The sheer amount of information that is available at the tap of a finger can get overwhelming, and in many cases, people tend to choose simplicity without even thinking about it.
The interactions that make up the digital world and all the numerous communication channels can become a cognitive overload, and it’s important for UX designers to make this effortless and straightforward, given that a whopping 94% of first impressions are design-related!
A factor in design that helps support this objective is Design Consistency.
What is it? Why is design consistency important? And how does DesignOps tie into all of this?
Well, that’s what we’ll be covering in this article, so let’s get started.
What is design consistency?
Design consistency is a design principle for when similar and repeating elements look and function similarly throughout a brand, website, or product, ensuring a reduced cognitive load and smoother, intuitive interactions.
Consistency is a key factor in design for both visual and functional elements because it creates harmony in how your product looks, feels, and works across the board. And harmony is great for any experience that people have because we naturally prefer consistency
UI and UX become predictable and easy to understand thanks to consistency, and brands benefit from a strong and cohesive presentation and performance.
For example, maintaining consistency in your website’s functionality, styling, symbols, animations, etc. will boost usability and learnability by allowing visitors to apply previous knowledge of your website to subsequent pages, enhancing their user experience and journey around the site.
Why is design consistency important?
There are four main reasons why consistency as a design principle is such a big deal in UX design:
1. Users learn and adapt faster
Say your design elements are alphabets to the design language. When you learn them, you will have no trouble navigating around the language without friction. Keep changing your design style and it’s like talking to your users in a different language every time!
Because they don’t have to learn new tricks to move around, consistency makes it simple for users to navigate your UX. They are aware of what to anticipate either because they have already learned it in your app, website, or somewhere else.
Naturally, this will encourage users to continue engaging with your brand by helping them feel at ease and content.
2. Eliminates confusion
Communication is facilitated by consistent UI and UX.
You can establish a logical framework that makes it obvious to users where they can find different types of material by utilizing visual consistency to prioritize it, make it navigable, or highlight key sections of it.
Do you know what you get with inconsistent design? Confusion. And confusion leads to frustrated users, which we don’t have to tell you is a bad thing!
3. Saves time and resources
You can afford consistency only if there are repeated elements.
Now, when you take that into account, imagine the pain of having to recreate those elements every single time you need to incorporate them into your design.
Design consistency ensures that you have a predefined repository of components and elements. This makes it possible for designers and other stakeholders to decide instantly without wasting time debating.
This reduces the amount of time needed to create the design and make small adjustments.
4. Evokes an emotional response
Because consistent design can make it simpler for users to navigate and utilize your website or app, this can boost users’ confidence in their capacity to control what’s in front of them.
This invariably creates a positive emotional response to the smooth user experience.
The four types of design consistency
There are four core areas of design where you need to implement design consistency:
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
Visual elements consist of your fonts, buttons, labels, sizes, images, CTAs, etc. You need to ensure all these elements are consistent throughout the product.
This is the first thing anyone sees when they land on a website or app, making it the easiest inconsistency to spot.
Users will be able to perceive your UI as coherent right away if you keep your styling consistent throughout the entire site.
For instance, all types of text elements should ideally use the same typographic style for them to feel structured and scannable.
Functional elements refer to a site’s usability, and functional consistency is when these similar controls function the same way.
It helps users get accustomed to how different elements work and what they do. For instance, every website nowadays follows a functional pattern wherein clicking the brand logo takes you to their homepage. This is something all users are now used to and is something they would expect even if they’re first-time visitors to your site.
Functional consistency increases the predictability of your website or product and leads to users feeling comfortable.
Internal consistency in your product design combines both visual and functional consistency. It is essential for us to make sure that any changes we make to a website’s content are in line with maintaining its internal consistency.
It enhances the product’s usability and learnability. As long as you maintain internal consistency, users will find it simple to use new features/pages even when you introduce them.
As an example, users will be able to immediately identify CTA buttons at any stage of their user journey if you make all of the CTA buttons on various pages or screens of your product the same color and style.
External consistency is attained when there is consistency in design across numerous platforms, websites, systems/products, etc. In this manner, user experience for one product can be applied to another.
It’s crucial since it greatly reduces friction and offers a wonderful user experience. If you operate a global e-commerce business, for example, you may need to take that into account.
In other words, even though technically they are different, having multiple stores that share the same look and feel will help users feel as though they are being shown the right elements.
A great example of external consistency is Apple’s UI/UX, wherein every device they produce follows a similar design language.
How DesignOps enforces design consistency
DesignOps is the practice of focusing on processes and measures that support designers and design teams in creating consistent, quality designs.
DesignOps touches on three key stages of the design process to guarantee consistency in the final product. Let’s examine each one in turn.
DesignOps creates clear goals and objectives
DesignOps relies on guiding principles and design processes such as design thinking to create a streamlined design workflow among teams.
The goal of DesignOps is to achieve overall business alignment on goals and objectives, subsequently enhancing design consistency and quality by fostering a unified collaborative environment amongst all remote and non-remote teams.
DesignOps creates design playbooks
A well-written design playbook contains a comprehensive list of all the standards, best practices, processes, procedures, and other information about the product that designers must adhere to.
The brand consistency of an organization will not be impacted by the addition of new individuals because the design playbook serves as an ongoing source of direction for new recruits from day one.
They make sure that the design teams and team members adhere to the company’s fundamental principles and ideals.
DesignOps unifies tools and processes
DesignOps helps to standardize and harmonize toolsets and design processes.
It standardizes them by defining and aligning design activities within the design processes and enforcing the use of the same design tools for efficient collaboration.
It also helps design teams share and expand design knowledge by building repositories of user-research data that is accessible to everyone on the team, enabling all of them to work from a shared understanding of the project and building common ground.
This standardization of toolsets and processes ensures that design consistency is achieved at every project level.
Bring design consistency to your organization with Cubyts
Cubyts is a dedicated DesignOps platform that prioritizes design consistency across an organization. We understand the importance of consistency and strive to help other organizations achieve the same by setting the right stage.
By bringing design to the center of product development, Cubyts enables businesses to adopt DesignOps and seamlessly integrate design workflows that aim to achieve design consistency.
Book a demo with us to see how Cubyts can scale your business with DesignOps and design consistency.