A look into the UX design patterns that guide a modern, seamless user experience. Brought to you by WANDR– the leading UX design agency in Los Angeles and San Francisco, ranked by Clutch and Design Rush.
The digital world can be complex and difficult to navigate without the right interface. Web users who visit business websites, for example, expect a certain level of functionality.
- Need to be able to easily find products and services.
- Want to find the information they need.
- Expect to be able to do this easily, quickly, and without having to browse elsewhere.
Why Do UX Design Patterns Really Matter?
The web has provided us with many great things, but one thing it has done is reengineer our idea of what is acceptable in terms of an interface. Customers have high standards when it comes to business websites and other applications.
Many customers are tech-savvy enough to understand that poor interface design easily leads to lack of market share. Thus, customers will quickly browse to another website if they cannot find what they need.
Designing a product with good UX is vital for the product to stay in business. UX design organizes all of the meaningful information into an easily understandable hierarchy that users can navigate quickly and intuitively. Without the right UX design, a user is likely to go elsewhere and LESS likely to recommend that business.
The Problem for Large Companies
Solving this issue may be easy enough for small businesses that have an equally small digital footprint. Their websites may not be overly complex or offer a lot of complex information. However, larger companies rely on large teams of designers, coders, and marketers need to deliver a brand consistent message through their UX design.
Imagine a large company with an equally complex website. Over time, this website needs to be maintained by many different people. The problem is, unless there is an underpinning philosophy regarding design elements across the website, those designers will struggle to maintain UX consistency. This is why UX design patterns and an easily understood pattern design system is crucial.
What Are UX Design Patterns?
UX patterns assist web and application designers to develop interfaces that are consistent, easily understood by a target audience, and easily recognizable. Here are some of the most common UX design patterns that developers and designers reference:
When you browse a website, there is a common expectation that it can easily be navigated. This includes links that are in the right place, graphical buttons and elements that make sense, and other design elements that allow for browsing through the pages in a website.
Sites that allow users to input data, such as credit card and other personal details, need to have consistent design. Users are able to easily understand what is being asked and what information is required.
Closely related to navigation, content structure is about the meta-structure of a site or an application. UX architects and designers need to structure the content of a site or an application in a way that is meaningful to a specific audience.
How is the information organized? Is there low level and high level information that should be organized into a meaningful hierarchy that makes sense to end users?
What Is a Pattern Library in UX?
A pattern library is a database of UX patterns. A designer, UX architect, UX analyst, or anyone else involved in the design of applications and websites can access these patterns to ensure a consistent interface experience.
Many large and well-known brands maintain such pattern libraries, and this is critical to their ongoing appeal and success in the market. There are also many UX patterns available from other sources that anyone can access and use. For instance, incorporating third-party contact form code on a company website will often contain graphical and field elements that are known to appeal to users in a specific way.
How Do UX Patterns Help?
When there are a range of common design and interface problems that need to be solved across a site or application, UX design patterns are extremely helpful. In this context, UX design patterns form a consistent language that designers can use to create a consistent experience for users.
A large corporate website may have a whole UX pattern library that designers can use to create a consistent web experience. For example, one pattern may describe in detail the way that header navigation links on a website should work. This pattern may include the following information:
- The color of main navigation links on
- Whether those links include CSS elements such as link hover and link activation behaviors
- Graphical elements that may make up the links
In this way, a designer can simply access UX design patterns in the pattern library and find out how main navigation links are to be coded and designed. This makes it easy for a company to ensure that a consistent design philosophy is applied to their digital presence. It also helps end users in the following ways:
These days, web users have a whole slew of expectations that need to be met by interface designers. Users want:
- A fast, convenient, and intuitive experience.
- To be able to find information, services, and products quickly.
- An interface that is attractive, appealing, and related intimately with the business brand.
A consistent pattern design system allows for pattern libraries to be built that allow for the creation of websites and applications that meet user expectations.
Building Interface Rapport and Familiarity
When users visit websites, they expect familiar elements. Many such expectations are actually unconscious, based on many years of web browsing.
For example, how does a company indicate intuitively and smoothly to a user that scrolling down a web page will present them with further useful information? It is this kind of usability that UX design and UX design patterns can address time and time again throughout a website or application.
In the best possible scenarios, browsing and navigation habits of users are addressed in such detail that they become habitual and intuitive. Interfaces like this produce the best online experiences and can build brand recognition, market share, and improved e-commerce.
The Importance of Patterns to the Human Brain
The human brain is hardwired to recognize patterns. If you have ever looked up at the clouds and seen animals and other recognizable things, this is because your brain is wired to look for order in an otherwise chaotic world.
UX design patterns matter because they appeal to our search for order. Websites and applications that incorporate easily recognizable design elements in a consistent way appeal to users at a subconscious level.
When we recognize a familiar pattern and it presents us with a meaningful interaction that we expect, our brains produce dopamine. This chemical reward makes us feel good and we associate that with the website or application we are using. By extension, we associate these good feelings with the brand.
UX design patterns are not just about making things easy for web and application designers. They provide end users with a consistent and enjoyable experience that relates closely to how a brand, service, organization, or product is perceived. In this context, a pattern design system is crucial to ongoing success.