Just like the trap of “real UX,” there’s another cognitive trap we UXers are prone to: unexamined sacred cows. I hold up before you—the pattern library.
I recently became convinced that we needed to build a pattern library and product style guide for our company. We have products sprouting like mushrooms all over the place and not nearly enough designers and product managers and developers to go around. I’m always getting asked for color and style guidance, and I don’t have much to give people. I can barely keep up with the design of the products I know about, never mind products that don’t yet exist.
A pattern library would help scale our limited UX resources, I thought, so we could have influence on products even if we don’t have time to actively work on them. It would help us catalog our ideas so we wouldn’t try to invent the same thing twice. It would help us work faster and be more consistent.
I got as far as poking around in a test install of Sharepoint our IT guys set up for me, but then—thank goodness!—while sitting in the tenth row at the LeanDayUX conference in New York, listening to Bill Scott talk about GitHub, I had an epiphany.
I was going about this for all the wrong reasons: