In 2016 Dribbble published their new API adding the ability to upload shots. This is the story of how we took this opportunity to enable Dribbblers to share their process behind their best work with potential employers in the number one Design recruitment community in the world.
We are a team of two. For this project I took the role of Product Design while Raul Riera did his magic as an awesome iOS developer. Being a Product Designer means thinking of the entire product life cycle while developing an understanding of the challenges Dribbblers face and how to provide them an elegant and practical solution. This project description will focus on the design of the product.
Before starting any design or development of a product, I like to test my assumptions in a quick low-risk manner.
I set up to look for key users to engage in an offering to validate the assumption. I wanted Designers that were already interested in apps based on Dribbble's API and that had a product-mindset approach to giving feedback. The best place I could think of to search for this profile was Product Hunt. I cold-emailed the most active designers on Product Hunt who were also hunting and commenting on previous Dribbble mobile apps, asking if they were willing to try an app that allows them to upload shots from their iPhones. I got the biggest, most insightful feedback from one of them:
Insight: There is a certain segment of designers that would benefit from uploading their work from their mobile. The difference between the two channels: desktop vs mobile, lies on the type of work being shared. It's a hassle to share digital work from your phone, that's not where you are working on the first place (at least, not yet! ;)); But, it's also a hassle to upload your early sketches, ink work, and all designs who are made in an analogous setting. For the latter, a mobile upload would be a more pratical solution for capturing this type of work and sharing it right from the device.
If someone wants to do something, he/she is already trying to do it in some capacity. Let's search for shots of sketches and see what happens. Not only were tags like "sketch", "lettering", "drawing" on the top most used tags for shots, but the type of work that usually starts as an sketch were among the most popular tags on the platform. This included "Illustration", "Logo", "Branding" and "Lettering".
Insight: There are not only designers posting their early sketches, but there is a segment of design that is end-to-end analogous. These include ink work and lettering, for example. The two use cases we needed to start designing a product!
How do we create a mobile experience that makes it easy for designers to share their work as they go about their day communicating their ideas using sketches and creating art?
Playbbboard is a beautiful, on-brand Dribbble iOS application that allows designers to capture every step of their process and share it on Dribbble to complete the storytelling of their creative cycle behind their work.
The application was offered free of charge and made available immediately on the App Store. Right after its launch, we performed a series of outreach communications, including an article on Medium, submitted it to Product Hunt, posted it on Designer News, Web Designer News and Design channels on Reddit. However, it was the unexpected push of key partners that made the launch a success.
Dribbble included an announcement of our app on their opening of their Weekly Replay newsletter, sent to their entire user base. This was the first time that I've seen Dribbble letting their users know about a third party Dribbble application.
Being honest from the start by caring about the value for the user, we were able to create relationships that sparked expressions of support.
"We thought it was a good idea and, most importantly, a good execution of what a mobile upload experience could offer to our members."
Dan Cederholm, Co-Founder of Dribbble.