Designing User Interfaces is a brilliant mixture of art and science. And it all starts in the mind. Also, don’t narrow your vision and say “just mobile UI design”. The fundamentals remain the same across all platforms.
First of all, you need to know how to think like your target audience. And how to make your interface really simple for them to use. Towards that end, nothing beats sketching on paper. You might want to use something like a Dot Grid Book () to make the process easier.
Once you are confident that your UX is as useful as it can be, it’s time to delve into design. (You might also want to use a tool like Balsamiq in between to test your layouts by simple A/B tests) Now we have finally reached the stage of Photoshop or Illustrator. Trust me, this might just be the easiest stage of the entire process. If you are familiar with the tools offered by these programs you can breathe life into your sketches very easily.
Now, this is a very very simplistic view of designing mobile interfaces. Do read up the following books on UI/UX design to get a better grip on these topics.
Usability and Interaction Design Books
- About Face 3. The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin
- Don’t Make Me Think. A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
- Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell
You should also check out this Kickstarter project: Should help you sketch your interfaces.