The future of creative work online - Welcome to the new Scoutzie
When we first launched Scoutzie over a year ago, it was meant for finding the designers behind the best mobile app designs. Since then, the idea of collecting and collaborating with great people has grown on us. After countless conversations with designers and clients, we created the new Scoutzie.
The new Scoutzie is designed on the idea that everyone should own their own reputation. In the past, big (agency) brand names stood as a proxy for reputation; the size of a company’s marketing budget determined how its brand is known and perceived through mass media.
Yet a brand in itself isn’t valuable - it is the merit of the individuals behind it that really matters. This is especially true in design and the creative field in general. With this, we believe the web and collaborative consumption has outgrown the traditional corporation.
And this is where the new Scoutzie is different. We attribute merit to the individual, and enable direct collaboration. The merit of a designer’s work, not their company’s brand, determines how they are known and discovered. Even if he is just another Swiss guy in Taipei.
The new Scoutzie is a place where you can work directly with the actual designer or producer for your request, without having to tackle impeding large company bureaucracy and overhead.
Our designers are curated by designers to keep the quality bar of our network consistent. Right now, our network consists of designers who work on mobile applications and web. We’ll be adding more domains in the future. We further enable and demand that everyone build their own reputation in our community, including the people requesting to work with our designers. It is only fair. Besides, it gives you the chance to prove that you would be a worthy teammate for a great partner.
Go on, take a look. Find the right designer for your project and send them a message.
Welcome to the new Scoutzie.
Kirill, Jenn & Team Scoutzie
p.s. If you have any insights to share with us, you can participate in this discussion on Hacker News.
4 Secrets To A Perfect Design
You’ve got a great idea that’s going to be THE next big thing, all you need is a designer to help make it real? Here are some tips on how to get there:
1. Spam every designer you can find - use this as a template:
I saw your work on Scoutzie and figured that you must be good. I am working on a top secret idea that is going to be bigger than Facebook. I’ve got all the strategy figured out, all I need is someone to design and develop the app and the website. I will offer generous equity for your work. Just sign the attached NDA, and I’ll look forward discussing the opportunity to work together further.
2. Assess each prospective designer with a small design exercise
A design challenge will help a prospective designer to prove his worth to you. If you’re smart about it, this is an excellent opportunity to get free work done! Start with “make the splash page” and keep interviewing till you get everything you need designed.
3. Give your designer ample creative space to do his job
If you couldn’t get all the work you needed from the interviews and you actually had to hire a designer, remember: you are paying for him to do his job. Make sure you empower your designer to make his money’s worth by giving him ample space to be creative. You need to take care of the strategy, not get stuck in the weeds - a short “ just make it pop” should be sufficient guidance for a designer to figure the rest out.
4. Make the logo bigger
Tiny, out of the way logos are a natural weakness for designers. You see, designers are inherently sensitive and shy types, they just can never feel comfortable with making a statement in a name. Unfortunately, there is no know remedy for this natural deficit for designers. You just have to gently encourage your designer at every opportunity to make your logo bigger. Be patient and persistent. Your designer will probably try to fight you, he’ll use all sorts of excuses, even attempt to question you, like by asking if you know why you want your logo to be bigger. Don’t worry, take a deep breath, just keep repeating that you want your logo bigger. In the end, the right designer will come to his senses and concede because he’d realize that after all, you’re the boss. The boss is always right.
Well, now you are all set to create the next biggest thing. Good luck!
-Jennifer, Co-founder of Scoutzie.com
April 1st, 2013
p.s. A very thought-provoking discussion is taking place on Hacker News.
Why consistency in icons is important and how to achieve it.
Guest post by Rakesh K.
I recently released my first product, ikonic, a set of 150 icons designed specifically for (but not limited to) iOS displays. When I asked Kirill for his feedback he gave me an opportunity to write a guest post on Scoutzie’s blog. I wanted to use this opportunity to explain how by being more attentive towards the visual consistency of icons you can make the app far more professional.
Consistency is one of the design principles that users naturally expect in a design. By making your design look and behave consistently you make it more understandable, more learnable and thus more usable. In fact, the whole point of platform-specific Human Interface Guidelines is to make your app consistent with others in the same platform so that users can readily understand your app and don’t have to learn it anew.
Most probably, you’re already making your designs consistent. But how far do you take it? By making your designs visually consistent at a deeper level you could make your app a lot more professional and reliable. For an example of design that’s inconsistent at a deeper level, look at the action menu of Safari on iPad, running iOS 6. Each time I use it I couldn’t stop wondering how it could’ve made its way into the UI. Can you spot the problems with the icons?
- ￼￼￼￼￼￼the icons are flashy and unnecessarily detailed
- the metallic styling and thick borders take away the focus on the symbols
Apart from these flaws the following inconsistencies are incredibly glaring:
- print, copy, bookmark and reading list icons are elaborately styled while the mail, twitter and facebook icons look plain
- within the last four icons the stoke width is not uniform
- the negative space varies substantially
- print and reading list icons look more true to real objects while the other
- two look more symbolized
- print and copy icons are solid while the bookmark icon is outlined
Contrast that with the consistency of the icons found in the screenshots below. The icons are part of the ikonic set. The uniform stroke lengths, uniform surface area of the icons and the uniformly smooth rounded corners make them visually consistent at a more detailed level. By using icons that are this consistent you clearly communicate to the user that you’re a professional who cares about user experience at far finer levels.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼I’m not advocating pedantic adherence to consistency by making each and every stroke width uniform or of same spacing. But by being aware of them and by making them more consistent you bring the app closer to the heart of the users.
So, the next time you design your app see that the icons are of uniform size and style and look part to the same set. If you don’t have time to go to this level of detail, use ikonic; that’s exactly why I created it. As a bonus, I’ve left most of the icon shapes unmerged so that you could customize them easily if you ever want.
Breeze - surf forecast made simple
This is a guest post by Luis Vaz, one of the Scoutzie designers and an avid surfer. Luis has been working on a cool app that he would very much like to share with you.
Hi guys, I’m Luis Vaz, portuguese visual designer and amateur, but passionate surfer. As the proud Co-Founder of Muchbeta and the recently born Niiiws, I don’t have much free time, and all the spare time I have goes to surfing, riding and sometimes to hand-picked freelance projects. Lately, I had a problem, and to solve it, I hired myself to do it.
The problem solver
I was always taught that if you wanted something done well, you had to do it yourself. So, I came up with the Breeze, a cool, direct and functional iPhone surf forecast app to answer all my surfer and designer needs.
My surfing problem was a 3 browser shortcuts on my iPhone, that would allow me to access the important forecast info. My designer problem was the focus on information architecture and user interface.
I started working on giving this app a look and feel that, besides functionality, could make people stare at it from time to time and allow immediate understanding of the surf conditions. At a quick glance (5 sec), I wanted surfers to understand the spot conditions and to be able to decide quickly whether to go catch some waves on their lunch break or just keep working.
Less is more
Most of the times, I go surfing to my favorite spot. What I really need to know is as simple as: wind velocity and direction, wave height, period and direction, tides information (more important how the tide is now), water temperature (more important than outside one), and the most cool feature I could come up with, the notification for perfect swell. If you surf you know what I’m talking about :)
Making the app simple, I avoided a lot of things that you may think would be useful. Instead of showing 20 recent spots, the apps shows only my most favorite and most used one. I don’t use geolocation, as whenever I am checking the conditions I am usually either at work or planning a trip to a new place, therefore never actually near the beach. Also, I avoided, although a hype but unnecessary social reporting. Honestly and without sounding like a brat, if I’m surfing perfect conditions I wont tell everyone about that and get the spot overcrowded. So, one other feature less.
Here is what the app looks like:
On the wind information screen [next] you get a background color visual aid. Depending on the strenght of the wind, the color of the backgrounds changes so you could quickly tell whether the wind is good for surfing or, for example, just for kite or windsurfing.
Most of the times I see the weather for the next day it is flat, so I want to need to check if there will be some waves soon. In that case, just swipe vertical and you will see the forecast for days to come.
Adding a news spot is also fast; to check for surfing elsewhere just “wax on” your iPhone and that is it!
To change spots, swipe horizontally.
Lastly, to raise the level of engagement and fun, I added some extra features for foggy or rainy weather. If you have multiple spots where you surf most then just shake your phone and it will show you the one with the best conditions.
And that is it, straight up, fast and simple, at least it is what I think..for all it is worth.
Some of you might have noticed the Nike logo on the app. For me it makes perfect sense for a brand as strong as Nike to support this app and to use it for their clients/fans, such as myself. Even best when the app is made by one of the fans :)
So there you go, let’s see if I can get Nike to support me; let me know what you think in comments here or contact me directly @luismvaz.
This is the micro-documentary series I was featured in. It was filmed a while ago, but just recently was released by Cisco. As you can tell, a lot has changed for me since then. But regardless, it’ll make a nice keep sake from my experience :)
Lovely short video about Kurt. I met this guy when he just moved out to the Bay area. He’s fun and got his eyes on the goal. Whether or not he will succeed in his startup ideas, he’s already one step closer to being happy; he is working on something that’s driving him every morning.
Whenever you are in doubt, whenever unhappy, don’t wait, don’t do the same old thing every day - get up and do something differently.
p.s. Kurt no longer lives in the car, he finally got an apartment with his wife, somewhere in the Bay area.