Over this past weekend, I made the long journey from Northern Utah down to Arizona, driving through canyons of cedar trees and sagebrush. My partner pointed out the vintage road signs for motels and drive-ins lining a section of Route 66, a once-thriving roadway embedded in the country’s memory. We make this journey once or twice a year to visit his family in the Verde Valley.
Yesterday, we huddled under the miniature Christmas tree perched on a table. The presents we opened all came from the heart – books, candy games. But we watched as my partner’s mother opened the last present – a set of DVDs containing old home movies.
She sat there and stared. “What are these?” she asked at first, but the realization slowly dawned on her. She held memories – moments with family, with people who had been lost over the years. “You said you weren’t able to get them off the VHS tapes.”
“I lied,” my partner said, chuckling. He had spent the past two weeks playing through the tapes, recording every minute onto the computer. I had watched moments where my partner’s mother, 22 years younger, watched her son open small packages on a winter morning.
There wasn’t a dry eye as she hugged those videos tight.
The memories that we share do more to bring us together than anything else in the world. We hope you are able to spend the holidays creating those unforgettable memories.
We’ve been lucky to have several users help out with testing commissions, and we’ve gotten some great feedback so far. We’ll likely get some more in the near future with our new batch of testers, but I wanted to give a quick rundown of how testing is going.
It seems like most of the core features are working well. Here’s what’s stood out:
- Automatic Payments. Sellers are automatically paid when commissions are finished, and this system has mostly gone well. The payments go out immediately when everything is reviewed and approved by the buyer (or, if no review happens, a week after being finished by the seller). This gives sellers a reliable time frame to receive payments.
- Smooth Process. The statuses in the commission tool are easy to follow. The biggest thing I’d want is for someone who uses the site to be able to go through the process without any struggles on their first try. We’re pretty close to that goal.
- File Uploads. References and any other files can be uploaded to the site, and it’s been helpful to have those organized. We did have an issue where the site didn’t display the correct user who uploaded a file; that’s fixed and appears to be working correctly now.
- Finding How to Edit Price Sheets. There’s not currently a simple place to edit these right now, and it can be frustrating to find that. We’ve been sending links to testers, but we’ll want to make that super visible with future updates.
- Payments Occasionally Break. Occasionally, a payment doesn’t go through. This is sometimes because of issues with the user account; the sellers need to have their registered email the same as their PayPal. Luckily, we have staff ready to send out payments that were missed during the testing phase.
- Little Seller Visibility. It can be difficult to find who is open for commissions; we have a community commissions page, but that’s about it. Sellers have generally needed to talk to their own communities for testing purposes. We’ll be doing a great amount of work to make sellers more visible, both on FN and on other sites (no spoilers).
- Flexibility. The system is fairly straightforward – open for commissions, users request, and you decide on a price. However, auctions and YCH commissions are huge! We’re looking into what it would take to make those work.
- Price Sheet Portfolios. Since sellers already have a good amount of work already uploaded to the site, it makes sense to allow them to create a portfolio from their existing gallery. This is a unique benefit we have for being a gallery and commission site; we have other plans to make use of the gallery, as well.
- Searchable Advertisements. Most sellers manage to get customers by displaying their work, but the current browsing system just uses seller icons. We want to make visually intriguing spaces that will encourage potential buyers to click and browse your work.
We’re happy with how things are going so far. The end of the year is going to be a bit quieter development-wise, but once the holidays are past, we’re going to do a big push to roll out these major features. We’ll definitely want more testers as time goes on, so if you ever feel like jumping in, send us a PM on Twitter.
Thank you all for your support!