You may have seen on my Dribble or Behance timeline many colorful and pointless interfaces during last 4 months :) Well if not, it was the 12-week sketch marathon (including weekends), where i was doing a shot every single day during 12 weeks. Below i will be telling you what came out of it.
This article will be useful for those who are planning to do a similar crazy thing and are about to start.
1. Why a 12-week Marathon and Not a “Daily UI”?
This is the question i was asked more than 20 times. The answer is simple and complicated at the same time — Daily UI was very simple and not what i needed.
I had several criteria why daily ui didn’t suit me:
• The time had to fit the 12-week period because there were also tasks for this period of time.
• I wanted to upgrade my sketch skills as 95% of all my work i do exactly in sketch.
• I wanted to upgrade exactly the mobile UI as long as there were not so many works in portfolio and this fact did disappointed.
So this is how the name “12-week sketch marathon” appeared. Possibly primitive, but quite clear.
2. What Useful Can Be Learned From the Marathon?
At the very beginning it was difficult for me to make shots because every day you want to make a new product. In a week’s time it became clear that making a product it’s not a matter of one day and thus appeared the understanding of that fact that it should be a conceptual UI.
I finally made sure that users estimate the shot on the whole, not only the product itself, but also everything around including colors, shadows etc. It often happened that works moved to the top just because of well-matched colors.
Mobile UI Skills
To me the mobile never seemed something complicated, probably because my entire career i was doing interfaces that contained more data and organization. During the marathon thanks to the subscribers’ feedbacks i discovered to myself several details i have never taken into account.
• Smartphone is a more interactive device of intercommunication with users, in the interface of which you can not only tap but also swipe and zoom. The most important thing is to make these actions obvious in the design.
• Basic navigation elements should be located at the bottom and in the center of the screen because while using the smartphone with one hand the navigation often comes to a thumb.
• The users are more used to unusual elements in mobile than in web.
3. What Will Be the Marathon Useful For?
I have recently read an article of Tobias Schneider about the pointless shots on Dribble and i absolutely agree with him. I think that marathons are ideal for freshmen or designers that need to learn quickly the hard way to do something, add works to portfolio and improve the skills.
4. What Will Be Useful Before You Start?
First of all, I’d like to warn those who want to start the marathon only to increase the number of subscribers or to get new offers, this is not going to work this way. 10 successful shots will be more effective than the whole marathon in general.
For those who finally made up their mind to get down i prepared a list of recommendations below.
It’s better to have a plan
Somewhere half-way through the marathon i was run out of ideas for shots. Then the lion’s share of time i had to spend on brainstorming. At the end it became that bad that i had to spend 2 times more time on creating the ideas than on making the shots. And that is why my advice is not to rush into an adventure but to have a clear plan
Post the shots at the same time
It took me 2 weeks before i got this simple thing. Thank God there were people who cared and explained to me that they like watching the marathon but they don’t make it on time to click they like it on the same day if the shot was posted at night :)
Use more contrast
Also an apparent rule as it may seem which many designers rarely use.
Concepts are good
Concepts let you realize the ideas in other projects very well. The level of work definitely suffers although you can test the idea right away.
5. What Not To Do
Better don’t start a marathon during a trip or any other events
During the marathon my studio moved, i was in several trips and i was on winter holidays. Frankly, it’s very tough to combine the marathon with other events. So pick some slack period in business when you’re not too busy with work.
Stop a marathon
Here everything is simple, you can’t deny your words. No sooner said than done.
You shouldn’t share your new shot daily on facebook or behance. People don’t like when someone messes their newsfeed with the same thing every time. It will be enough to just post the most successful shots that people can estimate.
Marathon on the last place
The marathon takes much energy, so it’s preferable to work on shots at the beginning of the day when your head is free from other stuff. If you leave it for the evening, you risk to go dead on it quickly and quit it.
Expect that everyone likes your idea
Well, everybody is already plainly bored with these ui challenges, so many people may take your solution skeptically or even ignore all your attempts. I advise you to get prepared to this as well.
It was busy 4 months in my life. 3 weeks later I still catch myself on a thought that i forgot to post a shot on Dribble.
Everyone who wants to start a marathon but is hesitating I hope this article will be helpful as in my case it was an adventure, to which as it turned out i wasn’t prepared.
I will be glad to hear a feedback from you in an article or on Facebook.