A large part of the discourse on web development today is focused on design patterns and interface components. But what are they exactly, how are they useful and how can they change the way we work? More importantly, what are their limitations, the scope of their application?
Design patterns are sort of an evolution of the style guide, which we are familiar with from graphic design. But while the style guide documents and prescribes the use of graphic design for communicating a certain brand, design patterns abract common problems in interaction design. A common examply is undo functionality.
There are lots of design patterns available today. The Yahoo! Design Pattern Library focuses on creating small components which can be used as building blocks for creating your own web application. A similar library for interaction design is provided by Jenifer Tidwells’ Designing Interfaces. Martijn Welie’s design patterns is broader in scope and describes also complete web site patterns. A nice collection of good pattern examples can be found in this screenshot collection
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