Today we are extremely excited to announce that our first crowdsourced product – Passport Pro – is now available for pre-order! To celebrate this occasion we thought it would be fun to share with you the story of how Passport went from an idea on a napkin to a beautiful new social profile widget that anyone can own and use. (« Check it out to the left!)
The Humble Beginnings of a New Social Profile Widget
Passport was born when one of our designers, Shawn Leslie, was pondering the problem of being able to share his social footprint with others in a simple and elegant way.
He explains it like this:
“I’ve always seen a need for a simple and uniform way to show what I’m working on and where you can find it around the web. Every ‘About Page’ is so different and people don’t always link to the most pertinent places on their Twitter profile. This makes finding what you’re looking for difficult and it’s too easy to miss someone’s most valuable place on the web – where they might be sharing their best content.
Passport solves this problem by keeping things clean and simple. It gets out of the way and has a ton of room for growth and improvement. Passport isn’t dependent upon any CMS, plugin, or platform. And it fits nicely in any design right out of the box, which is the way it should be.”
Of course, there’s quite a bit that needs to happen between the initial spark of inspiration and something actually becoming a product. For Passport (and for all of our crowdsourced products) there were three key phases between conception and product release.
Phase 1: The Pitch
In this phase there are a few important things the pitch needs to accomplish before a concept can progress to phase two. Shawn needed to show how Passport would make the web a better place, service a wide enough audience to make development worthwhile, and of course–show how it is better than existing options in the market.
In each case, Passport proved itself a solid candidate for further development. It makes the web a better place by simplifying the process of displaying and sharing any given user’s online identity. Its audience is anyone who has multiple profiles on social networks and needs a simple way to display and share those links with others. And by the nature of its simple, clean design it outstrips the competition to such a large extent that it’s basically a new product category. Especially when you consider the potential for new features, such as accepting payments and more!
Phase 2: Idea
In phase two, we let potential product users–like you!–validate our ideas by voting on the ones you like the best. In fact, you can view the entire progression of Passport from concept to final product on Filament right now. We’ve documented everything from the initial concept to Passport’s current phase. What you’ll notice is that at each step of the way we’re working directly with anyone interested enough to get involved to make the product even better than we could on our own.
After participating in regular and passionate debate with site visitors and potential users–all in the spirit of betterment–we reached a critical mass of enthusiasm (200 up votes) and graduated Passport to phase three.
Phase 3: Prototype
In phase three, after an idea has been vetted by the community at large and we’ve had ample time to receive potential user feedback, we create a free prototype for basic testing. In the case of Passport, we built this really handy (and free!) Passport Builder that if you haven’t had a chance to tinker with yet, is really quite fun!
Which leads us to the final phase…
Passport Pro: A Real Product, Available for Pre-Order Today!
Thanks to the participation of our awesome community and a lot of hard work from our team here at digital-telepathy, a fully fledged Pro version of Passport is now available for pre-order.
We have a limited number of pre-orders available, but if you buy right now you could get up to 76% off! So go ahead, snag yourself a preorder of Passport Pro today!
And please, don’t be afraid to drop us a comment below with your feedback. We love it