Workshops and Crash Courses Held
Attendees hosted in a single event
Program Manager for Education
With tens of millions of members and over a trillion pixels shared, Dribbble is one of the world’s leading creative communities. “Dribbble is a global community and platform for designers, creatives, and freelancers to share their work, get inspiration, get hired—and more recently, to continue to learn their craft,” says Madeleine Sava, Program Manager for Education.
Before the pandemic, these online connections frequently spurred in-person meetups. “The year before COVID-19, we hosted 180 in-person events,” says Madeleine. “Most of them were organized by passionate Dribbble members for other members—meeting up in person with people they’ve connected with on the internet and being inspired under the Dribbble umbrella. These events were so well attended and valued by our community.”
Of course, lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and travel restrictions put a stop to all that, as they did for so many of the eagerly anticipated events of 2020 and 2021. But Dribbble didn’t want to lose the benefits their audience was receiving from interacting with and learning from other creatives. It was time to pivot to virtual.
As the pandemic dragged on, the Dribbble team wanted to empower their community to continue connecting and growing together—even while physically apart. So, in November 2020, they launched their first-ever virtual workshops series. “We really wanted to be a resource for designers, creatives, and freelancers in our community to upskill and learn their craft in an easy, accessible way,” says Madeleine.
Finding talented creatives to host the workshops was easy enough. “We have connections with amazing industry leaders—product designers, graphic designers, illustrators, freelancers, and more,” she says. “We were able to invite them and curate an amazingly robust lineup of intimate interactive workshops, where attendees get a chance to ask these people questions, get curated feedback and advice on their work.”
“Everyone was using the same tool for all their meetings. We wanted to give our customers a unique, five-star experience.”
But finding the right virtual platform for the job was a little bit trickier. They started hosting their workshop series on a popular web conferencing tool—and while they didn’t have any major issues, it still felt like something was missing. “Everyone was using the same tool for all their meetings,” says Madeleine. “We wanted to give our customers a unique, five-star experience. We wanted our workshops to feel special.”
It was actually a presenter who introduced the Dribbble team to Welcome. “We were contacting Sophia Chang to see if she was interested in hosting a workshop on social media, and she suggested we use Welcome.” So, Madeleine and the team decided to check it out.
They were impressed. “There was a lot more sophisticated functionality that we could use to engage our attendees and get them interacting with our host,” she says. “Seeing those functions and seeing our attendees enjoy the platform—that’s what really sold it for us.”
Since adopting Welcome in early spring 2021, Madeleine and the team haven’t looked back. “We've been using it every other week, if not every week, sometimes, for these virtual crash courses and workshops.”
Their favorite Welcome feature? “One thing we love and use all the time is the ability to bring people up on stage,” says Madeleine. In a typical workshop, attendees will design, illustrate, or prototype alongside the host and then have a chance to share their work for critique at the end. “We use Welcome’s onstage function to put students in the spotlight, getting feedback and chatting with the facilitator—what they found challenging about the task, what they liked the most in the workshop, why they designed something in a certain way,” she says. “Being able to give our students the chance to have these face-to-face conversations with industry leaders has been so cool.”
“One thing we love and use all the time is the ability to bring people up on stage...Being able to give our students the chance to have these face-to-face conversations with industry leaders has been so cool.”
Another key feature for the Dribbble team is polls. “They’re such a great way to get the lay of the land and understand your audience,” says Madeleine. “The speakers love to be able to see who’s in the audience and ask them, ‘Okay, what do you want to learn now?’ And for the audience members, it allows them to have some say in the direction of the workshop.”
And while these features are more sophisticated than anything Dribbble has used before, they’ve also been very easy for their guest presenters to get the hang of. “We do tech run-throughs about a week before each session to get our hosts comfortable with the platform and show them the functionalities,” says Madeline. “There’s no barrier to entry in terms of having to be a tech genius. It’s easy and intuitive for people to pick up.”
But should the team run into any issues, they feel confident in knowing that the Welcome team is always on hand to help them out. “The level of customer support has been awesome,” says Madeleine. “During an event, I can always reach out to the Welcome team through Slack if I’m having any tech issues. And in between events, my CSM is there to answer any questions I have. I love that I feel so supported.”
For the Dribbble team, Welcome was a big step up from what they were using before. But did they achieve the five-star experience they were looking for?
The answer is a resounding yes. “Using @createonwelcome for my #dribbbleworkshop was an absolute delight. This is the online event platform of the future 🙌 🙌 🙌,” tweeted Full Stack Designer Jesse Showalter after hosting a workshop on UI/UX design in March.
The admiration has just kept rolling in. “We send around a post-workshop survey after every event, asking attendees to share what they liked about the workshop, any suggestions they have, and whether they would come back,” says Madeleine. “Overwhelmingly, people want to come back and attend a future workshop, which is just amazing to see.”
For instance, here’s just some of the positive feedback they got when design legend Aaron Draplin hosted a workshop on logo design earlier this year:
“It was an awesome workshop. Thank you for going above and beyond the session!!”
“Finishing up the 1st half of @Draplin's workshop from @dribbble and I'm already so inspired.”
“This workshop was incredibly insightful, I definitely learned a ton. Thanks Aaron and everyone else involved for your time!”
It’s been a hit internally too. Based on their success in the workshops, Dribbble’s fully distributed team has started to use the Welcome platform to host their quarterly all-hands meetings. “Employees love it,” says Madeleine. “We’re able to mix pre-recorded and live video, add graphic overlays, and make holding pages—which all add a level of professionalism. People think it’s really seamless.” Plus, it gives employees who aren’t involved in the workshops the chance to see what the attendee experience is like.
As the world inches towards reopening, Dribbble is excited to start hosting in-person events again and exploring the world of hybrid. But, they’re pretty sure virtual workshops will continue to play an important part in their events calendar. “There’s so many benefits to a virtual event,” says Madeleine. “You can connect people from around the world and do it at a lower price point because you don’t need to set up a large venue. The ease and accessibility is bar none. In a work and education setting especially, I think virtual is here to stay.”