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Show HN: Scoutzie, 444 best mobile designers for hire. (scoutzie.com)
158 points by kirillzubovsky on July 17, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 86 comments

If you have so many awesome mobile designers, maybe put one to work on your own site and create a responsive layout that works on a mobile device! This fixed width layout doesn't help prove your point.

Maybe you could get lost ;)

It's valid constructive criticism. I realize that didn't come out right, but you should really work on that, it's not even all that complicated to get that page to display nicely with css mediaqueries

You are right, this comment makes me sound like an ass. Sometimes HN traffic excitement overpowers language control. Let me elaborate on the MQ point.

We do want media queries and it isn't too complicated, indeed. Like you correctly pointed out, we have some amazing designers on Scoutzie and many of them are familiar with responsive layouts. We could design a layout that looks great. More so, we could upgrade to the latest version of the Bootstrap and use their responsiveness to accomplish this goal.

Having said that, we have been been changing something on the site on at least weekly basis, tweaking the layout, occasionally flipping it on its head. With that, I track analytics and I know the percentage of users that come from mobile and I can guesstimate their behavior on the site; it's very similar to the desktop users, not better, but not worse. So, maintaining a responsive layout right now just doesn't make as much sense for us, if you consider the time tradeoff.

Furthermore, a responsive layout shouldn't just be smacked on top of the regular design. If we were to create a truly great experience on mobile, we should design it with mobile needs in mind. Just having object be smaller and wrap around is a good start, but I believe there is more to responsive design than that.

For right now, we'd rather focus on making a better overall (desktop, for now) experience, and once we got it down, we'll go ahead and revamp the responsiveness.

Adding a smilie face to the end of a rude comment does not make it acceptable. ;)

I'd really love it if someone could make it as as easy to buy design help as it is to buy stock photography.

There is an astronomical difference between the effort required to buy tens of thousands of dollars worth of imagery, and the effort required to buy tens of thousands of dollars worth of someone's time. The former is a matter of a cart and credit card, the latter requires lengthy emails, contracts, legal approvals, timesheets, and all other sorts of mumbo jumbo and for most projects, is enough work that I often just don't bother.

Though those roadblocks are there to protect both parties, I suspect that there's an artificially large delta between cost and risk.

>to buy design help as it is to buy stock photography

Buying designs is easy. Buying commercial photographer's time is in the same ballpark as a designer's.

"Design on tap" is something larger companies with a standing contract / retainer can have. If you reach out to a larger design firm in your area and establish a relationship, you can cultivate this sort of relationship.

My problem is that I already have (many) of those relationships, but because of these difficulty issues, I'm stuck in those relationships.

to buy design (...)

You don't buy design because it's not an asset. It's part of the process.

He didn't say "buy design" he said "buy design help." He's looking for a contractor, and just doesn't like dealing with the legal/accounting/recruiting issues.

That's true. Design is a process and a complicated one too. It's very hard to just buy 1 unit of design. That's precisely why many designers prefer to work on projects, rather than per hour. Once you've settled on a project and set the price, the complexity goes away.

I am going to write a blog post about this one day. You are not the first person suggesting this, but once you start digging into what's involved, the variability is huge.

Have you seen http://www.tweaky.com/ (only yesterday announced investment from sitepoint/99designs)

There are sites like 99designs - for a fixed price you get dozens (or hundreds) of designers working on your project, you pick the best one, and the author gets paid.

And the 99 others who did work for you too, did not.

99designs also minimizes communication and interaction. Yes, this makes things easier for you, but designers are basically left to guess in the dark. It's a spray and pray approach that really goes against the word "design".

Yes, there will always be a place for 99designs. On Scoutzie, we believe that there should also be a place where a designer is valued by his merits, can be given the opportunity to apply his creativity, and be paid for his work.

Once in a blue moon you may be able to get a decent design from 99, but if you browse around their site (which has been made really hard lately), most of the work is of mediocre quality. I doesn't do "design" justice.

Please make the signup form[1] transmit passwords, emails and names over SSL.

It appears you're using Heroku, check out the docs for how to do this here: https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/ssl

[1] http://www.scoutzie.com/signup

Ha. got down voted for that response. I think it came out wrong. I mean to say that "we do {host on heroku} and we will {implement the ssl)". How bad is it, was meant as a "what are the implications?" question.

I am going to work on answering questions properly next time. Thanks!

I do and will do. How bad is it?

Really bad attitude from both the founder, and the Scoutzie employee badmouthing 99 designs. If there's something to learn from this thread, it's how not to reply to criticism.

I was just going to post something similar. It's jaw-dropping to see the kinds of retorts that kirillzubovsky is giving. Even if the original comments are snarky in their own right, to quip back with "Maybe you could get lost", and "A little jealous, perhaps?", is absolutely brand killing not to mention disrespectful. If I were a mobile developer I would not want to be associated with this startup in any capacity.

Ben, you're spot on. I shouldn't be responding like that.

As I explained to Nicole (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4262188), I saw the original comment as an offense on the quality of Scoutzie-listed designers and I take any such offense very personally. We spend a lot of time talking to the designers, getting to know them, looking to understand how they work and what they want to get out of their design careers. When I see a negative comment about the site or about our user base , I see it as a negative comment about each one of our users. It hurts me because I see these users as real people, not just user ids.

Now, I can see that 'mnicole' wasn't out to get us, and it was wrong of me to engage in a hostile manner myself.

Unfortunately, as one comments irritates your skin, it's really easy to quickly overreact with others. I will get better at this.

Lastly, thank you for giving the feedback.

I was pretty stoked to wake up to the jealousy comment this morning. "Why would we make a mobile site for a site about mobile?" got me good too.

What wonderful ways to respond to people you're trying to profit off of.

Some comments were indeed uncalled for and I apologize for that. Please see below those comments for the followups.

As per the 99designs, we are not badmouthing them at all. There are designers who are willing to do design at a chance they will not get paid and let's face it, most designers on 99designs don't get paid because only the winner takes the money. This is terrible for designers who put in the hours of work and then don't get reimbursed of it. This isn't always good for clients either. Given that each designer can only spend limited time (knowing they might (most likely won't) get paid). As a result, most designers end up with no $ in the pockets and clients end up with work that could be improved upon.

All said, there are clients who use 99designs and there are designers who work on these projects. 99Designs as a company is doing well and we are happy for them. But, we don't have to support them because we prefer to encourage great design and to encourage great designers to be paid for their work.

BTW, I think a site like this begs for another site offering the services of those who take Photoshop comps and turn them into actual iOS or Android UIs. Because, while Photoshop comps can be totally awesome, there is a humongous gap between them and an actual UI.

You should really add some screens or a video demo of what you're supposed to do. I signed up but seems like I'm required to post a project. But what happens when I post a project? Do designers bid? How long? Or do they contact me? How? What's the process?

Dave, this is on our top priority to add. Thank you!

If your business is based around mobile design, for gods sake give your site a mobile design!

Would you be so kind as to explain why it is important for us at this stage?

It's not that hard to do. I just started coding two years ago and can make a responsive code layout with my eyes closed. If you are trying to sling mobile design, your website should be mobile as well. Kinda lose credit when you don't.

Coding with your eyes closed is impressive. Non-the-less, you're not explaining why it is important for a mobile-focused site to have a responsive layout. Please explain, if you'd like me to take you seriously.

I am looking at your site on an i phone and have to zoom around to navigate. It would be a lot easier to explore your website if it was mobile formatted. Using a framework like Skeleton, it takes pretty much the same time to code for responsive layout as it does for desktop. Example: http://www.mchavezi.com/behance/ Appriciate the debate;)

Really nice. My only suggestion would be to show more designs above the fold – perhaps make the current image rotate with a few others.

Do you say 444 because that's all you have signed up currently, or are you restricting it to that number? I think it'd be interesting to see what would happen if you did the latter, almost as if you were curating top talent, something like an agency. Imagine if 37signals kept the number of designers in each price bracket it represented on Sortfolio to only 20 or so. A part of me thinks those design firms would have gotten a lot more business than they would have otherwise.

It's a designer curate designer approach. The number is not limited, but each new designer can only join by getting invited another designer already listed on Scoutzie.

Instead of limiting the total number for the top 20, the bar is at "awesome": more than 444 designers can be awesome, each in their own right.

Ah, so like Dribbble.

No doubt there are more than 20 awesome designers out there, but from a client's point of view, I would think the zero-sum nature of a top X list would do a bit more to ensure that the designers are worth their weight. Think of it like Billboard's Top 10/20/100. I'm not saying this model would be better, just that it would be interesting to see how this sort of presentation would influence a potential client's perception of quality.

Yes, like Dribbble, we trust our designers to spot designers' talent.

But unlike Dribbble, we're not looking to build a popularity contest.

Actually, let me ask here: how much does popularity of a designer matter to you in choosing a designer to join your team?

I've been pretty vocal about my problem with the popularity contest, but there's no denying Dribbble's ability to have followers and the number of those followers greatly enhances the promotion of your product if you let your designer post shots of the process. While the cliques can't be avoided and everyone on Scoutzie is likely to crosspost on Dribbble anyway, I think there's a lot to be said about highlighting designers that are working on projects they got through your site.

It also looks as though all it takes is downloading the Teehan+Lax template and making a few fake iOS layouts to join as opposed to real mobile/responsive experience. I'd find a lot more usefulness as both a designer and a scout if there was more to it than that since mobile UX is imperative to the success of the product and UI has a lot to do with that (static images - especially taken at those dreaded angled/screenshotted Dribbble perspectives - of an interactive experience don't sell me).. otherwise I'll just search Dribbble for "mobile" to find someone's profile and get a better gist of their overall skillset, be it more code- or design-based.

I'd greatly appreciate it if you can call out specific examples of designs on Scoutzie that you believe are Teehan+Lax templates and fake iOS layouts.

I agree UX is imperative to the success of a product. But so too is the code, its marketing efforts, and more. Can you elaborate a bit more on what you're getting at?

> static images - especially taken at those dreaded angled/screenshotted Dribbble perspectives - of an interactive experience don't sell me.

After Kirill's remark I'm not sure why I'm replying, but my overall point is that the lack of minimum shots-per-project give little to no context of the app or the cohesiveness of the UI, which is why it's hard to tell if they're real or just concepts. I also think it would benefit the designers and scouts alike to have their uploads sorted by project so you aren't just clicking into a random assortment of thumbnails and you/your perspective clients can link others to specific ones instead of saying "Click on the one with the big pink star."

Nicole. Thanks for replying. Indeed, I apologize for my comment. I do care a huge deal about the designers on Scoutzie and your comment came across (to me) as if you were accusing the designers of lacking talent. Although some may be better at details, some are better at UI ...etc, I do believe the folks on Scoutzie are overall great and deserve to be recognized for their work.

There is a huge gap between average and great, and whenever someone suggests that Scoutzie folks are just average, I won't hesitate to remind them otherwise.

Given your further feedback, I don't think you were aiming at the designers, so my apologies for incorrectly assessing your comment and snapping back. Sorry.

I don't even think there's anything wrong with using templates as a means to display your work in the given context, but there's just no way of knowing on the current interface if the app actually shipped or is just eyecandy, and that's why I assumed the latter on a lot of the entries.

Additionally, there's a drop-down to say you have experience with responsive, but there's no follow-up to that. Does that mean you have experience building the hi-fidelity mockups or are you actually building the media queries? Those are the questions I would have as a scout or how I'd want to distinguish myself as a designer, since a lot of employers either expect both skillsets or make them two entirely separate roles.

Sorry if I came off as harsh in the initial response, I understand the need for a service like this, but couldn't really tell how it couldn't be superseded by the current go-to for finding designers until there was a little more focus/drilling-down of projects/skillsets that the "competitor" doesn't give you the room to include.

Got it. Thank you for clarifying. We'll work these features into the app.

> It also looks as though all it takes is downloading the Teehan+Lax template and making a few fake iOS layouts

Right, because your quality of work is so outstanding, that you are to judge. A little jealous, perhaps?

It depends...

For a bootstrapping startup trying to ship: not much.

For a brick and mortar business looking to help establish their web presence with a mobile app: quite a bit.

And often times it's the latter category of clients that pay more.

I'm just brainstorming here, not criticizing Scoutzie at all. You guys are off to a great start.

Hey - no worries, we appreciate your honest feedback! We just might try a "top 10" list of some kind ;)

Good breakdown on where popularity matters. Thank you. We'd love even more ideas too if you care to share!

I like this idea of collective, less-organized entities. I worked at a design agency for 3 years and found that every designer who came immediately started designing outside of their process. I think a system like this allows each individual designer the ability to implement their own process and creativity without management influence.

I would urge you to take this to the next step and unify accounting. This would allow customers to feel as if they were hiring a traditional firm, and would relish in the idea of being able to select out of 444 designers and then work directly with them.

Nice work! Now only if there were an equivalent for developers.

We'll consider it ;) I think Github and Stack come close, but there you still need to know what you're looking for. InterviewStreet does a good job at pre-filtering candidates. Non-the-less, we'll keep that in mind!

Check out yunojuno.com. Similar, but different. I know the guys involved and they are hoping to build a community of freelance designers & developers, using peer recommendations as the glue. In project-led business (e.g. agencies), the 'Hollywood' model of bringing together the right team at at the right time _should_ prevail. That's what they are hoping to enable - giving power / control back to the freelancers themselves.

That'd be especially useful for when you're looking for consulting gigs and other temporary projects. I'd use it :)

What about Elance?

So, $100 to get a chance to contract with a quality designer? Umm...

That was my first thought. I actually have a need to partner with a mobile developer on a project, but paying $100 for the chance to find someone who's personality, communication, experience, and rate are compatible is, well, Ummm...

Actually, you guys can contact them directly. You could, however, post a project on the private shared board, in case you want to expose it to more than just the person you are going to contact. This way, you get the benefit of talking to the person you want, as well as (maybe) hearing from others who might like to talk to you.

Curious, what's your revenue model? Your terms mention Our basic service is free, and we offer paid upgrades for advanced features.

So, do the designers need to pay a fee to be listed, when they receive a message from a client etc.?

There is no fee for designers to list their work. We plan to keep it as designer-friendly as possible.

It's a pretty looking website, you hired a good designer to help you skin it Kirill. Nice.

What's the main difference between you and dribbble? They let you people message designers about projects too, no?

Good luck!

They need to let you search by geographic area and also for verified customers to give validation to individual designers. Too few had samples of their work.

Would be great to see actual screenshots as opposed to blurred photos of hands holding iPhones showing screenshots.

Scoutzie is a mobile design website made with the design community in mind. IMO thats what makes them stand out.

Great idea! I love this type of projects, and mobile is a great niche to work on nowadays. Some feedback: it's a bit annoying that the "Show more ???" ajax buttons send you everytime to the top of the page.

We fixed that. Thanks for letting us know!

Nice work Kirill - As a designer, you've really done a great job creating a site that I think people would want to actually use on a regular basis.

Still not fully sure how the model works. You announce that your project needs a designer on this site and you get to pick a designer?

Yeah, the site is real pretty - but I have no idea what the site is offering. I understand dribble / 99designs / crowdspring .. but how exactly am I partnering with 444 designers? How does the interview process work? How long does the matching process typically take? How much is this gonna cost me (cheap, like 99 designs, or market rates?) Does this support the no-spec initiative?

We just happen to have 444 designers right now. We're a designers curated community where our designers invite other designers to join us based on their merits.

Right now, we allow you to post a simple project request. It's like a job board. Except, since our site is curated and only our designers get to see it - your respondents will be from vetted designers, not just any random Joe who says he can draw. We made sure you get qualified leads - we leave you to move forward with the designer as the two of you agree to.

We do not believe in asking anyone to work for free.

Designers get to pick you, should they consider the project worthy of their time/interest.

Kirill, would a project hitching one of your designers as full-time co-founder be against some Scoutzie rules / be frowned upon?

Hey, if you can convince one of those guys to join you, props to you. The designers on Scoutzie are really great so if one of them joins you, I bet your startup's going to benefit. Let me know how it works out?

Nice job Scoutzie! It's a great way to connect high quality designers with companies and developers who need them.

Every time I click "show more designers", it brings me back to the top. I think you forgot a "return false;"

Yep. See above, the trick with javascript:void worked. Thanks for the bud reporting!

Looks cool. On the show more designers button, change the href from "#" to "javascript:void(0);"

Also, from the post signup confirmation mail you're redirected to Vinova.sg rather than Scoutzie when you click on 'Continue to our website.'

Thanks! For some reason this worked fine all morning, but then of course I found a way to break it right before pushing. Thanks again!

JS pseudo-protocol is bad practice

This is pretty much only due to IE6 problems with using it. Given that mostly everyone is finally dropping IE6, I don't see how it's a problem anymore.

Looks neat, but clicking the "shuffle" button completely kills the back button.

Noted. Will look into that. Tnx!

i'm curious because right after i registered, i received an email with the subject "Scouts: Please confirm subscription" which goes to a listserv and has a reply to: will -at- vinova.sg.

What gives?

Yes. That seemed pretty deceptive to me too. Nowhere did I agree or appear to agree to signup for a listserv or newsletter. I probably would have, but the surprise email in my inbox makes me not trust this group now.

Hey matan, sorry about that. Somehow our test email got associated with the mail chimp. We'll need to fix that. Thanks for letting us know!

It would be great to know how much each designer charged.

I second that!

Liking it :) Good work

Great job scoutzie!

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