Consistency – A Key Design Principle


“Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen.”— Jakob Nielsen

Consistency is the key principle of UX design. A usable and user-friendly design always provides a consistent experience. 

If user has to find a new way each time to resolve a similar kind of problem while working in a design, he will get confused and frustrated at the same time.

Consistency helps to reduce the learning time for a product since user gets familiar with the given experience.

Consistency needs to achieve both in terms of visual design and experience. Timothy Smith in UX Booth identified areas of a design where consistency should be taken care:

  • Elements
  • Design itself
  • Content 
  • Interactions

I am adding one more point to this list: Platform.

A consistent experience is very important across multiple platforms. If user finds a different experience on multiple devices, he will quickly fed up of the product. It will take a lot of his time to find the required features when he uses the product.

“A simple way to ensure consistency throughout our products is to maintain UI guidelines and follow them while designing the experience.”

Remember, consistency is a not a barrier to innovation, but making consistency a priority while thinking about innovative design ideas is the secret to success.

Consistency can be extended by adding new behaviors to design experience. And the best way to do this is to collect user feedback. Involve user in design process and his feedback will let us know that what needs to be changed in the product, and where consistency can be bent for the sake of improvement.

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