Creating a pattern library
Posted: May 19, 2014
As part of my work on evolving and formalising the approach to UX in my current role, I’ve recently been considering the role that Lean UX methods might play.
One aspect I mentioned in that previous post about how we might use Lean UX approaches in a traditionally not very user-focused environment was the creation of a UX pattern library. A pattern library is an evolving document that describes interaction design solutions to common design problems. They act as a “first port of call” for a designer or developer creating a new UI and avoid the need to reinvent the wheel or create a new, untested solution.
By using common patterns we not only create consistency within a project, or across multiple projects, but we also reduce the cognitive load on users by using familiar UI conventions and avoiding the need for them to learn new tools.
The pattern library we’ve been working on has grown quite rapidly and is currently only available internally. However, we plan to publish it on a public website once we’ve reached a critical mass of information (both guidelines for UI pattern usage and cross-references to our own implementations stored in an open source Github project). There’s already been some interest from the wider cultural heritage community and having a public resource seems like a perfect opportunity to expand its use from an internal document to become an open source project in its own right.
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