I did a ‘local’ launch of UIDB.io this week at the awesome UX Wales meetup group. First thing’s first, thank you @martynkelly for the invitation and for allowing me to introduce UIDB to the group!
The evening was great fun – met some awesome people, and received a tonne of valuable feedback for UIDB. Here’s a Tweet from one of the audience members of the evening (thanks @missconfig!):
— Lia (@missconfig) September 14, 2016
The overwhelming consensus was that UIDB is indeed a very useful tool for those interested in UX / design / development / startups and similar fields. What I really liked was the fact that everyone seemed to have their own solution to the problem that UIDB solves, but none of them were particularly good, or purpose built.
Here’s a summary of the feedback received during the evening.
If you have any further suggestions or ideas, please let me know in the comments.
Encouraging users to submit UI
This is something that’s been on my mind for a while. The majority of the UI examples posted, 92% in fact, were posted by myself. That means that a grand total of 33 UI examples were posted by genuine users. Indeed that isn’t a large number, but I’ve not pushed the fact that users can submit their own examples. Equally, I haven’t even done any marketing for UIDB as yet, so actually, on reflection, I’m quite happy with that grant total of 33!
Having said all that, clearly UIDB is only going to grow and become successful if users are contributing to the examples posted, and not just myself. Building UIDB into a community is definitely my long-term goal and something that I’m striving to achieve with UIDB.
Here’s a combination of mine and everyone at UX Wales’ thoughts on how to achieve this:
There was quite a bit of discussion on this at the meetup. The idea would be to gamify the UIDB experience some how. This might mean having some sort of points system for adding a UI example or creating a collection for example. Some companies that are doing awesome work with gamification include Stack Overflow, Duolingo, and Khan Academy.
Though I love this idea, I think the development side would require a massive amount of time and research. Could be one of those things that turns into a bit of a rabbit hole of requirements (e.g. emailing the user when achievement unlocked, creating the queues to send said emails, creating the proper database schema for gamification, and so on).
At this stage in the life of UIDB, like most young startups, absolutely everything has an opportunity cost. I’ve been thinking a lot about if encouraging users to submit right now is the right thing, and I’m not sure it is. Probably 50% or so of the UI examples posted by users so far have been sub-optimal in terms of tagging and quality of submission. That’s not to say that I don’t want these examples posted, but it does show me that I’ve got a lot of work to do with regards to maintaining quality. I don’t actually have a solution for this as yet, and perhaps gamification may even play a part, but it’s an area of the site that needs more time put into it.
There is something called the 90-9-1 principle – this essentially states that 99% of users will be lurkers, and only 1% will be contributors/creators. My line of thinking goes like this: the UI browsing experience is what is encouraging people to share UIDB right now (evidenced by the number of sites that have written about UIDB), and not the submission experience. This tells me that I should focus on features that improve the experience for the 90%+ of my users, and not the 1% of users (or 10%, at best).
Private UI submissions
Not everyone wants to share their submissions with the public. There are scenarios where a UIDB users might want to submit UI examples privately. One use-case for this may be if a designer is working on a new, secret, product feature for their company/client and they don’t want any competitors knowing what they’re researching.
The other side to private submissions is the potential to create private collections. Taking these ideas at face value, I think there’s more value in creating private collections than private submissions. Ultimately this is something I’m going to have to research further before committing to developing.
I saw a particularly interested use-case recently whereby a company had dozens of screenshots of competitors ‘my account’ pages. The examples were crowdsourced internally in the business, but for obvious reasons they would never be submitted publically to UIDB as they contained personally identifiable information. Would private submissions improve the experience here? Possible. Perhap as part of the crowdsourcing process, the company in question could have done the following:
- Create private collaborative collection
- Share a private link to the above collection
- Anyone with the link to the collection can submit their screenshots without having to login (but of course give the option)
If the upload experience was smoother – i.e. drag and drop images from a folder on your computer over to the browser – then the above solution would be pretty slick. It could even work in such a way that only administrators of the collection could view all of the submissions, and the contributors could only view their own?
A popular use-case, and one that I’ve actually witnessed in my own day job, is for employees of a company to share UI examples with each other. I spoke to someone at UX Wales who currently uses the awesome Dropmark to collaborate on UI example collections with their colleagues. The problem with this solution is that Dropmark doesn’t have a database of UI examples already tagged up and posted, and so every UI examples has to be found and submitted manually by each collaborator.
Another solution I’ve seen for collaborating on UI inspiration is InVision’s ‘Boards’ functionality. Similar pros and cons to using Dropmark, above, except on InVision the user is one step closer to the product design and potential collaborators.
I like the idea of having bounties on the site. This could be for UI examples or for collections of UI examples. It could work like this:
- User wants to find examples of ‘transaction history’ pages within the telecomms industry
- User submits a UI request bounty with a prize of $100
- The bounty dictates that a UIDB collection containing at least ’20’ examples must be created that satisfies the above brief
- If the bounty is met, then the winning contributor – the user who submits the most examples – wins the bounty. OR perhaps the bounty is split between all contributors to the challenge based on the number of submissions per user
Landing page bounties
The discussion on bounties at the UX Wales meetup also moved towards a 99Designs model. I’ve known for a while now that CRO (conversion rate optimisation) folk in particular would find UIDB very useful. I previously worked as an in-house CRO guy and consistently found myself looking for examples of UI both in and outside of my industry at the time. I know that very specific examples of things like social proof and pricing tables are potentially very useful to this group of users, particularly if you could filter by industry. These are the people that put forward the ideas and briefs for designers who go on to create new landing pages.
Using in-house teams as one example, there may not always be resource for CRO ideas/designs on the roadmap (often this stuff gets put to the bottom of the priority list). Take CRO consultants as another example – they may find it difficult to articulate their ideas/suggestions to their client without showing examples/mockups of their thoughts. Design teams are another example – sometimes they themselves may be struggling to generate new ideas if they’ve stared at the same brief for too long.
All of the above is leading me to some solution that could solve this problem. The solution would be kinda like 99Designs, but the deliverable could be perhaps more varied:
- A user knows their pricing page needs to be improved, but has a very small team and cannot prioritise a redesign of said page due to other priorities
- User submits an RFI (request for inspiration?! crap name, maybe) to UIDB with a brief on his design problem, showing some examples of pages he likes and dislikes and the goals/KPIs to be measured in a redesign of the page
- UIDB community respond with mockups/designs(/whatever*) to satisfy the above brief. *whatever can also include examples of UI from UIDB, blog posts above UI, data to backup design choices e.g. using the awesome stuff that UX Booth write about
- Original user shortlists the best designs/mockups from the above
- Shortlisted designers refine their designs
- User selects the best design
- Winning designer gets paid
- Bonus step: UIDB then matchmakes the original user (client) with a developer who can code the design (if the original designer isn’t able to)
Hmm. That could be kinda cool. It would be even cooler if money didn’t need to change hands. What if the community could power itself via gamification… Submit 20 UI examples and you get 1 request… Win a request as a design and you get 1 request… etc… Kinda like Burning Man?
This post has turned into me ranting about ideas and design inspiration. I will continue it some other time.