We developed an input form for pattern creation so that a pattern's contents would be structured and predictable. We surveyed pattern libraries on the web to devise a base set, and after some trial and error, settled on the following fields:
  1. Title. Usually the name of the problem, solution, or element type in question.
  2. Author. Each pattern has one principal author.
  3. Contributors. For when there are co-authors.
  4. Problem. Written in user-centred terms, i.e. what is the problem presented to the end user?
  5. Sensitizing Example. A single screen shot to serve as the picture worth a thousand words. Additional images may be added to the other fields; this is the one that really needs to count.
  6. Use when. A statement to describe the context for the problem/solution pair.
  7. Solution. A prescriptive checklist of to-dos. We found that this format was the most easily consumable by our time-pressed audience
  8. Rationale. A set of statements that reinforce the solution above. We separate all rationale information from the solution to make the solution easier to scan and consume. This field can also be used to summaraize the "forces" that other pattern languages describe.
  9. Special Cases. Known exceptions. Often these exceptions warrant their own patterns
  10. Open Questions Unknowns. Useful for documenting areas that require further research
  11. Supporting Research. For linking to usability reports, audits, etc.
  12. Parent Pattern If this pattern is a specific solution to a broader pattern, this field is used for selecting its parent
  13. Related Standards For cross-linking to related patterns and visual standards. (See Using a Pattern Library as a Body of Standards
  14. Categories Contains the pattern library's four vocabularies to allow users to browse by category.
  15. Importance of Adherence Rating The application computes the median of the submitted ratings. The visualization of the rating shows 0-5 bars.
  16. Comments. Notes and feedback from pattern's consumers

From: Mark Leacock, Erin Malone and Chanel Wheeler, Implementing a Pattern Library in the Real World: A Yahoo! Case Study Paper presented at the American Society for Information Science and Technology IA Summit 2005 - Crossing Boundaries, 3-7 March 2005, Montreal Canada and available from http://www.leacock.com/patterns/