The problem with running betas:

For me, it’s the inability to effectively communicate with beta users and track their comments and suggestions in one place.

At this point, running a beta of your app is commonly accepted as a great way to iterate and test your app with real users and to figure out what the app really needs, but some parts of that process are broken.

I ran a beta lately for Are My Sites Changed, and I’ve run a few before that. I’ve started to notice a trend. During betas, more than almost any other time, I get lots of suggestions and comments, and they’re from all sorts of places, like email, Olark live chat, and even Intercom. It’s hard to keep track of who said what, when, and where, even when I know that a particular conversation happened.

During betas, the app is rapidly changing, bugs are getting fixed, features are being added and removed, and I want to keep my beta users informed, so that they know what’s happening, and that the app is getting better all of the time. So far, there is no good, integrated way to do that.

I want an app that will take my users/app from beta through launch and beyond, providing a great way to keep my users/customers informed about what is happening, to have an open dialog with them, and to use best practices to retain those users as customers for years after launch. I also want an app that takes what I learn from my users and helps me to turn it into knowledge that I can use to convert more users.

Is this something that you need as well? Sense Labs is starting to work on an app that will help to solve this problem, and more that we’ve seen while running betas and the web apps that come out of them. We want to build a toolkit for web app owners like us.

The goals:

  • Keep users informed about what’s changing in the app
  • Surface useful data to you that you can use to find and reward the most valuable users that you have
  • Remind you when the best times are to do things that will benefit your business, based on information that we keep track of for you.
  • Give you an easy way to announce important things to all of your users at once.
  • Find out what actual paying customers want, when they want it, and how they’re using the app, so you can best focus your development
  • Find out how to retain users who are thinking of canceling their subscription to your app (and then actually retain them)!
  • and a few more. I’ll be talking about them as time goes on.

Basically, we’re going to take what we’ve learned from years of running successful web apps, and use it to build an app that will help you be more effective at running your own web apps, communicating with your customers,
retaining existing customers, and attracting more.

If you’d like to come along for the ride (and be part of the eventual beta, haha), sign up here!