Interaction consistency may be one of the most widely accepted pillars of usable interaction design. This seemingly simple concept can act as a double-edged sword and has lead many interface designers to make serious UX design errors in the name of consistency.
Akendi’s 12 Interaction Design Principles, include 3 different types of interaction consistency: System Consistency, Platform Consistency, and Real World Consistency. We devoted a quarter of our list to interaction consistency because consistency is a complex concept and these are three distinct concepts that can compete with one another. Let’s dig deeper into all three and attempt to define the three sides of interaction consistency so you can apply them consistently in you next project.
The real challenge comes when trying to create a system that not only needs to work across mobile platforms, but other devices all together (desktop, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, etc.) Here system consistency and platform consistency can come into direct opposition. This challenge can be furthered when these systems are used in very different contexts and by a wide spectrum of users. In the end, all three types of consistency work because they capitalize on users expectations. Keeping these principles in mind will help guide your initial design, but the only way to ensure your design is matching users expectations is through usability testing with real end users.
Patrick Noonan is an Experience Architect at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design. To learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit www.akendi.com.
Akendi is a product strategy, user experience design and usability research firm. We are passionate about the creation of intentional experiences – whether those involve digital products, physical products, mobile, service or bricks-and-mortar interactions. We work shoulder-to-shoulder to optimize the experiences you deliver. Akendi Corporate Overview (PDF).
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