For every entrepreneur or creatively-entitled person, there comes a time when the project must spread its wings and fly into the most important of arms: the consumer or intended target audience. But what if consumers/audience do not come or do not like what they see? This could come as a shock if initial testing or feedback was not sought. A new Chicago-based company is trying to change all that.
Concept Feedback is a website dedicated to ensuring other sites and projects are at peak optimization in categories of “design, usability and strategy,” according to its website. By signing up for a fee, experts review and critique members’ projects. Andrew Follett, Founder and CEO, came up with the idea after using a “family and friends” method of seeking feedback while working as a marketing director at a small, Chicago area company.
“We were constantly using contractors to develop new websites, e-newsletters and advertising campaigns,” said Follett. “I had a decent eye for design, but no formal training, and I wanted to make sure the work was the best it could be.”
When feedback from family and friends became difficult to understand and put into use, when it came back at all, Follett believed there was a better way to organize feedback and Concept Feedback was launched.
Initially launching in May 2009 as a “free, open community for designers, usability experts and marketing gurus,” which still exists today. The expert service launched a year later. Experts were “vetted from our community (on the site),” with each member having a “rank and reputation” determined by “votes and awards they receive on the reviews they write,” said Follett. The best of the best in the online community were contacted first, having to submit resumes and “perform a ‘mock’ expert review,” which Follett reviews with his team.
There are two ways experts can review: the Expert Express starting at $99 and the Expert Audit starting at $995. Express gives users a two-day turnaround and is suggested for small businesses and startups. Expert Audit is suggested for marketers, businesses and agencies with a five-day turnaround. Concept Feedback’s FAQ encourages users to choose two experts from each category, with a price tag of $100 per expert.
Follett said they will continue to expand the Expert Audit section and add more expert services, such as “web design, copywriting and more.”
“We also need to continue educating people that feedback is a critical part of the website design and maintenance process,” said Follett. “We have a ways to go to establish Concept Feedback as THE place to go for expert website feedback.”
While running your own business has its share of challenges, Follett says staying focused on what really matters is key to success. Losing focus on things that do not add to to “long-term health and profitability of business” is easy, but Follett and his team are focused more on “testing and developing new services with minimal investment, and rapidly building it out if the concept is proven in the real world.”
Michelle A. Doellman can be reached at [email protected] or @MAD_about_style