You've got a brand new design concept for your big important website. You think it looks awesome... and you're ready to unveil it to the world. Yet, something in the back of your mind says that in order to really make this design perfect: you're going to want to test it first. After all, a lot of people are going to see this new design.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could get feedback from some other professionals before you release it to the world ? Hell yes!
That's why the project Concept Feedback caught my attention. It allows you to share your concepts with the world (more specifically: the ConceptFeedback.com community - which now exceeds 1500 users).
To be honest, this is quite possibly the easiest way to get professional (not just some kid in his pajamas) feedback for your new design concepts.
I had a chance to catch up with Andrew, founder of Concept Feedback, to learn more about the project, his vision and business strategy.
Schwabe: So what's Concept Feedback all about ?
Andrew: It's an interactive community for design and marketing professionals. Providing a free and simple tool for getting third-party reviews on design concepts.
Concepts can be posted publicly or privately and can include websites, logos, advertisements, videos, and more. Once a concept has been posted, feedback is automatically collected and archived for the user to help them improve the concept and get better post-launch results.
In addition to a distinctive professional network, registered users have the capability to post concepts privately, for secure review by clients, co-workers, and friends.
Cool idea man! This is exciting to me, because there are a lot of concepts (logos & website designs mostly) that I would love to get some exposure for BEFORE making the official launch for the project.
Where did the idea for Concept Feedback come from?
The idea for Concept Feedback popped in to my head last January. At my day job, I'm a marketing director for a small company just west of Chicago. Whenever I would finish a design-related concept at work (a new website or advertising campaign), my boss and I would end up emailing it out to friends, relatives and co-workers for feedback.
This process would repeat itself each time we had something new, and the feedback turned out to be rather limited and ineffective. We had just finished a new ad campaign and I started to think "hey, wouldn't it be cool if there were a place where I could exchange feedback with other marketers and designers?". I bounced the idea around for quite awhile before approaching a friend and his web development firm (DevBridge, Inc.) with the idea. DevBridge agreed to partner with me on the idea and we started to develop the site in March. We launched at the end of May.
ConceptFeedback.com is a rock solid site with some really cool functionality such as the voting and profile management. Can you share any details about the backend and how DevBridge developed it for you?
Concept Feedback runs on Microsoft .NET framework with heavy focus on AJAX using jQuery framework. We are using a custom data access layer and implement object relational mapping technique. Data is stored in a Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
Since the website launch back in late May 2009 your website is already a Google PageRank 4. Great work!
What do you think was the biggest factor in becoming a PR4 so quickly ?
It's always difficult to know exactly what the contributing factors were, but we believe valid HTML markup and specific meta tags and descriptions contribute a lot to being indexed quickly by Google. All concepts, users, and pages have friendly urls (eg: /concept-name-blue/ as opposed to /concept?id=1). DevBridge also owns several high traffic websites that are used to launch newborn projects by routing a bit of traffic to them and generating exposure.
To me, the most important driving factor on any project is the vision. That ultimate end result of what you want to achieve. So what's your vision for this project ?
The vision has always been to create a simple tool that is both useful and fun. We purposely decided to launch the site as soon as possible and let our users determine the rest. Now that it's out there, we are beginning to get a much better picture of our "customer" and what they want. I would eventually like to offer additional concept review services to our users, like access to a panel of certified professionals and targeted consumer markets. At the moment though, were focusing on making small improvements everyday and recruiting a user base that is both knowledgeable and engaged.
Sounds like you were able to take this idea and manifest it into reality rather quickly. "Launching the site as soon as possible and let our users determine the rest" seems to be a great strategy in itself.
Now that the project is online, I'm sure you have an interesting gameplan to carry this forward. Can you elaborate on the strategy you have to make this project a long term success ?
In a community driven site like Concept Feedback, new members, and lot's of them, are important to the vitality of the site. My job, as the sole promoter and evangelist, has been to spread the word externally and figure out ways to encourage activity internally. Externally, I have focused my efforts on highly targeted blogs and forums. Getting a blogger to make a post about the site, or even Tweet about it, can bring in hundreds of visits and a wave of new members. Internally, we are developing referral systems that will encourage users to share the site with their friends and colleagues. In the end I think it comes down to trying a lot of things, finding what works, and focusing consistent effort there each day.
Good insights my friend. Thanks for sharing this inside look into your business.
Before I launch the next design for Nerd Business, I'll be sure to post the new design on Concept Feedback for some valuable input. This is just a really fun and effective way to get quality feedback. Props for a great idea, and more importantly: for taking it the distance.
To learn more, or to register free online, visit www.ConceptFeedback.com. For questions and comments, please contact Andrew Follett at andrew[at]conceptfeedback[dot]com.
About Concept Feedback, LLC:
Concept Feedback, LLC was founded by small business marketer Andrew Follett in partnership with Chicago-based web development company DevBridge, Inc.