My friend Andrew Hyde recently launched a really cool service for freelancers called pick.im (pronounced (pick ’em). Here’s what it looks like in Mobile Safari on the iPad:
It searches based on three things: location, type of service, and budget. Yet one of them doesn’t show up in the form: the location. The location is auto-detected using either HTML 5 or the ip address. If it gets the location wrong, it can be changed on the results page.
What I noticed is that people can try out the site without ever pulling up the keyboard. The only reasons to pull up the keyboard are to change the location, to contact a freelancer, or to sign up to be listed as a freelancer. Many won’t start using the site until at least the second time they visit it, so the first time they visit the site, it will be without ever using the keyboard.
When I use my iPad, I like being able to accomplish many tasks without using a keyboard. Subtle changes to a design are sometimes needed for this to work in practice. Pick.im could show the guessed location before searching, but it doesn’t. If pick.im guessed Denver when I was in Boulder before searching, I might correct it, even though I would get reasonable results with Denver selected, due to its proximity to Boulder.
While I really dig the minimalistic design of pick.im‘s search, that’s not all there is to it. Andrew has big plans for it, including helping freelancers spend less time dealing with things like billing and accounting, and more time doing the kind of work they enjoy. For that, the interface will need to be more complex, but by the time people see that, they’ll have already started using it.
It’s nice to hear about new businesses starting up right here in my town. Boulder has a lot of exciting startups right now, and the summer hasn’t even started.