Introducing Sideway — The first step towards a different kind of Design Community.

Kshitij Choudhary
Jun 8, 2019 · 6 min read

Finally, this is the day! I feel a mix of emotions running through my body as I write this. For the past few months, I have been sort of trying to avoid launching something publicly. Mostly because I, like most humans, am afraid to showcase my work even though it’s just the bare bones structure of what I am building.

But for the last couple of months, I dropped most of my freelance to finish this project or maybe barely initiate the process. And after almost more than a year of starting to build this thing I am ready to share my little website Sideway with the design industry.

The What

So what exactly is Sideway?

Well, Sideway is a platform for Digital Product Designers, UI/UX Designers and Creatives to share their published work.
All the projects on Sideway are required to be live/published work.

The Why

There is a piece missing from the Design Communities, the popular platforms around the Internet(for eg. Behance, Dribbble, etc) are facing heavy spam of conceptual work that rarely is a result of problem-solving considering the constraints of the real world problems.

This is a screenshot that a friend shared a few days ago.

There are several incredible platforms out there for designers to showcase their work. And they are doing great but for the past couple of years, I stopped sharing my work on these platforms. I was competing for the spotlight on popular pages with people who had 0 constraints while solving problems and well most of them were not even solving any real problem.

And this wasn’t just me, it was happening all around the world with everyone. Everyone I knew who was actually working on something was quite less frequent on sharing their work compared to people posting regularly. There are just so many members and teams, who can post 2( and most recently to my shock that number has even reached 20–25 ) times a day just to build up followers and snag all the views and work queries.

If you have noticed the problem is not sharing work regularly, it’s that most of the work that gets highlighted on all the platforms is sadly fake work. Fake landing pages, colorful and contextless icons, fake branding projects. And hear me out, it’s not bad to experiment and share your work to get more work or get the exposure. But there is no real feedback, there is no problem-solving. This creates a problem for everyone — Professionals, Recruiters, and people who are just getting started in the field of design.

There’s a great piece by Alex Barashkov on this issue — https://medium.com/pixelpoint/why-i-hate-your-fake-redesign-177a626d7f95

Dribbble just feels like raw creative design work, in a good way. I do use it regularly but I want to see more Real Life Work, the work that people are actually shipping. It’s hard to just filter out that kind of work.

Here are some of these problems for a few segments

Professionals — Reddit, Designer News, and Closed Groups are one of the most active places people are actually showcasing their work and getting useful feedback. You can’t really expect to snatch work queries that frequently when you are not in the spotlight or worse probably don’t even catch the eye of a potential client on these platforms or if you can’t move away from people spamming comments just to link it back to their profiles.

Beginners — I think there should be a balance of inspiration from fun design work, conceptual designs, published work and case studies. But what should inspire people just starting out in the design industry should be good problem-solving or real-life work.

Recruiters — Recruiters, clients, and teams spend a lot of time to prospect a few designers and end up wasting a lot of time on designers who haven’t solved real-world problems that end up not being a good fit. It just gets tougher and expensive to businesses.

But How

A new platform?

I have been thinking about this since 2017 but last year I finally decided to do something about it so I made one.

Projects

So Sideway requires members to share a link to the project that they are showcasing whether it’s a website URL, an Appstore/Playstore link or any published work that they have done.

Quick Feedback

Sideway also takes critiquing seriously so if you want to say for eg. …Nice Colors — don’t spam the comments section just use the quick feedback menu (it’s like facebook reactions only a little bland and doesn’t animate… yet) to rate a project for its Typography, Visual Design, Colors, Layout, and Experience.

Shots

But we understand that there’s a lot of good work that doesn’t really get shipped while you are working on a project. So we have Shots(it’s like dribbble shots but with a change of letting you add a live link for that shot). If you want to showcase a new thing you build for a project you can share it via this link. Think of a new landing page, a redesign of the app, a pricing page or a new set of icons, etc.

We have a ton of stuff that we already think will be amazing for the platform but we wanted to ship this thing as soon as possible. If you have any suggestions, feedback or ideas just send a raven or a mail to kshitij@looksideway.com

So a TLDR;

Professionals — It’s a fair game here. What you ship is what matters. You won’t be competing here for likes or the spotlight as such but for meaningful discussions.

Recruiters — There’s a better and a faster way to find exclusive design talent. We’ll be launching our recruitment tools quite soon.

Beginners — Get Inspiration from real life work. .While you won’t be able to post your conceptual designs and practices you could always use platforms like Dribbble, Behance, Uplabs, etc which are amazing. After all, I have had a lot of opportunities through Dribbble and Behance and have met a lot of amazing designers and people in general through these platforms.

But Where?

If you can relate with any of this or just want to try out the platform — try signing up for the platform here.

The product is currently in its early stages. We understand that there will be a lot of pesky bugs that we will need to exterminate and a lot of things that are missing from the product ( like notifications, Exclusive job board, messages, sharing, filters, color palettes and more). Trust me a lot of these things are coming soon and even more.

TLDR;

I created a platform for designers and other creatives to showcase their published work. This platform is called Sideway and you can find it here — http://looksideway.com

It’s still in its early stage and we’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and ideas. Let’s discuss — kshitij@looksideway.com

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