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Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.

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Brad Frost’s Atomic Design Book and Iterative Design Thinking

Brad Frost’s Atomic Design Book and Iterative Design Thinking

 

I’ve been down with a cold for the last week and while nested on the sofa I finally got around to reading my April 2015 issue of Net magazine (one of my favorite industry magazines).

I read this great interview with Brad Frost in Net magazine about “iterative” or “agile” design versus “linear” or “waterfall” design. Totally on board with his insight, I immediately started to type in his name into my trusty search bar.

Whaddya know: I apparently had been to his site before while doing some research on the use of carousels. You know, those “sliders” that allow you to click through from one “slide” to the next. (Most carousels annoy me …)

But this time I visited specifically to check out his book-in-progress, Atomic Design. After reading maybe half of the first chapter last night, I pre-ordered his book first thing this morning. Ten dollars.

I’ve read about iterative design and development many times and while I loved the idea, I immediately wondered: How the heck is there a way for me, a freelance designer, a one-woman show to establish an iterative workflow for my wonderful people?

I can definitely see the benefit of larger operations where teams of a designer, developer, writer, editor, etc., collaborate closely (no silos here) with a clear schedule and create nuggets of progress; each “nugget” building on each other to create the final product. It sounds like such a no-brainer. Isn't this the natural process of exploration and how most people work when building anything?

Brad offered this from Stephen Hay, “‘When you show a client a full comp, what you’re actually saying is: ‘Here’s a picture of what your website will never look like!’”

I don’t agree 100% but I get the idea and it is pretty ridiculous. The Web and web pages are not static so why show static comps?

But now I’m wondering: how can someone who works collaboratively with other one-person, remote operations — there are lots of logistical red flags that I can see — implement a similar process and create an atmosphere of trust and comfort especially when people are used to a linear process that includes mockups?

So, I’m excited to learn more because I completely agree that design should be collaborative and that the process “[is] meant to be a conversation.”

Brad’s approach and thinking brings up a lot of good questions and food for thought about the design of interactive products for those who create them and those who own, publish and maintain them.

So I’m determined to find a way to come up with a workflow. Pretty excited. Now, if only I could attend Generate New York 2015 to hear him speak.

PS: Brad applies his thinking of iterative design as he writes Atomic Design. He’s the first person I know using GitHub to share updates on his book. He practices what he teaches.

Gotta love it.

ReadyMag: Parallax-type vertical scrolling

ReadyMag: Parallax-type vertical scrolling

“I am the Fold”

“I am the Fold”