I talked about patterns back in July and here I am again talking about them.
Rightly so, why design something that there are already best practices for?
Design patterns were first described in the 1960s by Christopher Alexander, an architect who noticed that many things in our lives happen according to patterns. He adapted his observations to his work and published many findings on the topic. In User Experience, design pattern refers to a reusable and applicable solution to general real-world problems. For example, a solution for navigating around a website is site navigation (a list of links that point to different sections of the site), a solution for displaying content in a compact space are module tabs. There are many ways to tackle a specific requirement – and as a designer – the most important thing you can do is selecting the option that best reflects the needs of your users.
40+ Helpful Resources On User Interface Design Patterns
There is an article on Smahing Magazine which highlights what it thinks to be the best of the best sites for design patterns. I find myself using this article again and again to reference these sites.
My personal favorites are:
UI-patterns.com is a large collection of design patterns for UI designers to gain inspiration from. The site allows users to keep sets of their own (publicly accessible to site visitors) so that you can see other UI design pattern collections.
Interaction Design Pattern Library
Welie.com has an interaction design pattern library maintained by Martijn van Welie, a Ph. D. graduate in Human Computer Interaction who now works as an Interaction Design Senior Consultant for Philips Design. The library features a ton of design patterns involving various site tasks such as navigating around a site, searching a site, and basic interactions such as slideshows. Each pattern follows a specific format: (1) the problem, (2) the solution, (3) when to use the pattern, (4) why you should use the design pattern, and (5) examples of the pattern in use.
QUINCE: X Patterns Explorer
QUINCE is a beautiful and stunning web application that helps you explore an innumerable amount of user experience design patterns such as date pickers and two-panel selectors. The application requires the Silverlight plugin and is best viewed under Internet Explorer (though we have verified it to work well in Firefox and Safari).
The website is derived from the book and claims to be the definitive reference for the principles, methodologies, and best practices for exceptional Web design.
This website is also derived from the book Designing Web Interfaces and lacks detial but has some good stuff on it.