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23 resources to inspire a modern chat app UI

23 resources to inspire a modern chat app UI

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Building a chat app like WhatsApp or Messenger is next to impossible, right?

Wrong. 

But doing everything from scratch takes time, effort, and money. That’s why our team created the Sendbird UIKit to create a modern messaging experience using ready-made components. 

We’ve also compiled this list of 23 essential UI design resources, because we know that UI can make or break your product.

Let’s dive right in.

Design inspiration

Design trends come and go, and the last thing you want to do is complicate your UI. Getting design inspiration from the following websites can help.

1) Pinterest

Pinterest can be a great place to collect inspiration for chat UI design. Check out collections like Chat UI and Design: Chat & Messaging.

2) UI Movement 

UI Movement is like Pinterest but created explicitly for UI design. It’s chock-full of ideas and examples for app designers seeking inspiration, and users can subscribe to newsletters curated to their interests. See its collection dedicated to chat UI.

3) Mobile Patterns

Mobile Patterns is a design inspiration library that collates examples of design patterns for just about every mobile app feature you can imagine, and messaging is no exception.

App UI design blogs

Design blogs can be a great educational resource to help guide your UI design philosophy and help you understand why some UI (and UX) design tropes are so popular. Analyzing what other designers have done right can give you a lot of insight into what works and what doesn’t.  

4) Medium

Medium is a popular blogging platform featuring many articles about chat application design. This blog conducts an in-depth analysis of the design of five highly successful messaging apps (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, LINE, and Snapchat). 

5) The Web Writer Spotlight

The Web Writer Spotlight is a website dedicated to news, inspiration, and tips for individuals and businesses in the digital age. This blog offers seven tips for improving UI design when developing apps for business.

6) Careerfoundry

Careerfoundry is an online learning platform that offers UX design, UI design, web development, and data analysis courses. This detailed blog is an excellent introduction to app UI design.

 

Design services

Need a great designer to help turn your ideas into gold? Don’t waste your time searching for a needle in a haystack on marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork. Instead, use these designer-centric platforms to find a designer with the right experience and aesthetic for your app. 

7) Dribble

Dribble is a platform centered around all things design. Here you can find designers showcasing their work, post design job listings, or simply find inspiration by browsing designs, illustrations, and graphic elements. Check out the chat app shots page.  

8) Behance

Behance is a social network for creatives, including UI/UX designers. It’s a great place to headhunt talented designers and view their portfolios.

9) 99designs

99designs is a marketplace for connecting with professional designers for anything from logos to graphic design, book covers, packaging, animations, websites, and apps. The platform vets each designer and matches clients with the designer(s) best suited to their needs.

 

Design collaboration and prototyping

Now that you’ve got your design team ready and spent some time getting your initial ideas together, it’s time to start brainstorming and mocking up your first designs. For an optimally collaborative process, use a tool that facilitates easy collaboration between everyone on the product team. Rich review features will make this even more accessible and can cut a lot of back-and-forth out of the process. 

10) Mockplus

Mockplus is a platform that facilitates product design collaboration and prototyping. It offers a rich design feature set and a variety of interaction, review, and testing tools. This blog gives 12 examples of creative user interface design for chat apps. 

11) Proto.io

Proto.io is a no-code prototyping tool that lets you build high-fidelity, fully-interactive prototypes of your application. The tool allows you to drag and drop UI templates and elements and import your designs from Sketch, Adobe XD, and Photoshop.

12) InVision 

InVision is a digital product design platform that drives collaboration and streamlines the app UI and UX design process. The platform also offers a variety of UI Kits, including one specifically for chat. 

13) Sketch

Sketch is a popular design and prototyping platform for Mac users. While it’s not specifically intended for app design, it has an intuitive user interface and several valuable feedback and testing features. 

14) Figma 

Figma is a free online design tool to create, collaborate, prototype, and handoff.

Wireframing tools

Wireframing tools allow you to nail down your app’s features and user experience without getting too bogged down in the details. 

15) Balsamiq

Balsamiq is a user-friendly, low-fidelity wireframing tool that keeps the initial app design stages simple by cutting out the complicated stuff. Watch an introductory video here

16) Axure

Axure is a prototyping tool with a robust feature set. Axure is a great way to create diagrams, map out customer journeys, and develop wireframes. It helps to manage handovers between different teams.

App development services

If you can’t currently develop your app yourself, you might choose to outsource the entire process to a professional development service. 

17) Aimprosoft 

Aimprosoft offers professional software development services. This exhaustive blog post gives examples of the best existing mobile video chat apps, key video app features, crucial steps in the development process, common pitfalls, estimated cost breakdowns, and even monetization strategies. 

18) Toptal

Toptal is a marketplace for hiring developers, engineers, DevOps professionals–you name it. The platform helps to match you with the right person for the job. Toptal carefully pre-screens the top tech talent and accepts only the top 3% of applicants.

Chat API and SDK

Chat APIs and SDKs allow you to build ready-made, highly scalable chat infrastructure into your app so you can dedicate your time to doing what you do best. 

 

Sendbird 

Sendbird offers robust chat app software development kits and APIs for iOS, Android, and web apps. Sendbird allows you to plug a ready-made chat experience into your app. Check out Sendbird’s user-friendly documentation to get started.

No-code app builders

No-code app builders can save you a lot of time and effort by providing all the tools you need to build an app without needing to know how to code or hiring expensive developers. The great news is most no-code app builders let you integrate whichever core features you can’t build yourself using RESTful APIs.

19) UI Bakery

UI Bakery is an online visual app front-end designer that allows anyone to build their app user interface without knowing how to code. This UI can then be plugged into any third-party service–including chat–via API. 

20) AppGyver’s Composer Pro

AppGyver’s Composer Pro is a no-code app-building platform that allows users to build apps for any device or channel. Its drag-and-drop format is reminiscent of WordPress’s Elementor page builder and features more than 500 building blocks. Like UI Bakery, Composer Pro allows for easy API integrations.

21) AppyPie

AppyPie is a versatile no-code app builder primarily used by small businesses. It offers a variety of ready-made features, including basic chat. 

UI kits

UI kits are like meal kits for building app user interfaces. They provide you with all the ingredients you need to create a chat app UI that meets industry standards and customizes it to suit your brand. 

22) Flutter

Flutter is an open-source UI software development kit created by Google to help developers create Android, iOS, Mac, Linux, Windows, and Google Fuchsia applications.

23) Sendbird UIKit

And of course we have to include our own in the official list! Sendbird not only offers SDKs and APIs but also has a UIKit that lets you integrate chat features into your client-side app quickly and easily. Get your chat UI up and running in a matter of minutes, and customize everything from the theme to the fonts and colors to match your brand identity. 

 

Get chat up and running in minutes with Sendbird’s UIKit 

Sendbird’s UIKit allows you to hit the ground running with a robust set of rich premade UI components that let you build a modern in-app chat experience that effortlessly lives up to your users’ high expectations. 

Check out this demo to see Sendbird UIKit in action. 

And here is our documentation for iOS, Android and React to get started and get your chat UI up and running in a matter of minutes. Each set of documentation includes a variety of sample apps that you can download to inspire and familiarize you with the UI kit. Customize any component–from themes to fonts–to create a look and feel that’s true to your brand, all with minimal coding required.

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