Consistency is a pretty big deal in the design world. Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for chaos; it’s often chaos or a complex issue that kick starts a design project and has us pondering how we can resolve and simplify. For me though, design consistency is a thing of beauty. I love it.
- Consistent treatment or behaviors. Agreement, harmony, or compatibility, especially corresponded or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing
“What a great use of colour consistency throughout this house.”
Working closely with and developing brands further, Front Page live and breath consistency through brand guidelines to ensure that we are making brands work as hard as they can within any medium. Not to mention that a consistent look and tone can help a brand become instantly recognisable.
This is no different within the digital realms. Pattern libraries act like brand guidelines—housing a collection of user interface elements, defining how elements appear and behave, and how they are built, or coded.
The use of a pattern library not only ensures consistency, but also allows brands to grow and evolve efficiently. All brand web products would reference the pattern library, so when a change is required, it would be made once and rolled out globally site-wide—something that is key to working in an agile, rapidly evolving environment.
As sites grow, the need for a pattern library increases too. Referencing one central pattern library helps combat fragmented user experiences.
Large sites often have different teams managing different areas. Having one pattern library allows teams to share design elements when creating new sections or micro-sites. This means a wealth of UI elements can be selected without the need to redevelop each time.
Having one pattern library makes maintenance easy. When elements are built and documented in the same way, it makes it easier for a developer to pick up another developer’s piece of code. And of course, it’s a good reference guide for new team members.
Here’s a great pattern library example from MailChimp, and an explanation as to why they felt the need to create the tool.