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:
- Title. Usually the name of the problem, solution, or element
type in question.
- Author. Each pattern has one principal author.
- Contributors. For when there are co-authors.
- Problem. Written in user-centred terms, i.e. what is the
problem presented to the end user?
- 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.
- Use when. A statement to describe the context for the
- Solution. A prescriptive checklist of to-dos. We found that
this format was the most easily consumable by our time-pressed
- 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.
- Special Cases. Known exceptions. Often these exceptions
warrant their own patterns
- Open Questions Unknowns. Useful for documenting areas that
require further research
- Supporting Research. For linking to usability reports,
- Parent Pattern If this pattern is a specific solution to
a broader pattern, this field is used for selecting its parent
- Related Standards For cross-linking to related patterns
and visual standards. (See Using a Pattern Library as a Body of
- Categories Contains the pattern library's four vocabularies
to allow users to browse by category.
- Importance of Adherence Rating The application computes
the median of the submitted ratings. The visualization of the rating
shows 0-5 bars.
- 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/