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Glossary » convention


a systematic approach to design that is established through consistent usage within a design community. Conventions are de facto standards, established not by the dictate of authority, but through implicit agreement and imitation.

Some common conventions include:

  • placing website navigation buttons along the left edge of the web page
  • drawing tools and their appearance in 2-D drawing applications, such as the selection rectangle, pencil, magic wand, paintbrush, and shape tools

Conventions often get built into standards once standards are created. For instance, the Command-A key combination used for the Select All menu command was originally established by convention but later became integrated into user interface standards.