Modular vs Homogenous Design
- Discussion about innovation and uniqueness in UI design products
Modular UI design is about designing a system. Now, if UI systems are typically comprised by the same type of parts (like buttons, typefaces, icons, grids, etc.)
Then you might be wondering:
- Are modular design all going to look the same (homogeneous)?
- How will this affect brand identity?
- How can the UI or a product be unique when using modular design?
While valid these questions raise an underlying question: Where do innovation and uniqueness lie in the UI design of a product?
It’s easy to think that it lies in the way the design looks, but it’s also natural to do so, as visual design is the first that we see. However, visual design is just one aspect of it. Innovation and uniqueness in product design really lies in the actual value that the product provides and in the way the people experience it. Which, of course, includes its appearance.
Take a chair. It need to fulfill a specific function, but not all chair designs look, feel or work exactly the same. In fact, chair design has historically been an area of innovation in design and materials.
Similarly, UIs have their own requirements. But using proven pattens doesn’t mean that you will be sacrificing innovation and uniqueness. On the contrary, both innovation and uniqueness will be needed to solve the particular problems your customers have.
The beauty of modular design is that it encourages us to approach these solutions as a system of parts that are interconnected, rather than to find original solutions in an isolated way for the sake of being different.
In other words, an innovative design applied to a UI control won’t stay relegated to one place in the application, but instead will permeate the entire system, maintaining cohesion and improving usability.
With the concepts of Modular Design in our hands, we can move forward and continue to the next lesson to learn how you can modularize your designs.