Dunked is a new service (currently in private beta) that allows you to have an online portfolio to show off your awesome work to the masses, without needing to know anything about coding, web development, or even what HTML stands for.
All you do, is sign up for an account, and start uploading images, or linking and embedding audio or video, and Dunked does the rest.
The best part? It’s free.
I was lucky enough to get in on the early preview which, aside from getting my first name as my username, meant I also got to feel around a bit, and take it for a test drive. Here, I want to break down what you can do with Dunked, why you should be thinking about it if you’re a designer, the pros and cons, and features that are there now, features that are coming, and what I’d like to see, so that you’ll know what to expect when the service eventually goes public.
*Disclaimer: Keep in mind, Dunked is still in Beta, and things really are likely to change, grow and improve over time.
The main area of the Dunked admin area is the ‘Projects’ area. This is where you organize everything you’re going to send out to the masses and determine how you’re going to show it. The interface is clean, and displays much like the thumbnails will display on your actual live page. You drag and drop the thumbnails to arrange them, and hit the big green ‘Add Project’ button to add a project.
Right now, users are limited to having 24 projects. My suspicion is that will change, eventually, and options will perhaps be available in a tiered system, where you’ll be able to pay to get more. I could be wrong, but here’s to hoping.
Add a Project
The Add Project screen is pretty straight forward as well. You upload your images, (yes, you can upload more than one at a time, although there’s no drag and drop feature, but hopefully that will come) organize them, and fill out the basic information about the project like the Title, Description, (Description can handle Rich Text and HTML) Date, Client, External URL and Tags. Right now, it appears that if you want to add audio and video to your portfolio, you’ll have to use external hosting, and ’embed’ it into your Dunked profile. Hosting is only for image formats.
When I initially signed up, I was limited to 100MB of storage – but since then, they’ve changed it to 200 images, instead, and limiting images to under a couple of MB, which is reasonable. However, one of the most frustrating things is to add Descriptions of your uploaded images, you have to select the images individually, and add each caption one at a time. Also, the thumbnail for the project is automatically selected, and once it is, I couldn’t find any easy way of changing it unless I deleted the image, and refreshed several times until the option came to select a new thumbnail. Hopefully that’s just a bug and will be fixed in the actual release.
One thing that I found annoying, personally, was that a lot of my portfolio was in .PDF format, and I had to convert everything to get it on Dunked. Also, it doesn’t compress anything, so whatever size you upload your images at, that’s where it stays for the most part. Keep that in mind for those of you who worry about people ‘borrowing’ your work, etc. Oh, and if you’re adding more than one project, you have to go BACK to the main Projects screen, and click the green “Add Project” button again – which became a pain after three or four times.
Right now, you’re allowed to have two ‘Pages’ in addition to your main portfolio. (Again, I suspect this will change if tiered subscriptions come in) However, the reality is, two pages is plenty. I used one for an ‘About’ page and another one for ‘Contact.’ This isn’t meant to be a web site – it’s meant to be a quick and easy way to show people your work.
Dunked has a place for ‘Templates’ but right now there’s only one available. I’m sure that will start populating soon enough. However, another nice feature is that you also have great access to CSS, so you can make the look and feel fit your particular style, if you so desire. It has a very Squarespace feel to it, but not as in-depth and expandable. In addition to that, of course, you’ve got your standard changing for fonts and colours, and you can also add your own logo or favicon.
Even though this is still a beta, there were a couple of things really surprised me, and I can only hope are on the way. First, there’s absolutely no integration with social media in Dunked. Nothing that allows me or anyone else to share my work on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. There’s also no way for me to integrate my social media into my portfolio, like display a twitter feed, add a ‘Like’ button for my Facebook Page, etc.
Some features I noticed missing right away, apparently are coming down the pipe: Custom URLs (right now I just have my URL forwarding to Dunked), Password Protect your page, so only those you want to see it will see it, as well as integration with Google Analytics. Sadly, there’s no built-in stats right now.
If you’re anything like me, one of the hardest things to do is to keep maintaining an online portfolio of your work. I guess the mind of a designer/developer is usually to get the client’s work done first, and worry about your own later, but never really get around to it.
Part of the reason it’s difficult, I think is because we try to go too big with things, and start from scratch with a major portfolio site that’s showing off our mad skills right in front of the potential clients.
Dunked allows us to get away from that, and just cut to the chase, and letting the work speak for itself.
This isn’t a solution for a major development firm – but with a few improvements over time, I think it’s going to be a great tool for a lot of freelancers and contractors.