UIEtips: Components Versus Patterns

Jared Spool

January 9th, 2009

The Vulcans had something good with that mind-meld thing. Just put your fingertips on someone else’s forehead and your two minds become one. I wonder if VulcanĀ  designers used that technique to ensure everyone knew how to come up with a coherent, integrated design, even though they all worked on different pieces?

Without the mind-meld thing, we have to resort to more primitive approaches to get everyone on the same page. In the past, we’ve tried templates, guidelines, and style guides. However, these have not proven to be very effective and end up frustrating teams more than helping the design process.

A few years back, we started seeing the emergence of pattern libraries as a solution to this problem. However, recently our research has shown us that pattern libraries only get you so far. For the rest of the solution, a component library can fill the gaps.

That’s why we’re thrilled that Nathan Curtis is presenting at this year’s Web App Summit, to help us navigate the pattern and component library world. And, for today’s UIEtips, he’s got a great article on Components Versus Patterns that explains the differences between the two (and why you may need both).

If you’re thinking a pattern or component library can help your team be more efficient and create better designs, then you’ll want to check out Nathan’s full-day seminar: Achieving Reuse with Patterns and Components. We’re excited about this brand new seminar and think it’s perfect for teams looking to get uniformity and increase development speed, without sacrificing creativity.

Have you considered using a pattern or component library for your project? What moves have you made in that direction? We want to hear you stories below.

2 Responses to “UIEtips: Components Versus Patterns”

  1. Bookmarks for January 9th to January 11th | BlobFisk.com Says:

    [...] UIEtips: Components Versus Patterns » UIE Brain Sparks – [...]

  2. Mike Brockington Says:

    I suspect that part of the problem here is the over-simplification of the terminology. Again and again we see a single (pre-existing) word being over-loaded with a new meaning in a specific context.
    So: “Design Patterns” is normally referred to as just “Patterns” and similarly with “Components”. The latter is especially bad, as it has meaning in every industry – the web site in question may well be for the manufacturer of components for some industry, for which each product may itself have numerous components. To a software developer, a component is a very specific amount of code, and very different from a page component (visual block), which may be built from beans, procedures, DLL’s etc.

    If the headline had been: should I build a “Design Pattern Library” or a “Page Component Library” the conversation would surely have been much shorter.

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