6-8 September 2017, McGrath Centre, St. Catharine's College

Modular design for a consistent user experience

A 90 minute Hands-On by:

Xavier Watkins

European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

Dr Nikiforos Karamanis

European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

Slides from session

The slides used for this session are available to download from here.

About this Hands-On

In his 1977 book A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander defines a new language made of timeless entities called 'patterns'. Although these observations were made in the context of architecture and urban design, they have gained popularity in user experience design with the creation of 'pattern libraries'.

A pattern library ensures a consistent user experience by providing an integrated system of components. These components, or patterns, describe functional units of the user interface that can be reused. Designers and developers define a common vocabulary by giving names to these patterns. This vocabulary is then applied throughout the design process right through to implementation.

The fact that the pattern library is “living” (as opposed to being a static set of guidelines) is crucial, as this ensures that it is always integrated with your web application.

Following Brad Frost’s modular design methodology and drawing from our experience in creating living pattern libraries for a variety of services at EMBL-EBI in the last couple of years, we will guide you through the process of creating a pattern library.

This hands-on session will be useful for:

  • product managers and owners who want their team to be working closer together
  • front end developers who want to make their websites and applications easier to maintain
  • UX designers who want to make their websites more consistent and define a common vocabulary with the developers they work with

About the Speakers

Xavier Watkins

Xavier Watkins is Web Development Project Leader for UniProt at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI). He has over 10 years' experience as a web developer for various life sciences organisations, including the University of Cambridge. His other interests include data visualisation, typography and playing music. And cheese.


Dr Nikiforos Karamanis

Dr Nikiforos Karamanis is the lead UX designer for the Open Targets web platform. Before joining the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) to work on this role, he worked as a UX consultant and as the UX lead at SwiftKey. He has a PhD in informatics from the University of Edinburgh and worked as a research fellow at Cambridge University and Trinity College Dublin on user-centered design and evaluation of novel technologies for a variety of settings.

Nikiforos enjoys spending time with users, developers and other stakeholders and helping them work together to achieve their goals using lean UX methods.


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