I'd like to take advantage of Jenifer Tidwell's expert presence in this
thread to ask both her and the group: Is this sort of interaction really
a "pattern"? Can or should every new type of interaction design be
called a pattern?
In clothing fashion design, an "a-line dress" is a pattern (analogous to
a UI pattern), and a "keyhole collar" is a pattern, but when they are
combined in a single garment they don't together constitute a new
I think we should probably be a little more strict about declaring what
a "pattern" is, and we should differentiate patterns/archetypes from
individual instances of design, no matter how good or ubiquitous that
design might be.
Jenifer's set of patterns as defined in her awesome book and web site
each cite several examples rather than wireframing out a perfect
archetypical example. I suspect this was a deliberate decision on her
part, to avoid defining the pattern explicitly. The examples are usually
pretty diverse in their implementation because the pattern itself is
*latent* beneath the designs, and any given implementation of a pattern
is almost always going to include other patterns and UI styles that
hybridize it beyond any single underlying archetype.
In short, I agree with Jenifer's response to the question: to identify
it as a hybrid of several patterns. It's a great example, and worth
keeping in the scrapbook as a "benchmark design" or something like that,
but it ain't a pattern IMHO.