Backboard – The Beautiful Dribbble Client

Backboard - Shot list

In case you’re not familiar with Dribbble, it’s a wildly popular community in which designers can post 400px by 300px shots of their latest work. It gained popularity in its early days by being incredibly private and showcasing work from the best artists in the community. Fast-forward to now and the userbase has exploded and the traffic has skyrocketed. Exploring Dribbble on your iPhone is great, but not beautiful. That’s where Backboard from Richard Bennett comes in.

First off, I’d like to talk about my favourite part of this app: navigation. Backboard takes a bold step toward a gesture-based future that I am wriggling in my seat for, anxiously waiting for it to be the norm. There are no visible controls within the app. You move back and forward in the “stack” by swiping in from the left or right edge of the screen. Upon first open, you’re shown the Popular page. To get to the other pages, swipe from the left edge to the right, to pull that view over and show the navigation list. I’ve been pushing for this kind of interaction in apps that I’ve been working on, and I’m glad to see someone else be able to actually get it to market.

Backboard - Viewing a shot

Viewing a shot, the view that gets the most screen-time, is gorgeous. The shot is displayed full width at the top, with views, likes, and number of responses below. Tap the shot to show the author, time-stamp, and sharing options. Below that is a scroll view with the comments. Unfortunately, you can’t reply, but that’s due to Dribbble’s API restrictions, and is not a fault of Backboard.

Backboard - Viewing a profile

Some other little tidbits about the app. Backboard allows you to change your accent colour. This changes the colour of links and buttons throughout the app. The app has support for iCloud Syncing, though I’m not totally sure what that does. The list of shots is very nice, showing nice big thumbnails, views, likes, responses, and author name. Viewing a Dribbble users profile shows you all kinds of information about them, and, if you tap to view their twitter profile, it will pull up a custom timeline of all their tweets. It even allows you to follow them directly from the app.

Overall this app is totally solid and definitely one of the best ones I’ve used. If you’re an avid Dribbble follower, I definitely recommend picking up this exceptionally well-built app on the App Store for a buck.

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