Lately, the issue of functional continuity keeps coming up at work. I'm interested in how other UX/UI designers think of continuity when they design.

The way I've seen it, the user needs to comfortably recognise what the UI does. What does a primary button look like? Is it always on the left or the right? What do disabled buttons look like? Things need to be represented consistently and similarly.

I'm working on a visual renewal of a pretty complex system with lots of functionalities, user processes, different levels of access rights, what have you. There are different views where the user can perform different actions, and it keeps coming up that people (people being coworkers) want everything to work exactly the same way in every view.

I understand where they are coming from, but I'm also struggling to put into words how I feel about it. Let's say in one view, a button the user can't use yet is disabled, and in another one the user is allowed to make the mistake of pressing the button and they receive an error message. I think both are valid options and one might work better for each use case. However, people are constantly bringing it up when discussing the designs. "Why does this work differently here? Why is it not the same in every view?"

How do you feel about it? Is this something I should improve on, or can I decide these things per use case? I'm still a bit new in the field, and I'd like to hear some opinions. I hope this made some sense!

1 Answer 1


Clarity trumps Consistency

That's how Steve Krug put it and I agree with that. If something needs to be different in order for it to be more clear for the user, it is better than being consistent and confusing.

  • Thanks! That's a good source, and a good point to make. It's more or less what I figured.
    – kaneli
    Nov 10, 2020 at 13:33
  • 1
    You can see the "Consistency" section of First Principles of Interaction Design for more info on this, too. asktog.com/atc/principles-of-interaction-design
    – Izquierdo
    Nov 10, 2020 at 15:41
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    @Izquierdo I read that through, good stuff! thank you.
    – kaneli
    Nov 13, 2020 at 9:49

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