Modular Web Design Guide

Web Design
Modular Web Design Guide
Article by Maria Martin
Last Updated: November 03, 2023

The traditional website development process typically attempts to solve the problems of a company’s current site.

Perhaps the website has outdated content or broken links, needs a refreshed look and feel, lacks the latest features and functionality, or no longer generating the right kind of leads for your business.

While building a website design, the pages are developed independently based on the content that’s there and in isolation of other pages within the site.

Modular web design introduces something different.

What is Modular Web Design?

A more modern way to approach website development, however, uses a concept called modular design (or atomic design as it’s sometimes known).

Modular design has revolutionized the way websites are built. The process involves creating a flexible system of standalone, reusable components as opposed to a static collection of pages.

The system of components is essentially a library of modules that can be mixed and matched, and used and repurposed to accommodate new content as required.

Think of modules as building blocks which can be arranged to fit into a rectangular grid pattern on a web page. For example, you could have modules for navigation, hero images, content blocks, photo galleries, etc.

The way you arrange modules to create new pages is entirely up to you.

But as your content needs evolve, you can adapt the existing modules in your library or build completely new ones as required.

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Modular Design Is Not A Template

Modular design is not a set of templates.

Page templates, by their very nature, are rigid in design and difficult to customize. You can’t easily move parts of a template around.

Modular design breaks templates into pieces that can be easily moved around or added and removed as needed.

The Benefits of Modular Design

By breaking down a complex system or product into smaller, self-contained modules or components, modular design brings tons of benefits, such as:


Once you develop and test a module, you can easily reuse it in other projects or parts of the system. This reusability reduces redundancy and accelerates development for future projects.

When you design modules with a focus on reusability, you create self-contained components that are not tied to any specific project or context. These modules are designed to be generic and adaptable so that they can be easily incorporated into different systems or projects without significant modification.

Reduced Time-to-Market

Because development and testing can occur in parallel - and because of the potential for reusing existing modules - modular design can significantly reduce the time required to bring a product to market.

Plus, modular design allows for quicker adaptation to changing requirements or unexpected challenges. If a certain module needs to be modified or replaced due to evolving project needs, it can be done without overhauling the entire system. This agility helps maintain momentum and speed up the development process.

Iterative Development

Modular design supports an iterative development approach. Developers can build and release modules incrementally, allowing for early user feedback and continuous improvement. This approach reduces the time needed to deliver a functional product while ensuring it aligns closely with user needs.

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The Challenges of Modular Design

While modular design offers numerous benefits, be aware of the challenges that can arise during its implementation, including:

Anticipate Future Requirements

With modular design, there’s more upfront consideration because you have to anticipate at a larger scale.

You’re not just building pages based on the content that you have; you have to anticipate any type of content that could potentially come down the pipe.

Modules have to be generic enough to accommodate these future requests and they need to be flexible.

Organization Is Key

With a modular system, organization, labeling and naming conventions are key to your success. When you’re working with so many individual pieces, a well-organized design system allows you to seamlessly pass from design and development to marketing.

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Who Benefits From Modular Design The Most?

The larger your website is, the better modular design can work for you.

Modular design means that even the largest of organizations can develop new pages as quickly as startups. It gives you repeatability at a larger scale.

It also creates a more streamlined, more consistent UX and UI. All of your branding components are built in to the modules so every new piece will fit the look and feel of the site. 

Varsity Spirit: A Great Example Of Modular Web Design

Varsity Spirit tasked The Creative Momentum with implementing a modular design on their new site.

As one of the country’s leading organizations and brands in the cheerleading and dance team space, their content needs were vastly different from department to department.

We were able to build a user-friendly site with an entire toolbox of modules they can repurpose without ever having to involve developers.

As a result, their marketing team is able to spin up brand new pages within a day and make changes to suit individual department needs.

If this modern approach to website development sounds interesting or if you have questions about how modular web design can work for you, our web development experts will be happy to discuss your needs. TCM has experience in developing modular sites and providing the training you need to get up and running quickly.

This article originally appeared on The Creative Momentum.

Modular Web Design: Key Takeaways

Adaptability and efficiency are paramount and modular design offers a structured framework that not only enhances user experiences but also streamlines development processes.

By deconstructing websites into modular components, designers and developers can achieve remarkable flexibility and reusability. The resulting modules can be easily assembled, reconfigured, and repurposed across different projects, saving time and resources.
However, as with any innovation, challenges accompany these benefits, though the advantages outweigh the challenges.

Modular Web Design FAQs

What makes a design modular?

A design is considered modular when it's broken down into independent, self-contained components or modules that can be developed, tested, and maintained separately, yet seamlessly integrated to form a cohesive whole.

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