WGA “acceptance criteria for patterns”

At Concentric Sky we delivered some form of design system or pattern library to every client depending on their needs and the maturity of the digital property we were working on. For Western Governors University we were working on a new internal tool to manage rich skill descriptors (RSDs), but worked on a complete pattern library up front to speed our own development of the first version of the tool and enable rapid improvements in subsequent projects.

Central to this effort was the Acceptance Criteria for Patterns document pictured here. The document included a block diagram of a typical page, followed by descriptions of the form and expected behavior of each pattern, and which smaller patterns each larger pattern incorporates. Each pattern also links the corresponding part of the design system.

The document serves as a reference to front- and back-end developers and QA, and greatly sped the production of shared code and the subsequent testing of the views and workflows produced. It’s estimated that front-end views for the first version of the tool took less than half the time to develop and test one the patterns were in place, and QA commentary was able to focus on larger behavioral questions rather than detailed control behavior and layout.

I was the primary author of this document, though several people helped, and the feedback from engineering and QA was invaluable in improving it.

This document has served as a model for subsequent pattern libraries.