Helping SYP in Onboarding a Full-time Freelancer which is more natural and understanding all the emotional needs

Screenshot 2017-03-12 17.10.24.png

4 months

Arielle Royston
Johny vino

SYP Partners



The growing SYP need more skillful people for the new projects. SYP looks for freelancing generalists, rather investing in a full-time employee. But, to look for trusted and talented is a painful process. On the flip-side, good freelancers would love to work with SYP, but don’t know about their opportunities.



Our target users are experienced full time freelancers in New York who care about on their terms and make 110-140k dollars a year.



We estimate that it costs roughly 10 hours and $3000 to get one freelancer in the door. Typically SYP hires about 15 freelancers per month and spends more for the repetitive process. The freelancers need two things. A tool that helps them run their business and tools to find work. Though there are more freelancers and high demand for them, there is no perfect bridge to connect them


  • Target audience. Experienced Full time freelancer in NYC work for SYP

  • Value proposition. While SYP want high talented people, freelancer need to access high-quality jobs

  • Platforms. Initially mobile then expand to Web app

  • Customer relationships. Through the app, they can send message to SYP regarding its features.

  • Monetization. We need $225K. This MVP will save more time and half a million dollars spent for hiring freelancers. Also, we propose SYP & launch a tiered subscription model where companies can pay for every matching job.

  • Key resources. At least 20 active Job postings in the app every month.

  • Key activities. The job posting, scheduling calls, auto-reply mail, chat support. Ban people who spoil the community.

  • Key integrations. Integrate with communities like IDEO, HUGE, KYU and also iOS calendar, Mail.

  • Cost structure. We need Data Scientist / Algo. Estimated total cost of full stack mobile Developer is $144,000.00

Concept video

Six months of research, concept development, and design addressed in a ten-minute presentation. Watching this video will give excellent ideas.


Final Product

SYDNEY is an end-to-end solution for freelancers to stay connected to the community.


1. Welcome

The apps currently used by the user are more digitized. The initial onboarding questions are given related to their compatibility with SYP.


2. New Job and Contract

There was an obstacle in scheduling an interview with the freelancer and SYP. But through Sydney the process is seamless.


3. Onboarding

The onboarding companies have the monotonous system for both the HR team and the freelancer. But all the necessary details are given through Sydney app. Hence they can go to the office directly and start working.


4. Mid-Project

If a freelancer got stuck in the middle of a project, they do not know whom to ask for help. Sydney will connect you to the right person automatically.

5. Almost done

Sydney also helps in winding up the project and searches for the next job.


Screenshot 2017-02-16 14.50.15.png


We Surveyed about 45 people and analyzed the statics from Freelancer of America to Freelancer Union development and checked how AI can have impact on the freelancer. Our secondary research is to search the highly talented freelancer and then ideation and testing.



We conducted two rounds of interview with Lea, Cecily and Dale, who are experts and experienced full time freelancers worked for Google and top companies.The interviews helped to validate the existing problem.

Screenshot 2016-07-26 18.09.21.png


We connected with SYP and interviewed seven freelancers and conducted the prototype feedback section. The response and feedback we collected from the user helped to narrow down our features.

Initial Research Goal


  • Understand drivers. Learn the pros and cons of being a freelancer.

  • Understand freelancing process. Gain insights into: 1) criteria and tools used to find matching projects; 2) how freelancers set rates and get paid; and 3) how freelancers manage their project pipeline works.

  • Understand the environment. Learning about your competitors in work and the workplace.

  • Understand goals. Discover the needs and wish list tools that help the freelancers.




..... loneliness of freelancing sometimes hurts,...Its an icky feeling to go in somewhere and feel like a dummy on first day… Anything companies give in advance is a bonus; I likes to feel oriented ... When head down in something, its down, I can’t hold it up and no one avail for help / review


  Cecily, Straegist Currently working with Win-a-bega, Google, MayoClinic


There is no one to guide contract process, I learn through asking peers and mentors… Need X tool for all tools here…. I am the outsider to begin with and I don’t know dynamics of team


  Jesse, Consultant for media companies


No one really knows what SYP does, but prospective and new employees find out what the company is like once they talk to people working in it…. We do all contract work for freelancer but no one aware of those offers’.


  “Léa PEERSMAN” Talent Community Manager, SYPartners

Competitive Analysis



Screenshot 2017-02-16 15.12.17.png

We analyzed how the most notable companies solve this problem.

1.  Crew connects people with an acclaimed freelance designer and developer.

2.  Upwork form a customized team that helps the freelancers and companies.

3.  Human guides when there is an important project.

But none of these services help the freelancers to get personalized projects.


In national level, develops a community and supports companies, though it's not personalized.


Screenshot 2017-02-16 15.13.03.png

The Spark-Freelancers union, our monthly member is a main player in the freelancer community which helps our members to network and grow their careers.


Freelance Friday, New York launched its first meeting at the Co-Lab Factory in Brooklyn in early spring, 2016. Attendees came to work, code, write and create.


But there is no incorporation of companies, which disconnects the freelancer with the corporations and led to lack of businesses.


Hiring Full-time freelancers process



This diagram typically explains the existing hiring process. We estimate that it takes nearly 10 hours and $3000 to get one freelancer in the door. SYP hires about 15 freelancers per month and spends more for the repetitive process. Whereas freelancers don’t find out why they were not selected. This slows down the SYP growth and potential business.



Monthly vetting for freelancer will reduce the time and money spent on screening and interviewing talent.

Sydney take care of all the hiring process and helps the freelancer to run their business efficiently.



Design Question



How can we help full-time freelancers who struggles to manage their admin work, maintaining the network and find a relevant job?



1.  How do we reduce the friction in the onboarding process and increase the excitement of freelancer and give a smooth first day?

2.  How can we support SYP with available freelancers?



Ideation Process

We started our ideation process in parallel with research with 30 features to resolve the needs of freelancers and companies. Then we narrowed down to 5 functions for MVP.



The frameworks are created to make our problem space into a perspective.



Concepts and sketches are developed and presented to our class members to get different perspectives.



The ideas from the members were narrowed, refined and combined with consistency created in collaboration with our sponsors and users.


Concept Frameworks



The outline of the user journey of the freelancer was created to get the scheme of the project. 

IMG_7072 copy.jpg

Ten Types of Innovation

The framework paves a way to identify new innovating opportunities beyond the product.


User Interview

We interviewed the user to gain insights on our ideas and found that the freelancers have troubles with three things.


1.  The exhausting onboarding companies change the scope in the middle of the project.

2.  They don’t get precise project support while working.

3.  Since they are not full-time employees.



Testing Format

Interviews were conducted admitting the usability testing and user interview. Mainly we relied on the feedback from the user and made changes. The essential question asked to the user is whether the app helps them, whether the features are relevant and accessible. First, we inquired the freelancers working in SYP, then somebody using the other community apps, and then with SYP talent team.

Screenshot 2016-07-26 18.17.23.png

1. SYP Freelancers

Interviewing with SYP freelancers gave us valuable insights about the support process.


2. Outside Freelancers

We appraised our product with a freelancer, who uses more of other community apps. She has given the feedback on the uniqueness of our app and the fundamental things that are missing.

Screenshot 2016-07-26 18.09.21.png

3. SYP Talent team Low-Income)

From the SYP HR team, we got to know about the journey and troubles of the freelancers.

Paper Prototyping

Before building a digital prototype, we have tested with a paper prototype with the general users, which helped us to gain quick insights.


Digital Prototype

Two versions of digital prototypes are created through invasion. The first was evaluated with general audience and sponsors. The second one was an interactive prototype with all micro interaction using principles.


Round 1

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 9.57.46 PM.png

Round 2

pastedImage0.png Artboard.png


Round 1

All the main critics are listed for improving the quality of the product

1.  Leaderboard is unnecessary

2.  Too many features.

3.  Looks clean but more distracting navigations.

4.  I feel it's not helpful.


Round 2

1.  Finance management system is needed.

2.  Though there are less features it is useful.

3.  I expected more but this perfectly solves my problem today.

4.  Love it!


Our design was completely changed after the two rounds of interview and fetched more positive feedbacks.


Final Thoughts


Here is an opportunity to create an impact in the freelancing economy. And we firmly believe that this solution will solve the friction points of the fastest growing economies in the digital age.




SYP partners with other companies and talented networks in the city. A proposed subscription model was launched where SYP pays for every matching job. We predict that SYP will start earning after the one year.


The next step in the project is planning the development process and making an MVP to test in the market.


  • How to scale up this solution
  • Connecting all scattered network
  • Finance Integration

Impact Predicted

The hiring process of freelancers cost around half a million dollars every year. Our MVP costs less than one-year expense, and that amount also will be cleared to SYP forever.