design patterns development, ensuring consistency » alpha cube

By: Alpha Cube  09-12-2011
Keywords: web site, Software Development, Web Sites

What It Is

Design patterns address recurring problems in the user interface of a Web site or application. They explicitly focus on a problem within the context of use and guide the designer about when, how and why a solution can be applied. Patterns describe these solutions in a formal way, abstracted from specific examples. Although they embody high-level principles and strategies, design patterns are very practical and describe instances of "good" design.

To address design problems in Web designs, many corporations develop user interface design standards documents or "look-and-feel" guidelines. However, despite good intentions, design guidelines are often too general (not providing enough information to assist in decision making), too specific, or may conflict with one another. Furthermore, their validity or appropriateness always depends on a context, which is often missing limiting its use. We believe that design patterns can complement design guidelines by addressing many of these concerns. Patterns can be used to create better (and consistent) user interface designs and improve usability.

How It Benefits You

Specific benefits your team will gain from using design patterns include:

  • ensuring consistency across your Web site or application.
  • addressing recurring problems on a user interface, implementing similar solutions.
  • promoting reuse of design elements and the code involved ing creating them.
  • supporting project requirements specified through use cases, user interface specifications, and interaction design diagrams.
  • applying patterns regardless of the software development methodology used by your team, from waterfall to iterative and agile approaches.
  • improving usability and the time it takes to build and maintain resulting Web sites or applications.
  • complementing "look-and-feel" guidelines or standards documents.

What We Do

We create a collection of design patterns that your developers use when they need to create related objects or functions. For each pattern we include:

  • description of the problem,
  • usability principle the pattern supports,
  • characteristics of the context of use (in terms of the tasks, users, and environment),
  • forces or events which may constrain or suggest a solution,
  • description of the "core" solution (other sub-patterns can be used to solve sub-problems),
  • description of how the pattern actually works, why it works, and why it is good (impact on usability),
  • example showing how the pattern has been successfully used,
  • in some cases, an anti-pattern, or real example when the pattern should have been applied but was not applied.

We find it valuable to create patterns both at the macro and the micro level. Specifically, we identify patterns at the interaction level, the page level, and the site level:


Keywords: interface design, Patterns, Software Development, Usability, user interface design, web site, Web Sites

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