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Is Upwork leading to over-specialisation?

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Community Guru
Federico D Member Since: Sep 21, 2015
1 of 9

I am talking about my field, Product Design. I do no know about others.

 

I work both online, with Upwork, and with local clients. In the not too distant past, many product design companies were hired for their ability to design and not necessarily because they boasted they were experts at designing a type of product. So I have designed anything from pens to military equipment and many things in-between but mainly outside Upwork, where I tend to be specialised.

 

One of the main advantage that all-round designers have is that they can always bring a fresh approach to a new product area and take know-how from one field to another. Designers who always design in the same field tend to develop tunnel vision. But Upwork clients fail to see this, most are novices in product development. Because they have got access to designers from all around the world, they believe that the perfect designer is one that has been designing the same kind of product so they concentrate on finding one like that.

 

This leads to designers gradually getting stuck in one or two product types. Today I saw a job where the client wanted a designer who is a specialist in glass bottles. I mean, who is going to spend all his time designing glass bottles and how many can he design before he dries up with ideas?

 

Because of this and other problems relating to clients simply not knowing how products are designed, I would like to see a very comprehensive guide to product design where clients can be directed to learn what the best way to design a new product is and how to choose a product designer.

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Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
2 of 9

Federico,

 

I think your only solution is to educate your potential clients about why you are the best choice for their design needs. Many of us freelancers have to at least occasionally deal with clients who don't really know what they need.

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Federico D Member Since: Sep 21, 2015
3 of 9

Will L wrote:

Federico,

 

I think your only solution is to educate your potential clients about why you are the best choice for their design needs. Many of us freelancers have to at least occasionally deal with clients who don't really know what they need.




Will L wrote:

Federico,

 

I think your only solution is to educate your potential clients about why you are the best choice for their design needs. Many of us freelancers have to at least occasionally deal with clients who don't really know what they need.


That is not really the subject of my posting. I think many people just scan over the messages and, since there are many people conmplaining they are not getting enough work here at the moment, you may have thought it was about that or you may be experiencing that problem.

 

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Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
4 of 9

are: “I would like to see a very comprehensive guide to product design where clients can be directed to learn what the best way to design a new product is and how to choose a product designer.”

 

Well... Upwork is not a product design site, and I doubt that they will create a guide like this.

 

You should create a guide like this yourself, and you should provide a link to potential clients so they can read the guide.

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Federico D Member Since: Sep 21, 2015
5 of 9

Preston H wrote:

are: “I would like to see a very comprehensive guide to product design where clients can be directed to learn what the best way to design a new product is and how to choose a product designer.”

 

Well... Upwork is not a product design site, and I doubt that they will create a guide like this.

 

You should create a guide like this yourself, and you should provide a link to potential clients so they can read the guide.


How is that possible, explain to me how I would reach the clients who are looking at Upwork. And how would it not be regarded as being biased towards myself by the clients?


Yes, Upwork IS a product design site (as well as other services) because it offers Product Design as a service.

And I clearly addressed designers in my posting.

 

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Jonathan H Member Since: Jun 19, 2019
6 of 9

Hi Federico,

 

    I can see your logic behind this and understand that you would like clients to have a better understanding of what they need as a client. However, i have to agree with others that the reality is, Upwork is not likely to implement such a 'guide'.

 

In addition i think many clients would not be taking the time to look for such guides. Most clients want the job doing with minimal hassle, they advertise the job and let the freelancers put suitable proposals forward so they can decide who they like best or think is most qualified (whatever their individual criteria). I dont think many would take the time to research such subjects (as lets face it they could often find this info if they spent a bit of time looking online).

 

Whilst i appreciate that this isnt about YOU personally informing clients of the potential pitfalls of one designer over another. I do think, if you condense that down into a short succient point and add it into your proposals to such clients it can only be a positive to your proposal so worth noting!

 

ETA - For the record i am not a product designer (yet). Though, i do belive this to be applicable to other desgn fields at least (if not more)

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Active Member
Lauren T Member Since: Apr 16, 2018
7 of 9

I've never gone through the job posting process but, I do go and check out what people are saying on the other side. I don't think the clients that are too specific are going to have a hard time hiring someone. It's the hundreds of listings that are two sentences long, super vague or even worse don't tell you what the project is at all.

 

I saw many clients complaining about not getting any proposals. I think if upwork had job post templates, where they filled in the blanks in a prepopulated form, it would be good for people who aren't experienced or well versed enough to properly put together a posting. And make the other posts that didn't use the template have a word count a minimum of 75 or 100. 

 

I've seen a steep decline in the quality of job posts and even worse decline in fixed-rate jobs (my preferred method). I know I'm not wasting my connects on listings that I need to ask a couple of questions before I know I would be interested.

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Kelly B Member Since: Jan 1, 2016
8 of 9

Well I'm a graphic designer and I don't even consider myself a product designer even though I have designed products. I do have a lot of experience with certain kinds of packaging design though, and I think clients appreciate working with people who have done certain things before, rather than someone who comes up with a great design that then doesn't fit on a box or bottle.

 

Also I designed educational books for a long time. So I'll get clients who are working on their first textbook and want to pick my brain a little about certain things that they might not know yet, like Library of Congress cataloging or book binding options , dust jackets, etc. I think it's nice that on Upwork you can find specialists of all kinds.

 

I agree that I much prefer clients to be (overly) specific rather than recieve some vague invitation to "graphic design" for an unspecified amount of time or rate.

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Jonathan H Member Since: Jun 19, 2019
9 of 9

Lauren T wrote:

 

I saw many clients complaining about not getting any proposals. I think if upwork had job post templates, where they filled in the blanks in a prepopulated form, it would be good for people who aren't experienced or well versed enough to properly put together a posting. And make the other posts that didn't use the template have a word count a minimum of 75 or 100. 

 


I think pre-composed templates would soon become very irritating as you scroll through endless job adverts of the same meaningless drivell from clients that cant be bothered to write anything. I think the minimum word coulnt would be a great idea though, its not likely to put clients off posting (as that always seems to be a big concern for people when talking about changes to the client side) and would encourage them to think, at least a little bit about what they are actually putting. My job feed is littered with "vaugue description" flags most of the time. Its really annoying, especially considering how many of them are very specific about the reply they want from a freelancer.

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