The UX Archive observes where design has been and where it’s going

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Try explaining UX design to someone who’s unfamiliar. It’s tough. Unlike the typography or colors that make up an application’s aesthetic, user experience is invisible when done well. That’s why for mobile app makers and designers good UX can be a tough thing to nail down. How do you implement design ideas when the best ones are fundamentally unnoticeable?

For designers Arthur Bodolec, Chris Polk, and Nathan Barraille, the answer is in observation. Observing how others have tackled user actions, and making note of what’s worked and what hasn’t. To do this, they created the UX Archive – a site meant for logging examples of popular apps and identifying how their design goes about certain challenges.

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Tasks such as signing up or onboarding serve as categories. From there, apps are submitted with screenshots that identify how they implement these tasks. For instance, the way one app tackles purchasing may be entirely different than that of another. A designer, then, can observe the differences and apply that work to their own.

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The site recently launched a new section that compares the differences between UX tasks handled in iOS 6 and 7. For designers, it’s a great tool for understanding Apple’s transitions when considering their own designs. And for those who aren’t making apps, it gets at least one good “oh man, I can’t believe I used that!”

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The best part about the UX Archive is that it can only get better from here. As more people submit tasks and app examples, the archive will grow and more patterns will be logged. As the mobile landscape morphs and evolves, the UX Archive will be both a map to the future and a fossil record of the past.