Ultimate Guide to Understanding UX Patterns and How to Use Them

Ultimate Guide to Understanding UX Patterns and How to Use Them
Article by Maria MartinMaria Martin
Last Updated: August 31, 2022

UX patterns contain the general techniques to design that are frequently used to address typical usability problems.

When designers extensively implement patterns, the users become accustomed to how each UX pattern functions. This suggests that including UX patterns into your design will greatly simplify how users interact with the product interface. It also saves the time needed to develop entirely new ideas.

But are UX patterns that important? If so, how should you use them correctly? Won't your design become uninteresting if you use these pre-made design solutions? In this article, we'll discuss the answers to these questions.

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What is User Experience or UX?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand how important UX is. What is its purpose? And how does it impact overall quality?

User experience (UX) describes how users feel while interacting with technology. By meeting their needs in the simplest possible way, products with great UX connect customers with brands. A system could be a software program, website, application, or service.

As a UX designer, you will have to balance maintaining an aesthetically pleasing UI design with providing logical and straightforward navigation. UX/UI patterns resolve this difficulty by giving designers tried-and-tested answers to typical user issues.

In the following sections, we will define design patterns, provide typical examples, and then demonstrate how to apply design patterns to enhance user experience.

What Are UX Patterns?

UX patterns are essential to provide your users with the best quality and results. They are reusable design elements employed to address typical usability issues consumers face.

A design pattern is like a breadcrumb trail that teaches people how to get from the homepage to the page they are on. However, they are not just templates; design patterns are the foundation of an excellent user experience.

The following are the main advantages of UX design patterns:

  • Increased level of user satisfaction with decreased task completion time.
  • Less mental effort required from users due to a more intuitive user interface
  • Increased sales as a result of a smooth transaction
  • Increased consumer involvement directly affects brand awareness and customer loyalty
  • More prompt and accurate responses to customer reviews
  • Reduced expenditure on client service
  • Higher app retention rates

Aside from businesses and customers, UX designers also benefit from UX/UI patterns. For starters, they simplify the task by offering practical solutions that may be modified and enhanced by the designer.

Another benefit of UX patterns is that they give designers a common vocabulary. This is particularly helpful in socially-isolating times when miscommunication may happen during virtual meetings.

Teams can collaborate on projects effectively by utilizing generally understood phrases thanks to common UX design patterns.

Why Are UX Patterns Important?

UX design patterns lessen the time and effort required to navigate a site. When consumers engage with an interface, they link unfamiliar elements to those they have already seen.

People expect specific outcomes when they interact with systems. They anticipate an endless scroll when using social media or news websites, for instance. UX patterns enable users to get this intended experience.

Users don't have to consider each choice they make when they encounter familiar interactions in design patterns. Additionally, when designers can meet their expectations, they experience high satisfaction levels, which is how design patterns enhance the user experience.

Examples of UX Design Patterns

Design patterns consist of six main groups:

  1. Data input and output
  2. Content structuring
  3. Navigation
  4. Social media and sharing
  5. Incentivization
  6. Hierarchy

#1: Data Input and Output

One of the most frequent interactions between users and products is data entry and output. Users input data, and then the system either returns data or performs an action.

A date picker, used by many websites and applications, is an excellent illustration. Most date pickers have a similar form and operation, though they vary slightly in appearance—month/year in the header, days of the week, and dates.

A date is highlighted to illustrate the selection when a user clicks on it. When the user is finished and ready to move forward, they can click the CTA (and occasionally a cancel button).

Input and output of data also include the following:

  • Form submissions
  • Success/fail messages
  • App notifications
  • Progress bars/steps

#2: Content Structuring

Have you ever observed that image thumbnail block layouts are primarily consistent across galleries? Or how the navigation panel is on the left and the content on the right in admin interfaces?

Users can explore a new digital product or website more efficiently by using these familiar UX patterns and content structures. The objective is to reduce friction for a seamless and delightful user experience, such as learning a new interface.

#3: Navigation

Users can explore a website or digital product more easily with the aid of well-known UX patterns for navigation.

The navigation patterns for desktop and mobile interfaces are different. On a desktop, the main navigation is on the left or the header. On mobile, meanwhile, the navigation bar is located on the footer of the mobile app, within easy reach of the thumb.

Instagram and Pinterest, for instance, frequently use an infinite or continuous scroll as their navigational design pattern. The system updates to show new content as users scroll. Because visitors don't need to click the next button or pagination to see additional material, this design pattern improves the user experience.

#4: Social Media & Sharing

Designers can choose from a variety of social media and sharing design patterns, such as:

  • Social media links with branded icons
  • Sharing icons, such as the arrow bending to the right or the three-dot open triangle hare icon
  • Quote from testimonials with the person's name and picture in inverted commas

Users can locate social proof to increase their trust in your product and brand using these well-known design principles.

These UX design processes use psychology to persuade users to take the intended actions. The idea is to build a connection between the user and the product. Designers can utilize hooks to do this.

#5: Incentivization

Utilizing design psychology, incentive UX patterns motivate users to complete tasks and take on other activities, developing a user/product relationship.

Designers create design patterns to captivate consumers through encouragement, thought, gamification, and other UX research methods.

For instance, gamified patterns encourage users to recommend friends to earn prizes. On a UX pattern, users will see their current point totals and a CTA to invite friends to earn more points.

#6: Hierarchy

Like content structure, hierarchy patterns instantly familiarize users with an interface so they can scan it fast and know how to take the appropriate action.

Tables of contents and headers are two typical hierarchy types for blogs. Users can utilize the table of contents to skip to a particular section or quickly scroll across a page to find what they need.

Another hierarchy structure used by eCommerce websites is the breadcrumb. It makes it easier for visitors to navigate product pages and checkout processes.

How to Use UX Design Patterns

It's time to discover how to pick the ideal UX patterns for your custom website user experience now that you know the various available varieties.

You must first remember that UX patterns mainly address usability issues. Hence, there is no need to use a pattern if no issue occurs. Following are four steps to select a UX design pattern:

Determine the issue that needs fixing. When conducting research, surveys and interviews can be used to spot usability issues. Focus groups, A/B testing, and support tickets can all be used to identify usability issues if you wish to enhance the UX of an existing website.

Examine the solutions for the issue on other websites. Visit sites comparable to yours and look at how they address the problems you identified in step 1. You will almost certainly find that they apply multiple design patterns to address the issue.

Examine the effectiveness of the techniques applied on other websites. This evaluation will be based on the requirements of your users and the objectives they have for using your website.

Select a pattern that best fits the requirements of your website and your users. Seek out other websites that employ this design pattern to learn how to modify it to meet the unique requirements of your users.

Takeaways on UX Patterns

The goal of UX designers is to give users the greatest experience possible, and UX patterns aid in accomplishing it. They are a result of people's general desire for familiarity.

In a nutshell, you may think of UX design patterns as set answers to frequent issues. Using a tried-and-true procedure produces intuitive interfaces.

However, UX designers must also be aware of UX patterns. They enable them to design an app more quickly and communicate effectively with other team members.

The success of the app increases with design simplicity. Both UX/UI patterns have the ability to impact the overall quality. A high ranking depends heavily on these. Furthermore, employing UX design patterns results in better user engagement, increased revenue, and higher retention rates.

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