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?
Paul Carvill, a designer at the Guardian.co.uk, discusses something similar, and gives us an insight into the Guardian.co.uk 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.