Why is consistency important in design?

I love Quora, the website that answers questions you have never thought to ask. It has some brilliant designers:

[As designers] our job is to turn those abstractions into a crisp mental model for the user.

These aren’t always the same. Take the typical volume slider as an example. The following is from iOS:


The software abstraction (I’m guessing) ties pixel position to a numerical value. However, the mental model offered by the interface presents the choice as a continuous band. This makes more sense to users as the human ear doesn’t perceive volume in discrete steps. There’s the volume level you want, and everything else is either too high or too low.

http://www.quora.com/Why-is-consistency-important-in-design

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