pattern design language

requirements analysis, user interface design, documentation

As part of a small design team that created extremely large and complex healthcare software systems, I was given the unique opportunity to help create and maintain a pattern-based design language - an alternative approach to standardization and documentation for an industry that just doesn't have the time for it.

With teams upon teams of people simultaneously creating various pieces of the system at any given time, consistency in design is of utmost importance. Yet software development moves and changes too quickly and the amount of information is too immense to maintain standardized design documentation that doesn't become obsolete even as it's being written.

Our solution to this dilemma was to build a living, evolving design language based upon the pattern language principles of architect and author Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language). We then published it online, Wikipedia-style, making it immediately accessible to all designers, content developers, and engineers, any of whom are then able to constantly submit updates and changes as the system evolves.