In the very pinky world of Dribbble, everyone is your mate. Everything is awesome and every post is clean (and floats).
This is a good thing for designers. We need a community to meet our peers and share our work.
We need to find inspiration, examples when we are not sure how to start an interface.
Dribbble is not a reference when it comes to usability. A lot of posts are utopic.
This is not a big deal but when we browse, we need to remember that Dribbble is the “artsy” platform of user interface.
This is a logical evolution, it is not designed to share a design process but a 800*600px image. The product relies mainly on social recognition, it is “Instagram for designers”.
Most of the interfaces we saw there are unrealistic because we all love to push our creativity on a sunday afternoon.
Most of the work we produce on a daily basis is not shareable. We work with constraints and are subject to privacy restrictions.
So, once in a while, we enjoy designing a fake dashboard without any restrictions.
But since a couple of weeks, my dribbble feed is spammed by DailyUi post.
What is the matter of DailyUi?
If you are not familiar with DailyUi, it’s a User Interface design challenge.
During 100 days, you will receive an email with an interface element to design. Then share it on dribbble or twitter with the hashtag #dailyui.
See the problem with this email? No user explanation, no context, no devices.
The goal is to improve your design skills.
While it is in fact the complete opposite.
This challenge will train you during 100 days to design idealistic pieces of interface. Dummy UI with no end user. No conscious of accessibility. This challenge have designers looking for beauty and aesthetics instead of training their mind to solve a problem.
You will probably get thousands of like on Dribbble, but not develop your design awareness and learn to put on the users’ boots.
The biggest challenge when creating an interface is to come up with a solution which will suit your users in the most efficient way. You need to conduct research in order to understand their habits, their context, their familiarity with technology.
If you take the example above, there is about a hundred questions which come to my mind when I read “Sign up”.
- Are we talking social network user?
- Is it on a mobile phone in the street?
- Is it for a Saas profesional app?
- Will I need to import data from previous products?
- What about the network, wifi, 3G, low internet?
- What about security?
- Is it for my mom?
Am I overthinking it? A bit, to prove my point.
But having all this questions in mind is what I train myself everyday before I even think of launching Sketch. So one day it becomes a complete reflex.
Just like every great designer I have met.
New challenge : #FixUi
So what could you do to improve your skills? I have this urge of creating sometimes. But it’s hard to begin without a subject.
Well, lucky for us, there are tons of websites and apps which need our love. Which need a better UX and interface, which are used by thousands of people everyday but are very poorly designed. Sometime it is a lack of budget from the organisation, or they don’t even understand that internet is a thing now.
These website is used by french people who want to register and manage their freelance status. There are about 980 000 freelance workers in France and this website UI is stuck in the early 2000s.
This one is the website of an association which connect french local agriculture products to townsmen. It is a very famous organisation with a poor visibility on the internet.
This is the french National Institute of statistics and economic studies website where you can find tons of data and publication.
Pick one and design something that matters
I am pretty sure we all encounter those kind of websites on a dailybasis. As Christoph Ono wrote two years ago in his article Interfaces in need, we can do better design work.
Instead of redesigning a famous product or create a useless piece of UI to get some likes, let’s find a real design case.
Coming out of this, you will earn real design skills and have meaningful project on your portfolio.
You can even get in touch with the organisation and submit your project. Find a way to make it real. Get money out of it. Or do it for the glory, you are willing to spend 100 nights designing for a challenge anyway.
Get in touch with a developer and collaborate.
My favorite part of being a designer is that at the end of the day, I have created something. So let’s try to make it useful and improve the internet.
Thanks for reading!
You probably have your own opinion?
Feel free to comment or ping me!