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Developing a UI Design Pattern Library - A Case Study at eCraft (Master's Thesis)

Developing a UI Design Pattern Library - A Case Study at eCraft (Master's Thesis)

Ratings: (0)|Views: 3,039 |Likes:
Published by Janne Lammi
Designing good user interfaces is difficult, and thus software development organizations
need effective and usable design tools to support design work. In this thesis a tool, a user
interface design pattern library which captures knowledge of good UI design and shares it
effectively in reusable format to the development organization, was developed for a
Finnish middle-sized IT organization called eCraft.

The theoretical part of this research starts with presenting different kinds of design
languages on the domain, where two main concepts are identified; usability guidelines and
UI design patterns. The different characteristics of these concepts are introduced, and their
strengths and weaknesses are being discussed. The primary conclusion of this research is
that UI design patterns is the best concept to document design solutions. Then, the current
way to design and develop user interfaces at the case company is analyzed in the empirical
part. The study showed that problems in UI design exist, and usability is not really taken
into account in daily development work. However, the company employees were willing
to develop their UI design skills, but they didn’t know how.

After the needs of the organization were recognized and design language for the company
was selected, literature review continues by researching different kinds of tools for
managing and sharing patterns. In addition, some interesting related concepts are being
surveyed. Based on these results, a solution for a UI design pattern library is developed
using some fresh ideas on this domain. The tool makes possible a living design pattern
language, whose structure and content gets modified and updated collaboratively by its
users.

The pattern language is integrated into company’s work processes and introduced for trial
use in few software development projects. Users’ experiences and attitudes of its usage are
collected after one and a half months usage period and also partly during it. The results
showed that the library is considered useful by its user and it makes UI design easier and
more efficient, bringing several benefits to the case company.

More UI patterns and a tool for building a design pattern library: http://patternry.com
Designing good user interfaces is difficult, and thus software development organizations
need effective and usable design tools to support design work. In this thesis a tool, a user
interface design pattern library which captures knowledge of good UI design and shares it
effectively in reusable format to the development organization, was developed for a
Finnish middle-sized IT organization called eCraft.

The theoretical part of this research starts with presenting different kinds of design
languages on the domain, where two main concepts are identified; usability guidelines and
UI design patterns. The different characteristics of these concepts are introduced, and their
strengths and weaknesses are being discussed. The primary conclusion of this research is
that UI design patterns is the best concept to document design solutions. Then, the current
way to design and develop user interfaces at the case company is analyzed in the empirical
part. The study showed that problems in UI design exist, and usability is not really taken
into account in daily development work. However, the company employees were willing
to develop their UI design skills, but they didn’t know how.

After the needs of the organization were recognized and design language for the company
was selected, literature review continues by researching different kinds of tools for
managing and sharing patterns. In addition, some interesting related concepts are being
surveyed. Based on these results, a solution for a UI design pattern library is developed
using some fresh ideas on this domain. The tool makes possible a living design pattern
language, whose structure and content gets modified and updated collaboratively by its
users.

The pattern language is integrated into company’s work processes and introduced for trial
use in few software development projects. Users’ experiences and attitudes of its usage are
collected after one and a half months usage period and also partly during it. The results
showed that the library is considered useful by its user and it makes UI design easier and
more efficient, bringing several benefits to the case company.

More UI patterns and a tool for building a design pattern library: http://patternry.com

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Published by: Janne Lammi on Mar 30, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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HELSINKI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGYDepartment of Computer Science and EngineeringLaboratory of Software Business and Engineering
Janne Lammi
Developing a UI Design PatternLibrary
 A Case Study at eCraft 
Master’s ThesisEspoo, September 11th, 2007Supervisor: Professor Marko Nieminen, D.Sc. (Tech.)Instructor: Professor Marko Nieminen
 
ii
HELSINKI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
 
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
 
ABSTRACT OF MASTER’S THESIS
 
Author Date
Janne Lammi 11.9.2007
Pages
79 + 19
Title of thesis
Developing a UI Design Pattern Library – A Case Study at eCraft
Professorship Professorship Code
User Interfaces and Usability T-121
Supervisor 
Professor Marko Nieminen, D.Sc. (Tech)
Instructor 
Professor Marko Nieminen, D.Sc. (Tech)Designing good user interfaces is difficult, and thus software development organizationsneed effective and usable design tools to support design work. In this thesis a tool, a user interface design pattern library which captures knowledge of good UI design and shares iteffectively in reusable format to the development organization, was developed for aFinnish middle-sized IT organization called eCraft.The theoretical part of this research starts with presenting different kinds of designlanguages on the domain, where two main concepts are identified; usability guidelines andUI design patterns. The different characteristics of these concepts are introduced, and their strengths and weaknesses are being discussed. The primary conclusion of this research isthat UI design patterns is the best concept to document design solutions. Then, the currentway to design and develop user interfaces at the case company is analyzed in the empirical part. The study showed that problems in UI design exist, and usability is not really takeninto account in daily development work. However, the company employees were willingto develop their UI design skills, but they didn’t know how.After the needs of the organization were recognized and design language for the companywas selected, literature review continues by researching different kinds of tools for managing and sharing patterns. In addition, some interesting related concepts are beingsurveyed. Based on these results, a solution for a UI design pattern library is developedusing some fresh ideas on this domain. The tool makes possible a living design patternlanguage, whose structure and content gets modified and updated collaboratively by itsusers.The pattern language is integrated into company’s work processes and introduced for trialuse in few software development projects. Users’ experiences and attitudes of its usage arecollected after one and a half months usage period and also partly during it. The resultsshowed that the library is considered useful by its user and it makes UI design easier andmore efficient, bringing several benefits to the case company.
Keywords
design patterns, usability guidelines, UI design, usability, web2.0, pattern language, pattern library, folksonomy
 
iii
TEKNILLINEN KORKEAKOULU
 Tietotekniikan osasto
DIPLOMITYÖN TIIVISTELMÄ
 
Tekijä Päiväys
Janne Lammi 11.9.2007
Sivumäärä
79 + 19
Työn nimi
Käyttöliittymän suunnittelumallikirjaston kehittäminen – eCraft Case Study
Professuuri Koodi
Käyttöliittymät ja käytettävyys T-121
Työn valvoja
Prof., TkT Marko Nieminen
Työn ohjaaja
Prof., TkT Marko NieminenHyvien käyttöliittymien suunnittelu on vaikeaa, ja siksi ohjelmistokehitysorganisaatiottarvitsevat tehokkaita ja käytettävyydeltään hyviä työkaluja käyttöliittymäsuunnitteluntueksi. Tässä diplomityössä työkalu, käyttöliittymän suunnittelumallikirjasto joka tallentaatietotaidon hyvistä käyttöliittymäratkaisuista ja jakaa sen tehokkaastikehitysorganisaatiolle uudelleenkäytettäväksi, kehitettiin suomalaiselle keskikokoiselleIT-alan yritykselle nimeltä eCraft.Tutkimuksen kirjallisuuskatsaus alkaa erilaisten suunnittelukielten esittelyllä, jossatunnistetaan kaksi pääkonseptia; käyttöliittymien suunnitteluohjeet ja suunnittelumallit. Näiden kahden pääkonseptin eri vivahteet esitellään, ja niiden heikkouksista javahvuuksista keskustellaan. Katselmuksen johtopäätös on, että suunnittelumallit ovat paras tapa dokumentoida käyttöliittymäratkaisuja. Organisaatiotutkimuksessa kartoitettiinyrityksen nykyinen tapa suunnitella ja kehittää käyttöliittymiä. Tutkimus osoitti, ettäkäyttöliittymäsuunnittelussa on ongelmia, ja käytettävyyttä ei juuri otettu huomioon päivittäisessä työssä. Yrityksen työntekijöillä oli kuitenkin halu kehittää heidänkäyttöliittymäsuunnittelutaitojaan, mutta he eivät tienneet miten.Kun organisaation tarpeet oli tunnistettu sekä suunnittelukieli päätetty, kirjallisuuskatsaus jatkuu tutkimalla erilaisia työkaluja suunnittelumallien kerryttämiseen ja jakamiseen.Lisäksi muita kiinnostavia konsepteja käydään läpi, joita olisi mahdollista hyödyntäätyökalussa. Näihin tuloksiin pohjautuen yritykselle kehitettiin ratkaisu käyttöliittymä-suunnittelumallikirjastosta, joka käyttää hyväkseen tuoreita ideoita tällä alalla. Työkalumahdollistaa elävän suunnittelumallikielen, jonka rakenne ja sisältö muokkautuu jatäydentyy koko ajan käyttäjien toimesta.Mallikirjasto integroitiin yrityksen prosesseihin ja otettiin koekäyttöön muutamassa projektissa. Käyttäjien kokemuksia ja mielipiteitä kerättiin puolentoista kuukauden pituisen käyttöjakson jälkeen ja osittain jo sen aikana. Tulokset osoittivat, että kirjastokoettiin hyödylliseksi ja se teki käyttöliittymäsuunnittelusta tehokkaampaa ja helpompaa,tuoden lukuisia etuja yritykselle.
Avainsanat
suunnittelumallit, suunnitteluohjeet, käyttöliittymäsuunnittelu, käytettävyys, web2.0,mallikieli, folksonomia, suunnittelumallikirjasto

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