Concerning consistency in design, the article puts forward the four key facets: aesthetic, functional, internal and external. A system of consistency allows the viewer to make connections and “efficiently transfer knowledge to new contexts, learn new things quickly, and focus attention on the relevant aspects of a task” (Lidwell, Holden and Butler, 2003, pp. 46). It is through consistency, and the logic behind it, that we are able to learn things more quickly as we tend to group similar information together. The repetition is what sticks and randomness that doesn’t because it is much harder to order things with little connection. We need consistency in order to make logical connections otherwise a cognitive dissonance arises and little understanding can be found (Gawronski, 2012).
The four aspects of consistency are then discussed. Aesthetic consistency concerns appearance and style which conjures associations with a product and what it represents (Lidwell et al., 2003). Functional consistency, is, as the name suggests, functional. Consistency in a system denoting meanings and actions that are shared across a range of products allow for ease of use like the play, pause and skip buttons on media devices (Lidwell et al., 2003). Internal and external consistency are linked in a sense that elements in a system the same (internal) and the same elements can still be linked in a different environment (external) (Lidwell et al., 2003).
Our learning of something greatly improves if the principles of consistency are present and present in such a way that intuitive connections are made easily (Nikolov, 2017). Regularity increases the usability and “a system is improved when similar parts are expressed in similar ways.” (Lidwell et al., 2003, pp. 46). A good design is almost unnoticeable as everything is intuitive through consistency and familiarity (Toscano, 2016).
Gawronski, B. (2012). Cognitive consistency as a basic principle of social information processing. In Cognitive consistency: A fundamental principle in social cognition. (pp. 1-18). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Lidwell, W., Holden, K. & Butler, J. (2003). Consistency. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 46). Beverly, Massachusetts: Rockport
Nikolov, A. (2017, April 8). Design principle: Consistency. [Blog Post]. Retrieved from https://uxdesign.cc/design-principle-consistency-6b0cf7e7339f
Tocsano, J. (2016, January 25). The value of consistent design. [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.invisionapp.com/blog/consistent-design/