Watchsend provides developers with video of a users’ experience as they engage with their mobile app. It creates a better software experience by streamlining troubleshooting, providing actionable analysis to companies and cataloguing issues for later access.
“They’re (UserTesting and Usabilla) providing the same kind of qualitative feedback that we are, but we can do things like scale to thousands of users and give you more information for your buck,” Shah tells me.
Watchsend co-founders Zain Shah and Ishaan Gulrajani had made it to their apex: the Apple stage. They had won a design award and were being honored for creating a beloved and inherently viral app that allowed users to share media. But as quickly as they reached the mountaintop, the team began to take somewhat of a tumble.
The two co-founders had launched Mosaic, an app that allowed users to share photos, videos and more from device-to-device with just a swipe. But taking the stage, their rating quickly went from five stars to two stars in the App store. In order to solve their problem, they inadvertently created Watchsend, a platform that allows developers to glean video of a user's screen, providing actionable data and making analysis and troubleshooting easier.
When Mosaic’s ratings started sinking and the team started realizing that the app simply didn't work for some – which they learned the hard through comments such as “App sucks” or "Uninstalling app” – Shah and Gulrajani made their phone number display in the app, asking troubled users to call.
After three weeks in the app store, they finally targeted the problem.
They soon realized when location services prompts popped up, people were hitting cancel because they were mainstream users who didn't realize it was necessary.
"It kind of felt a little pathetic,” Shah said. “I can't believe we had so little empathy that we didn't know our users would have problems like this. We had this accountability. We were on stage, and here we are with a 2 percent rating, and I feel really bad about what’s going on."
The Operative Word Is Empathy
These setbacks were a wake-up call to think outside the box and outside their own developer brains.
"We had all these phone calls and we'd say 'Wow, these users are so different than we expected,’” Shah said. “We never in a million years would understand why people wouldn't want to give us their location. They have a different perspective than us, and I imagine this isn't a unique situation."
Shah said it highlights a problem many companies have.
"From what I can tell, many developers lack empathy. They understand how humans interact with computers, but they don't understand how all humans interact with computers."
How Watchsend Saves Businesses Time And Money
$2 billion dollars is currently being spent to bridge the gap between software and users because no better solution existed other than personnel-heavy and time-intensive analysis.
Most businesses employ analysts and use analytics tools to identify user problems, but these programs or people often are unable to offer solutions or actionable data. Watchsend would take the analyst out of the equation, freeing up the UX developer and the project manager to focus more on doing their jobs.
Ultimately, Watchsend creates better software for everyone.
Some of Watchsend’s clients include Esurance, Universal and apps such as GymPact and Camera Awesome -- platforms that care about design and want to be on the cutting edge of new innovation, Shah pointed out.
Watchsend’s largest customer right now does 300 to 400 recordings per hour.
How It Works
The app records users’ screens and tracks every movement from swipes to clicks. It then catalogues behaviors and lets developers test their hypothesis on possible problems users might be confronting.
With Watchsend, developers don't have to deal with configuration. They download the library and simply write three lines to code to integrate it into their app.
The app offers the same amount of privacy a company already maintains. Names and credit card information are all blocked out, and users are allowed to simply opt in to a recording.
Hackers Of Hackathons
Zain is only 20 and Gulrajani is 18, but together they have 10 years of mobile development experience for iOS and Android.
The two met in high school near Philadelphia and immediately knew they’d work well together. They took on both academic and projects for fun as a team. They eventually began hacking hackathons, figuring out the pattern to success. “We did this by designing a project attuned to what the judges are into Simply taking feedback from the perceived user." Shah said.
Soon, just by paying attention to their audience, they were making money off of hackathons all over the country and became known as the "Guys who figured out how to win hackathons."
Shah dropped out of Pitt and Gulrajani out of MIT three weeks ago.
"The greatest thing we learned is that, with younger people developing apps more and more, two kids in high school can build something but they don't have the empathy that more mature developers have, and they need something like this," Shah said. "And it's not all high school students. Huge companies that have expensive UX design experts are knowledgeable, but none are perfect."
How big is the market?
Huge, we're making the market for this because it's so much more actionable than traditional analytics, but even traditional mobile analytics constitutes a $ 2 billion dollar market.
Why did you pick this idea to work on?
It was what we needed with Mosaic, and we realized we weren't even close to alone. Every software company in the world needs this.
Who are your competitors? How are you different?
Our competitors are actually people posting ads on Craigslist and in newspapers asking for people to come in for $30/hr to try out their apps + the huge analytics industry with companies like Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Chartbeat, Kissmetrics, etc.
What do you understand about your business that others just don't get?
That graphs and charts won't solve your problems. With enough work on your part you might be able to configure traditional analytics to give you an approximate idea of where your problems are, but nothing like this. We'll *show* you exactly what/where your problems are.
What's your biggest risk? What keeps you up at night?
Explaining this to developers; it's so new.
How do you acquire customers?
Word of mouth, outreach at developer events/hackathons, technology press, open source projects, etc.
How many companies are using the product? How many pay?
70 companies are using us. 50 are paying us.
How much will you charge developers to use this?
Right now we charge ~$450/month on average.
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