by trial and error. UI design concepts like toolbars and wizards help users navigate processes without having to read long directions.

Enhanced User Experience

UI design patterns provide a fantastic user experience with intuitive elements. These elements include nav, user interactions, data displays, widgets, and input controls. Designers can use existing templates to quickly build robust and consistent user interfaces, which is beneficial as it saves time and avoids the need to reinvent the wheel.

Navigation patterns help users understand their location, and visual patterns give the product a nice "look and feel." Interaction patterns enable users to move between pages with consistent functions and responses.

Ultimately, users benefit from UI design pattern implementation, as they can efficiently conduct complex tasks. Designers and engineers benefit, too, as patterns help create structures for teams building products across different platforms. UI design patterns must be followed for the software product to succeed in aesthetics, Usability, and functionality.

Examples of UI Design Patterns

UI Design Patterns give designers a method to arrange the components of a user interface in an orderly and purposeful way. These patterns can facilitate a connected and easy-to-understand experience. It can make the user's journey more straightforward and more efficient.

This section will examine some standard UI Design Patterns and their potential applications.

Modal Windows

Modal Windows, or popup windows, are a type of GUI element. They restrict user actions to specific window operations, like accessing extra content or features. These windows appear on top of existing windows and must be dismissed before continuing tasks.

They can be used for various purposes, such as gathering information, giving instructions, or alerting of changes.

Modal Windows provide advantages like a unified look and feel and reduced navigating complexity. This allows users an intuitive way to interact with their computers.


Breadcrumbs are a UI design pattern that aids users in understanding their location within a website. They demonstrate a site's hierarchical structure by breaking it down into smaller steps. This makes it simpler for users to move between pages without getting lost.

Breadcrumbs generally appear as graphical elements at the top or bottom of a webpage. They appear horizontally and have links to previous levels of the hierarchy. For instance, say you're viewing an article about 'Tableau'; the breadcrumb navigation might look like this: Home > Data Visualization > Tableau. When clicked on, each item in the breadcrumb sequence will take you up one level in the hierarchy until you reach the starting point.

Breadcrumbs help users understand their position and offer quick links to higher levels in the website's navigation structure. They should be implemented when complex navigation exists and large amounts of content must be organized.


Carousels are a popular UI design pattern seen on websites such as Netflix. In a loop, they display elements like images, videos, text, and interactive components. Users can navigate the items with arrows or tabs or swiping gestures on touch-enabled devices.

The main benefit of carousels is that they allow multiple pieces of content to fit into a single space. For example, e-commerce sites use them to feature products on sale, and business websites may use them to advertise blog posts or events.

When using carousels, there are several design considerations:

  1. Keeping each slide concise and clear
  2. Having navigation cues visible
  3. Labeling "call-to-action" buttons
  4. Avoiding auto-scrolling (unless stated by the user)

Carousels can effectively present information and imagery if done correctly – it encourages users to explore the content stack further.


Accordions are a design pattern with a function to compress, extend, and change the display of content. It is often used when there is a need to show a significant amount of information in an organized way.

An accordion pattern must have at least three components. A trigger (an icon or text), the content body (with images, etc.), and most importantly, the toggle action which reveals or hides the content when triggered. It may offer additional details about the content.

The goal of this pattern is to enable users to view a lot of content without feeling overwhelmed or wasting space. On desktops, they appear as vertically stacked boxes with triggers and content; on mobiles, they are arranged horizontally. Accordions help reduce clutter by showing only relevant info.

When using this pattern, ensure users understand how it works (by seeing expanded/collapsed versions). Offer multiple ways to navigate your site's content hierarchy - because only some users may rely on accordion patterns.


To wrap up, familiarity with the most popular UI design patterns is vital. Each has pros and cons and can be used in various ways. Testing is critical - one pattern may be great for one project but not another. To avoid user frustration, it's best to learn how users behave and try out different UI design patterns.

Last but not least, successful UI design projects depend on good communication between designers and developers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common UI design patterns?

The most common UI design patterns include navigation menus, search boxes, pagination, filters, breadcrumbs, and accordions.

What is the purpose of using UI design patterns?

UI design patterns provide users a consistent and predictable experience when using a website or application. They help users understand how to interact with the product more quickly and efficiently.

How do I choose the correct UI design pattern for my project?

Choosing the correct UI design pattern for your project will depend on the type of user experience you are trying to create. Consider the type of user you are targeting, the tasks they will need to accomplish, and the content you need to present to make an informed decision.