Not every design project should start from scratch. It's true–there's a time and place for creativity, and there's also a time and place to use fail-proof and time-tested solutions.
Some of the best UX and interaction designers rely on pattern libraries to bring previously tested and usable solutions to their digital projects.
Here's what you need to know about pattern libraries and how to make them work for you.
So what exactly is a pattern? A pattern is a reusable solution to a problem that often occurs in UX and interaction design. A pattern is reliable because it has worked over and over again.
Here are common pattern categories:
Navigation: Think about menus, breadcrumbs, footers, pagination and tags.
Selection: Choosing the best use of buttons, checkboxes, lists and toggles.
Search, Filtering and Sorting: This category gets to the heart of easily finding information that's needed and hiding what's not.
Messaging and Notifications: Alerts, pop-ups and progress bars all fall into this category.
Data: Whether it’s a big data set or a small one, displaying data efficiently matters.
Social: How can people connect, share message or interact?
A pattern is a specific design and application of one of these subcategories. It could range from how to display an error message to how to arrange a menu with lots of complex sub-categories.