Welcome! You've found your way to our pattern library and we hope you find it helpful. If you still aren't sure just exactly what a pattern is then you may want to take a moment to review our About the Pattern Library page, where we explain what we mean when we talk about user experience design patterns.
After getting oriented, there are a few ways you can plunge in and start working with the patterns in this library:
When you're looking for inspiration, trying to find out what has worked in the past, or are trying to come up with a framework for a design project, explore the pattern collection, which currently offers patterns in the following categories:
Patterns are informative and educational, and they can help you out in a pinch, but nothing speeds up brainstorming and design processes like a library of stencil shapes you can drag and drop onto your canvas.
So far, we (and our extended community) have made stencils for the following file formats: OmniGraffle, Visio (XML format), Acrobat (PDF), Portable Network Graphic (PNG), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Fireworks, Axure, and InDesign (specifically, the EightShapes Unify documentation system that runs on top of InDesign).
Try 'em out!
The material in this library is not intended to be the final word on anything. We've researched and tested the solutions we discuss, so we feel pretty confident that they work well in the specific contexts called out, but that doesn't mean we know everything about everything!
Let us know when you see something that could be improved. You can do this by reading the blog entries about the patterns and about pattern languages in general or by participating in the forums we've set up for jawing about patterns. Both of these resources can be reached directly from our community page.