DroidCon 2019: Is ‘Atomic Design’ the way forward?

October 30, 2019
Chloe Johns

development events

At UrbanThings we’re committed to self-improvement at all levels of our team. We believe that it’s never too late to learn new skills (and unlearn old ones!) and we put resource behind enabling our team to achieve this.

Last week, Matt and James from our Android team headed to DroidCon London for 2 days of networking and technical talks. They have shared some of their thoughts on what’s new and exciting.

DroidCon is always an excellent opportunity for us to meet peers, and to keep up to date with the latest developments in all things Android. The conference covers a diverse range of subjects, and we quickly found ourselves immersed in talks on dependency injection, threading, reducing UI jank, and animations. After attending a talk on design systems given by Artem Rudoi from Badoo, we decided to focus on this topic for the rest of the conference.

Design systems are incredibly relevant to us at UrbanThings. Ticketless™ provides smart ticketing to operators by white-labelling our passenger app and cloud-based backend reporting system. This means that getting the correct balance between design and development is key. We want to provide flexibility to our customers, but we also want to be able to reuse our UI layer.

Atomic design

We went to a number of talks around the concept of ‘atomic design’. The main principle is to split your UI down into components called atoms. These atoms combine to make ‘design molecules’ – small pieces of UI that are reusable. The molecules can then combine to make ‘organisms’ – larger pieces of UI which are specific to parts of your product. Atomic design is a great methodology, particularly for what we do at UrbanThings. The designer can reuse existing atoms, molecules and organisms where possible, and the developer creates new ones when required. For UrbanThings, the result means that passengers get a consistent experience, and operators get an app which reflects their unique brand.

Other key takeaways from the conference:

  • Google are paying more attention to the tools developers use in producing Android apps; exciting things are coming up!
  • Implementing dark themes in apps is not as simple as inverting the colour. You have to consider how perception is altered when light components are placed on a dark background
  • Developers can benefit from adopting techniques used by athletes to improve concentration and information retention

James and Matt are now looking to bring their learnings to new innovations within our Ticketless product.

UrbanThings is always on the hunt for new talent. We are currently hiring for a Full Stack Developer, so if you’re interested in joining our smart ticketing journey then get in touch.