As time goes on I’m starting to worry that the inventor of sliced bread is getting a bit too much credit. While the slicing of bread it is of course a wonderful achievement, to use it as a marker against which to compare everything since, i.e. ‘the best thing since sliced bread’, seems a bit much. For example, how much consideration has gone into the ideals of customer satisfaction, of brand locality and usability, aesthetic pleasure and interaction between user and product? Exactly. It takes a lot to impress us in 2016, but the following 4 apps and their flair for user experience design (UX), have got it sussed.

For example, how much consideration has gone into the ideals of customer satisfaction, of brand locality and usability, aesthetic pleasure and interaction between user and product? Exactly. It takes a lot to impress us in 2016, but the following 4 apps and their flair for user experience design (UX), have got it sussed.

1) Let’s start with a step back in time; Ken Burns is an American filmmaker which a specialist interest in archive material and documentary films. With a huge abundance of quality work to his name, his team has come up with this self-named app, available to iPad. Utilising the timeline in the most literal sense, his team have curated an impressive amount of American history into a chronological timeline focused around six overarching themes such as race, war, art…etc. The infographics are great but it’s the animations which really excel. The ability to physically see how events from similar time periods exist and orbit in relation from one to the next in this way is nothing short of an innovation to education.

2) In the fashion industry ASAP54 is the finest example of ‘why didn’t I think of that?’’ there has ever been. Despite being questionably named, ASAP54 has been billed as the ‘shazam for fashion’ as it uses recognition technology to search for images uploaded. This of course means you can find the origin of a whole host of fashion items, simply by snapping a photo of it. This is an app that has potential to be a hot mess of images and information but thankfully the design and layout is rather minimal. ASAP54’s white borders, clean lines and grid formation allow for a seamless experience for the user. In addition, more recent developments like the Scrapbook have opened doors for user to brand engagement.

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3) What AirBnb has done for the tourism industry, its app has done for the software world. AirBnb has completely modernised the ways and means by which we travel and explore new places, and they’ve made it look effortlessly simple. How is that? Because their UX is completely on point. From the tranquil video loops on the homepage to the simple search function itself, the ability to search by navigating a map and the opportunity to engage quickly and personably with hosts and guests alike make it 10 steps ahead of the game.

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4) We’ve saved perhaps the most controversial entry on our list until last as in fourth place is Uber. Uber may be the first app-only outlet to have caused such a stir, and think of it what you will, but there is no denying that its UX is pretty impressive. In just 3 taps on your phone you can secure a quick, cashless, lift to wherever you’re going with minimal stress and maximum control. It’s streamlined, it’s accurate, it gives the customer more jurisdiction than they have come to expect from a cab firm. While there is always room for improvement, Uber’s UX is most definitely a step in the right direction.

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