What is a Pattern?

Each pattern is made up of a number of parts which provide a rich insight into the context, forces and relations which need to be considered in deploying the pattern. This is different from a checklist or heuristic which list important factors but do not describe the context that gave rise to the solution or the relation of the solution to other parts of the problem.

Pattern languages have been used in many contexts where there are many complex and interrelated parts including software design, interface design and architecture. Many share the same features, however they frequently have minor differences in format to suit the domain they are used in. The format used here is based on Jennifer Tidwell's Common Ground - Pattern Language for Human-Computer Interface Design which in turn has its basis in the original pattern language by Christopher Alexander.

Pattern Elements:


This is the title of the pattern and reflects the nature of the pattern for easy reference and recognition.


This provides a pictorial example of the pattern in action. The images are drawn form a variety of sourses where the examples clearly illustrate the solution described by the pattern. The sources are from IKEA, Lego and Ban Dai as PAIs are an integral part of their products and they have been developing PAIs for many years.


This lists the zones the pattern belongs to


This statement broadly defines the user aims and requirements that lead to the problem.


Based on the context, this is a short statement describing the essence of the problem.


This lists the factors influencing the design including factors such as the task, the user and the broader context such as the environment and social factors.


This describes the action that will resolve the forces causing the problem. 


This describes the course of information that informed the pattern including published research, the design conducted for the PhD thesis and examination of existing artifacts. 

The references are provided in full here.

Related Patterns:

This lists related patterns and provides a brief description of the nature of the relations.

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