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IA Summit 2008: “Designing with Patterns in the Real World: Lessons from Yahoo! and Comcast”

Christian Crumlish of Yahoo! and Austin Govella of Comcast joined together at this year’s IA Summit to discuss their use of design patterns.

Here are my Twitter notes:

Christian Crumlish:

  • Starting off with Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language”
  • Reference to Jennifer Tidwell’s “Designing Interfaces”
  • Yahoo’s Pattern Library (which Christian curates) launched in 2005. Article by Erin Malone, Matt Leacock and Chanel Wheeler
  • Patterns are to: “not reinvent the wheel promote familiar UX free up designers to do innovative leading-edge work”
  • “Do design patterns stifle innovation? No. Now shut up and do your wireframe”
  • What’s a pattern: problem, solution, context, examples. High-level based on principles linking to related specs and docs
  • Yahoo!’s UX folks check the library, give feedback, suggest a pattern and help write or review a pattern
  • Pictures of interfaces aren’t exactly patterns. They aren’t newly invented approaches but rather the tried and true ones
  • Need to age-date patterns to keep them fresh, review quarterly, listen to user feedback, update and revise as necessary
  • Wireframe and diagram stencils make it easier for designers to adopt patterns.
  • Dev needs reference to example code. Pattern + Stencil + Code = a very useful building block

Austin Govella:

  • Austin showing a cute photo of his wife and kid. “This is what you can do with patterns…He’s in beta”
  • Referencing Jess McMullin’s Design Literacy [can't find link]
  • See, hear, do. Pattern libraries let you see, but it’s a cultural artifact in the organization that needs to be discussed
  • Patterns have to make people’s jobs easier or they won’t care
  • Patterns in agile: make it super clear to Dev where the pattern exists and when, i.e. error conditions
  • Patterns make wireframing so much easier! Let them be much more high-fidelity and accurate because they’re templatized

Note: No slides have been posted yet. Will update this when they have.

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