I performed a heuristic analysis of the software at AIR and used it to create a style guide. Where I found inconsistencies, I documented one as a proposed standard. Once, I had a full draft of the guide, I met with the rest of the UX team several times to discuss it and change a few of the proposed standards.
Along the way, I documented a list of over 160 elements that violated the proposed standards to enter into our ticketing system; I collaborated to prioritize this list of exceptions. To promote the adoption of the style guide, I discussed it individually with members of all the major development groups and encouraged them to provide feedback. More than a year after its inception, the guide is gaining acceptance and people have asked me for references to it on several occasions.
The Style Guide incorporates standard controls, styles, and information architecture patterns. Shown here is the section on Buttons.
To help ensure consistent application of styles and speed up wireframing, I created a widget library for Axure for the UX team to use. Shown here are widgets for finger tabs with checkboxes, a collapsible legend, some default font sizes, and part of the color palette.
AIR's application shows large amounts of data, frequently in table format. To support standardization, I began by creating a spreadsheet where each row corresponds to one of the over 80 tables in our application interface. Each of over 50 columns corresponds to the table's properties (such as whether it's paginated, whether its rows are selectable, what actions can be applied to the contents and where those actions are). I looked over this spreadsheet to identify nearly 30 standardizations (such as consistently filtering across paging, using default rules to establish sort order, and placing table commands in a consistent location). Then, I scheduled meetings with software developers, product managers, and other members of the UX team to establish rankings on a 1-5 scale for the development cost, business value, and usability value of implementing each feature. I summed these three rankings to get an overall cost-and-value number for the each proposed standardizations, then logged tickets for each to allow them to be prioritized and implemented.
Shown below is part of the header of a spreadsheet I used to document standardizations.