Week 9

Week Nine – Activity

Examples of Consistency Within Design

 

Although they have fallen out of regular use pictures of floppy discs are still used across a variety of systems and products to represent the option to save a document. Those who grew up using floppy discs instantly make the symbolic connection between saving a document to a disc and saving it to a USB or hard drive while younger users interpret the meaning of the symbol through consistent experience without needing to understand its origins. This is an example of both internal and external consistency as a floppy disc is understood to be a save symbol across a range of products, as well as functional consistency by allowing those who grew up with floppy discs to transpose their knowledge.

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Road signs are an example of both internal and external consistency. Although there are small differences between countries many of the standards are universally accepted, for example a large number on a sign can be reasonably expected to be the speed limit for that road. Likewise a silhouette on a brightly coloured sign can be interpreted as a warning. This consistency makes it considerably safer for people to drive in countries other than their own as so many of the symbols are standard and therefore much more immediately understood. Without this consistency it would be unlikely that even a skilled driver could be expected to safely navigate the roads of a foreign country without learning an entirely new set of rules, making driving much more inaccessible.

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McDonalds is an example of a company which has gained nearly unprecedented brand recognition through its consistency. Its logo, a golden letter m, has become something of an icon, instantly recognisable almost globally and is present at every restaurant along with on the packaging of every product sold. As a result of this the logo has become almost synonymous with fast food. This logo is both aesthetically and internally consistent, utilising the same font, shape and colour and being used so frequently and, as a result has become easily recognisable and iconic.

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Week 9

Week Nine – Item One

Consistency

 This article discusses consistency with relation to usability and learnability. The author hypothesises that systems are both easier to use and easier to learn when the four different standards of consistency (aesthetic, functional, internal and external) are met. Aesthetic consistency is the consistency of style, creating membership groups and brand recognition, functional consistency is consistency of meaning which assists people in applying old skills to new products, internal consistency refers to consistency within the product and suggests well planned design and external consistency is consistency across multiple systems. These methods of consistency can be used to establish recognisable identity which can then be simplified in order to make products as easy to learn and use as possible.

In a world of rapidly advancing technology and social media making it easier for companies to gain recognition and expand overseas universal consistency can be useful in helping users to master new products. Global media has resulted in brand recognition, the associations customers may have with a brand, becoming increasingly important and it is understood that consistency within brands and logos incites trust in a consumer while inconsistency may result in discomfort (Bengtsson, Bardhi, & Venkatraman, 2008). Consistency in both branding (aesthetic consistency) and function (functional consistency) is crucial to building trust with a consumer, creating a relationship with them and potentially encouraging brand loyalty (Aggarwal, 2008).

Consistency, particularly internal consistency, may be achieved by a factor as subtle as positioning buttons in the same place and ensuring that they are consistently labelled (Anderson, McRee, & Wilson , 2010). Small consistencies such as that can help a user to feel more confident which will in turn ensure they have a more positive relationship with the product.

Although usability is difficult to truly define or measure consistency can increase both user performance and user satisfaction (Choong, Lin, & Salvendy , 1997) and it is very important for consistency of all varieties to be considered when designing or advertising a product.

Works Cited

Aggarwal, S. (2008). Brand Management: A Theoretical and Practical Approach. Global India Publications.

Anderson, J., McRee, J., & Wilson , R. (2010). Effective UI: The Art of Building Great User Experience in Software. O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Bengtsson, A., Bardhi, F., & Venkatraman, M. (2008). How global brands travel with consumers. Emerald Insight, 519 – 540.

Choong, Y.-Y., Lin, H. X., & Salvendy , G. (1997). A proposed index of usability: a method for comparing the relative usability of different software systems. Behaviour and Information Technology, 267 – 278.