Beta and feature testing an app remotely is largely conducted via indirect methods of communication, like instant messaging in the best cases, or more often emailed feedback. Delight.io is a new company trying to upend that model by providing recordings of how exactly users are interacting with their mobile apps, including gesture captures, as well as optional recording from the front camera of an iOS device so developers can also check out people’s genuine facial reactions. It’s as good, if not better, than conducting in-person trials, and it could significantly change the way developers run beta tests.
Recordings made with Delight.io happen in the background, and are uploaded automatically to Delight’s servers for developers to view and share. Video is only recorded from the front camera with a user’s explicit permission, requested via an alert pop-up notification, so there’s no danger of encroaching on anyone’s privacy. Combined, the application screen, gesture and reaction recording add up to a complete picture, where developers can immediately see causal links and identify frustration points as they happen, in a way that wouldn’t necessarily be accomplished even by walking through an app with a user in-person.
“What we’re doing is, we basically have this huge pain point [as developers] of basically seeing how a real user interacts with our app,” Delight founder Thomas Pun said in an interview. “You kinda want to know the real feedback, things that users are going through. So we started asking around, and we couldn’t find anyone offering what we were looking for, so we built it ourselves.”
Other people doing iOS development have also clearly been interested in that as well; since launching last month, the startup has already managed to rack up 4,000 recordings, without doing any real marketing except via word of mouth. Already, the company has received lots of feedback from early users, and that’s led to some interesting potential future directions in terms of where the product can go from here.
Pun said that many users have been asking for a way to have the data they’re gathering from users via Delight recordings aggregated and analyzed. It’s easy to see the appeal; instead of being one-off case studies in individual user behavior, aggregate data would represent trends across an entire user base, providing actionable insights into app interaction behavior in a much more easily digestible format. Developers could, for instance, see that 73 percent of their users attempt to use a pinch gesture at the same point in an app via intuition, even though it hasn’t yet been implemented in the app.
Delight currently provides 50 recording sessions free to new sign ups, with additional sessions available at $50 for 20, or $100 for 50. There’s also the option to sign up for a monthly plan of $200 which includes 10 hours of recording. It’s a structure Pun says is working right now, but also subject to change. “Right now we have very simple pricing structure, and we’re open to suggestions from people who want to change it to be either volume-based or a la carte,” he said. “Right now we’re still trying to figure out what works best for pricing.”
Also, while Delight currently only works with iOS apps, the plan is to make it available for a number of other platforms, with Android being the next likely suspect. Ultimately, Pun believes this is tech that would be beneficial to anyone working on software development, so the limitations to platform availability are really only subject to limitations in resource allocation and market size. With a powerful concept, solid execution and long-term plans to build in an extensive analytics platform, Delight really does have the potential to become a developer’s best friend.