Bonjour Atomic, and welcome to Bordeaux!

Femke van Schoonhoven

Written by Luc Chaissac.

Prototyping is an increasingly important part of a designer’s workflow.

Not only for collaborating with other designers, but also with developers and project management teams. Many designers here in Bordeaux still haven’t gotten into the habit of making prototyping a part of their everyday workflow.

Atomic is one of the tools in our toolkit that we use regularly at Azendoo and Az Foundry.

The idea of teaching and skill sharing is a really important part of our ethos at Azendoo. A couple of us were keen to share Atomic with other designers in Bordeaux, and to help them start prototyping.


The Workshop

The workshop took place on a sunny April evening at La Jeune Garde – a new restaurant run by friends. We wanted to help them out by bringing lots of new faces along to the restaurant too!

St Michel is (a now) buzzing neighborhood which used to be quite run down, but recent renovations now give the area a good vibe. It helps represent this idea of things gathering pace in Bordeaux, which is exactly what we’re seeing happen in our digital design community.

More people turned up than expected, which was great! Many came through the Design and Beer talks network, so we recognized some designers and developers from past events. However, it was nice to see some new faces too.

Introduction to Prototyping & Atomic

We kicked off by introducing the students to the wider prototyping world. We don’t solely use Atomic at Azendoo and Az Foundry, which helped us to present prototyping in a larger sense.

The key advantage of Atomic is the ability to easily share work online, unlike some other tools. Being able to share your work is central to prototyping, so Atomic seemed a good tool for introducing this practice. I spoke for about 20 minutes, presenting the tool, how to use it, and its advantages.

We then walked through a practical example, demonstrating how you can easily make a circle move across a screen, or change the color of text. These transitions are invaluable when it comes to collaborating with developers, as they can see how the animation will look and then integrate that into the code.

The second use case was the ability to show clients the broad range of possible interactions they can have with the interface you’ve designed.

With Atomic, everything is online. You can share your work easily with a URL, and your colleagues can duplicate your work. At Azendoo, we embrace this open collaboration, and so created an Android UI Kit in Atomic. It’s open source, so anyone can duplicate the kit to use or create their own Android applications.

An interesting question raised at the end of the workshop was whether it was possible to export the code for animations created in Atomic. The answer to this if that you’re able to inspect the code and find the code for each element – Atomic shows you the elements of the CSS, and you can even add your own CSS.


Bridging the gap

The atmosphere at the workshop was lively and fun, thanks to the goodies provided by Atomic - socks and stickers, everyone’s favorite! We would love to hold further Atomic workshops, and to try and explore further how to create a prototype.

We’ve already starting planning some ideas for future workshops, such as potentially giving a tour of an Azendoo’s prototypes. Or importing your designs from Sketch to Atomic (integration coming soon!), to show how Atomic can be used effectively in conjunction with other tools.

We noticed there were four women at the event, which at a tech meetup like this is sometimes unheard of! Atomic workshops like these definitely offer a way of bringing more diversity to tech events in Bordeaux. It’s such an accessible tool and could easily be demonstrated to those outside of the digital design community.

There are definitely some exciting things to come here in Bordeaux. Huge thanks to Atomic, La Jeune Garde, Azendoo and Az Foundry for enabling us to bring everyone together for the workshop.

We’re already excited about the next one!

Written by Luc Chaissac

Luc is a designer with a penchant for the web and interaction design. He loves to work in teams to create simple products that people love. He’s currently working in Bordeaux, France for Azendoo as a designer.

Posted 2 May 2016

Advanced interactive design & prototyping.