A design pattern is a proven design solution to a common design problem documented in a standard format. Design patterns support design by providing:
- A shorthand way and common language for referring to common design problem/solution pairs
- A means to initiate novices to the profession
- A means for experienced professionals to record and share their insights
- A means for a profession to build a repository of knowledge and encourage reuse of best practices.
Examples of widely used Web design patterns include:
- Shopping cart: a solution for temporary storage of selected items on a site
- Double tab: a navigation pattern that shows the two topmost levels of a site
- Bread crumbs: a solution that shows users where they are in a hierarchical structure of the site (van Welie, 2005).
A typical design pattern is one half to two pages long and consists of sections such as:
- A statement of the problem the design pattern addresses
- A description of situations where the application of this pattern is appropriate
- A detailed description of the solution
- One or more examples of designs that illustrate the pattern