Dribble is a truly special website. It doesn’t really do anything, it just shows out-of-context designs uploaded by the designers themselves, snippets of logos and interfaces.
Despite this, it is one of the most captivating sites out there due to the sheer beauty of the content. While it may not be of much material use, Dribbble is a great source of inspiration – impacting our lives and work indirectly.
Courtside is a free iPad app which connects to Dribbble and shows you the latest/best content from the site – iPad style. But, is it any good?
As a simple content browser you won’t be overwhelmed by the features, but you will be able to find designs easily. The first screen will shows you featured shots, the actual shots shown on top, their creators below them. On this same screen you can switch to view recent shots or debuts.
You can also look at shots from specific players, under specific tags, or save shots to your bucket and view those only. The app gives plenty of ways to explore and find inspiration.
I tend to spend most of my time in the Shots section – where you can view larger images of recent shots and then tap them to see their dedicated page, complete with comments.
On single pages you can view the shot, its comments and stats. You can share via various services and also save the image to your photo album.
Buckets – your own collections – are very well integrated here. Whenever you see a shot you like tap it with two fingers to add it to one of your buckets. You can also swipe it to add it to the current default bucket. Later on these can be accessed in the Buckets section in the bottom menu.
In the Buckets section you’ll be able to switch between your Buckets and see and share the content within them. For some reason adding a Bucket has been hidden under the Current Bucket button on the top left, just tap that button and type in the box to create a new one,
If you follow some people around the Players view will be your friend. You can view the work of a single player and select from a list of recently viewed, following, followers, etc.
Tags will allow you to drill down into Dribbble content. Just select the tag and out pop the relevant results. As with many other pages, notice the columns button in the top right. This allows you to control how many columns you see, from 2 to 4.
Design & Usability
For an app that shows off items from a site like Dribbble, awesome design is a must and Courtside surely delivers. From the wood background, to the elegant white-padded image display and cover flow display for featured items, everything looks good and feels good. Even the loading screen is so beautiful I can’t help but smile every time I start the app.
It can be used without thinking at all about what to do, which is my definition of easy to use. The bottom menu and sub sections are well thought out, easy to access and logically placed.
One drawback of the app is that you can’t log in and comment. I personally don’t mind since I use it more for inspiration, but I’m sure many users would benefit from this, especially players who actually upload their work. This shortcoming is due to the Dribbble API which doesn’t allow for this feature, but as an end user this is still annoying to me. Hopefully as Dribbble develops their API, Courtside will implement the new features.
If you want to use the app to manage your Dribbble account, and interact with your followers and friends, Courtside isn’t really for you, as it doesn’t allow you to log in or comment.
However, if you just want to browse Dribbble for your daily dose of inspiration it’s much easier and more rewarding with Courtside than using the actual website. I highly recommend it for aimless browsing and gathering ideas, it’s a lot of fun!