HomeInspirationDribbble at the right time!

This story is not being bias to any design community, I thought this might be useful especially for younger designers who just embarked on this amazing design journey.

Stated obviously in title, so what is wrong with Dribbble? No there isn’t but designers would need to Dribbble at the right time.

Some of you might said:

It all depends on the designers. There isn’t any right or wrong timing to this. If they can come up with nice design, why not?!

I still remember years ago when I started designing, Dribbble would be my first go to website to look for inspirations. So much visual references that helped me to come up with some design variations. However I realised most of the time my design doesn’t work as much as I expected.

Nobody tells me the problem. All I was thinking “I just need to design better next time”. Until my self-aware told me the biggest problem is not my design, but my thinking an d design process. So much attention spent on the design details (glows, gradients, drop shadows whatever you can think of) on the 400px X 300px screenshots and not really the story behind the design. And this is not really a good habit when consuming designs.

Credit to Alvaro Reyes @ Unsplash https://unsplash.com/@alvaroreyes

Let’s admit a fact. Everyone would be drawn towards nice visuals, come on they are truly the feast for the eyes. However being overly obsessed with them in the early stage will eventually skewed the way you think. At that point, I would start figuring out how do I make my visuals look nice, and it will be my top most priority. Not saying you shouldn’t be obsessed with nice craft, but it will play its role in a later part.

The same rule applied to how we were trained drawing portraits back then during college days. Lecture rs spend the first few months teaching the anatomy, and only we go to the details. We were also asked to look at human faces on magazines or newspapers, and trace them in outline to better understand how the form works.

In this context, we have to train our brain to understand design and one of the way is to read more. So back to the sequencing, no right or wrong. But obsessing with the right thing at the right time is really important.

Let’s put designing calendar for an example. Start off by searching “Calendar” on Dribbble, you will be seeing plenty of nicely crafted design. You might be able to replicate all the details and came up with some really good design very quickly but you might missing a lot of points here:

  1. Why is this calendar needed at the first place?

2. How do users interact with your calendar? Is this a calendar to book a flight or to book for your massage appointment? Don’t ever think by irresponsibly putting a date pi cker would solve the problem.

3. Any existing data that could help you to justify your design better? Let’s say it’s a calendar to book your massage appointment, take a look at some helpful data such as how many customers in average book appointment on the same day, how many days do they usually book in advance, or which period of the day the appointment happens most frequent? If you know the fact that most customers book their appointment at night, why not do something to create a more meaningful design? Powerful data like this are so simple but yet often overlooked by designers.

So this is my design. When users tap on the calendar icon, the calendar will pop up as an overlay with minimal drop shadow. By tapping on the right arrow, the calendar will be sliding to the left with easing and some <insert funky-name> animation. I have also introduced some bright gradients so it looks fresh.

If you see yourself selling your design to your a rt director or anyone else like this, then you might want to change the way you design.

So am I saying Dribbble is a bad community for designers? NO! I still love Dribbble. It just needs to come in at the right time.

Design≠Solution, Solution=Design.

In my opinion, your design is not the always the solution. It’s the other way around instead, think of your solution to the key problem, then only its counted as a good design.

In summary, I suggest designers spend a good balance amount of time reading and LOOKING at design inspiration, exposing yourself to more amazing case studies by designers out there.

Again it’s all back to your design objective. If you are just tasked to make the UI to look nicer than the previous, then yes Dribbble is the first place for you to get inspired.

If you have any thought to share, do leave a comment below!

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Dribbble at the right time! was originally published in Prototypr on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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