Microawesome: still awesome, just on a smaller scale

Taking productized services for a spin. 

While our design service offering is our bread and butter, we were always interested in products. A couple of years ago we created Funnel, a “software as a service” application initially to scratch our own itch, which later evolved into a standalone product which other people can pay for and use.

Funnel was a tremendous learning experience for us, and being able to be on the other side of the coin as a stakeholder instead of a service provider, made us understand our customers' needs so much better when it comes to product development and ownership.

Running a product company is a completely different ball game, compared to running a service-based company. We definitely didn't want to switch and ditch our service offering, but we wanted to see if there's a way to offer our design services in a similar fashion to how products are provided.

Is there a niche between full-on, custom design service, and themes and templates?

The concept of taking several services that we knew we could frame as a “package” was born in 2014. yet it took us almost two whole years to work through “this sounds really interesting”, into  an official offering.

Finally, when we — now traditionally — relaunched our website at the end of the year, we decided to take the Microawesome idea and make it a Superawesome offering, instead of a full-blown spin-off or a completely separate company, and take it from there.

Here's how we set it up:

  1. the “products” needed to be small enough in order for us to be able to execute them fast enough (1 week tops) and on a fixed budget,
  2. remove as many variables from the process as possible; no iterations, no change requests, a what you get is what you get approach as we call it,
  3. differentiate from the themes and templates crowd with an emphasis that this is still custom design, and our designs are unique to the client.

The whole idea is to provide a valuable custom service for the non-demanding customer, by removing as many variables from the process, and risk and involvement for the customer.

Eventually we identified 4 services that fit these requirements.

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1. Design sprints.

Intended mainly for folks running products without in-house design people — or perhaps without distracting their design people with a short-term project, design sprints are meant to explore an idea that the client might have, and see if it can work within their existing product.

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2. Design quality assurance (QA).

We're expecting — and already experiencing — top demand for this service from development teams and companies with no designers on staff. We help them support and improve their existing products' user experience through best practices and field experience.

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3. Landing pages.

With increasing popularity of the format, it was a no-brainer to include this one. It's simply too versatile to ignore, and can be useful to companies looking to aid their marketing efforts, home-page — or entire website, even — replacements, etc.

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4. Email.

We see people using this service when they need to send out company newsletters, as well as companies who want to get serious with transactional email.

At this point we're fairly certain that we will be tweaking things, but for now we're really looking to validate this entire concept, and see if there is demand for such a service.

If you know someone who would be a good fit, please refer them to the Microawesome website and we'll make sure to return the favor in some way. Can this be a delicious, cold, micro-brewed, foamy way? Your call!

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