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Hello my name is Pui, I am a web developer based in London with over 8 years experience.

Atomic Design: Building the bridge between designers and engineers

8 August 2013

Read an interesting post by Brad Frost regarding Atomic Design. He states that designers should create 'atoms' and 'modules, basically components for engineers in building the website.

When working on projects I always advocate to designers to create a General User Interface file for the website. I, as an engineer, also creates a Style Guide which houses all components of a website i.e. content types, spotlight types, functionalities etc. This can then be a real living and breathing reference for the designer, as well as to other engineers, to the individual cogs that make up the website. This ties in well with the GUI file that the designer creates as this will generally house generic site components such as form fields (labels/inputs/buttons/textareas), hover states and other areas such as these. These elements can then be seen in a wider context and not just for one page. Clients can also then see and appreciate these elements as components of a larger build. It also means that we are bullet proofing and making these elements modular for when they are dropped in and around the site.

I also believe that designers and developers should be called website architects. We don't just design and we don't just build. Behind design should come a magnitude of research, information architecture and more. And behind the build should come structure, system, security etc. 'Designer' and 'Developer' just doesn't cover the amount of work that is involved in the build of a website. It should be seen as architecture and this ties in with Brad Frost's Atomic Design way of thinking. By designing 'Atoms - Modules - Organisms - Templates - Pages' we are honing our natural skillsets and becoming more like our counter-part architects.

About the author

Pui-Ling Lau, front end web developer and designer based in Kent and London

Pui is a User Experience developer working as a contractor in and around London.