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Navigation & Interaction by Smashing Magazine

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Design Patterns: When Breaking The Rules Is OK

By Rian van der Merwe

We'd like to believe that we use established design patterns for common elements on the Web. We know what buttons should look like, how they should behave and how to design the Web forms that rely on those buttons.

And yet, broken forms, buttons that look nothing like buttons, confusing navigation elements and more are rampant on the Web. It's a boulevard of broken patterns out there.

This got me thinking about the history and purpose of design patterns and when they should and should not be used. Most interestingly, I started wondering when breaking a pattern in favor of something different or better might actually be OK. We all recognize and are quick to call out when patterns ...

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