Sequences Of Patterns


A pattern language consists of more than just a collection of connected patterns. It also includes sequences that step one through the design process, pattern by pattern, from the largest design questions down to the smallest. Reading through a sequence should create a mental image of the final design. Each sequence is a story, in our case, a story of how a software application would enable a person to communicate appropriately in a particular setting. So one sequence might result in a design that fosters a sense of family or community, while another might focus on more impersonally providing answers to customer questions.

Here's an example of a possible mini-sequence (with pattern names in quotes):

A major need of most people is IntimateCommunication with those they love and care about. Much of the time though they are engaged in "Solo Work" and any communication is a "Secondary Task". Providing a Remote Presence that enables them to know when family members are online, and that allows them to exchange "Low-overhead Messages", will reinforce the family bond. "Peripheral Awareness" makes the communication more natural. Being able to signal a "Closed Door" respects the needs of the workplace. "Automatic Connection" makes it a regular part of the computing environment.

Such a sequence might be used to generate something similar to AOL's Instant Messaging system.

Note: We need to update this sequence to use our current patterns---it was originally written before them. Or we can add the patterns it names to the pattern language.


Last edited January 7, 2003
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