2018 was a huge year for us! We shipped a lot of features and matured the product past its initial MVP state. We established a real business with hundreds of paying customers. Brad and I moved out of our homes and into an office, and we made our first hire, Chris. To learn more about our past 12 months, check out Reflecting on 2018 — what we achieved, learned, and struggled with while starting our startup.
In 2019 we will be focusing on nailing our core and scaling up to become the obvious user research platform for businesses, like how Slack is the obvious chat tool for teams. What is a user research platform? For us, this means a cloud service for researchers, designers, and product managers that stores user research data, helps you analyze it collaboratively, summarize it for stakeholders, and gives the whole organization the ability to leverage past research.
To get there, we’ll be tackling the following themes of work: Analysis, Everyday Experience, Collaboration, Scale, and Operational Excellence.
Goal: Deliver a world-class qualitative data analysis experience.
- Core conceptual model. Users have told us that teams, projects, notes, tags, and insights can be confusing. We’ll improve our terminology and conceptual model to better match people’s expectations.
- Highlighting workflow. Highlighting and tagging in Dovetail should feel fast and powerful, like an IDE does to developers. We’ll make highlighting and tag management feel great to use.
- New insights. A new insights experience will do a better job of helping you summarize your project, reference data from your analysis, and create a beautiful set of findings to share with stakeholders.
- Beyond text. Research data comes in many forms. We’ll branch out and introduce simple, intuitive new tools for you to highlight and tag images, audio recordings, videos, and more.
- New ways to segment data. Customers have asked for the ability to insert metadata in notes so they can better segment data. We’ll release a new feature called ‘properties’ which will let you do just that.
Goal: Squash everyday pain points to make Dovetail a joy to use.
- Simple navigation and information architecture. New users have told us they have a hard time understanding where everything is and how features relate to one another. We’ll release our new design with a new navigation experience and improved information architecture.
- Search improvements. Search is extremely important for us to nail the self-serve ‘research repository’ use case. Expect to see new features like saved searches, search history, more querying options to filter results, and an easy-to-use query building user interface.
- Tools for data organization. It should feel effortless to organize your data in Dovetail. New features will help you manage data in your workspace, like tools to copy, move, rename, and delete multiple things at once.
Goal: Make Dovetail the best place to share user research with others.
- Real time improvements. All data in Dovetail should update in real time for everyone without needing to refresh. A new technical approach to how we handle real time subscriptions will make this a reality in 2019.
- Collaboration features. We’ll release collaboration features like inline comments on notes and insights, @mentions for bringing people into a conversation, push and email notifications, and opt-in email newsletters that automatically summarize the latest research insights.
- Easier sharing. We know that getting your research data and insights in front of stakeholders is important. New sharing features like public links with guest access and a ‘Share to Slack’ integration will make this easier than ever, even for people without a Dovetail account.
Goal: Handle more scale in the product, in engineering, and in our business.
- Product scale. We’ll begin efforts to scale our feature set to accommodate larger organizations with new features like multiple workspaces, project categories, workspace permissions, two-factor authentication (2FA), activity feeds, and bulk user management.
- Backend scale. We’ll continue making improvements to our backend infrastructure so we can keep Dovetail fast for all customers without racking up huge infrastructure costs.
- Pricing scale. We will continue improving our billing system, keeping it easy for customers to manage their own subscriptions. We’ll introduce pricing that scales based on user count, so smaller organizations with less users will pay less and larger organizations with more users will pay more.
Goal: Provide a smooth end-to-end experience.
- Deliver great support. Recently we moved to a shared inbox for support along with a dedicated support rotation. Last year we also introduced our public Slack community for users. We’ll continue to improve our support processes to ensure smooth sailing for us and a great experience for users.
- Improved developer experience. We’ve spent a lot of time improving our developer experience so we can continue moving quickly and easily onboard new developers throughout the year. We’ll continue working on engineering health and developer experience to make this happen.
- Grow our team. We hope to grow our team from 3 people to 7 people by the end of 2019. This is based on revenue growth and no external investment. If we do raise external investment, then we will grow our team faster.
Thank you to all of our customers, friends, and family who have helped us get this far. We really appreciate it. 2019 is going to be a huge year for us and we’re counting on your support again. Buckle up!