Web design is, and always will be, about problem-solving, and galleries generally can’t teach you how to be good at that.
You won’t find inspiration in design galleries: just a solution to someone else’s problem.
I’m keen to reiterate this, especially to young designers in the industry who look at the huge number of inspirational galleries and treat them as definitive answers on how to create user interfaces and experiences, rather than just as examples of good visual flourishes in other people’s products.
Other Designs Can’t Solve Your Problems
When a project brief is submitted, there’s an inherent danger in the designer asking the client what other websites they like. Getting an idea of the sort of thing the client likes and would want to see in their own project is usually considered harmless.
But I’ve stopped asking this, simply because it plants a seed in their mind of the sort of visual features they like on someone else’s website. And once you start down that path, you’re in trouble. Clients often focus on what their competitors are doing, without considering the possibility that the features they see might not even be effective. They’re not considering their own users or the strengths of their own product. Rather, they’re chasing their competitors. It’s amazing how many times you’ll see this happen in our industry. Not making the same mistake in your work is vital.
When you look at an inspiring gallery or attractive website, remember that what you’re seeing is merely the result,
not the process.
You usually have not been party to the process that got to that result, which could include a range of things such as user testing, multiple iterations and prototypes, A/B testing, various stages of client input and so on.
Often, even the simple things you see on a website or in a design gallery are the result not only of a process but also of the experience of the designer behind the result.
So, Where Else Can You Look To For Inspiration?
Whenever anyone asks how to get inspired, I always point to people themselves. Watch people as they interact with the things around them and solve problems. You’ll learn an immense amount.
National Geographic Magazine
If you can, study people, and look at their stories. One source of real inspiration for me is National Geographic. I’ve had a subscription for years, and seeing how people all around the world solve problems in their lives, on both big and small levels, never fails to inspire me.