Warren Schultheis, Principal Designer at Vox Media was admittedly a little tired when we first spoke this morning in the Vox Media workspace, here in Philadelphia. Having travelled to Vax '15 from Santa Barbara in California, his body clock is a little out of sync here on the east coast. That isn't stopping him from working with colleagues to build out what looks to be an interesting product, one best described as a recruitment aide for when our teams are searching for freelance staff with specific skill sets.
Alongside his colleagues Harold Neal, Lauren Rabaino and Matt Sullivan, this is Warren's fourth Vax event and this year the team is working on a freelance management tool named Freelancers. Similar to a previous project named Binder - a searchable database for people to quickly find information on company procedures and culture (as well as memes) - my first thought after viewing a demonstration of Freelancers was that it appeared to have similarities with the recruitment portal, LinkedIn.
I asked Warren to explain what he feels the Freelancers project would mean to both the editorial and creative teams here at Vox Media. At its most basic function, I was told the goal is to provide our editorial and art directors access to a clean, visual method of recruiting freelancers for upcoming projects. The data included in Freelancers not only includes internal notes on the individuals style and experience, but also personal comments on interactions with our teams during past collaborations. This allows for us to quickly find the right people, for the right task at the right time.
Lauren Rabaino is a Product Director of Editorial at Vox Media who recently led the development on our open-sourced editorial tool, Autotune. Speaking about how the project came about I was told that Freelancers hopes to solve a problem that the Editorial Products team faces almost every day, where the team would receive requests for an illustration or logo design from editorial teams, and then someone might have to spend time negotiating a viable price instead of shipping a project.
In order to ensure the project is useful across the company Lauren recently sent out a webform to editorial managers to discover what would be the most needed components of the tool. Obviously when it comes to negotiating a price with freelancers there can often be a difference in the length of time for different diciplines to produce any given type of work and the team hopes to make this aspect for creators clear by displaying contextual information such as explaining why a price may appear high when compared to another designer, who may have a different skill-set, and at lower cost.
Freelancers is on course to become available as a functioning product by the end of Vax this coming Friday (6/11), so check back later in the week to hear how their presentation goes. If you're looking to know more about the minds behind this project you can reach out to them directly over social media at the following Twitter accounts:
If you're looking to keep up to date with our adventures here on the Product Blog, and on Twitter or Instagram where you can follow the #VAX15 tag to join in on the adventure from afar.