This post is a response to an article published by Intercom, “The dibbblisation of design” which I suggest every UX designer should go and read. For those who don’t know about Dribbble, it is essentially a site to showcase your UI Design for Mobile and Web. With all the eye-catching gif interactions, and eye-candy illustrations, who wouldn’t be thoroughly amazed?
But the cautionary advise is – never get blinded by what looks good, but how it works – especially in real life.
Product Design is about a mission, a vision, and an architecture
Often times, company’s are hiring with the intent of finding the best designers, but product managers look for something else – those that can explain how they solved problems with their designs. How do you manage to organise, evaluate and think with real data? It can be useful to also keep a document of your sketches, wireframes and drafts showing your work process if you are thinking of showcasing it on your website or future clients.
Design is a layered process. In the article, Paul Adams shared 4 Layers of Design: Outcome, Structure, Interaction and Visual. (Psst.. You can even use this model for your portfolio outline.)
The danger we run as designers is being too focused only in the Visual layer. If you think about the birth of the internet, it started out of the need for a collective directory of information. And although design plays a big role in emotion and perceived value, we need to get our focus on making sure things work – before we can truly improve the visual design.
Back to Dribbble (and many others like Behance), it’s best to remember gaining likes and rewards are not the end game. You can certainly use it to win clients – but do it with the right motive. Always try your best to document your work, which might not always be the best work – but nevertheless projects the mission, vision and architecture of a product.
Understand that the value you bring to the table is not just visual design – but the idea, strategy and thinking that goes into the design. I hope that this article has been helpful to bring an awareness of the false perception of “being great = great visuals”. But hits the point that…
Being popular on Dribbble doesn’t make you a great designer.
Like this article? Share with us your thoughts and we invite you to read 5 Traits of Highly Successful UX Designers if you want to learn more.
If you’re new to UX Design, a good book to start with is Practical UX Design by Scott Faranello.
For more in-depth study on Visual Design and Interactions we highly recommend Microinteractions by Dan Saffer for further reading.