Inbbbox for Android is the latest incarnation of the app offering a personalised and uncluttered experience in Dribbble - “a place to show and tell, promote, discover, and explore design”. You can download it right now and dive into the buzzing community - or check out the iOS version.
We’ve been working on Inbbbox for quite a while now at Netguru, and it’s been an exciting journey. Inbbbox is an open-source project and you can expect access to the source code soon on GitHub. What Inbbbox does is deceptively simple: it lets you browse a customized stream of Dribbble shots, retaining the standard functionalities of Dribbble like bucket, follow and comment.
There’s one particular characteristic of Inbbbox that we fought hard to achieve: allowing you to perform all the actions mentioned above with only one hand, even on the biggest screens. We think we have achieved that thanks to the extensive use of gestures. Even though this was the primary principle that guided our design, it’s not the only pleasant surprise you will find in Inbbbox. It has a night mode for late-night browsing and comes in three language versions (English, Spanish and Polish).
The Origin Story
We loved the Dribbble experience, but it’s only natural to want to improve or further explore the things you love. We wanted to infuse the experience with the spirit of the Daily Art app. So many wonderful designers showcase their work on Dribbble. We wanted to put them on the main stage, if only for a moment. To draw all of the user’s attention to their work. It’s important for our community to receive this king of attention, and it allows users to really see the shots and discover the real gems.
We reached out to the Dribbble community to get some feedback on the idea. Much of it was positive, which motivated us to follow through with the project. We also included the community in the design process, by asking them what style of navigation they would prefer.
The Design Stage and the Power of Testing
Before we began to write the code, we had to figure out what actions the user would be able to take with each shot. The most basic and most popular action is showing appreciation for designs by giving likes. Then there’s adding shots to buckets, which are collections in Dribbble-speak. We also wanted to reflect Mailbox’s archive-remove function, so we decided that liking and bucketing shots would be achieved with a single gesture. A short right swipe is a like, while a longer swipe puts it in the user’s bucket.
We were left with two actions: commenting and following. Commenting was easy to achieve: just swipe left and go. Following, on the other hand, means a deeper interest in the author, and a longer swipe to the left represents this nicely.
Our prototype was far from perfect - which is precisely what a prototype is meant to be. Initially, we were going to use swipe left/right for navigating between shots and swipe up/down for likes and comments. Tests showed that people were prone to accidentally give likes instead of navigating, and vice versa. We fixed these issues in the second version of the prototype and asked people to play with it. The feedback was positive, so we went on to the development stage.
The Development Stage
Developing Inbbbox turned out to be exactly what we were looking for - a challenge. We had to fit between two sets of constraints. One was self-imposed: we wanted users to always be able to navigate with just one hand. This meant we would need a lot of experimenting, testing and a flexible approach. The pieces would fall into place eventually, but we knew it would require some work.
The second set of constraints came with the Dribbble API, particularly the limit of 60 requests per minute, which became the main limit of what Inbbbox could become. We thought of these 60 requests as our budget for the project, and it was a challenge we faced every day - and one we thoroughly enjoyed.
Our development team had the opportunity to work around these constraints, to let loose their creativity and come up with many clever solutions to overcome the challenges we faced. The user’s experience had to feel seamless and unconstrained. Plus, as the project is open source, our solutions had to be not only effective and elegant, but also reflect the industry's best practices.
We hope that independent developers will soon begin to contribute to the project. Once you’ve downloaded and tested Inbbbox, you might feel that some features are missing, but don’t worry - we already have a roadmap for further development, and our next update is going to be “social”. It will include:
- Universal sharing of shots
- Project views
- Automatic night mode
We’ll be posting Inbbbox-related news all over the place, so stay tuned and you won’t miss a thing. You might as well follow us on Dribbble, too.