Also last month, I went to a San Francisco Bay Area ACM meeting on component-based user interface design, which turned out to be a talk on UI design patterns. Aha! It turns out that SAP has developed an extensive collection of design patterns for their domain of business applications, and they have an extensive web site for designers. The main points I got from the talk:

  • SAP has 3 types of patterns
    • patterns for frequently discovered user requirements
    • patterns for composing UIs from components
    • patterns for executable UI components
  • The only way to drive adoption of patterns is to build them into the tools that designers and developers use
  • SAP validates their patterns through user testing
  • Patterns do "freeze" UI innovation overall, but the patterns themselves will evolve over time
  • There is always a tension between those who use the patterns and those who deviate from the patterns to innovate on the UI