PatternTap, a design inspiration source focused on the very best of website design, has been acquired by Zurb. The site was founded by Matthew Smith in 2008 – a year before Dribbble hit the scene – and recently underwent a massive redesign which added a robust set of social and app-like features. Zurb, one of the few firms from the “old guard” of web design that has actually remained relevant, plans on maintaining PatternTap as an independent entity, while rolling some of its content into their online resource ZURBexpo.
I’ve been using PatternTap on-and-off for several years, mostly as a way to catalogue design patterns I find especially useful. Despite the advent of Dribbble (which I love and often use), I find myself returning to PatternTap because it represents something different. Rather than providing a forum for designers to gather feedback or seek validation, it provides a mechanism to sort through great design and build a palette of examples to draw from. If you’re a designer, I recommend you give it a shot; my description can’t adequately convey its usefulness.
On a different note, PatternTap is a success story for anyone who’s dreamt of turning a side project into an actual business. I don’t have any special insight about Smith’s original intentions, but I always got the impression that the site was meant to be a free resource, not a business. It was never overloaded with ads, and I can’t imagine that it brought in any sort of revenue. It did, however, build a significant userbase – over 25,000, according to the about page – and the recent redesign obviously caught Zurb’s eye.
If you have a side project that you’re passionate about and that you believe could be lucrative, it’s worth going the extra mile to add the polish that takes it from good to great. As PatternTap proves, you don’t have to let go of a project after acquisition: Smith will remain a frequent contributor, and the site will remain on a standalone domain for the time being.
You can check out PatternTap here.