Dribbble is a huge social media platform, used by all types of designers to share their work, get inspiration from and build their design portfolio.
The moment you land on the home page you start seeing all types of digital work from creative people all over the world. May it be graphics, mobile apps, websites, interaction designs, illustrations, everything is under one roof, right in front of you to feast your eyes.
But when you look closer, underneath these glamorous shots and rebounds, animations and illustrations, there lies an inherent problem that most people fail to recognize.
And it can be seen in it’s most amplified manner when we look for people who are on Dribbble to primarily showcase their UI/UX skills.
So, what’s this problem?
When you try to look for designers showcasing mobile apps, websites, and their UI/UX skills on Dribbble, this is what you see.
Most designers showcasing only the 2-3 final screens of their product as part of their design portfolio.
The big problem in such a case is that we have no context and background of the design. We’re only seeing the end result which had a very long process behind it to reach where it is. A design process for any set of screens includes ideation, information architecture, wireframing, design exploration, and then the final design. Understanding this design process of a designer is very important for a prospective client to understand the designer’s abilities to solve a problem, his thought process behind the choices that he made, and the approach that he took that led to the final design.
And how Dribbble is structured as a social media platform, it is very difficult or almost impossible for a designer to showcase his entire process in detail or even step by step. So what ends up happening is that a lot of designers just straight up skimp the thorough design process for a product and just put up 2-3 screens without thinking from a macro perspective of how these screens will fit in on an actual 200 screen project.
And this, in turn, allows them to churn out multiple designs per week to upload on the platform and they get rewarded with followers for their regular day to day uploads. Outsider people who don’t have significant design insights would think that a designer with so many likes and followers must be a good designer, but that necessarily won’t be the case. Being perceived as a good designer shouldn’t be a popularity contest!
And also, now Dribbble is mostly filled up with such UI/UX designs that are very artsy, beautiful, and pleasing to look at but lack the depth that it needs to have to do what it’s supposed to do – solve a problem.
“Good UI can only take a product 2 miles ahead of its competitors but a good UI with equally good UX backing it up can take a product 20 miles ahead of its competition.”
We as designers are supposed to be problem solvers first, then pixel pushers.
Another problem that arises due to this is that we as designers tend to take inspiration for our creative work from places like Dribbble to incorporate contemporary design trends into the products we are making. But then we mostly we stumble on such designs which aren’t thought through or had a process behind them.
Such design trends cannot be implemented into actual systems due to many technical reasons like display resolutions, aspect ratios, hardware restrictions accessibility guidelines, and so on.
So, what you as a prospective client can look for in a designer to properly judge his skills?
Look for a designer who chooses his personal website as a portfolio where he showcases his designs along with the entire process that it took to reach there, which in turn will make you understand his problem-solving abilities and the thought process behind his design choices.
And, next time while looking for a designer keep in mind the above points and ask yourself,
“Do you want a designer who can create pretty designs or a designer who can create pretty designs and prettier user experiences resulting in better sales?”