medical product design - patterns(Another in a series about how medical product design is informed by the science of cognition.)

We want to see patterns and we like to create categories. If the designer doesn’t provide informational categories, we will make our own. We want to create order. Patterns imply order, so that is what we look for. Medical product designers can take advantage of this inherent drive by using grouping schemes and by employing empty areas or white space to separate distinct areas of visual information. These examples of grouping, framing and exaggerating illustrate representative techniques.

Proximity versus distance also has a strong influence on how we understand visual information. We have an inherent belief that things that are close together belong together. Designers can use this bias to effectively group related controls. Conversely, provide adequate separation to isolate differing functions. The effectiveness of the grouping technique is lessened if there is not enough space or contrast between the groups.