Blog Posts by Christian Crumlish

  • Graduation Day: Yahoo! Design Pattern Library Bids Adieu to the Pattern Detective

    Yesterday marked the end of my tenure as curator of the Yahoo! Design Pattern library, a role I held for more than three years, longer than any of my predecessors. Speaking of which, let me take a moment to thank the following people:

    • Erin Malone, who envisioned the library, championed it, and brought into being
    • Chanel Wheeler, who built the core infrastructure in Drupal for the first-gen library
    • Matt Leacock, the first curator, who established the processes and set very high standards for pattern shepherding
    • Bill Scott, my immediate predecessor as curator, who brought the library to YDN (and hence to the public) and produced the influential set of rich interaction patterns that established the library’s reputation

    When I started in January of 2007, the library had gone for a few months without active curation. A lot of the processes used to generate and publish patterns had gotten rusty. I did what I could to reform these processes based on what worked and what didn’t, and spent a

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  • Patterns: Tag Collection

    When I first started curating the Pattern Library, I put "tags" near the top of my list of user interaction patterns to investigate. By that time, Yahoo! had already acquired several pioneers in the tagging realm, Flickr and Delicious, and there were some subtle distinctions in how they implemented the experience.

    We got down in the weeds on these and did a lot of research, ultimately settled on offering high-level guidance, and finished the patterns in the course of writing the social patterns book, where we filed tagging under the group of patterns known as Collecting, under Social Objects.

    Tagging and other forms of collecting are also an example of social design patterns that mimic game dynamics. Collecting objects is a core "easy fun" activity in many games, and similarly these extremely lightweight social interactions around gathering or tagging objects enable a form of self-interested behavior that creates aggregate value and potentially richer forms of engagement.

    Our three new

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  • First we take London: The Social Pattern Detective in Europe

    Christian Crumlish in londonA week or so ago I undertook a whirlwind visit to the UK and the Continent, giving two presentations about design patterns and social design, one in London on Tuesday, and another in Berlin on Thursday, each event sponsored by YDN (and the one in Germany co-sponsored by the local IxDA group).

    The London event was in a wonderful gallery/cafe venue called Wallacespace filled with a standing-room only crowd. I was pleased to see a couple of friends from the international UX community there and the audience as a whole was wonderful, attentive, and ready with interesting, challenging questions for me when I was done.

    Afterward we ate some snacks and drank some beers courtesy of YDN, before heading over to a nearby pub for more beers and conversation. This was my first time back in London in fourteen years and I was impressed by the vibrancy of the web-design community in what may be the "capital" of the Web in Europe.

    The next day I headed to Berlin, where a pal picked me up at the airport

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  • Presence, the new social pattern category


    We just published two new social patterns in a new category, called Presence (under People), in the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library. The two patterns are Availability and Updates.

    The Design Pattern Library is a collection of guidelines for the design of online interactions that can aid decision-making and guide the work of web developers and designers.

    I've been studying the concept of "Presence" (often meaning remote presence - telepresences - or digitally mediated partial presence) for about five years now, with an eye toward a possible unbook on the subject some day, and I was able to flesh out a handful of presence patterns for the social patterns project and Yahoo! Press book.

    These two patterns emerged from that process and carry within them the work of many Yahoos. The Availability pattern is derived from the work of ex-Yahoo Matte Scheinker and the Messenger team, and the Updates pattern leans heavily on the work of Barry Crane and the Vitality platform team.

    It's not always

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  • Designing Social Interfaces – from Yahoo! Press and your friends at the Pattern Library

    dsi-cover-color.pngAt Yahoo!, we work hard to make the Internet fun and easy for millions of users a day, so naturally over time we've learned a lot about how to keep sites up and running, how to optimize the code, and how to provide great user experiences under industrial-strength circumstances.

    We also like to share the things we've learned, which is one reason why we share design patterns, code libraries, performance tips, and more. It's a big reason for Yahoo! Press, our publishing partnership with O'Reilly Media, where Yahoo! authors share technology expertise with readers of books.

    This week, we published the newest Yahoo! Press title, my own Designing Social Interfaces, co-authored with Erin Malone, in which we share many of the hard-won lessons we've learned about building, launching, and maintaining social experiences on the web.

    Meanwhile, you may have noticed that our famous home page recently opened up to third-party developers based on our open Yahoo! Application Platform. Besides

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  • Design Patterns, Now More Open and Social

    I am delighted to be able to announce today that we are relaunching the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library with ten new patterns, a reorganized category-structure, cleaner URLs for easier bookmarking, and much, much more.

    OK, maybe just a little bit more. The ten newest patterns are all in the Social category, and they're just the tip of the iceberg of a major set of patterns emerging from the Social Design Patterns project I've been working on for more than two years. (A Yahoo! Press book on the same topic is coming from O'Reilly in September.)

    We've got more rich interaction patterns on their way as well. Perhaps more important than our current pattern pipeline is that we are moving to a much more open pattern review and revision process: We've added a new rating level for patterns called "Beta," and we will use it to publish unfinished patterns and request comments on them from the larger community. The accordion pattern will be the first guinea pig for this process, as we already

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  • Where in the world is Yahoo!’s pattern detective?

    It's that time of the year again, the spring conference season, and I've got a full schedule of appearances on tap for the next few months. Here's a quick rundown:

    When? Where?
    February 5-8
    (that's next week!)

    Vancouver: At Interaction 09, I'll be teaching a design patterns workshop with fellow Yahoo Lucas Pettinati and former Yahoo (and founder of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library) Erin Malone from Tangible UX. This is the shorter, half-day version of our workshop. It's not too late to sign up!
    March 2-4

    Dallas: At the 18th conference of JA-SIG (an organization of open source communities working in higher education), I'll be giving a keynote called User Experience is Everybody's Business. It's at 8:30 am on Tuesday, so don't stay out too late Monday night if you want to catch it.
    March 18-22

    Memphis: At the IA Summit, I'll be teaching two workshops and giving a presentation. On Wednesday, March 18, Lucas, Erin and I will be teaching our full-day patterns workshop. People seemed to
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