05 May 2021

An introduction to UX & Design Patterns

An introduction to UX and Design patterns main image

Some of the most important aspects of a website or product are its usability, functionality, and how it makes you feel. People who are responsible for that are known as UX specialists or UX designers. 

Their job is to create products that are functional, easy to use, and visually pleasing to the eye all while ensuring structural consistency of our content. Creating a good experience is a combination of art and science. It’s a balancing act between creativity, usability, and functionality. 

What is UX Design?

User experience (UX) is the design of a system that ensures a seamless experience for your customers. It focuses on each and every element, from a high-level flow of the product to individual interactions.

The goal is to design user interfaces that provide an all-around pleasant experience to users. Even simple tasks like, sign up, sign in, and log out when designed perfectly can boost overall conversion.

Empathy is an important skill that UX specialists must-have. To create products that are easy to use and help users achieve their desired tasks with ease, it is important to know who the users are, their likes, their dislikes, and the pain points that they are facing.

In general human beings look for the commonality in things because we find it easy to understand or go about something if we know how it works. Whenever we open a new website or download a new mobile app, we are looking for patterns and we often think we already know where to click even though it is the first time we’ve visited that website or opened that app. That is due to our prior experience of other websites which helps us to understand where exactly to click to reach our desired destination. This is the matching of the system and mental mode of the user.

For example, most websites have a log in button on the top right corner of the page and whenever we plan on logging in, we jump straight to that corner. And log in, however just imagine if we were login to our google account and instead of the login button is on the top right corner, the button was located at the bottom left, it would take us a while before we find it, this is a minor inconvenience that will most likely increase the bounce rate.

The point of all this was to give you an idea of the importance of matching mental modes with the designed system/product and that is where UX or UI patterns come in.

What are UX Design Patterns? 

UX design patterns are reusable solutions to recurring design problems that help designers overcome these common usability issues. Of course, they are not a one size fits all solution that is highly unlikely in UX. Patterns act as a starting point towards a solution.

Using common design patterns reduces the cognitive strain on users. When customers access your websites or use your product and are already familiar with how specific objects on an interface will act, it saves them from thinking about what to do next and ultimately saves them time. This is important if we'd like to keep them as users

image of a UX design

How and when to use Design Patterns?

Knowing how and when to use a certain design pattern is imperative. The best way to know when and where to apply a design pattern is to adopt a problem-centric approach. Research plays an important role when designing a product, but sometimes assumptions have to be made due to time and/or budget constraints, the key here is to thoroughly research different design patterns that could be applied to the problem at hand and then go for the solution that best fits the problem. Competitor analysis along with user testing (again, if its not possible there are alternatives such as getting team members from a different department to test, its not as effective but a test from 5-7 people would suffice) helps in this regard as well.

Some of the great places where you can learn about patterns are UX Library, UI-Patterns, UI Design Patterns by UXPin, and PatternFly. We will be talking in detail about these design pattern libraries in our next blog post, so stay tuned.

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