Success Lies In Mastering The Fundamentals Like Consistency

Hey all.

I have been working on web apps a lot lately. It has reminded me how important the basics are. It is easy to get distracted by the more appealing aspects of what we do. Things like interface animation and personalization. Yet, it is the foundational principles that transform the user experience. Principles such as consistency.

Subtle inconsistencies tend to infiltrate interface designs. They become major culprits of user friction. These minor discrepancies confuse users and hinder usability. They detract from the effectiveness of the apps we build.

The Role of Design Systems in Achieving Consistency

Design systems were a response to the need for consistency in digital products. These systems offer a cohesive set of design guidelines, components, and patterns. They ensure uniformity and coherence. Yet, the creation of a design system is only the beginning.

It’s crucial to maintain consistency in how the system is applied. This means standardizing when design elements are used in various contexts. For example;

  • When do you use modals, drawers, or new screens? Which is appropriate in what circumstances?
  • When do you use iconography? Are they only used on buttons, or do you use them in navigation too?
  • What about buttons themselves? What different button styles do you have, and what style is used in what situation?

The list is extensive. Yet, the goal remains the same: to achieve an interface that is predictable and consistent. Users should be able to navigate it intuitively.

The Far-Reaching Benefits of Consistency

When we focus on consistency in our interfaces and design systems, the advantages are extensive.

  • It enhances usability and learnability. This makes it easier for users to understand and interact with the app.
  • Consistency plays a critical role in accessibility. It ensures that the app remains usable and inclusive for people with diverse abilities.
  • From a development perspective, consistency streamlines the process. It enables faster and more efficient production cycles.
  • It also makes it easy to switch between devices. This meets the increasing need users have to continue their experience across devices.

Vigilance Against Inconsistency: A Continuous Endeavor

Achieving consistency is not a one-time effort. It is a continuous process of vigilance and refinement. It requires us to be always on the lookout for inconsistencies that may emerge. We also need to periodically step back to see the big picture and how everything works together.

This practice helps identify and fix discrepancies. It also ensures our design efforts focus on usability, accessibility, and efficiency.

Success Lies in Mastering Foundational Principles

I guess I am suggesting you need to focus on what matters. I prefer to focus on fundamentals like consistency when working on user interfaces. I avoid getting distracted by superficial enhancements. I would encourage you to do the same.

Becoming a great user experience designer doesn’t rely on using the latest techniques. It also doesn’t rely on adopting the current aesthetics. Instead, it lies in truly mastering the fundamentals of our discipline, like consistency.

Paul Boag

About Me

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Email: paul@boagworld.com
Telephone: +44 (0)7760 123 120

Write to me at:

Boagworks.
7 Fields Oak.
Blandford Forum.
Dorset. DT11 7PP.
United Kingdom.

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