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February 17, 2012 / maloney90

How we can improve crowdsourcing

With all the problems that crowdsourcing has there must be solutions to how we can improve it. One of the main issues that people have with crowdsourcing is that the competition winner is the only person who gets paid while the other 100 or so people in the competition receive nothing. One way we could fix this problem is to pay people a percentage of the prize money for competing in the contest with the winner receiving the full amount, although this would mean clients paying money to on average 100 designers who are said to enter each competition which would not be feasible, but if the client could pick their own crowd of around 10 designers for their competition they would be able to pay all of them. This is an idea Scott Belsky raises were he looks at architecture’s lead were “3 to 12 architects are selected to propose a rough set of plans for the building based on the quality of their previous work. Each one is compensated with a submission payment that helps to cover their costs, with the full fee for the project going to the architect ultimately selected.” (Belsky, S. 2010) If the client could pick their own crowd for their competition they would be able to quality control the contest as they be able to judge which designers would be best based on the previous work they have submitted to the site and how many competitions they have won.

Figure 11

Another model crowdsourcing sites could follow is that implemented by Threadless. Threadless is an online t-shirt company whose t-shirts designs are uploaded by their users who then rate each t-shirt, at the end of each week the 10 t-shirts with the highest ratings are made. Winning designers receive $2000 as well $500 gift card and membership to Threadless Alumni Club. (What do I receive for a winning design. 2010) What’s more the winning designer gets to keep the rights to their designs unlike conventional crowdsourcing websites. The Threadless model allows the designers to become involved with the company as well receiving the prize money they also become members of the exclusive Alumni Club, which allows a community to be built rather than just complete unknowns competing against each other. Also the fact that the designers and users of the website rate each t-shirt means that there is a level of quality control going on in that the best designs the majority of the time receive the highest ratings. This is something other crowdsourcing sites could take on board with designers that are not involved in a competition voting for which work they think is the best so that when the client comes to choose a winner they have an indication of what designs are good an which are bad without having to look over 100 individual designs.

 Figure 12: Threadless allows you to rate t-shirts with the highest rating t-shirt being made

The other major problem crowdsourcing has is the lack of dialogue between the designers and the client. Due to the fact that so many designers enter the competition and the fact that they are scattered all around the world it would be impossible for the client to see the designers to discuss ideas and answer their questions. But if on each competition a forum is setup so designers can communicate with the client it would go some way as to helping them communicate with the client which would help when it comes to ideas and the design solutions, this should in turn result in better quality design solutions.

The added benefit of a forum also helps to establish a relationship between the client and designers which could lead to the winning designer being involved in doing more work for the client, for instance if it is a logo competition the client might ask the winning designer to do the whole identity for the business which give the designer more work and money. This would also help stop the idea of design being seen as a commodity were clients visit a crowdsourcing website state what they want then come back a week latter and they have a smorgasbord of designs to choose from, it would involve clients in the design process and if so give them a designer who they could continue to work with.

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