An inside look at the Pattern Library

By YUI TeamDecember 7, 2007
As the third curator of Yahoo!'s Design Pattern Library I often receive a lot of thanks and praise from website designers and developers for the way we at Yahoo! have offered this resource to the world. I usually try to explain that much of the goodness happened before I came on board and that I can't really take credit for it, but when my ego needs a boost I just smile and nod. When Erin Malone and Matt Leacock and others first launched the internal pattern library, they presented a talk at the IA Summit, called Implementing a Pattern Library in the Real World: A Case Study (and subsequently the linked article on the same topic at Boxes and Arrows). Then Erin and Bill Scott took the library to the public on the Yahoo! Developer Network website and Bill Scott "enriched" the library with tons of Ajax-y goodness, closely tied to the YUI Library. Since that time, I came on board and I've worked on reorganizing the library, updating the patterns, and shepherding a new generation of patterns through our internal refinement and review process, with an eye toward identifying useful social and openness patterns that we can share with the whole Web. So when people come up to me at conferences or find me on mailing lists for information architects and interaction designers frequently they are curious about how the library has evolved in the years since it was founded, what our internal process looks like these days for writing, reviewing, approving, and rating patterns, and how we decide which ones to publish in the open library. Recently, I gave a talk here at Yahoo! as part of our UED brown-bag series, called The Pattern Library Wants YOU!, intended to update oldtimers on changes and improvements to our process and infrastructure and to orient new designers about the library, and of course to encourage people to get involved. Ricky Montalvo, our ace videographer for YUI Theater and YDN Theater, recorded my talk and edited it together with my slides, and we just spent a week or so removing any too-sensitive information and getting our friendly legal folks to sign off on releasing the talk to the public. So, without further ado, here is the public version of my talk, which should answer a lot of those questions I'm hearing these days.