The web design industry is constantly evolving, and brands have to tweak their websites to adapt with the wavering needs of times. When users land on your website, it must be a top priority of web designers to provide an amazing user experience across all devices, screen sizes and mediums at the same time. But sadly, many web designers complicate the design and create websites, apps or products by keeping only the page or screen size in mind.
Here is where Atomic Design comes into play.
Atomic design is a robust method for creating design systems in which everything starts with the smallest detail of the user interface in mind. It’s not simply limited to colors, fonts, text, visuals or how a logo can be positioned; it is rather a design approach that guides both designers and developers to come up with a perfect and cohesive website or app.
This modular design approach is the brain child of Brad Frost, conceived in 2013. The process of atomic design involves breaking down a website into simple and easy elements and leverage them throughout the website. When smallest details work in concerto with their larger counterparts, it creates an awesome and unified experience. It helps companies focus on developing design systems, instead of individual pages.
The best part of this modular dynamic design system is that it allows UI/UX designers to understand what they are creating, and the processes involved in the design and the development of interfaces. Atomic design is composed of five distinct layers:
- Atoms – the basic building blocks
- Molecules – groups of atoms, which serve as the backbone of the design systems
- Organisms – a group of molecules combined together to create a complex, distinct user interface
- Templates – a group of organisms that function together to create pages
- Pages – the last stage of the atomic design hierarchy that basically involves specific instances of templates
Have a look at this video to understand the concept of atomic website design.
How Atomic Design Can Create Better UI and Improve UX
Implementing an atomic design methodology while developing websites and mobile apps will allow designers to improve the overall UX by keeping the smallest and fundamental web and app components in mind. A clear and simple methodology of atomic design helps web design teams craft design systems – not pages.
“Atomic design gives us an ability to traverse from abstract to concrete. Because of this, we can create systems that promote consistency and scalability while simultaneously showing things in their final context. And by assembling rather than deconstructing, we’re crafting a system right out of the gate instead of cherry picking patterns after the fact.”
Here are some reasons why using atomic design methodology in your interface design is a sensible approach and how it can help you make a great impact in the end.
Create a System of Components
When you break down a system into basic, small parts, it will become easier to figure out which component of a website can be reused and how you can mix and match those components to create molecules and organisms. By duplicating and combining atoms, you can create molecules that serve as the backbone of the design systems.
With the atomic design approach in mind, you can create more intuitive layouts that are easy to code. This will make the web development process easier and allow designers to make web design tweaks if needed in the future. In addition, it makes it a lot easier for amateur developers to understand the codebase language. The code of an atomically designed website allows developers to see what atoms, molecules, and organisms are being used and what each part of the code epitomizes.
When requirements are clearly known beforehand, it becomes quite easier for designers and developers to use atoms, molecules, and organisms that already exist. It allows designers to create new components with minor variations while keeping the design consistent and simple.
Keep Your Website Up-to-date
One of the major benefits of creating atomic web designs is that it makes it relatively easier to keep your website up-to-date. You can update every single atom the way you want or simply remove certain design features. The best part is, when you change one element, the change cascades like an avalanche throughout the interface.
Make Your Branding Tone Consistent
Atomic design is the philosophy of combining the smallest design details in a more organized way to give birth to large elements. Those elements combine into web templates and in turn pages. Creating a website according to the atomic website design principles gives you the complete freedom to incorporate all the atoms and molecules into your brand style. This will keep your website design visually cohesive and your brand message consistent across all platforms.
You can even extrapolate basic elements from a design that is not atomic and bring them under one umbrella to create more pages. It is highly advised to develop your website atomically right from the beginning, rather than trying to incorporate an atomic web design approach to your website down the road.
When you have accumulated a comprehensive list of atoms right before commencing the process of website design and development, it’s easier to create mock up pages quickly. You simply need to choose and combine the required elements of the layout. Best of all, the mockup can easily be customized and refined for the final project.
More Consistent Code
Atomic design allows you to capitalize on predefined atoms to create your interface design. It is quite easy to see which elements are already used for different parts of the site. This serves to alleviate the chances of code duplication. Pattern Lab helps you build thoughtful and pattern-driven user interfaces with the help of atomic design principles. It is a static site generator that stitches together all the UI components, allowing you to create frontend codes for atomic design systems.
To Conclude It All
To put it in a nutshell, the atomic design is a unique and effective design and development methodology that can construct a better UI. If truth be told, this design approach deals with crafting user interface design systems, irrespective of the technology used to create them. In today’s competitive world, every web design agency should use atomic web design principles to create practical, lively and evolving design systems, better products and improved UIs, which can easily be understood by their target users.