Day 23: Live Design Form Customization Sessions

Day 23: Live Design Form Customization Sessions

Live Design Sessions I received a nice email from someone who planned on buying the ETP Planner Kit, but realized he actually wanted a “commissioned” modification of an existing form. In the past, I’ve done custom form designs, but these were actual projects billed at my design rate for 4-8 hours. That’s well-over $500, and the price just gets higher. This puts custom forms out of the price range of most individuals and companies; beautiful forms are really a luxury, not a necessity, when it comes to just getting things done.

The commission idea ate at me for days, and I had a sudden brainstorm: perhaps I could combine Skype screen sharing with the old “sounding board” service.

Using Skype for a “live” design session solves a few problems:

  • I hate designing in a vacuum. It would be great to have a conversation as I made the modifications.
  • It’s easy to meter time on a Skype call, and the client can see exactly where that time is going.
  • Skype screen sharing is pretty good at conveying what’s going on in real-time.
  • With Camtasia Studio as a backup recorder, I can also provide a video so you can watch it again. That would be great for people who are learning how to make their own forms.
  • I can possibly do cheaper sessions in exchange for permission to post them on my YouTube channel, which gives me more media to share. It might be a fun form of video podcasting.

I had the idea this morning, and it’s past 10PM now. Sheesh! I started to make a “quick” demo, but I eventually realized that making it is beyond the scope for a “Product of the Day”. It’ll have to wait for the now-inevitable MONTH OF MARKETING COLLATERAL in March.

Here’s an example 1-HR session, with a volunteer helping me test the concept:

With Skype provides the virtual face-to-face, I just needed a way to book the sessions. Gumroad, the digital download e-commerce tool I’ve been using for all the POTDs, has a limited-inventory feature for events, and it also can personalize PDFs with the email address of the buyer. I threw together a simple ticket:

Live Design Session Ticket I can cross-reference the email address from the buyer (sent to me by Gumroad) with the email address imprinted on the PDF, should they be different. The instructions help streamline the session by ensuring that the technical and conceptual requires are in-place.

So that’s today’s product of the day: LIVE DESIGN CUSTOMIZATION of existing forms here on

Brave souls can buy a Form Customization Session (up to an hour) for $50. Only two available.

If I have the source file, I can make the customization fairly easily. We can get as much done as we can up to an hour. And at the same time, we can have a good conversation about what you’re trying to do. As far as consults go, this is pretty cheap! Which is why I’m limiting myself to doing only two to get a feel for it; if the sessions end up being fun and fast, then I’ll probably do more. We’ll see! Google Hangouts screen sharing supports multiple people; it might be possible to have group sessions at a lower cost-per-person. But that’s a product for another day :-)

Groundhog Day Resolution Posts for 2014

I am challenging myself to create a new product every day for the month of February 2013. The Challenge Page lists all the products in one place. Check it out!


  1. Christopher Robin 11 years ago

    I so would buy one of these, but I don’t need a customized form at the moment, so I’ll leave them for someone else to snatch up and use so you get to test it out. It wouldn’t be nice of me to hold on to it for 6 months. Awesome idea! I hope this takes off!

  2. Christopher Robin 11 years ago

    Actually, on that thought, you might want to add an expiration date to at least the first two test copies to allow you to try it out in the timeframe you’re looking at.

  3. Author
    Dave Seah 11 years ago

    Assuming anyone buys one! I figure we’ll just work out the timeframe in email, if it gets to that. There would be a bit more work in defining the offering before I’m ready to start laying down conditions. I had a short list of “NOs” before I decided that it just sounded like a big hassle and took them out.

  4. Christopher Robin 11 years ago

    Well I’d be interested in trying to get a few people together to try the google hangout method in customizing the word count form to make it more generic. Let me know when you’re interested in trying that angle out. ^-^

  5. Author
    Dave Seah 11 years ago

    Christopher: I wonder how we can coordinate that…is there a way you could coordinate a group? Some magic web app that I don’t know about maybe?

  6. Christopher Robin 11 years ago

    So my plan was to get 2-4 others who’d like to have input on the design and get them into a google group/hangout to chat about what features they’d like to see. Take a week to do a couple of mock ups and draft requirements without you, then send everyone a doodle invite to see when we could get everyone into the chatroom at the same time. If scheduling falls through on the first week, then the second week we take the time that works for the most people and go with it. Gives us about 3-4 weeks to get it from payment to product.