1. Vetting & Certification
2. In-Project Policies
3. Feedback & Ratings
4. Stock Assets & Fonts
5. Ownership & Source Files
6. Agencies as Vendors
7. Fees & Payments
8. Cancellations & On-Hold
10. Working with Visually Clients outside of the Visually Platform
11. Decertification & Suspension
Failure to follow these policies may result in withheld payment (partial or complete), suspension or decertification from the Visually Platform, or additional measures as deemed fit by Visually.
Vetting & Certification
All talent certified on the Visually Platform undergoes a vetting and certification process conducted by Visually’s creative subject matter experts. Each role type has its own unique process, which may include, but is not always limited to: a review of previous work; a short interview by phone or video conference; a consultation with references, previous clients or employers; and testing.
Once talent is certified on the Platform, they are given an internal rating, which remains separate from client feedback ratings. Both ratings are considered in our matching process to projects.
Visually retains the right to decertify talent at any time; see our policy section on decertification for more details.
When talent accepts a project invite it means that they have reviewed all scope details, deadline, creative references and payout details and are confirming that they are capable of completing the project based on these parameters.
It also means that they will fulfill all responsibilities related to this role; see our talent playbooks and job descriptions as reference.
While your invite will include a projected completion date, our talent welcome kit and playbooks include average timelines by product. By accepting any project, you are agreeing to commit to a project for the maximum time period (variable by product) at the stated payout and scope.
If you request to be removed from a project based on any of these known factors, payment for any completed work will not be guaranteed. This will be at the discretion of Visually staff, who will evaluate information provided upon project invitation and information that may have changed to date (e.g., new deadline, new creative styles requested by client, client availability, etc.).
By accepting each project invite, you are agreeing to our Platform Terms & Conditions for Vendors and our policies.
Your project invite will specify whether or not a client has requested a kick-off call; by accepting the project, you are agreeing to join this call. All talent should work under the assumption that clients will want to have calls at some point in their project. Talent should always represent themselves on all client calls - the person who performs the actual work must speak directly with the client.
If English is not your first language, you may use an interpreter on a client call only if it is absolutely critical for project success. You should make it known to the client that an interpreter will be joining, and reassure them that you have a firm grasp of English but prefer to have an interpreter to ensure that no details are missed. You should always be present on these calls. If this is your first time working with a particular client, you should also provide a friendly reminder that, language differences aside, you have the creative confidence and skill necessary for success on their project.
Talent is responsible for flagging scope creep on projects; you should not be over-delivering without permission from Visually. Please note that this is different from accommodating an extra revision round or other small requests here and there - anything that is within 5 - 10% of the original scope should be considered reasonable.
When your client requests work beyond that 5 - 10%, you must alert the Visually Help team and wait for their go-ahead before delivering any work or services outside of the original scope. Otherwise, there is no guarantee you will be compensated for that work. Learn more about how to handle scope creep in our talent playbooks.
Clear, polite and professional communication, both written and verbal, are essential on the Visually Platform. Other communication expectations include being timely and responsive (when working across multiple time zones, efficiency should be top priority), genuine, thoughtful, service-minded, approachable, accountable, respectful, error-free, attentive, proactive, productive and positive.
Failure to meet these communication expectations is considered a major offence; disrespectful or rude language and behavior will not be tolerated.
In addition to these tone expectations, language should be more formal than not - shorthand text (e.g., thx, sure thang, gr8, haha, etc.) is not appropriate. Using proper language, including accurate spelling and grammar, is a professional requirement at Visually. It also impacts the client’s trust in your abilities, which can make or break your credibility and impact your ratings.
Remember to review your writing before posting to ensure it won’t come across as terse, unprofessional, or unfriendly, and that the client’s interpretation of your words will match your intended meaning.
It’s also important that all communications are documented properly in the Activity Feed. For example, any critical decisions made on a conference call or via chat should be followed up with a summary post. This allows all parties to remain on the same page; it also provides Visually staff with all the relevant information, should our team need to step in to help with any issues. Learn more about our chat policy here; and see our talent playbooks for more guidelines and expectations around communications.
True Representation of Role/Work
Part of the value of the Visually Platform is empowering clients to connect directly with their creative teams, without the traditional layers of red tape and other administrative bureaucracy. Because of this, you should be fully representing the role you are serving on a project.
For example, if you’re listed as the Designer, you and you alone should be the one executing the creative vision and design. It should never be outsourced entirely or the majority completed by someone else, including your own Creative Directors or Art Directors. In sum, whoever is creating the work should be doing the communicating too. You should always be able to speak to or for the work directly. For questions relating to our agency vendors, see our policy section on this related topic.
Our talent has been carefully vetted and certified to work on the Visually Platform. Part of this process includes a review of work quality and creative aesthetic. While the creative world is subjective by nature, there are fundamental elements and key principles to good writing, design, animation, and development that are universally defined.
This includes, but is not limited to: proficient typography skills; an eye for composition; an understanding of color theory; layout skills, including hierarchy and flow of information; creating and identifying vector and raster graphics; an eye for detail; and legibility.
This includes, but is not limited to, the summary from the design section above, along with delivering animation drafts that are free of blatant errors and glitches, such as jump frames, peaking audio, clunky motion paths, etc. Timing issues, jitter, and flicker should also be addressed before renders are put in front of clients.
This includes, but is not limited to: excellent grammar, spelling, and syntax; clear, logical organization and composition (with visuals in mind); a cohesive, engaging narrative; appropriate style and voice; and well-sourced and fact-checked data.
Talent is responsible for reading and understanding the Visually talent welcome kit and playbooks, and for following the rules and recommendations therein. These documents contain critical information about Visually best practices, and details about specific Visually products. They are designed to help ensure that you produce quality deliverables.
Quality of work is also evaluated based on designs that are free of spelling and grammar errors. This is true for all role types, but especially for all Writers and Proofreaders.
For writing deliverables, including research-based deliverables, proper rules for sourcing documentation, as well as plagiarism are critical components to quality work.
Rules for Sourcing
Data is an important part of many of the projects you’ll work on for Visually – that is, relevant, recent, and well-sourced data. The worst thing a Visually writer can do is present his or her creative team with poorly researched, badly referenced copy. Our clients have high expectations for the quality of research you provide, and we do too. Here is a guide for sourcing that outlines what we expect to see in your work for Visually.
1) Track down the original source.
Use original sources. It’s okay to read a Wikipedia article – or one published on a blog or major news site, like CNN, Forbes, the New York Times, or the Washington Post – but these are not original sources for the data or information in question. Rather than taking the information you read on the web for granted, track it down to the organization, company, or government authority that released it. That is your source, not the media outlet that published it.
2) Verify the data
A newspaper, magazine, or blog article could misinterpret data or present it in the wrong context. This is why, again, taking statistics you read in an online article or blog at face value is problematic. Track down the original source, then confirm the data. Make doubly sure it is appropriate for your topic and for the context in which it will appear.
3) Make sure you’re using the most recent data available
Surveys and reports get outdated, fast. A good rule of thumb: if a data set is older than 2011, chances are there is more recent data available. (Even from the government.) Note: this is especially true with social media data. Quoting Facebook user statistics from 2009 could be like citing population demographics from the 1700s. [We just made that up – don’t quote us on it.]
4) Unless you’ve been specifically asked to do so, do not ever source information from user-generated content websites
When it comes to sourcing, consider user-generated content websites totally off limits. That includes Wikipedia (never, ever include that in a source list), Yahoo Answers, Google Answers, and sites like eHow and About.com, where “experts” (of questionable origin) publish text that is rarely sourced. You can never be 100% sure who wrote the article or answer you’re looking at, where they got their information, and whether it’s the best one out there. It could even be completely wrong! There may be exceptions - times when a client requests or provides data from a user-generated source, or when the project is actually about user-generated content. In these cases, be sure to mention that the data is questionable or not confirmable and get the client’s explicit “okay” before you proceed.
5) 99% of the Web is just your starting point
You can use Wikipedia as a starting point as long as you click through the resources at the bottom of the article. Follow the data path (i.e. rule #1: Track down the original source) and make sure it is the most recent data available (i.e. rule #2: Verify the data). The same goes for information you see on blogs or websites. Find out where they got their facts, verify them, and credit the appropriate source.
6) Never use data out of context
Always keep the big picture in mind. Data should be presented in the exact same context intended by the original source. If the survey talks about Facebook users ages 18-34, make sure you mention that. Don’t just say “Facebook users” because that misrepresents the data entirely.
7) Don’t combine data from multiple sources
If you ever combine statistics from different surveys to illustrate a certain trend, you have to make sure that they reference the same time period and demographic. And then be absolutely clear in your copy that the sources are different. For example, if one source says that 25% of Facebook users drink wine and another says that 45% of Twitter users drink liquor, saying “while 25% of Facebook users prefer wine, a whopping 45% of Twitter users go for hard liquor” is just wrong. You must always be clear about the context (time period, demographic) of the data you use.
8) Limit the number of sources
Source lists that are as long as the infographic itself are unsightly. More importantly, the more sources you use, the higher the risk of breaking one of the rules above. While there isn’t a pre-determined number of sources you should use, three to five is a good target range. Chances are, if you have followed the rules above and have found credible, original sources, each of them (a report or survey, for example) will have plenty of data to choose from.
9) Use proper formatting and always include dates
A list of lengthy URLs in your source list is far from user-friendly. Many of the projects you’ll work on for Visually will be static (i.e. no active hyperlinks). Who would even try to retype the URL in their browser? Make it easier for people to check your sources by listing them in easily “Google-able” format. For example, instead of http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.09/ppt2.html in your source list, you should write: PowerPoint Is Evil, by Edward Tufte (WIRED, 2003). (Except, of course, this source is too old. Remember: Try to stick to sources no older than 2010.) Always include as many details (title, author name, date) as necessary to find the information, and to contextualize your data (dates are critically important context - they should always be included in your citations.)
10) Never use other infographics as sources
We can’t stress this enough, so we left it for last. The web has been littered with poorly sourced infographics, many of which violate not just some, but all of our rules. By grabbing a statistic from an infographic you do the same. You use information from an unreliable source: unconfirmed, out of context, possibly outdated, and maybe even fake. Just don’t do it. Ever.
Visually defines plagiarism as the portrayal of another person’s words or ideas as your own. We do not tolerate plagiarism on the Visually platform. If we discover that you have plagiarized, you will no longer be eligible for work through Visually. We have instituted the following rules to help you avoid plagiarism in Visually projects:
1) For direct quotes
You must always use quotation marks, footnotes, and citations. Verbatim statistics are considered direct quotes.
2) For paraphrased content
You must always use footnotes and citations. Reworded facts and statistics are considered paraphrased content.
We recognize that the research and writing process is complex, and that sometimes you may find yourself in a gray area. For example, you may incorporate ideas from sources with your own ideas, creating content that doesn’t exactly paraphrase, but that relies heavily on learned material. In these cases, citations without footnotes are sufficient.
Please review Visually’s 10 Rules for Sourcing for information on the proper format for citations.
If you find yourself faced with a particularly subtle or complicated situation involving content that is not your own, please feel free to reach out to Visually staff, who will with you to determine the best way to acknowledge your sources, and to protect the integrity of your work.
If there is ever work delivered that is of questionable quality, the work in question will go through an internal review process at Visually. This involves senior level creative directors and other Visually staff who will evaluate the merits of the work in context. If quality is deemed questionable or inept, there are a number of ways the project may proceed. The talent responsible for the work may be asked to re-work and re-submit with or without creative direction, may be removed entirely from the project, or payment may be withheld (partial or complete). Options to proceed will be wholly at the discretion of Visually staff.
Accepting a project means that you agree to meet the project’s deadline. Each project has its own customized timeline, filled with key milestones that different team members own. If you are ever late with a delivery that impacts your assigned milestone, you should always explain why. Whenever you can, try to notify the client and your team in advance if you know you will be late.
If you are late on a milestone, it is our expectation that you will make up for the lost time downstream in the project, preserving the rest of the timeline. If this is absolutely not possible, it’s imperative that you work with your PM/PC and/or the Help team to get the timeline updated.
If the client is late with feedback and you need more time, you must politely communicate that to the team and work with your PM/PC and/or Help to update the timeline as needed.
As empowered talent and creative teams, we encourage you to de-escalate project issues to the best of your ability; however, we know that there are circumstances that require additional support from the Visually Help team, and we’re happy to step in. We expect and invite you to lean on us for particularly difficult situations.
There are number of reasons to reach out to Help; here are just a few examples: scope creep, budget discussions, timeline delays, clients that go missing, unhappy or dissatisfied clients, or challenges or concerns with other creative team members.
All budgetary conversations should take place between Visually and the client, or between Visually and you.
You should never discuss budget with clients. It’s important to note that you can discuss expanded scope with clients in order to address scope creep, as long as you don’t discuss pricing.
Sharing Work in Your Portfolio
Talent may share work done on the Visually Platform in public portfolios only when two conditions are met: 1) The client provides explicit and written permission for you to do so; 2) The client has published/released the work publicly.
Terms for Project Removal
There are many reasons why talent may be removed from a project, and ultimately it is at the discretion of Visually staff. Some scenarios that often result in removal include, but are not limited to, missing or unresponsive talent; talent that is perpetually late delivering work or completing milestones; unprofessional behavior and/or communications to clients, team members, or Visually staff; or client complaints that are investigated and deemed warranted by Visually staff.
If you are removed from a project, you will be notified by Visually staff. An explanation for removal is usually offered but is not required or guaranteed. Our staff will also discuss payment details for the project, which will be based on a number of factors, such as work completed at the time of removal, grounds for removal, and more.
Feedback & Ratings
At the end of each project, clients and all creative team members are asked to provide feedback and rate all assigned talent.
This feedback is recorded against all talent profiles, and ratings are included in our matching algorithm for project assignments. The higher the rating, the more likely talent is to be assigned. However, this is only one factor of many in the assignment process.
Visually staff may use this information to help identify talent that is best suited for inclusion in Visually marketing materials and events, and may also use it to provide constructive feedback to talent on ways they can improve on the platform.
Stock Assets & Fonts
Our Ownership and Licenses (Section 4) in our Platform Terms & Conditions for Vendors states that all work done on the Visually Platform is considered work made for hire, which gives clients ownership to all rights, titles and interests in and to all creative services and/or deliverables.
Because all talent agrees to assist Visually and clients in any efforts related to ownership and licensing, talent must secure proper licensing and rights for any and all stock assets and fonts used on projects; this includes any transfers to the client that may be required.
It is the talent’s responsibility to understand a client’s intended use for all project deliverables to ensure proper compliance, including sourcing assets from authorized sites. This is especially true for video projects, where music and voice over licensing is critically dependent on requirements including, but not limited to, audience size and publication venue.
Stock assets are not included in Visually projects. If a client specifically requests the use of stock assets, all assets should be purchased under the client’s own account and then uploaded to the project.
If talent opts to use stock assets on a project without a client’s specific request, the talent is responsible for the following:
- Ensure it is a legitimate stock image from an authorized site. "Free" wallpaper sites and Google results are not appropriate places to source your images.
- Be transparent with the client by notifying them about any and all stock images used at the time the design is uploaded.
- Check the license to ensure the assets can be legally used under the client’s intentions. If a client is legally pursued over copyright issues arising from your work, as the designer, you’ll be liable for any costs or damages they incur.
In all cases of stock usage, talent is responsible for knowing the rules around purchased assets.
Ownership & Source Files
For all Visually projects, clients own all rights, titles and interests in all original and custom creative services performed and work delivered. This includes, but is not limited to, original graphic design; artwork; original video design; animation; sound deliverables, such as voiceover, music, and sound effects; wireframes; GUIs; code bases and libraries.
Because of these terms, talent is under contractual obligation to provide source files throughout the project and at completion.
Graphic Design Projects
Source files are automatically included as project deliverables, and base payout for each project is reflective of the inclusion of source files, unless otherwise specified.
Stock: clients do not automatically assume rights and ownership to any stock materials. The client is wholly responsible for all transactions related to stock assets. Talent is wholly responsible for securing the proper licensing required based on the client’s intended use(s) for final designs. See our policy around stock materials for more information and guidelines.
Video and animation source files are not included as project deliverables; these will come at an additional fee to the client, and added payout to you as the talent. Unless a project invite specifies otherwise, you can assume your payment does not include the delivery of final video source files. However, you are obligated to provide source files for Visually to maintain as a file of record.
Stock: clients do not automatically assume rights and ownership to any stock or licensed music and voiceover; this should come at an additional fee. Talent is wholly responsible for securing the proper licensing required based on the client’s intended use(s) for final video. See our policy around stock materials for more information and guidelines.
Source files are automatically included as project deliverables, and base payout for each project is reflective of the inclusion of source files, unless otherwise specified.
Stock: clients do not automatically assume rights and ownership to any stock materials. The client is wholly responsible for all transactions related to stock assets. Talent is wholly responsible for securing the proper licensing required based on the client’s intended use(s) for the final interactive. See our policy around stock materials for more information and guidelines.
Non-exclusivity: Unless otherwise specified, Visually developers retain the right to re-use code bases, scripts and libraries created for Visually projects and clients.
Agencies as Vendors
Talent who are members of small agencies or boutique shops are eligible to become Visually Certified; however, it is our expectation that any and all talent working on a project will be accurately and fully represented as users/roles on that project. If there is more than one person at an agency working on a project, you must notify the Visually team, so all individuals can be added to the project. Typically under these engagements, one user will be paid for the entire project; anyone else working on the project will be invited at a $0 payout. The paid user is wholly responsible for distributing and dividing payment among other agency members who are working on the project. See section titled “True Representation of Role/Work” under our In-Project Policies.
Fees & Payments
Project payment is determined by a number of factors: role, project scope, timeline and more. All payment information is included in project invites for each role type, alongside detailed scope information.
As a general rule, full payment will be begin to be processed upon completion of the project and all included deliverables. Payment is scheduled based on our standard pay run cycles. Payments initiated by the 15th of the month will be paid by the last day of the month. Payments initiated between the 16th and last day of the month will be paid by the 15th of the following month.
To be paid, all talent must be fully enrolled in our in-platform payment system. Learn more about payments and the enrolment process here.
If you are removed from a project before completion, payment owed will be assessed based on a number of factors including, but not limited to: reason for removal, percentage of work completed and any other context relevant to the project and situation. Final payment owed (if any) will be wholly at the discretion of Visually staff.
Cancellations & On-Hold
For projects that are cancelled by clients, payout will be determined at the discretion of Visually staff and will be based on a number of factors, including but not limited to: percentage of work completed at the time of cancellation, and invoicing and payment status from the client.
For projects that clients put on hold after talent has accepted or begun work, Visually will notify talent of the project status and offer first right of refusal to resume work on the project when it becomes active again.
At times, vendors may be given access to sensitive information, including, but not limited to, internal processes, IP or pricing, in order to provide a better client experience, enhance project outcomes or bolster the company as a whole. Any proprietary information learned is subject to the Confidentiality and Proprietary Information (Section 9) in our Vendor Terms & Conditions.
Some clients may require an NDA in order to work on their accounts or projects, and terms and details may vary from client to client. Freelance talent is wholly responsible for following terms outlined in each NDA. Failure to adhere to terms will not only be subject to internal measures but also consequences from the client as outlined in the NDA.
Working with Visually Clients outside of the Visually Platform
Per the Non-Circumvention Clause (Section 6) within our Platform Terms & Conditions for Vendors, talent may not accept any proposals or solicit any Visually client outside of the platform, nor should they accept any additional payment from a client outside of the platform.
If a Visually client should approach you directly about a potential project, you should let the client know that working together is a breach of your contract with Visually and then immediately notify the Visually team.
Decertification and Suspension
Decertification from the Visually Platform can be warranted on several grounds, but as a general rule, is reserved for the most egregious offences or behaviours that indicate a lack of interest in or engagement with Visually.
Failure to follow any of our terms or policies may lead to automatic decertification; in particular, unprofessional behavior or communications with Visually clients, team members, or staff will be taken very seriously. We maintain a very low- to zero-tolerance policy on this front.
Other actions that could lead to decertification include perpetual rejection of project invites, as well as unsubscribing from our talent email list, as this is one of our core methods of communicating with our large talent pool. Our talent emails include announcements about policy updates, new offerings, payment details and other critical information.
Visually staff does not take decertification lightly. It is within our sole discretion when talent becomes decertified. We usually notify individuals when they become decertified; however, this notification is not always guaranteed, nor is it owed.