Deconstructing "Fake University"
After a short presentation that introduces the concept of atomic design, participants in this workshop form small teams of 4 – 6. They are given a set of paper landing page designs, scissors, and glue sticks.
I invented a fake university website and designed several landing pages with common patterns pulled from real sites: news feeds, routing components, heros and feature areas, navigation, and calls to action.
The workshop participants evaluate these fake designs for real patterns. They cut them out, group them by atom, molecule, or organism, then glue those groups together on a posterboard or giant sticky note.
Fake Patterns, Real Consensus
After sorting the Fake University patterns into atoms, molecules, and organisms, the teams’ next task is to try to give each pattern a name.
This is where the critical part of working in teams for this exercise helps demonstrate the real life challenges of building a pattern library. Each team member has a different perspective on what a pattern’s purpose is.
After building their paper libraries, participants share their decisions by presenting them to the workshop’s full audience. They’re encouraged to explain any disagreements they had, and how they solved them.
Special thanks to my NewCity colleagues John Williams, Katie Gehrt, and Rachel DeLauder for helping me set up and facilitate this workshop.