Consistency is important in terms of design. It is how people become familiar and understand a specific product. If a design is consistent then a user who is familiar with a product will be able to use it without much difficulty (Horton, 2006). In terms of consistency, there are four types: aesthetic, function, internal and external (Lidwell, Holden & Butler, 2006). Aesthetic consistency is based on style and appearance. Functional consistency looks at how the product functions. It is how people familiarize themselves with the product and how to use it. Internal consistency is the combination of aesthetic and functional elements within the product, which allows the product to have a consistent and logical design. The final type of consistency is external consistency, which explores the elements in the surrounding environment. It is because of external consistency the users are able to recall prior knowledge of a product and are able to understand the new design (Colville-Hyde, 2009).
In terms of consistency, repetition can also be a form of consistency (Williams, 2004). It is due to repetition that we as users are able to have form knowledge of products and be able to use them when a new updated form is release. An example of repetitive consistency is smartphones. Samsung have released a variety of different smartphones however, any person who has operated a Samsung smartphone can be given the latest version and still be able to operated. Why? It is because it is consistent. The latest phone may have a few updates and extra customizations but the function of the phone itself remains the same. When it comes to web design, the same consistent functions are applied. It is explained by Badre (2002) that to make web sites aesthetically appealing certain functions must remain the same. It is through repetition that we are able to learn and control products and web sites without much irritation.
- Badre, A. N. (2002). Shaping Web Usability – Interaction Design in Context: Pearson.
- Colville-Hyde, B. (2009). Consistency and design. Retrieved from http://www.cxpartners.co.uk/thoughts/consistency_and_design.htm
- Horton, S. (2006). Consistent design. Retrieved from http://universalusability.com/access_by_design/page_layout/consistent.html
- Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2010). Universal principles of design. Rockport Publishers.
- Williams, R. (2004). The Non-Designer’s Design Book (Second ed.): Peachpit Press.
1) Bio-hazard signs
Bio-hazard signs are another example of consistency. Although the sign background can sometimes vary, the one thing that does not change is the symbol. This allows the sign to be recognized internationally meaning it does not matter where you go you will always be able to understand the sign even if there is a language barrier. The traditional colour of a hazard sign is yellow. The consistency of the use of the colour yellow on signs means it is a lot easier to recognize and not much thought has to be put into thinking about what it means. The use of internal consistency means that the signs are put clearly on bio-hazard areas or products which allows them to be visible from all angles.
Remote controls are an example of consistency. No matter what they are used for they all have a similar design which allows for easy recollection of prior information about how to operate them which falls under aesthetic consistency. They all have the functional buttons such as play, stop, pause, volume and a fast forward and rewind button making them functionally consistent. If one has prior information on how to operate a remote, even if they are given a model of a remote that they are not familiar with they should still be able to operate it which give the remote a consistent design which is useful and useable.
3) Glow Jackets
Fluoro jackets are also an example of consistency. Fluoro jackets, like bio-hazard signs, often have different colours such as green, yellow and orange. Although they vary in colour, the function of the jacket is the same. The consistency of this jacket is that they are fluoro colours, which makes it easier to spot people in any background. Workers such as emergency services, railway worker, airport workers and even hunters generally wear the coats. The consistent idea of wearing fluoro allows for those in any area surround by vehicles to be easily recognized and for hunters be identified as humans and not game.