Elance - Web Site Design, Features, Interfaces and Ease of Use
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Elance’s longevity and size allow the company to employ a full-time web development staff, and its site illustrates aptly how this can be a double-edged sword. On the plus side, the site is very professional in appearance, reasonably fast, usually stable, and includes nearly all of the features that a contractor would want from a freelance marketplace. On the down side, there sometimes appears to be an emphasis on form over function, and there are frequent redesigns that frustrate long-time customers.
On the plus side, there are other options that can sometimes help to ameliorate this problem, such as using RSS feeds for new project notifications. Elance’s RSS feed is pretty good, providing a good summary of the project description for each listing, as well as key attributes such as category, budget, client name and statistics, etc. It does not appear to be customizable, however.
Elance includes a full-featured profile system, allowing freelancers to create a comprehensive description that potential clients can review during the bidding process. The profile includes the following elements:
The portfolio section allows freelancers to display past work for clients to review. Support is provided for a variety of media, including written documents, photos and graphical files. I have read sporadic complaints about problems using the portfolio system, but Elance responds to these promptly.
Elance uses an intelligent login management system that allows users to log in once and then stay logged in for a period of two weeks. This saves on unnecessary hassle when accessing the site infrequently.
The account management system is very professionally done, and easily accessed by clicking “Settings” near the top right corner of most pages. There you can update personal information, change billing details, and much more. There are even advanced features such as the ability to specify what part of the site appears when you load “www.elance.com”.
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Last Site Update: December 13, 2011
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