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Today’s post should be a quick one, but something we wanted to highlight.  Here’s the story:

Transpara has a great real-time engine that took years for really smart people to build and get right.  We also have a very “effective” client that does some amazing things, and we are also quite proud of it (and we think our users would agree, given their customer feedback so far).  That said, small screens of data are often hard to make sexy, while still being very usable.  That is one of our latest challenges, and we stumbled upon something really cool we thought was worth sharing: design contests.

I read about these in a book on inbound marketing and hit a few sites.  Most notable were and  Both are great concepts, and now that they have some serious scale they are incredibly useful.  Beyond just a cool concept, we have a current need to think about UI improvements on the client so we ran a contest on 99Designs and had some fun with it.

How’d it go?  Great!  In fact, check it out yourself and let us know what you think of the entries:

For a few hundred bucks, we got 10 or so designers to compete on the look and feel of our mobile software for business intelligence / operational intelligence.  Once we pick a winner (we haven’t yet) we get the design and the copyright.  Good for us, but also good for the winner.  Some other great things about doing this:

  • Diverse entries from people with different design backgrounds
  • Entries from all over the world (we had at least 3 countries represented in ours – most designers profile did list their location)
  • You provide immediate feedback on things you like and don’t, then designers can resubmit and others can improve their designs as you go along
  • It’s like eBay for designs.  Slow at the start, and then it picked up and most of the designs were submitted on the last day.  We received 16 entries in a week-long contest

That’s it for now.  Just wanted to share the fun we had and get your thoughts on the results.