The Useless Dribbble or “Why so Serious?”
There’s a wave of skepticism surrounding Dribbble these days that in part I can relate to, with one notable exception: none of the arguments stand when considering Dribbble for what it is: an eye-candy outlet.
So I’m asking you: Why so serious? Let’s see.
Dribbble is nothing but Design Porn
One of the arguments is that Dribbble has become some sort of “design porn”. OK, I’ll accept that, but answer me this: When have we suddenly all become design mormons?
Or are you one of those people that do not admit they watch porn? If not, why would “design porn” be different? As designers, our brains are first and foremost wired to enjoy aesthetics. We’re not paper pushers, we’re not physicists or statisticians and while every balanced designer out there understands the need for good UI and UX, they also thrive on beautiful design. And some people in the Dribbble community deliver just that: gorgeousness.
Dribbble shots don’t have purpose
Sure, some don’t have an apparent purpose. While it might not be visible to you, an outsider, it doesn’t mean that a shot doesn’t serve a purpose. Day in, day out, designers work based on briefs, on wireframes, on client-requests and modifications, alterations of vision and dozens of limitations that the real world puts on them.
Have you ever considered that a Dribbble account is maybe nothing more than a creative outlet for these designers? While we all love our jobs, not every project we embark on gives us either creative freedom or “joy”. As with every other job out there, things sometimes can turn tedious. If you don’t want your designer running around with an AK-47 in the office, let him be on Dribbble.
Dribbble shots don’t consider functionality issues
Maybe, but why is that important to you? Dribbble never stated it’s here to revolutionize either User Interface or User Experience design. In their own words:
Dribbble is a place to show and tell, promote, discover, and explore design.
To me and other people like me, Dribbble is one of the last bastions of creativity. With or without purpose. Sure, UX is “the shit” these days. We have rules, norms, patterns, analytics and statistics, but you know what we don’t have anymore? Hearts.
Someone said these days that soon designers won’t be needed anymore and our “apps” will generate layouts based on “rules”. We (will) all design based on mathematics and pre-approved wireframes. Rarely anything new comes out, we just vary colours and icon sets because we know that “design is only there to serve a function”. While that might be true to an extent, it blinded designers from exploration, from innovation.
Big companies and app set the standards these days and designers follow blindly. We got larger screens so we gave up the top-left hamburger menus. We all went back to the nav tab bar and the bottom-right “more” buttons. Did we “innovate” that? No, we just adjusted. We borrowed from the big boys in the industry.
So yeah, Dribbble might not serve an apparent purpose or always deliver innovative functionality, but you know what it does?
Dribbble provides a huge pool of creativity, of potential.
With (probably) hundreds of shots added every single day, you get enough inspiration to improve upon, to get your own brain to work for better solutions.
Stop being a design snob! Stop looking for the perfect Dribbble shot. There’s no such thing. They are explorations. Learn to take bits and pieces out of each and every one of them. See how someone used a background technique. Discover how someone else improved typography in a layout and so on. And…
If Dribbble lacks something…
Dribbble lacks interaction. And while that is unfortunate, it’s also understandable in the era of “click-to-like”. Our society is so F’d up these days that we’ve started to believe that a “Like” button is considered communication and feedback.
What Dribbble, and not only Dribbble, lost lately is feedback, valuable comments, shots being replayed and improved upon.
If you want to find a fault in Dribbble, say that it has become egocentric. And when you’ll say that, it will mean you’re finally ready to look at yourself too. Our most beloved patterns brought us here: I “like” you. Do you “like” me?
But even so, I’ll ask you one last time: