For fans of The Great British Baking Show, the phrase "style over substance" may sound familiar to you. It's a phrase often used by one of the show's judges, Paul Hollywood, to describe a cake that's beautiful to look at, but horrible to eat. The phrase is also frequently reversed to critique cake that tastes great, but looks a mess.

Kind of like app development, right? Without the correct backend architecture and integrations, even beautifully designed apps can fall frustratingly flat with users. Similarly, an app that offers functionality but is confusing and ugly (not my words, your users!) won't be moving to the winner's circle either.

To achieve both style AND substance when developing software applications, you must balance functionality AND user experience design (the process design teams use to create products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users).

For examples of this balancing act in practice, here are some of our recent Dribbble posts we believe are worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake for cookin' up style + substance.

1. A Colorful Crew App

colorful crew app
A colorful app we're building for our team called Crew.

Crew is a web-based application that helps remote teams get stronger together. Celebrations and commendations can be given throughout the company when big wins happen, and we can learn more about each other and find similar interests even if coworkers live across the country.

2. Be A Blessing Fundraising Platform

be a blessing fundraising platform
Dribbble post of our work with Be A Blessing Fundraising Platform

Be A Blessing is a fundraising platform that connects social workers, nonprofits and school counselors in rural America with potential donors. Currently, services to rural America are fragmented to non-existent in some areas, and are often services that are singular, yet important in nature, i.e. food, clothes, etc. Very few programs exist, especially on a national level, to fulfill the diverse material needs of the poor.

3. AFS/Groundworks Web Application

AFS/Groundworks Web Application
Groundworks custom web application

Groundworks, one of the nation's largest privately-owned foundation services companies, acquired AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists in June 2020. AFS has been a client of ours since 2018, so we're thrilled to continue working with them and the Groundworks crew on an awesome product to help their sales reps in the field and both new and longtime customers.

4. OKFB Insurance Quote Portal

OKFB Insurance Quote Portal
OKFB quote portal

Oklahoma Farm Bureau wanted an online solution to help potential customers calculate home or auto insurance quotes, as well as allow users to contact a support agent if they have questions during the process.

This solution helped the regional insurance company expand their business by providing a new way to reach potential customers who did not wish to call or talk to an agent over the phone (a trend they noticed early on).

The application is a custom interface that integrates with their existing software solution, Insurance Now by Guidewire (another awesome client of Airship!).

5. Pack Health + Apple Health Integration

Pack Health + Apple Health Integration
Dribbble post of our work with Pack Health

For this project, Pack Health needed a way for its members to receive health coaching through a mobile app. We decided to build a React Native app, which allowed them to have a cross-platform app and scale easily. They also wanted a way to get real health metrics on their app users, so we were able to integrate Apple Health data into the app so the health advisors can get up-to-date metrics on the member.

6. & 7. Destination: Dark Mode

Destination: Dark Mode
AutoTec's AuctionACCESS redesign exercise for their vehicle auction mobile app
another dark mode example
Gateway's dark mode option with updated UX/UI features for their members

Creating a dark mode option isn't just a color palette switch or last minute substitution you can make. Dark mode is a dynamic design that automatically changes to enhance depth perception and must meet certain requirements before hitting the App Store. That's why we're pairing up two clients who wanted to provide dark mode options for their users who were requesting it.

8. & 9. Separate User Experiences within One App

Separate User Experiences within One App
User side of the Tankr app
another Separate User Experience within One App
Driver side of the Tankr app

The Tankr app, which offers on-demand fuel services, has two sides for users and drivers. Our talented product designers who are experts in the field of UX/UI did a great job of differentiating the sides using design. This especially helps drivers using the app so they can quickly tell where they are within the app.

We'll come back with another roundup soon (we have many!), but if you can't wait to see all of our Dribbble shots, check out our page here!


Start with: What problem are you trying to solve? 

One of the activities we work through revolves around refining your problem statement. A problem statement is the key business problem that needs to be solved. In software development, it states “what has to be done” for a project to succeed. It does not say, “how it has to be done.”

We use the 5W’s + 1 H format as well as the SMART Framework when establishing a problem statement. In fact, you can draft your own problem statement by using our free download. This download will get you thinking through some of the questions and answers prior to starting your project.

Download: Problem Statement
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