Tipster: Tip Calculator App

  • UX
  • UI
  • Mobile

Unlike my original “dumb phone” with its slide out keypad, every smartphone I’ve owned has lacked a built-in tip calculator. It seems applications of the utilitarian variety have a tendency to be clunky and unattractive. I was tasked with designing one of my own.

Defining the Problem

When designing such a straightforward app, it’s tempting to approach it like the Swiss Army Knife and load it with features to differentiate it from competing apps.

While I originally generated many complex ideas for the application, like selecting the number of patrons, splitting the bill, and automatically calculating tax rate according to location, simple proved the best solution for the initial iteration of the product.

Design Process

Bearing the principle of simplicity in mind, I began to design the product.


I like to capture all of my thoughts for a project on paper in writing. Even if it's initially out of scope, it can come in handy later. I generally start with writing and transition into sketching as needed.

Tip calculator sketches and thought process.

Tip calculator sketches and thought process.

Visual Designs

With the aid of a mood board, I decided to go for a bright and colorful look and feel, taking some inspiration from flat designs. Money can be dirty and grungy, but there's no reason the app has to be!