Good developers are constantly trying to get feedback on the user experience and navigation of their apps, in an effort to improve them before launch. But few tools exist right now that allow them to do so, outside of just watching beta users over their shoulders.
Delight.io was launched to solve that problem. By just adding a single line of code to their iOS apps, developers can now record users sessions in video, and see how users interact with the touch screen while controlling those apps. That will allow developers in turn to improve the user experience, streamline navigation, and eliminate confusing controls.
It works like this: Developers throw a line of code into apps that they’re testing out. Once that’s done, they can begin recording user sessions through a web-based dashboard. The service then works by uploading user sessions silently in the background whenever someone opens and begins using the app in question. Developers have control over when sessions are recorded and how they’re uploaded, whether users are on WiFi or cellular networks. The resulting videos take up less than 1 MB for each minute of video recorded.
After sessions are over, recorded videos appear in the developer’s web dashboard. They show user’s interactions with the touch screen as a blue dot on the screen, allowing developers to see exactly what users are clicking on. The videos also automatically block secure UITextField entries, blacking out keystrokes and protecting user privacy when they enter sensitive information like passwords.
Here’s a video to show how it works:
Delight.io was created by Y Combinator alum Thomas Pun and the team behind social video app Nowbox. They built the service for themselves initially to test out how users were playing with the Nowbox app, and to improve navigation on it. But now they’ve made the same functionality available to other developers.
Initially, the team is offering up 50 free recording sessions to developers who sign up to Delight.io, either through Twitter or Github. After that, they’re able to purchase additional recording sessions, either at the price of $50 for 20 sessions, or $100 for 50 sessions. But Pun told me that he and the team are still trying to refine the pricing structure, including working with developers on a plan for unlimited recorded sessions.
The product is still in its early stages, but the team continues to add new features. Not too long ago, it added OpenGL support, and now also works with development tools like Unity, PhoneGap, and cocos2d. As the product matures, it’s bound to add even more useful features, like maybe the ability to create aggregated views of usage based on multiple recording sessions. Even so, for what started as just a hobby, it still seems incredibly useful.