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Chapter 10. Layout: Positioning Elements... > Design Value: Consistency

Design Value: Consistency

Fundamental to all forms of verbal communication is the core design value of consistency. Any software interface, on the Web or elsewhere, is essentially an alternative, virtual world that users have to understand and master. The only way to ensure that they can succeed in that goal is to establish obvious, well-understood, and consistently applied rules for the functioning of the interface. Those rules encompass not only the visual details of layout, color, and typography, but also the behavioral and structural details discussed in previous chapters.

Along with simplicity, the importance of consistency cannot be overstated. Consistency is fundamental to the concepts of usability and user satisfaction. In its absence, users will be faced with confusion, frustration, and disappointment. Although it’s critical at every layer of the interface, a lack of consistency in the layout is particularly evident.


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