Blog / Modularity

Modularity in UX/UI Design

By: Edo Begagić


In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and design, modularity stands out as a foundational principle that significantly impacts both the functionality and aesthetic of user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX). This principle, which involves dividing large systems into multiple smaller, self-contained systems, or modules, has profound implications for design strategy and execution​​.

Understanding Modularity

At its core, modularity is about managing complexity by breaking down systems into manageable, interchangeable parts. This approach identifies functional clusters within a system and transforms them into interdependent, self-contained systems. A classic example of modularity can be illustrated through the simplicity of LEGO bricks. Each LEGO piece represents a module that can be connected in various ways to construct a variety of structures (models). This modularity allows for infinite creativity and adaptability, as each brick can be combined, separated, and recombined to form new objects, showcasing how modular components can integrate to build complex systems while retaining the flexibility to change and evolve over time.

In UX/UI design modularity is mostly visible trough the implementation of a design system. The design system consists of components spanning from basic to advanced. Each component has a unique source of truth, enabling us to make changes through our app with ease.

Benefits of modular design

The possibility to easily change a system by changing a smaller self-contained system from within, gives modular designs an intrinsic advantage over non-modular designs. When creating modules it’s important to hide the internal complexity trough simple interfaces.

As a result, there will be a minimisation in the complexity of the system, which will benefit the flexibility, reliability and maintainability of the system. It simplifies complexity, making systems more understandable and accessible to both designers and users. By encapsulating functionality within distinct modules, designers can create interfaces that are easier to navigate and understand. Modularity enhances flexibility, allowing designers to iterate and improve individual components without affecting the whole system. This aspect is particularly useful in the digital world, where user needs and technologies change very fast. Also, modular designs are inherently more maintainable, as updates, bug fixes, and improvements can be made to individual modules without disrupting the entire system​​.

Some would argue that modular design decreases creativity, but this is actually not true. For example: It offers opportunity for third parties to compete and develop even better modules. Imagine if you couldn’t replace your cars tire, but instead had to change the complete car. Everyone would be trying to be the best car manufacturer they could be. Modular design lets some companies specialise in making the best tires possible, encouraging more creativity and freedom.

Challenges in modular design

Implementation of modular design is not without it’s challenges - it’s much more complex compared to designs with a non-modular system.

It is necessary for designers to have a deep understanding of the system and its context to break it down into modules and then integrate those modules together effectively. Take a simple contact form as an example, with fields for a name, a text block, and a GDPR compliance checkbox. Each of these elements can be considered a separate component. If you decide to add a surname field later, it's important to recognize that it shares the same type of data as the name field, meaning it should be integrated into the same component.

Another difficulty is the initial setup. Especially if working with a design system. However, the long-term benefits for everyone involved (designer, developer, or product owner) is not comparable.


Embracing modularity in UX/UI design offers a pathway to more efficient, adaptable, and user-friendly digital products. By focusing on the principles of modularity, designers can create interfaces and systems that not only meet the current needs of the users but are also able to evolve with future demands. As the digital landscape continues to change, modularity will remain a key principle guiding the development of engaging and effective UX/UI designs.

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