Consistency is an essential part of every product design process and sometimes can be hard to keep it. However, once you reach it and manage to keep it, your usability will improve and you will enable users to implement a pattern that will be used on different parts of software. Maintaining consistency is important not only because we reduce the learning effort but because we improve the whole product development cycle, including QA, documentation, designing and testing. But how to maintain the consistency? There are few things you can count on and you should have them on your mind all the time.
Reduce the amount of learning
Once users learn to use your software, they will at least could anticipate how the additional feature of it should work, as they use the same workflow they already learned. A certain list of norms will allow users to work on new assignments without any need to learn new tools and skillsets.
When you reduce learning, you boost your usability as users do not need to lose time on further education and new tools. The implementation of the new tool is a new feature, but the way it works should not be any different from any previous tools in order not to ruin consistency. Once you reach this level of designing, you can be confident about reaching a certain level of consistency.
Use UI elements that are pre-defined
In order to reach the consistency in terms of design for example, never use elements that are not determined for a certain function. For example, radio buttons is always used when you are allowed to choose a single option, while checklist allows you to select multiple options.
The fresh new HTML5 just pushed away Flash technology, as it allows more convenient and consistent approach unlike Flash. This convenient approach, the consistency standards and easy use allow developers to reach easy element defining.
Coherent visual elements
The good design meets several factors in order to establish consistency. Buttons, fonts, subheadings, backgrounds and other UI elements must be matched well to reach a harmony that produces the feeling of “that is a well-designed site”.
The standards of HTML and CSS technology can easily comply with the constancy standards, which means you need to follow both of them to acquire good consistency.
The original requirements, as well the procedures, should be followed and respected, but sometimes the deviation is inevitable. Deviating from the standards and original plans can cause a lot of confusion, especially in later phases as users get used to your design and way of functioning and try to use your workflow for all products. This can cause frustration with clients, and frustration results in poor user experience.