This app update wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible people who have been directly in contact with us via Twitter and Yac over the last 6+ months. We heard you loud and clear and with this update we hope to hit most of your wish list!
A year ago, we started work on our desktop app. When we built the first desktop version we were honing in on a very limited set of features, which didn’t represent what we know the product will be today. After mobile was released last year, we found that the user experience was fast, efficient, and super easy to use. However, our desktop app was anything but this. It didn’t support newer features, such as broadcast messaging and search; adding these features would just be putting the code base into further tech debt, so we decided to rewrite the entire app instead of modifying the existing one. (clean code base, we built the first one for MVP, not scalability).
For any makers or developers who understand the limitations of Electron, we were stuck on a very old version of Electron due to a breaking bug that got introduced in Electron 5. Our borderless, frameless, transparent window (the floating icon) was great in concept, but really crippled our codebase. Moving away from that meant basically rewriting the entire base of the app so at that point we decided, let's just start clean.
Let’s look at some of the feedback from our users regarding the old app’s performance and then what we’ve done to address them:
“Lags too much.”
“Although I have the ability to screen record - it takes longer than to just export and upload a screencast.”
“The audio takes time to show that it is recording, so it leaves a 2 second weird "no sound" before each message.”
“crashes every now and then and just takes forever to accomplish something”
“has a big memory footprint”
10x less RAM & CPU usage
5x faster screen recording
1/3rd smaller screen share file size
Transcription: The Diamond in the Rough
“I was disappointed to not be able to see full transcripts of the conversations.”
“provide FULL TRANSCRIPTS of every communication”
“I would like more ways to access and share the transcripts from messages.”
What We Did & What We Are Doing
We had no idea how powerful transcription would be. It was originally added as a value add feature that just looked cool in our mockups. However, the response was overwhelmingly, “we want more!”. With that feedback we adapted and as of today you can now copy the full transcript to your clipboard via the desktop app, and we will be adding a way to simply expand the preview to view the whole transcript in the very near future.
“The key thing that put me off was the icon: Having a constantly animating icon sitting on my screen is very, very annoying.”
“I didn't want the icon to float. It could just stay in the bar.”
“Option to "snooze" or hide the always-on floating button.“
“better ways to control where the Yac icon sits on the desktop”
Removed the floating icon
No longer "always on top"
App is no longer a menu bar app
App now had a badge count on the dock or taskbar and can be minimized down to the same icon to hide it from view
Why/How We Did:
The floating Yac icon was perfect...for us… and about 3 other people. Our team loved it because it allowed us to work on a task while not leaving that tab or window. However, our users felt differently. Designers found it especially annoying because they’d be working on an important design and Yac always seemed to be in the way. As founders it can sometimes be hard to hear feedback, but feedback is how we improve our app. Based on the latest feedback we developed our new update and we are already hearing extremely positive feedback! A few of the folks that loved the floating icon have reached out to let us know that they now feel that the app takes more clicks to send a message. With that feedback we added a quick reply on hover (simply hover over a message over your list and click reply to instantly start recording), and keyboard shortcuts (CMD+K + search + enter). We addressed opposing sides of the feedback to make the app as user friendly to as many people as possible.
Sharable Public Links
“Create the ability to share public links to messages/screen share”
“Be able to export audio and video to share easily outside of Yac.”
Sharable Public Links to Messages
Now when sharing a Yac you have the option to forward the message internally inside of Yac or copy a public link to share anywhere else.
This feature request seemed counterintuitive to us at first, as our thought process was to just invite them directly to Yac. Ultimately, we decided this feature would only help folks who needed to get their fellow teammates on board with the idea of using Yac. We figured a teammate may be missing out on some Yac features, such as variable speed controls and transcription, but at least they won’t miss out on important announcements or messages in Yac.
Speaking with a few folks at Twitter, they made it clear that they needed a tool that played well with others because if they become too siloed, which has happened internally before, then parts of the team get left out of important discussions. Public links will now allow anyone to stay in the loop.
Desktop More Mobile-Like
“UX is counter-intuitive”
“Better Desktop app”
I have issues on my desktop app, the mobile works.
Similar Interface, Similar Features
The “it just works” UI and UX of mobile brought over to desktop
Features added from mobile such as forwarding, broadcasting, and video
Why the Change?
Mobile had much better UX and we wanted the experience between desktop and mobile to be similar, if not the same, so the user doesn’t have to learn two different apps for the same product.
Dashboard Easier to Access
“access my dashboard on the Yac site.”
“Put a clear LOGIN section on the website, or provide the ability to manage teams natively through the app.”
“Easier to add/invite teammates.”
Accessing Admin Dashboard Made Easy
Now you can go to yac.com/admin to get to your dashboard.
We added a bold button on the homepage to easily login to dashboard online.
You can now invite new users right inside the apps. Coming very soon to desktop (eta a few days) and already live on mobile. Sign out and sign back in if you don’t see it.
“Would love to not use my mouse and click like Command + K to start a Yac”
“I can’t do Command+tab to switch to Yac. Super annoying”
Command + K now allows you to record a Yac easily without touching your mouse.
Command + tab now allows you to quickly switch between apps, including Yac.
We spoke with several teams focused on efficiency and they made it clear that they weren’t using Yac simply because they liked our team. They used Yac because it gave them efficiency superpowers and they couldn’t stand the thought of using their mouse to control the app. Turns out hyper-efficient startup teams love their keyboard shortcuts. “But why Command + K?”, you might ask. This experience was simply stolen from Slack since we know over 95% of our users also use Slack.
We Discovered Our Strengths
“Saves time in explaining complicated stuff”
“The ability to listen to personalized messages on my own time”
“Easy and quick way to send longer messages than I'd like to type out.”
“More efficient communication”
“The ability to send fast voice memos from my laptop”
“I like the verbal use rather than having to type out a bunch of details that might possibly be misconstrued.”
One advantage Yac has allowed us to have is the ability to directly communicate to our customers with our voice. This creates an unparalleled customer service experience to hear, for better or worse, feedback in (asynchronous) real time. The main theme of our communication has always come back to efficiency. Whether it's using keyboard shortcuts, sending voice messages, or having an incredible desktop experience, folks are finding Yac to help them complete tasks.
One team shared with us how they recently become fully remote and started using Yac and Asana for task management exclusively. They went from 1.5 days worth of tasks getting done in a full week to 5 full days of work by THURSDAY. Incredibly, their productivity increased by over 3x within a few short weeks with us. You can thank them for the last minute keyboard shortcuts!
More human than other messengers
“Hearing a person is so much better than just reading the words”
“Easier to provide context and emotion via voice. Adds emotion into conversation”
We once sat in a VC meeting in Menlo Park with some of the smartest folks we’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with. They didn’t see the value in having a human element to an app. Now that the world is experimenting with remote work, quarantining, and social distancing, we are finding that teams are looking for ways to collaborate outside of strictly written content. Work culture seems to be shifting beneath our feet in our favor towards more than avatars and plain text.
People care about transcription
People using our app everyday are asking for more and more capabilities of transcription, such as seeing the full transcript, copy/paste ability, translation, and more. We are using off the shelf transcription at the moment but we hope to integrate with some key partners to bring the most accurate text-to-speech experience possible.