From 2015: Alla Kholmatova reflects on the difficulty in choosing between molecule or organism when categorising components using atomic design at FutureLearn. She also provides some handy insights into how they handled it.
When thinking about complexity of elements, it helps viewing molecules as “helpers” and organisms as “standalone” modules.
Whereas helpers can’t really exist on their own, standalone modules can.
Alla also recommends than in cases where an element doesn’t clearly fall into either group, asking the following questions may help:
- Is this more of a supporting element or a standalone one?
- Would it normally be part of something else and be reused within various components? (if so it’s probably a molecule)
- Is it a well defined and relatively independent part or section of a page? (if so it’s probably an organism)