UI Design Patterns

We got an introduction into UI design patterns, anti-pattern and dark patterns. UI design patterns are patterns we see in software we use. Anything from simple input fields and thumbnails to more complex composite patterns like carousels and wizards. These patterns have formed when they are used in many places and almost become standard.


What constitutes an anti-pattern could be contested but in my years as a web developer I have seen patterns come and go. Many consider things that take agency away from the user like auto playing carousels or scroll-jacking to be anti-patterns as they often work against the will of the user. Nowadays many consider carousels altogether to be an anti-pattern, as they hide content that is important enough to have in a prominent position and make the user click to see more.

Dark Patterns

Dark patterns ar more insidious, they are not just bad patterns, they are patterns that try to trick the user into doing something. This could be anything from displaying every time someone else books a hotel to make you anxious about finding the best price hotel and just book something fast. Gamification could also be seen as a dark pattern, it certainly is when casinos use it to make you gamble more, but it could also be a useful pattern in education.

Can we break away?

It is useful to know about these patterns as it gives us a better understanding of what makes the UI and we can use the knowledge to analyze software design. It is also important to know the rules, even informal rules like patterns, to know where we can break away from the rules and when it is smarter to just stick to the patterns we got.

The hamburger menu is an example of this. I remember when it was new and there was a lot of discussion about it. Would it just confuse users or was it something that we needed. I think the hamburger menu won in the end but I don't know if we just got used to it or if it was innovative. I don't remember what we used to do before it.

Finding patterns

There are a lot of sites that gather examples of UI design patterns, I like designvault, as it has a rather large list of apps and patterns that make sense to me.

Now I have to use this deepened knowledge to find patterns in Malmö by Bike.