Question 1: In your own words, write a summary of the article and provide critical analysis/discussion on the topic of the article
This week’s article covers consistency and how when similar parts of a system are expressed in similar ways it is more usable and learnable. In the article four forms of consistency are covered, these include: aesthetic, functional, internal and external.
- Aesthetic: consistency of appearance
- Functional: Consistency in meaning and action.
- Internal: consistency with other parts of the system
- External: consistency with elements in environment/outside of the system.
By correctly and creatively utilizing constancy in design you can create a unique, high quality and easy to use system that users will enjoy and maneuver with ease. It is important for designer to align the design with user expectations, know what users want to find and what they expect from your design.
There are many reason why consistency should be present in any design and there are many reasons why it is beneficial. When consistency is present people can transfer knowledge to new contexts and learn new things quickly. (Nikolov)
A good user interface design tells the users what they need to do when approaching an interface (Garcia) Consistency allows for users to become familiar with the interface faster which increases usability. It also allows for users to learn faster, and for messages and ideas to be communication clearly and coherently. (“Why visual consistency can make or break your web design,” 2015) If a design is not consistent this makes it harder to understand the messages and how to use the interface. Users want quick and easy access to what they want and a lack of consistency can make this difficult to achieve.
An example of consistency in design can be highlighted through online media. In our time of fast growing technology it is vitally important that in cases such as designing a website there is consistency between devices. People connect to the internet in a variety of ways whether that be through laptop, smart phone or tablet. The design must be consistent across the board allowing for users to easily manoeuvre between devices and still be able to easily use and access content.
If a design is not consistent users will be confused and frustrated at how to access what they need. Visual design is used to help users gain information and to aid them in processing relevant information in order to use the design to the best possible degree. (Dillman, Smyth, & Chistian, 2014)
Study 3 examples that may meet the principle of Consistency. Provide a reasoned explanation for each example, why they meet the design principle.
Example 1: Internet browsers
A prime example of consistency is internet browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.
These browsers are consistent as each features the same 3 symbols in the top right or left corner, to minimise, expand or shut the window. These symbols have become universally consistent between internet browsers making it easier for users to carry out operations and know how to do so. There is also consistency in the location of the back and forward buttons and how to search on them, nearly all browsers have forward and back arrows located in the top left hand of the screen. As well as typically a search bar located at the top of the screen also with a magnifying glass next to it. These are consistent designs that aids in making the browsers easier to use across multiple devices and mediums.
Example 2:Apple Iphone
The Apple iphone has gone through many redesigns over the years with many new generations being released but in reality the company has been consistent with the aesthetics and function of the devices.
The phones have stayed consistent in shape although size has varied, the presence of the home button at the bottom centre of the phone is also a consistent feature through the iphone models. This makes the phone easier for users to operate, switching from an old iphone to a new one won’t cause much stress as they’re consistent in design and function making it easy for users to adjust. The grid and square app design of the screen is also a consistent feature, while they may be slightly different looking to previous models they concept is the same again making it easy for users to operate within the device.
Example 3: Spotify
Spotify is both a phone/tablet application and available on desktop. The design of both is kept consistent so users switching between mediums can easily use both the app and desktop version.
Both the app and desktop version open on “Your Music” having a consistent home page allows for users to easily see where they are on the page. Across both the desktop and app the song playing is features at the bottom of the screen along with the play, pause skip and repeat buttons. Having these in the same location means users won’t be confused and can switch from app to desktop without confusion and can get back to using the system faster.
Question 1 References:
Dillman, D. A., Smyth, J. D., & Chistian, L. M. (2014). Internet, Phone, Mail and Mixed-Mode Surveys. The Tailored Design Method (Fourth ed.): Wiley
Garcia, A. The Importance of Visual Consistency in UI Design. Retrieved from http://www.uxpassion.com/blog/the-importance-of-visual-consistency-in-ui-design/
Nikolov, A. Design Principle: Consistency Retrieved from https://uxdesign.cc/design-principle-consistency-6b0cf7e7339f
Why visual consistency can make or break your web design. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/why-visual-consistency-can-make-or-break-your-web-design-51514942/2