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Contracting a Designer

In order for the ECP creation process to be most effective, you should take responsibility for contracting a web designer to do the ECP matchup to the partner site. When you manage the web designer, you are better able to maintain the expectations of the relationship and communicate the partner's needs and requests.

Wait, don’t these designers need special training from you or something?
We have documentation sufficient to guide anyone with mid-level HTML/CSS skills through the ECP matchup process. Additionally, our dev team has input essentially a “fill-in-the-blank” type format in the code to make it even more basic. The learning curve only takes one ECP to get the process down.

How long should they take for each matchup and how will I know they’re any good at it?
After the designer has completed his first ECP matchup, subsequent matchups should take around 2 hours. If there is something particular about the original partner site, such as a sticky navigation bar, it may take longer but AT MOST 3 hours. If matchups are consistently taking more time, then there is likely an issue with the designer not being proficient, or logging extra time, or accommodating too many requests outside of our platform’s abilities.

​You can review for the quality after the first few matchups. The less tweaks you have to give, the more they get it right the first time, the better the designer is.

What about paying the designer?
You will likely pay designers between $25 and $50 per hour for this work depending on their personal rates. They should breakdown their timesheets by property for you so that you can review their work. We have a timesheet template with you for handling this.  Simply create a COPY of the form, EDIT to your DoXXX, and then send to the designer.

Some designers have their own system such as Freshbooks for logging time.

Once you have the invoice, payment services such as Dwolla and Popmoney are safe and inexpensive services for moving money.

Note: You CAN pass on the cost of the matchup to the ECP partner. In the initial proposal, include either that they will bear the entire cost of the design -OR- you will cover X amount but anything additional will be a cost incurred by the partner.  Neither option is very expensive to the partner. Moreover, when the partner bears financial responsibility, they are less likely to make many special requests and more aware of not wasting time that costs them with extensive back-and-forth. 

So how am I supposed to find a designer?
There are LOTS of contractors out there! And this job requires relatively moderate HTML/CSS skills - like a 6 on a 1-10 scale. In order, we recommend the following sources:
1. Request to contract the venue or media outlet’s site designer for whom you are creating the ECP. They know the original site and have that relationship with your partner already, which serves as an incentive to do the job well.
2. Use the designer you used for your DoXXX site or someone else you already have a relationship with.
3. Find a designer on Craigslist by either posting an ad with the job description (proficient with HTML/CSS, highly reliable, etc.) and your terms ($ per hour, how many hours you expect to need)
-OR- search Craigslist for your city under "Services -> Computer" for contract designers looking for part-time work
4. Reach out to support@dostuffmedia.com to see if we have a designer available. This is only best used as a temporary solution, as they are usually overly busy and can usually only complete ECP matchups on a one-off basis. It's much more advantageous to have a designer that's locally based and has the availability so that you regularly work with them and establish a long-term working relationship. 

You found a designer through a referral or Craigslist? Great! Now what?.... 
Contact them and set some basic expectations:
  • Introduce yourself and your site
  • Explain that you need a contract designer to calendar matchups like venue.doxxx.com - give some examples
  • Offer to pay them their hourly rate or your best offer
  • Note that you will start them with one or two projects to see if there is a good fit. (Hint: The faster and better they turn the matchups around, the better the fit, the more projects you will want to give them!)
  • You can share the designer guidance documentation 
Example designer introductory email
You can include the following email text, along with some pricing and payment information at the end:

We create custom event calendars (ECPs) for media entities such as BrooklynVegan & Okayplayer by taking the content of DoXXX and plugging it inside of the partner's header/footer/etc. The ultimate goal is to provide the partner with a simple solution for having a custom event calendar on their site, and creating a seamless browsing experience between our calendar pages and the existing pages of the partner's site.

The framework of the ECP is automated by our platform template. You will be responsible for copying the HTML, Stylesheets & Script files for the partner's header, footer, nav menu and other site elements, then styling our content to blend seamlessly into the rest of the page.

For starters, take a look at Lifeboxset's ECP and compare it to their homepage to get a feel for "our" site vs. "theirs":

Here's our "New ECP" designer guide, which will run you through the details of completing an ECP matchup.

Does this change anything about the request process and Asana task?
Very little! When you are trying out a new designer, create a task in the Asana ECP matchup project and follow these steps:
  • Title the task “New ECP - [ECP PARTNER NAME]” and if the new ECP is a redesign of an old ECP, also add “REDESIGN”, such as such as “New ECP - The Bay Bridged REDESIGN”

  • The partner’s URL to be used for matchup purposes (if they’re working on a locked staging site, we will need login credentials for that as well).

  • The URL where the new ECP should live (i.e. exampleECP.doxxx.com). If this is an ECP redesign, we will build the new site on a staging URL and then swap it to the existing ECP URL once ready to launch.

  • The email and ID for the user account which will power the ECP

  • The designer’s name & email so we can send them all of the necessary info

We will then setup the New ECP record and send a “next steps” email to the task requester and the designer, explaining how to get the ball rolling.

What about demos or test calendars?
There will be no difference between demos and complete calendar matchups in terms of the process and payment. You can use your judgement as to whether it is worth the investment to show the partner a complete version of their ECP matchup or whether you can sell the ECP to them showing your active ECPs.