The article Consistency, states we should ‘use functional consistency to simplify usability and ease of learning.’ (Lidwell, W. 2003, pp.46) Consistency is what makes a design recognisable to us and we also relate to this design in some way due to the associations attached to it. The article discusses four types of consistency being: Aesthetic consistency, which uses consistent font, colour and graphics, so the appearance is all about marketing the product. We then recognise this logo or font, thus identifying it easily. The second type is Functional consistency, and this refers to such things as traffic lights and how we associate colour with meaning, e.g. red and knowing to stop. Another example given in the article is the recognisable functions of devices such as the video cassette recorders and its control symbols such as rewind, play and fast forward. (Lidwell, W. 2003). The third type of consistency is Internal consistency, which means maps or logical and thought out designs within urban landscapes such as parks. We rely and trust these systems as being current, up to date. The fourth type is external consistency. This type is more difficult to achieve because often they are systems within systems and there are no design rules to adhere to. Consistency is part of our every day existence, and many of us being so time poor, rely on previously gained knowledge to help gain understanding of a new product. When consistency in design is not applied, it takes the user longer to understand creating frustration and negativity towards the product . Consistency should “create a smooth and unobtrusive experience for users, and means their learning time will be shorter” (Colville-Hydeh, 2009).
Consistency is an important principle of design which has other important principles within its core, such as repetition, form, pattern, balance and emphasis. It allows us to recognise and associate a system to its usable nature.
Colville-Hydeh, B. (2009, June 5). Consistency and Design. retrieved from http://www.cxpartners.co.uk/thoughts/consistency_and_design.htm
Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Aesthetic-Usasbility Effect. In Universal principles of Design (pp.46). Massachusetts: Rockport.
Learning portfolio Q2
First example- Traffic lights
The principle of consistency applies in the use of traffic lights. It’s functional consistency “improves usability and learned ability by enabling people to leverage existing knowledge about how the design functions,” (Lidwell, Holden, & Butler, 2010, pp.46). Across the world, drivers are aware of the same traffic law of colour recognition and knowledge of how to react to the three colours. This has all aspects of the principle of consistency.
Second Example- The clock/ watch face
The clock is another example of recognisable, functional consistency. From an early age we learn how to tell the time, short hand the hour, and long hand the minutes. Although we are in a digital age, we all learn the analogue clock face first, so wherever we are in the world, we can read the clock and be punctual. Although branding and design change, its most recognisable functions such as number patterns, remain consistently the same.
Third Example- The McDonalds logo.
Everyone, around the world, recognises McDonalds golden arches, looming at you from miles away. The yellow colour became emblematic and recognisable many years ago along with it’s consistent advertising. McDonalds has branded itself extremely well, and is one of the most universally consistent brands to us.
Logos :: AboutMcDonalds.com. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/newsroom/image_and_video_library/logos.html