Cambridge University Design / UX group

Consistent user experience

Not long ago, I wrote something that mentioned the idea of creating and re-using components in a website or other design project, the idea being that once you have come up with something that really works, don’t just bin it when the project is finished. With a bit of re-styling, that same component (a search box, a “Go to the to of the page” button, a tabbed navigation menu, etc) might come in handy again.

This makes us more efficient… why reinvent the cup of tea every time?

Guardian Online styleguide example

Paul Carvill, a designer at the, discusses something similar, and gives us an insight into the styleguides. Clearly, this “modular” approach, as he calls it, within one broad project, will lead to a consistent user experience, and as we all know, that is a key thing for the success of your website.

There’s nothing worse that a site where important things change from page-to-page… for example, the navigation menu. I was asked to redesign a site where the items on the menu had been added ad hoc, from one page to another. That led to a very jarring user experience, and a classic usability sin! Urgh. The information architecture of the site was the first thing I addressed there.

So being consistent is clearly a good thing. But if we considerately re-use components that we create, and maybe work with frameworks (the subject of a future post… ), we can improve the consistency and efficacy of our work across projects.


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