It must be something in the air. A few weeks ago, ClickTale released a version of its visitor recording and activity heatmap product for the mobile web. On Thursday, we wrote about Delight.io’s service for recording user sessions in mobile apps. And now a startup called UserVOD is announcing the public beta of, yes, a product for recording user sessions in mobile apps.
Co-founders Zahi Boussiba and Yoni Douek were previously working together on a mobile social shopping app called ShopTalk. One of the challenges they discovered was the fact that all the feedback was written or verbal, which could sometimes be hard to understand, and didn’t really convey the full user experience.
“If we really wanted to understand what they are doing with our app, the best thing to do would be to stand next to them and watch them,” Boussiba says. That’s where the idea from UserVOD came from. The pair wants to help developers “see” their users “without being next to them” (which is both impractical and creepy).
So when a developer installs the UserVOD SDK, they start getting videos recording each user session — showing where users tapped on each screen, where they got confused, and so on. For privacy, UserVOD automatically hides camera windows and passwords from its recordings, and developers can specify other types of information that they don’t want to record.
As for how it stands out against competing products, Boussiba says one of the company’s big accomplishments is that it enables recordings without noticeably affecting an app’s performance. (Also, as noted above, ClickTale is currently focused on mobile websites, not native apps.)
Future plans include an app marketplace where developers can find app testers, as well as a widget that enables those developers to collect video feedback — in other words, if you’re using an app and you encounter a problem, you can just record a video of your session, rather than trying to explain everything in writing. Boussiba says the company is also working on features that aggregate the patterns from all your videos, so that you don’t necessarily have to watch hundreds or thousands of them to get meaningful lessons.