The beauty of an app is more than just skin deep.  A mobile app should be visually compelling and highly usable at the same time. In my opinion, the interface facilitates the way we interact with the app and those interactions determine the app’s true personality and character.

Snapguide is an application that lets you view and share do-it-yourself guides.  Projects range from cooking recipes to home repairs. The app asks users to take photos of each step of a process and explain them. The steps are assembled to make a beautiful guide that allows users to swipe through, picture-by-picture. Snapguide gives users an opportunity to share the things they do in a visual way. Besides bringing an artistic quality to the traditional “how-to” guide, the images make it easy for users to broadcast their projects on other social networks.

Now, we couldn’t talk about user interfaces and social networks without mentioning Foursquare. Like any social network you either love Foursquare or you hate it. Collecting badges, leaving tips, ousting mayors- I can’t get enough! I love that Foursquare used feedback from their users to put together a new and improved UI design. The new interface is more streamline with the biggest changes being how you view content. The actual ‘check-in’ process, along with other aspects of the new interface, is more stripped down and simple. The check-in button has been moved to the top right of each screen, closer to the user’s thumb. With fewer, more clickable buttons the new UI leaves more room for other information like full-screen shots and comments. What I like about these changes is that it encourages more social interaction, the whole point of a social network, right?

From a retail perspective, the Zappos app does a great job presenting visuals in a nice and clean interface. Their app offers a list view and alternate carousel view for users to easily swipe through images of their products. Further leveraging their huge collection of product images, Zappos has integrated a 360- degree view functionality that makes the product rotate via touch. The Zappos user experience is intuitive and fun. A funny feature: if you shake your device it will start raining kittens. Small details like these are memorable help build a special relationship with your users.

When designing applications, a good user interface is of supreme importance. The whole point of a mobile application is to serve the user and the interface should be designed with that in mind.