Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conference Review: UPA 2007: Part II

Designing Designing Interfaces: How Not To Write A Pattern Catalog

Presenter: Jenifer Tidwell

Jenifer Tidwell, author of Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design, shared her motivations and the lessons she learned as she wrote her book.

One of the few conference sessions that actually related to patterns, this session promised to be interesting. Given everyone’s varying definitions and usage of patterns, I think it would have been helpful if Jenifer had started off this session with a clear definition of what a pattern is and how designers can use a pattern catalog. Afterward, when I spoke with attendees, I found not everyone was on quite the same page with the speaker when her talk began. Well into the session, Jenifer finally did define what she means by a pattern:

* a suggestion, not a requirement
* a product, not a process
* able to capture relationships among elements
* usable across platforms
* able to clearly improve the user experience

Jenifer’s guidelines for preparing to write a pattern include the following:

* Notice a recurring design element.
* Work up and down the abstraction ladder.
* Understand why the pattern works.
* Figure out the appropriate context for the pattern—when you should or should not use it.
* Name the pattern.

As a repository for design wisdom, pattern catalogs are important, because they can serve as job aids and teaching or learning tools for both novices and experienced designers."    (Continued via UXmatters)    [Usability Resources]

Designing Interfaces : Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

Recommended Book

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