Our Favorite UI/UX Designs of 2015: A Thoroughly Informal and Awesome List

Author: Neal Jenks
Design Consultant | IxD Practice Manager
Ah, end-of-year: The time when a young man/woman’s fancy turns to lists.
I asked Software Technology Group’s illustrious IxD Practice members to share some of their favorite UX/UI discoveries from the past year. What followed was an entertaining and instructive mixed-bag of websites, apps, and more. Enjoy!
The free prototyping tool that UX designers love just keeps getting better and better. InVision has now extended well beyond hot-linking comps to terrific animations and transitions, cross-platform support, project management, development hand-off tools and more. And dang are those features easy to use. I consider InVision to be one of the best web-based apps of all time.
Boring forms move aside. Here’s a form generator with a simple, robust interface that creates gorgeous, user-friendly forms. Survey Monkey, you have been shamed.
Okay, so it’s not responsive yet, but the website for Snowbird Ski Resort demonstrates the power of branding, design consistency, and beautiful, purposeful animation. To see what I mean, check out the great snow report side-bar animation. I love me some accordion-fold action.
Google Play – Music
Google Material Design standards are slowly taking over the look, feel, and functionality of the Internet, and their music player shows why. Bold, purposeful and fun, this app makes finding music intuitive, user-centered, and insanely easy. Watch your back iTunes.
The world’s most popular Wikipedia reader has so much respect for the content and the user, it’s disgusting. Wikiwand shows us that, when the interface takes the back seat in the experience, it’s a sign of elegance, not acquiescence. 
For those with a strong aversion to design for design’s sake, avert your eyes. For the rest of you, behold and rejoice. The multiple scroll rates tied to each graphic, the beautiful typography, the limited palette—all of these come together to form a single, cohesive piece that entices one to flick the ol’ scroll wheel again and again.
This has to be one of my favorite corporate websites. Do yourself a favor: Click and drag the bottom-right corner of your browser window to see a responsive/adaptive design done right. Each break point, each grid, each resized image speaks of craftsmanship and attention to detail. This is screen optimization at its highest.

In the world awash in messaging applications, some absolute gems have been overlooked. Such is, unfortunately, the case with Wire. Here at last is a gorgeous messaging app that just works right: HD voice quality, quick image uploads, and a lot more. The layouts, the huge graphics, the customization—all bespeak refinement and appreciation for the user. Now if only Wire could find some users to return the favor.
Oakley Airbrake MX
The site loads horrifically slow, but to the patient, the spoils. Behold the full power of parallax scrolling: Not just for wow-factor, but for a ponderously perfect product demo. Here is a site not content to merely blow your mind and let it be. Oakley has put together a masterpiece of marketing. Prepare to pine for impact-resistant goggles.
Inception Explained
It’s a cool visual representation of a cool movie. Deal with it.
There’s our thoroughly informal and certified-awesome list. What did we get right? What did we miss? Email neal.jenks@stgconsulting.com and let me know.
Author: Neal Jenks
Design Consultant | IxD Practice Manager

Posted in IXD