Findings from Our March 2014 Survey

April 3, 2014

Howdy folks! This is Maurice Cherry, the founder/editor/head fry cook around these parts.

Last month, I did a quick survey to get an idea of who the Revision Path audience is and how you like the site. Let’s delve into the the findings.

How did you find out about Revision Path?

  • 33% – Other
  • 27% – Facebook
  • 20% – Twitter
  • 20% – Google

Most people found out about Revision Path through other methods besides online (which is pretty interesting), such as word of mouth or from events like the One Club’s Where Are All The Black People” creative career fair.

Facebook is the next biggest source here, which isn’t that surprising. Links to interviews are posted on the Revision Path Facebook page, as well as in some Facebook groups like Black Designers United. With Facebook limiting the reach of fan pages, it’s good to see that the site is still gaining traction there without resorting to paid advertisements.

People also found out about Revision Path through Twitter, as well as from Google searches. Revision Path appears on the first page of search results in Google for “black web designer”, “black graphic designer” and “black web developer”, which is pretty damn good!

What do you think of the interviews?

  • 94% – “I like the interviews!”
  • 6% – “I don’t like the interviews.”

An overwhelming majority of you like the interviews (which is good since that’s the site’s primary focus for now).

For those that didn’t like the interviews, I asked what ways they could improve. Here are some of those responses:

  • “I give the interviews 65 out of 100.”
  • “I expect deep, probing interviews, and these are mostly fluff.”
  • “Not very interesting or exciting — feels like a regular design podcast in blackface.”

Blackface? Moving on…

We’ve recently switched to all podcasts for interviews. What do you think about this?

  • 47% – “This is a good idea. I prefer podcasts.”
  • 47% – “I like having both podcasts AND text interviews.”
  • 6% – “This is a bad idea. I prefer text interviews.”

Moving to podcasts was a strategic decision to help grow the site. Also, podcasts are very easy to schedule and produce, which has really helped keep the regular weekly rhythm going. (And I can also keep at least a month of shows in the can to publish automatically.)

This isn’t to say the text interviews are bad. They’re great interviews! But they take forever to put together. At the least, it takes a week to do a text interview, which doesn’t include editing. For a podcast, it’s anywhere from 60-90 minutes, which does include editing.

One thing I’m thinking about doing in the future is having transcriptions of the podcasts available as PDF downloads. That would be a good way to bridge the gap of podcasts and texts.

What type of new content would you like to see on Revision Path?

Survey takers could choose multiple content types.

  • 67% – Video Interviews
  • 80% – Design Tutorials
  • 73% – Coding Tutorials
  • 20% – Op-ed/Longform Articles
  • 33% – Transcriptions for Podcasts
  • 6% – Other

So this…is surprising. There are dozens of sites out there where you can find tutorials on design and coding. Because of that, I am really skeptical about going that route because tutorials are not the focus of the site. The only way I’d do tutorials is if there were people interested in writing them for the site for free (for now). If you’re game to do that, contact me. Right now, there’s no revenue coming into pay writers, so keep that in mind.

Really though…tutorials? I need some more insight on that y’all. Please school me why in the comments because I’m not understanding.

Next up is video interviews. I can tell you right now that won’t happen until there’s enough revenue coming in to pay for a video editor. And a webcam (because the one on my laptop is terrible). But this is something to keep in mind for the future.

After that, there’s transcriptions for podcasts. This is on the timeline for the near future. I want to make sure it doesn’t affect getting interviews out every week.

Near the bottom, there’s op-ed/longform articles. This is actually the content I’m the most interested in having for the site! Original articles on design, development, community topics, etc. Doesn’t look like any of you are much interested in that though.

“Other” was the last choice, and people just left a list of random topics (I’m assuming for op-ed/longform articles).

Speaking of those articles, for people who wanted those, I asked what topics they would like covered. Here’s what they’ve said.

  • “Entrepreneur resources, Black issues in the industry, job openings, tech news, VIDEO!, all kinds of things…perhaps even BuzzFeed type articles full of gifs…”
  • “The climate of the industry, coverage of conferences / local meetups + events. Ways to engage the next generation of Black Designers + Developers.”
  • “Negotiation, project management, client management, educational tips.”

If we start producing articles with these topics, I want to see some engagement and sharing (especially since it’s so low on the list of what the survey audience wants)!

In the coming months, we will be accepting monetary donations to help grow Revision Path. What do you think about this?

  • 94% – “This is a great idea!”
  • 6% – “I don’t like this idea.”

In case you missed it in this month’s newsletter, I started a fund-raising page for Revision Path on Tugboat Yards. You can visit it here:

All proceeds from this fund-raising will go directly into improving Revision Path. For those who want to help support Revision Path on a monthly basis, 60% of you would give $5/month and 40% of you would give less than $5/month.

You should check out the $5 Fist Bump special! (There’ll be a post coming up soon explaining everything about Tugboat Yards for those of you with questions or concerns.)

Granted, some of you don’t like the idea of us raising funds for the website.

  • “Taking money from people is like begging.”
  • Why are you asking for donations? You’ve been providing content for over a year for free. Why start paying now?”
  • “Instead, you should do products, services, or ad placement.

Well, the other purpose of the survey was to get enough demographics information about the audience in order to pitch the site to sponsors for products, services, or ad placement. But we kinda have to get more than a handful of survey responses in order to do that. See how that works?

We’re also thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign to help raise money to grow Revision Path. What do you think about this?

  • 94% – “This is a great idea!”
  • 6% – “I don’t like this idea.”

This is good to know. I originally planned out doing a $2000 crowdfunding campaign, but wanted to gauge the audience first to see if that’s going to be a feasible plan. I’d hate to start a campaign and then have it fail miserably based on lack of pledges. Based on the number of surveys submitted and the t-shirt campaign, I’d say doing a crowdfunding campaign right now is 100% out of the question. The community simply isn’t engaged enough for it to be a worthwhile investment.

(Interestingly enough, some people would want shirts as pledge rewards. You should buy a Revision Path t-shirt in our Teespring campaign!)

What are some other overall ways that Revision Path can improve?

I’ll list what people have mentioned and give my response.

  • “More content.” – There will be more content once there’s revenue to support paying content creators. (Unless they want to work for free.)
  • “I like it the way it is.” – Thanks! It does need work though, but you’re sweet to say that.
  • “Don’t quit.” – The plan is not to quit, but to make Revision Path into something sustainable so it can last for years to come. If you want that to happen, visit our Tugboat Yards page and help us out.
  • “Better branding. Unique web design.” – A new website is coming by the end of the month.
  • “The site design is a little too dark.” – Agreed. I’ve addressed that before, but even I’m tired of the dark design. It will be changing soon.
  • “A proper responsive website. Who’s behind Revison Path? It’s hard to tell, and therefore hard to thank you guys for the effort. This also gets in the way of trusting the site and of you’re serious. Just like how people can be internet tough guys, it’s hard to relate to a cause without seeing the people behind it unless you guys received threats that may endanger your lives recently.” – The website is responsive, so I’m not sure what a “proper” responsive website means. Also, my name is on the About page of the site and it’s said on every podcast. If you don’t know who the person is behind Revision Path, I have to ask…are you listening? Because it’s mentioned a lot. The site has received DDoS attacks, but I’ve been pretty transparent about being behind the site since its inception. A quick Google search for Revision Path will also turn up my name. I don’t see what’s “hard to tell”.
  • “A job board + a mentor/mentee section” – This is actually a really good idea. I’ve been getting quite a few people looking for jobs through the site (i.e., specifically looking for a Black designer/developer), and this would be a great idea. We might start this out for free and then ramp it up to paid listings based on demand. A mentor/mentee section is also a good idea based off of the interviews we’ve had and how few people have said they’ve had mentors.
  • “Better design. This is for designers and coders. We are normally a very visual people.”– A new website is coming by the end of the month.
  • “Better design?” – A new website is coming by the end of the month.
  • “Keep doing what you are doing. Get the word out!” – Getting the word out about the show has been extremely difficult, which is why I have been really pushing for the audience to help me with that. My influence is not that great, contrary to popular belief. Interviews are posted on Twitter and Facebook groups and in a few LinkedIn groups, but that’s been the extent of the reach. Switching to a podcast format has helped in spreading the word about it, especially since the podcast is on iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Learn Out Loud, etc. The podcast is available on nearly every operating system and mobile device.
  • “You’re on the right track. Bringing your showcase subjects together as a community would be a nice boon.” – I agree with that. I’ll reach out to them and see what we can do (or what would make sense). Getting some people to even do an interview was hard enough!
  • “Expand the network to LinkedIn.” – Hmm…in what way? Like a LinkedIn group? I’d like to see what the pros and cons of extending another social presence to LinkedIn. (Spoiler alert: I find most of my interviews through LinkedIn.)
  • “Getting involved with the Marcus Graham Project or at least an interview with Lincoln Steffens.” – I reached out several times to the Marcus Graham Project and Lincoln right around the time Revision Path started and never received a reply. So that ship has sailed.
  • “Better sound quality for the podcasts.” – The sound quality has gotten better, but honestly, it’s really dependent on the other person’s connections just as much as mine. I don’t want to scrap any interviews (again, scheduling can be hard), but there are some interviews I’ve done that have not had great audio quality. Not everyone has Skype, not everyone has a good Internet connection, and not everyone has a decent microphone. I try to clean up the interviews as much as possible in Audacity, but having a real audio editor would be much better.

Do you have any other comments?

Several of you had really GREAT comments, which is good to hear when the majority of messages I get from people are negative. Here are some of the responses.

  • “Great job Maurice! I love this site, keep it up.” – Thanks!
  • “Make the next survey have fewer questions.” – I can’t improve this and make it a resource for you if I don’t have questions. It’s not the SAT.
  • “I love the idea. Have a lot of potential for growth.” – I think so too, and I hope that with more support, it will grow.
  • “Go HAM this year. Embrace modern web technologies, even if takes you guys and gals a little uncomfortable. Worse comes to worst, create a style guide, open source it, and allow people to help the site have an approved experience for users to come back to.” – No “guys and gals” here…just one guy. Not really sure what doing an open source style guide would do in terms of the site, but…okay. A new website is coming by the end of the month. (I’m starting to sound like a broken record.)
  • “If you are looking for like-minded people to add-on to Revision Path, let me know.” – I am, yes! I’ll be in touch this week.
  • “Great job. This is very much needed.” – I think so too (although it is hard to get others to see that).
  • “Loved the interview with Catt Small. It is great to know young and multi-talented tech designers are thinking consciously about improving visual and content integrity of the field for those who use technology. It is good to hear that one of her key concerns is USER EXPERIENCE as well as visual design. Great interview!” – The interview with Catt was really great! I hate the audio wasn’t so great there — we started on Skype then the quality dropped dramatically, so we switched to Google Voice. Good conversation, but the audio wasn’t crystal clear. I do want to interview more people that work in the fringes of web design and web development, and what Catt does kinda falls in line with that.

Thanks again to all who took the time out to complete this survey! There will be more surveys in the future, but I will probably not do another one until I see better engagement from the Revision Path audience.

Your engagement (comments, subscriptions, downloads, ratings, reviews, etc.) are what really makes the site grow. So if you like Revision Path, help me out! Tell your friends, your family, your co-workers — everybody! Any websites I should connect with? Let me know! Anyone I should talk to help spread the word about the site? Introduce me!

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