Designers spend quite a lot of their day not designing. Because the design work itself is highly subjective, designers spend a tremendous amount of time setting appropriate client expectations, developing “scopes” that determine the exact boundaries of projects, and most importantly, figuring out exactly what clients want through a medieval process of translating nonspecific client feedback into concrete, actionable agendas. This alchemical process of turning subjective work into a series of clear, specific design improvements is not truly design work. Designers do their best to minimize it, but they have few ways to avoid it, and most have no choice but to add this design-less procedure into the price of their design work.
For both clients and designers, these back-and-forth discussions of scope, price, and specifics can be tedious and time-consuming. They’re usually only worthwhile for large design projects. Smaller website work doesn’t merit the same time investment, and as a result, minor website improvements often never get done.
But, the newly-launched Tweaky offers a unique approach that makes small website improvements surprisingly appealing for both the client who needs the minor “tweaks” and the developer who does the actual tweaking. Instead of undergoing the long aforementioned process of scope setting and price negotiating, Tweaky site specialists can go to work right away without discussions of scope or pricing.
How Tweaky Works
Tweaky’s process involves breaking requested website development work into discrete units (aptly named “tweaks“) that have a fixed price of $25 each. If the work being requested is time-consuming or multifaceted, it’s simply broken down into multiple tweaks and sent to hand-picked developers. This new method is not only attractive to customers who need minor website work; it’s also very appealing to designers who want to spend more time building and polishing website designs and less time tailoring project scopes, negotiating pricing, writing work agreements, and fixing code-related problems. Co-founder Ned Dwyer describes the dual appeal of the tweak system:
Breaking a project down into tweaks solves several different problems. First, it helps the client to understand exactly what work will be carried out – there is little room for something being out of scope when you’re detailing work you’ll be doing for $25. Secondly, it means that it’s easy to add extra tweaks onto a project once it’s in development. This prevents “scope creep” that doesn’t get paid for.
The system also helps us to take the pain out of small projects for a developer. By the time the developer gets their hands on a project, it has already been defined, the client has uploaded all of their assets and login details, and the project has been paid for. Then, the [Tweaky] developer can get to work. Because they don’t have to scope the project and chase the client for login details and payment, we can keep our prices a lot lower than your local web developer.
Why Would Experts Need Tweaks?
At first glace, it seems that Tweaky’s typical customer would be a website owner who needs minor website changes and lacks the skills to do it themselves. But, there are quite a few ways that a seasoned web designer could benefit from employing Tweaky on their projects:
- Accommodating a sudden or unexpected “overflow” of design work. If you have a sizable client list, it’s only a matter of time before several of them simultaneously ask for the same part of your schedule. Rather than turning down your least preferred work (and risking losing the client), you could enlist Tweaky to help you take on this temporary, unexpected, welcome influx of business. The vast majority of design firm owners started as designers and learned how to enlist the help of others. Tweaky could be an effective resource for meeting deadlines, retaining clients, and growing your business in general.
- Supporting your clients after your work is complete. Clients often have requests for work that come weeks or months after you’ve completed a large project or wrapped up your business with them. This presents a conundrum for designers; you want to move on to bigger and better projects, but you also want to care for your past clients, preserve your excellent reputation, and keep them in good hands. Getting back into scope and pricing for such minor “tweaks” is often not worth the time for you or the client. Tweaky could be the perfect referral to support your past clients without losing sight of your future prospects or tarnishing your reputation.
- Outsourcing the small parts of larger design projects that are beyond your skills. It would be a shame to say “no” to a large, promising project just because it has a few wrinkles that you can’t handle with your current skill set. Designers are often very proficient with font, color, layout, and other aesthetics, but they’re not always as skillful when it comes to databases, scripts, APIs, and other code-related development work. Rather than turning down an entire project because of a few small coding tasks that are outside your realm of expertise, you could enlist Tweaky to lend you just the right kind (and just the right amount) of development expertise to propel your project across the finish line. Relying on your own skills can only take you so far; being a resourceful designer can take you much further, and Tweaky can be a valuable resource that comes with predictable costs that fit neatly into any project budget.
What do you think of Tweaky’s “a la carte” approach to minor website work? Do you suffer from unpaid scope creep? Do you think Tweaky is a resource solely for website owners, or do you see yourself outsourcing a few tweaks on behalf of your own clients?
Peter is Chief Digital Officer of CuriosityStream, a multi-platform nonfiction streaming service by the founder of Discovery Communications (Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Animal Planet, etc.). Peter is also Co-Founder of True North, a management consulting firm and digital marketing agency with clientele that includes WebMD and Salesforce.