Consistency is a key principle of user experience (UX) design. A usable and user-friendly design is based on consistent experience. A consistent design helps to meet users’ expectations. If you are providing a different behavior for similar problems in your design, it will frustrate the users. An unexpected behavior creates confusion for the users.
Consistency is directly linked with faster learning. The users come to use your product, they start learning the product by following certain interactions and behaviors. A consistent experience helps in reducing the learning time, and thus users get familiar with the design in lesser time.
Consistency is important for both visual design and experience. For example, if users want to search for an item in your application, they should be able to:
- Find the search function by looking at the search icon
- Enter the search criteria for the required item (e.g., name, ID, etc.)
- See the results
This means you need to provide the search function easily accessible in the UI, use a standard metaphor icon for search, and provide a similar behavior of search feature everywhere in the UI.
“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 helps to save your time and money. If you have uniform standards available for UI components and behaviors, you don’t need to worry about them each time you are building a new feature. Instead, you can utilize your time to make other useful improvements to the product.
“A simple way to ensure consistency throughout our products is to maintain UI guidelines and follow them while designing the experience.”
Do not consider consistency as a barrier to innovation. Be open to user feedback and make necessary improvements to your standard guidelines to earn user satisfaction.
Learn UX Design
To learn more on how to design better experiences, consider the Interaction Design Foundation’s (IDF) online courses on User Research – Methods and Best Practices.
In addition, the UX Academy offers world-class 1-on-1 online training in UX design, access to a vibrant community, and help to get a product design job.
Thanks for reading.