A couple of weeks ago I created a quickie logo for Andy Warburton’s mobile stock photography service Stockyoo. Andy was really keen on the idea of using Forrst and Dribbble for posting the progress of the project to get the opinions of potential users of a stock photography service and do some early promo for Stockyoo itself.
Dribbble and Forrst
Dribbble and Forrst are part of a new wave of sites aimed at (mostly web) designers and developers. Dribbble allows its users to post 300 x 400px teaser snapshots of their work. Forrst has wider options of posting any image, URL, piece of code or question. Both encourage feedback from other users in the form of comments. Dribbble also encourages ‘rebounds’ where users can rework an existing snapshot and repost it.
I’ve been a member on Dribbble since January and on Forrst since the beginning of August, and I was happy to post my work in progress. I’m not too much of an ego to have my work critiqued, and I thought it’d be a fun experiment.
I didn’t post every tiny iteration of the Stockyoo logo online as I thought it’d drive people mad. I had twelve images in total (all posted to Forrst) which covered four or five major iterations of the design. As soon as I felt ready to send something to Andy for feedback, that was when I felt ready to post the images online.
I posted as much identical information as I could to both Dribbble and Forrst. Generally, I could include a larger, more detailed image on Forrst as there’s no size limitation. I also posted more frequently to Forrst as it has no limit on posts, whereas Dribbble limits the amount of posts over a month (usually around twenty if you use them all.)
- Posts –; 12
- Views –; 80*
- Likes –; 34
- Comments –; 13
** I get the feeling this stat might be wrong, as on some posts I have more likes than views.*
- Posts –; 7
- Views –; 842
- Likes –; 14
- Comments –; 16
As you can see, the Dribbblers seemed more likely to give their opinion, but much less likely to ‘like’ the post!
How Dribbble and Forrst feedback helped
Overall, there was a lot of approval and a positive reaction to my design. This was great as it made me feel as though I was heading in the right direction, and let Andy know that potential users of the site were keen on the logo.
Improving the lens
One aspect I had trouble with initially was the design of the lens. I hadn’t done anything quite like it before so needed some help with getting it right. Luckily, the lovely people on Forrst and Dribbble were willing to give me a hand!
lowercase, CamelCase or Other?
The original name for Stockyoo was ‘StockYoo’ with the uppercase S and Y. When I did my first draft of the logo design, I just went straight for all lowercase as I found it easier on the eye. Andy (quite rightly!) pointed out that it needed some uppercase for consistency when showing the name without the logo, but said he’d be ok with just the uppercase S, so we put it to the vote on Dribbble and Forrst and got 100% preference for the lowercase ‘y’.
One area where the users of Forrst and Dribbble didn’t really help was on whether I used a strong drop-shadow behind the lens or not. A small detail, but opinion was divided so I really just had to weigh up the opinions and make the decision for myself. (Serves me right for being so lazy!)
Benefits of using Dribbble and Forrst for feedback
There are a lot of benefits for using Dribbble and Forrst for feedback if you’re not overly sensitive to criticism.
Affirmation for a client
If a client is unsure of their feelings, or needs an outside opinion, they can see the reactions of others and use those reactions to help affirm their own beliefs.
If other designers (especially if they’re part of the target audience) have positive feelings towards your work then it can help convince a client that you’re heading in the right direction, even if the client feels otherwise.
Thoughtful opinions and inspiration
If you’re struggling with some design (or code on Forrst) other users might have that valuable insight or piece of inspiration to help you on your way.
This is likely to be especially effective where the users of Dribbble or Forrst are your target audience. Getting an idea of how these users feel towards your brand is very valuable. You’ll make them feel more important for asking them how they think, and giving them a part to play in the creation of the brand is likely to create a feeling of ownership and loyalty.
The negative side
It takes a reasonable amount of time to post to Dribbble and Forrst. Making sure the screenshot shows enough, uploading everything and adding tags can take half an hour or so, especially when you’re doing a few images at a time. This isn’t a reflection on either site’s experience, they’re both very easy to use, but if you’re trying to add a useful description to your post it can take a pretty long time which brings me to…
It’s hard to provide context
The users viewing, liking and commenting on your images haven’t seen the brief, the communication between you and the client or tried other ideas out already. A small description isn’t really enough to give much context so a lot of the opinions you’ll get on your work is little more than “that’s pretty” or “that’s ugly”.
Subjective and unhelpful opinions
Somebody saying “that’s great” is all very lovely and ego-soothing, but doesn’t have much depth. An overall positive response is definitely better than negative, but without reasons and justifications in comments, it’s not going to help you better your work.
I think the benefits and negatives above apply to the overall usage of Dribbble and Forrst. It’s great for popularity contests and making yourself feel big and clever, but helpful feedback is often rare (especially if you don’t ask for it!)
I’d like to try using Dribbble and Forrst for feedback on a longer-term project. I can imagine they’re potentially useful for the in-house designers of web apps, creating a buzz around teaser shots and getting feedback on visual elements, especially if they’re used regularly.
By the way, if anybody could give me guidance on the proper pronunciation of ‘Forrst’, I’d really appreciate it. I can’t say it aloud without sounding ridiculous.