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7 Nov

Three Important Facts You Should Know About UX Pattern Libraries

Three Important Facts You Should Know About UX Pattern Libraries

Pattern libraries are useful tools for designers because reinventing the wheel, or relying on questionable code can seriously delay or derail a project.

But, how are these libraries established? Where can you find them? And what''s the value behind making your own? Read on for the important facts you should know about UX pattern libraries.

Why there are so many

A quick Google search reveals a number of pattern libraries, from GitHub to Patternfly and numerous others. The reason for the multitude of libraries lies in the inherent collaborative nature of designers.

Ask any designer (as Huffington Post did) and they will say that they learned the most about UX from other designers. Information, ideas and patterns are regularly shared. Sharing creates more ideas, information and patterns. All of these patterns require a home.

Some sites make money off their pattern libraries. Others don''t. Personal preferences come into play when designers opt for some libraries over others. Before you know it, there are a large number of pattern libraries all over the interwebs.

Why you should make your own

With all of these patterns openly available, why would you need your own? On ux.stackexhange.com, a user commented that her organization built a pattern library to create "a repository of fully realized and reusable code for most simple elements (buttons, dropdowns, etc.), combined with a fully detailed pattern library for more complex widgets (lightboxes, lookups, tables, etc.)"

In other words, this company benefited from a UX pattern library that kept their site and products uniform.

How to make your own UX Pattern Library

Building a library that is functional and easy to use can be time-consuming up front but well worth the effort later. Jared Spool, over on UIE.com discussed the three elements of a collaborative UX pattern library:

wiki (articles per pattern & component, including editing permissions for team & individual, commenting and ratings), discussion boards (new requests, general discussions), and blog (publish ongoing notifications and articles about the overall library).


There are, of course, other ways to build pattern libraries tailored for you organization''s needs. To talk more about building your own UX Pattern Library, or other collaborative design ideas, please contact us.

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