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We're a team of around 4 UI Developers, 1 Designer and 2 UX. We work on a series of ongoing projects and every month or so, we start a new small project from scratch. All projects are owned by the company we work for. We develop using HTML5, CSS3, fancy stuff like that.

Up until now, when a new project started, the UX and Design team started almost from scratch. There are no standards regarding Visual Design, UI Patterns or other Non-Functional Requirements.

There is no brand consistency between our projects right now. We can't allocate time to start a "branding" project. What we can do is decide on standards as we go.

My question is. What is the best cost/time effective approach to adopting a standard? I'm looking for key concepts that all the team must agree on, and respect from now on.

A similar question is asked also on http://pm.stackexchange.com/questions/8066/what-is-the-best-way-to-get-a-ux-ui-team-to-adopt-standards from a management perspective.

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Look into style guides, component libraries, pattern libraries, etc –  DA01 Nov 18 '12 at 2:34
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The goal of adopting standards will affect the methods you use for adopting standards. Two possible goals are (1) brand consistency (as mentioned in the question), (2) code reuse, thereby achieving faster time-to-market and easier maintenance. The two goals are complementary. The second is more likely to achieve longer lasting UI standardization. –  user1757436 Nov 19 '12 at 13:45

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As you said, dedicated resource cannot be invested in at the moment for the standards. So what I generally do for my project is, start talking some common components and start a document. Like for example, font size, color and image types. Once that is done, I share it with the team and ask them to append it as they come across new things and that way I don't end up investing a lot of time in that.

The benefit I get is, new things are also covered as the design world is ever-changing. We have a meeting for 15 mins every 15-20 days and we discuss some new features and once decided on, we append the same document and circulate it within the team.

This is what I do in my case and might not be suited for your work environment but this will give you a nice starting point.

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The simplest answer is if you don't have the time to learn how to do it right, you can't afford to keep doing it wrong -- all of this "reinventing the wheel" is eating up time and resources you don't have and need to desperately free up, since you claim you currently "don't have time" to spend on standards.

What you really have isn't a resource problem, it's an adoption problem. It's time to start asking the tough questions of why nobody thinks setting some baseline standards is important enough to codify, and get people to agree on things that are important to keep in mind going forward.

If you want to get management behind this and convince them that one of your projects should involve setting some branding guidelines because it'll save you time / money in the long run and make it easier to develop new projects and adopt new users from previous projects because you're no longer quibbling about font sizes and colors so much, it'll help smooth things along.

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I would recommend the following article, which describes the maintenance of 3 levels of standards: Components, Patterns, and Frameworks.

http://www.uie.com/articles/componentspatternsframeworks/

It does demand some work, but as has written here before, you might want to document as you go.

And one last motto: "Knowledge is a resource much like time, money, human labor or equipment, but unlike those, the more you use it, the more of it you have" (-Unknown).

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really interesting article. I will share it with my team. Thanks! –  Vlad Nicula Nov 25 '12 at 6:51

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