Pattern-Driven Design and Development

Presenter: Patrick Fulton; Twitter

What are patterns

  • Something designed or used as a model for making things
  • Solution to a common problem
    • best practice or template for solving problems
    • tab/accordion/button/modal in UX

Pattern Library: library of standardized UI patterns

  • navigation, dropdowns, accordion, layout (grid)
  • resource to build from

mail chimp pattern library (

Design System: Everything that makes up your produc

  • Typography, grids, layouts, colors, icons, components, coding conventions voice and tone, style guide documentation
  • Allows team to learn, build & grow

Salesforce’s Lightning Design System

Identifying Patterns

  • Activity
  • Print out and cut out the various components of your website
  • How would you group them? Throw out the identical properties between pages.
  • Name and outline what components are and do.

Atomic Design

Atom (standalone module) > Molecule (simple combo of atoms) > Organism (larger ‘component’) > Templates > Pages


  • Design system first mentality; every proposal goes through the pattern library
  • add friendly friction into the workflow, fix things at a system level; not as a one off

Pattern-driven Design Tools

  • Something to build upon
  • Should allow includes or partials
  • Could be handlebars.js – powers Ember
  • Static site generator (Middleman, Jekyll, Metalsmith, Assemble)
  • Actual pattern library generator/systems: Pattern Lab, Fractal

Separate content from design and coding base. Use JSON, YAML, front matter etc and bring it in using a variable (liquid, handlebars, mustache, etc). Possibly by using some sort of static page generation vs database driven.

Additional resources

cms: openText; ouCampus