Pixel Gymnastics

90%* of the shots on Dribbble are created with the absence of purpose. It’s not Design, it’s Pixel Gymnastics.

*Stat pulled from thin air, for effect.

You know Dribbble, it’s that place where designers showcase their latest creations.

I go there for UI design inspiration, and every now and then I find a delightful example of UI design, but most of the time i’m confronted with shots that I like to call ‘Pixel Gymnastics’.

Why ‘Pixel Gymnastics’?

Because Gymnastics is all about showing-off, and it’s a big waste of time.

Sure, by doing it you become nimble, agile and healthy, and it must be exciting when people come along to see what you can do, but you put all that hard work and effort into a skill that you can’t take out into the real-world.

This is a somersault…

Grill iOS Icon
Grill iOS Icon

This is a hand-stand…

Grill iOS Icon
Scroll Wheel

This is a backflip…

Switch Animation

I can appreciate the amount of time that’s gone into creating such extravagant examples like these - they’re interesting to look at, and remain a source of visual inspiration.

Shots like this look good at first glance, but underneath it’s unusable, impossible to build and serves no purpose.

Side effects of gymnastics.

A large percentage of shots aren’t from projects, they are people showing off - creating shots for likes and views.

Because shots like this draw a lot of attention and receive a lot of likes, it sends the message that ‘good design’ is all about the visual style/aesthetics and pixel precision.

This creates a biased view of the state of UI design, trends pick up quickly when designers start to mimic other designers work.

It’s not healthy when a community of designers (intentionally or subconsciously) jump from one specific style to another purely because it’s more popular that month.

Better source of inspiration.

If, like me, you’re looking for UI design inspiration I suggest looking to pattern libraries like UI-Patterns.com, pttrns.com, patterntap.com and mobile-patterns.com. There’s also new communities emerging, like Hunie, where more constructive feedback is encouraged.

All I ask is…

  1. If you’re one of the people creating photo realistic pictures of cabbages and wotnot, please channel your talents into something more creative or imaginative.
  2. If you’re one of the people rebounding/liking/copying said cabbage shot, please stop.

I’m not the first and won’t be the last person to have a complicated relationship with the Dribbble, it has come under fire before:

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