One of my (secret) pet peeves, which must just come with the job as a design writer, is receiving huge Dropbox files or WeTransfer links from designers who want me to check out their portfolios. Don’t get me wrong—I love to receive and view new work, but downloading and navigating the folders can be very time-consuming. So when my editor, AIGA’s editorial director Perrin Drumm, showed me a website called Small Victories I got pretty excited.
Small Victories is a new platform developed by New York’s proudly small and thoughtful creative studio XXIX (which, full disclosure, is the Eye on Design web developer). Summed up simply, it’s a product that turns a Dropbox folder into a website—a tool to build a quick, good-looking site, but which designers could also use for sending out proposals, client reviews, press images, or for collecting inspiration.
The idea came about, as many of these kinds of things do, when XXIX discovered something that should be simple but wasn’t. One of the studio’s founders, Michael Dijkstra, wanted to drop photos into a folder and have them appear on a site. But everything he tried required servers or uploading or signing into a CMS admin, or a lot of UI and fussy styling.
“We thought there could be a simpler way to get these things on the internet using a tool you already had: the Finder on your computer,” he says.
Dijkstra doesn’t explain this to me over email or phone, though. I’ve sent him some questions, and he’s responded by sending me an explanatory website using the Presentation theme of Small Victories. There are 10 themes in total at the moment—one for creating blogs, one for styling emails, another for text files, and there’s an option for a slideshow, too. These, combined with extra features like passwords, personal domains, and custom CSS, makes the platform diverse and multipurpose. It can be used for proposals, documentation, vacation photos, sharing bookmarks and lists, or for doing interviews perhaps, like this one. “It’s changed our entire workflow,” the XXIX Presentation states.
For now Small Victories is free. The team has considered a few different ways that they could monetize it in the future (by restricting the number of free sites, creating paid themes, image optimization, support, for example), but right now they’re simply excited to see how people use it.
“It sounds cliché, but we can imagine everyone using Small Victories,” they say. “As a design studio we see a lot of value in it for ourselves and other agencies, but we also think it might be one of the easiest ways for anyone to create a website.”
I hope to see the Small Victories flag waving in the corners of design portfolios and press kits I’m sent; for me it’s now a symbol that means: this will not only be painless, it’ll be pleasant.