How to use existing design patterns to design new product features

When designing new features for an existing product, it’s crucial to ensure that the new elements fit seamlessly into the established design language and user experience. By leveraging existing design patterns, you can create a sense of familiarity and consistency for users, making the new feature intuitive and easy to adopt. In this case study, we’ll explore how to enhance Apple’s Do Not Disturb feature while adhering to their existing design language.

The Problem

Apple’s Do Not Disturb feature is a valuable tool for managing notifications and minimizing distractions. However, the current implementation lacks the flexibility to accommodate different schedules for different days of the week. This limitation can lead to missed messages and notifications during weekends or alternative work schedules.

Use Cases

  1. People with demanding jobs who want to collect themselves before bed on weeknights but enjoy staying out late on weekends.
  2. People with alternative work schedules, such as doctors and nurses, who need to create custom schedules.

Potential Challenges

While offering custom Do Not Disturb schedules for different days of the week may be appealing, it’s essential to consider the potential for information overload and user dissatisfaction. Adding multiple calendars to the settings could introduce complexity and confusion. A best-fit approach would be to add one additional level of granularity, providing value without introducing noticeable problems.

A Potential Solution

Drawing inspiration from iOS’s existing alarm settings, we propose giving users the option to turn their Do Not Disturb schedules on and off for specific days of the week. This approach maintains the default preference of setting a range within the 24-hour cycle while offering an additional layer of customization.

Designing with Consistency

To ensure the proposed feature aligns with Apple’s design language, we need to examine how similar functionality is implemented in other parts of iOS. By studying the Alarm Clock’s calendar settings, we can gather ideas for maintaining consistency and leveraging existing user habits.

Apple's current Alarm Clock settings in iOS 13.6

Apple's current Alarm Clock settings in iOS 13.6

Proposed Design for Do Not Disturb Settings in iOS

Apple is known for avoiding product features that introduce noticeable tradeoffs for users, instead opting for less expansive but more focused functionality. However, in this case, the small tradeoffs created by offering a significant improvement to the user experience seem justifiable.

Proposed settings for Apple's Do Not Disturb Mode

Proposed settings for Apple's Do Not Disturb Mode


By carefully studying and leveraging existing design patterns, we can create new product features that feel familiar and intuitive to users. The proposed enhancement to Apple’s Do Not Disturb feature demonstrates how a small addition can significantly improve the user experience while maintaining consistency with the established design language. By striking a balance between innovation and familiarity, designers can create valuable new features that seamlessly integrate into existing products.

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