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Shared by · 46d ago · 15 comments
Recent comments · 4d ago

Pioneer is like pissing around in a circus; I don't know for whose amusement. If you see the winners, it's been literally the same 4 or something for months now. I occasionally get messages saying that many people win within 2 months, so I should just keep going (oh but, just in case, be aware that some have been going at it for over a year).

I do it to gauge some kind of pattern from the feedback, to see if I'm going in the right direction. But it gets disheartening when one week you get 7 ups and 0 downs, you make some progress, and two weeks later you're at 3 up and 5 down, just because of how I phrased some stuff in the submissions.

It's very little to do with the real (or potential) value of the product and mostly about that first, emotional impression, which I try and avoid myself when giving feedback (not that aesthetic isn't a factor). But, I don't think most people in the world are self-aware enough to NOT react like that, even though you would think that, here, they would process things a little more carefully...but who's got time for that?

Shared by · 46d ago · 15 comments · 39d ago

Thanks for the link. Site looks interesting. Everything has levels of depth and subtlety that, once you grasp, you increase your chance of creating something genuinely good. Will take a read! · 40d ago

Thanks for the message.

The inconsistency just makes it very hard to assess whether I'm really on the right path or not. I guess the inconsistency suggests that maybe not.

My issue is with the emphasis on aesthetic and design. All the winners have already pro-polished sites, and have had money to pay for that, unless they Pioneer is a designer him/herself and has created some vapourware :)

I didn't think that I would ever reach that level of polish on my own, being a systems designer and prioritising the functionality. No matter what I tried I just couldn't crack it. 80% of the time I was not happy with my effort and didn't know how to improve it, of the 20% of the time I was happy enough with it 50% on Pioneer liked it, 50% said it was meh - not such a good proportion.

In this last week I've managed to rebuild the whole landing page, after finding a concept for above the fold. Each of my teacher acquaintances I've A-B tested it with much prefer the new one, visually and wording-wise.

We'll see how the Pioneer posse will take to it, and how lecturing some will get about what I actually should do, like they are somehow founders of 10 consecutive unicorns. Not to mention making assumptions about what education apps should be...fuuuuuuun, just make it fuuuuuun, just make it stupid and fun and gamified and fun.

Nah, my experience has shown that feeding students the equivalent of big macs and mars bars gives some temporary satisfaction but very little nourishment. The greatest reward a student gets is when they realize they have learnt something as a result of effort, and not because the teacher gave them a gold star, or an A, or their team won a round of Kahoot.

Who doesn't recognise that education is fundamentally broken on so many levels? And we still want to copy others and keep doing the same things because weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, games, fun, weeeeeeeeee....

Does that mean I'm saying lessons should not have fun? Absolutely not, this is not a binary world, but the subtle differences make all the differences - it's about what we're guided/motivated by.

Regarding your video idea, I'll never say never to any suggestion, but there are downsides to it too. Students can drone on or it could be scripted but come off as fake, and like with the design challenge, proper production also costs money. Plenty of people have suggested videos to me but they are imagining some polished result, with info graphics, moving images, good sound production, etc., without understanding what it takes to make anything look good and professional.

I had a video before (myself explaining the features), but users either didn't get it or switched off because it isn't such an obvious thing to explain, especially as it's completely new. Everyone makes the assumption that it has to be some copy of something else they already know, especially since it's not polished in its design and production. The lack of polish, and inconsistency with the rest, would once again make them think 'meh'. So for now I'm sticking with the interactive demo - far more original, and practical, and consistent in quality. · 45d ago

Had to leave the little personal jab in there, didn't you. Just further makes my point. You filter reality through your emotions, so are incapable of constructive feedback. Which is fine, you do you, but whatever you might say can basically be ignored. · 45d ago

Awww, so I never found out what makes my proposition so weak :( · 45d ago

'Feels like.' 'Nuff said

Details please. I outlined what I see as my site's unique functionality above. Please say which other tools have them. You keep repeating that my offering is 'weak' without substantiating.

EDIT: I think the quote pretty much proves my point. It's just a feeling, and not reality. Problem is, people like to equate the two :) · 45d ago

The problem being design, right? They can't know what it is. And your feedback isn't really feedback, at least not in the constructive sense, because you're not saying what aspects makes it weak. You're kind of saying the platform and concept is bad (or at least unoriginal, so basically worthless), but I know that you're only saying that because you don't actually know what it is. This is just me feeding back on your feedback :)

Again, you're not actually telling me anything, like a lot of Pioneer feedback, which says 'the site looks old school'. So I ask for clarification but hardly ever do they follow up. This is my gripe. I've made the same mistake, in fact, which someone got back to me about, asking exactly what made their site 'less polished'. I tried to highlight some specifics that looked off to me.

So what exactly is your feedback? My site is no different to anything else ( I've tried to explain how I see that it does differ. Are you able to counteract that and say that, in fact, yes the sites you mentioned do in fact do what mine does? · 45d ago

Thank you for your feedback! It certainly highlights the assumptions people make. The average design of it makes people assume that it couldn't possibly do anything that all those other better looking (as far as the landing page goes) apps already do.

Not native? As in native English teachers? I am British, but the site isn't offering content or matchmaking with teachers but a set of tools for teacher teachers to create content that is dynamic and works in a way that helps students better remember language from lessons. Basically, all of the stuff that was missing or frustrating when I was a teacher.

It integrates the admin side with revision tools. The whiteboard is fundamentally different because it isn't static once its made - every word is a dynamic data point. Notifications tell students when it is optimal to revise particular content. Teachers record audio clips which the student can compare their own pronunciation against. Quizlet requires teachers to make flashcards manually, here they are automatically generated based on the context added to boards.

So, I feel a designer will help give it a chance for people to at least delve a little deeper, and not make the assumption that it's no different to everything else out there.

EDIT: My ranting is just so I can have a rant, get stuff off my chest, and maybe in the process highlight some observed tendencies, not for somebody to take pity and shower me with money :)

EDIT #2: Teachers and schools are unable to get to the point of determining whether it sucks for them or not, because they assume it will suck for them. The way you've worded your posts suggests to me that you also assume that it will probably suck. Ergo, I feel the design of the site gives this impression. I would have thought that Pioneer people would not cave to assumptions and try to assess the potential of something and find out what it actually does and how it might actually BE different to the rest. But, we're all short of time. Let assumption reign supreme! · 45d ago

Hi Daniela,

Thank you for your reply and inspirational message! You see, your site could be considered to be 'old school' like mine, or at least different from the current trend in website design, but it serves a purpose and spreads a message. It seems people have picked up on it and not judged what you, or your campaign, are capable of, just because it has a non-standard, self-made design to it, so well done to you! Also I really like your video, it's really sincere!

Part of my dilemma is calculating whether to change some existing thing (like the site) or try other tactics that might bring a breakthrough. Let's say that I have faith in myself and what I'm offering, but I'm struggling to accept just how seemingly superficial the industry that I'm trying to sell to is.

As much as I don't want it to be the case, it really seems that I need to put yet more time into redesigning the site. At least right now I have a new idea to work with. But again, after putting another 100 hours of work into the superficial it may turn out that it still doesn't impress potential clients or Pioneer voters.

At least, for now, there is a plan. Thank you again. Indeed I do agree that freeing your mind and calming your spirit can allow for fresh ideas to pop in. I guess I had to write my first post just to get the frustrations out and away from me :)

Best regards,

Mike · 46d ago

Hi, just got feedback for the week, and it's a recurring theme. Concept seems to be clear and recognised as valuable, but time and time again I'm told the site could use an update to the design. Well, this is precisely why I am on Pioneer and hoping to get some funding to be able to PAY for a TRAINED and EXPERIENCED designer to take a look at the landing page and get it looking as one would expect a great product to look.

I am an experienced teacher turned software developer whose strength is in designing and implementing practical systems based on his 'first principles' insights as a teacher. This is my focus - the product needs to work right and be genuinely useful for both teachers and students.

It is a comprehensive tool that requires a huge amount of work to work right (6 years in development and iterations and 3 years of testing with students). Actual substance over glitzy, marketed superficiality for stuff that barely works. In fact, 50% of schools are not happy with their Learning Management Systems BECAUSE they are all about SELLING and not so much about DOING.

So far, every student I have used it with (over 30) has loved it and finds it uniquely practical, and actually really like the design of the boards. HOWEVER, everyone else, be that teachers, schools and voters on Pioneer stick their noses up at it, to one degree or another, because the design doesn't instantly communicate on some emotional level that it's something worth giving a shot.

It's the very first thing I wrote to the chap who invited me to Pioneer about - that funding would help with the design. Doing design is not my strength, but because I don't have the finances to pay for a designer, I feel I am unable to rise higher in the tournament in order to have a chance of...getting the finances to pay for a designer.

It is a rant and a kind of a complaint. I stopped doing regular weekly updates because it's the same thing every time. I don't see Pioneer necessarily helping those who don't already have some funding to pay for designers that will help get the project the vote, no matter how original and useful the product might be.

One week I get 7 up votes and 1 down, next week, after taking on the feedback and making improvements, I will get 1 up and 6 down. Kind of broken, no?