The Curse of Consistent

Consistency in interfaces is misunderstood. I address this often in client meetings.

A predictable interface results in a better experience. Having the same elements act the same way is a goal all UI designers should have.

Yet, confusion starts with suggestions like matching the height of a table row to the button’s. Or a hard-coded button width — disregarding the length of the labels.

“That’s consistent”, layman argue. It is not. Not in the sense of interface effectiveness.

That ‘sameness’ can even hurt the UI. Differences in size and shape influence efficacy, as well.

Instead, steer the discussion towards consistency based on familiar patterns. The experiences the person had with similar behaving software.

Use your designer's eye and common sense for the visual aspect.

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