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What should be documented in a UI Design Pattern?

Posted by Chris Adams

Article Rating // 20845 Views // 1 Additional Answers & Comments

Categories: Business Analysis, Systems Analysis


Though pattern descriptions vary somewhat, many pattern templates contain a set of common sections.

Primary Sections of a UI Design Pattern

Name: Should be concise yet descriptive (typically between two and four words in length) so that someone can find the pattern easily and reference it within discussions for clear communication amongst team members.

Description: A few lines briefly describing the pattern.  Since short names are not always sufficient enough to clearly and uniquely describe the pattern a description is important. However, this is not where you will describe the pattern in great detail.

End User Requirement/Problem to Solve:  Communicate what requirement or challenge will be solved by the pattern.  What is the user trying to achieve?

When to Use/When Not to Use:  It isn’t always obvious under which condition or within which context a pattern should be used.  Here you can document when a pattern should be used and, equally important, when it should not be used.

Solution:  Document the details of the pattern/solution including a detailed description of the user interaction.  Include screenshots to help convey the pattern clearly as needed.

Comments:  Capture any other comments that you feel are relevant to the reader.

Optional Sections of a UI Design Pattern

Depending on the needs of your team or organization you may choose to add some additional sections to your pattern template.

Examples of Past Uses: Including screenshots of past uses of the pattern along with a brief description can help the reader visualize the benefits of using the pattern.

Rationale for Use: Understanding why a particular pattern works so well can be invaluable when deciding whether to use one pattern over another.   Detail out the specifics of the user experience and the direct benefits that they receive by using this pattern.

Implementation Specifications: If standards exist within your organization or team, consider accompanying the pattern with style guide information such as font family, font size, font weight, font color, table and cell spacing, and more.  Or if the styles change based on the application or product being developed, provide a link to the style guide information.

Usability Research: Any specific feedback on how well the pattern works can be documented for future reference.  Consider including feedback from UAT testers or your sales organization, but also don’t exclude feedback from developers and other testers.

Related Patterns: List other patterns that may solve a similar problem or patterns that work together to achieve a broader goal. 

Pattern Variations: Document minor variations in the pattern that can be used.  If the variations are significant enough, consider developing a separate but similarly named pattern. For example, “Tag Cloud 1” and “Tag Cloud 2”

Development Notes: Capture notes that help the development team implement the pattern.  This may be a snippet of code or a link to a code library where the code for the pattern can be found.

Chris Adams
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Skylar Sutton posted on Monday, August 10, 2009 9:55 AM
Would be interested in seeing a full example if anyone has one to share.
Skylar Sutton
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Do your homework prior to the business analysis interview!

Having an idea of the type of questions you might be asked during a business analyst interview will not only give you confidence but it will also help you to formulate your thoughts and to be better prepared to answer the interview questions you might get during the interview for a business analyst position.  Of course, just memorizing a list of business analyst interview questions will not make you a great business analyst but it might just help you get that next job.



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