- Our first product
If you are anxious and don’t want to scroll down to the bottom of the article, here’s the link to Retimer’s landing page.
In the midst of the pandemic, we have come to understand the importance of remote meetings. They can be effective or expensive. Sometimes both. Moreso, meetings can make-or-break your team. Working towards a clear way of communicating can be a painful and slow process, and in this industry, there’s no time for slow.
This is the story of how we wanted to improve remote meetings and make ourselves more conscious of the time and energy we spend on them.
First things first, the project had a clear goal: make meetings shorter a more effective. The project began with brainstorming and several discussions about how we could tackle this challenge, and one of the concepts that stood out was to focus on data-driven decision-making.
Making data-driven decisions on teams is a game-changer. With the right data in front of their eyes, leaders and managers can make objective decisions and move their businesses forward.
All these decisions lead us to create an app that uses team members’ hourly rates to convert meeting times into money automatically. We wanted to reach everyone, everywhere, so we knew we needed to make an app, and considering we also wanted to push ourselves forward, we decided to focus on designing and developing a mobile app from the ground up, instead of creating a –perhaps simpler– PWA (Progressive Web App).
With all these considerations in mind, we dived into the project.
Learning by doing
Reaching everyone in mobile development means that you need to make your app available, at least for Android and iOS platforms. Now, making native apps for two different platforms is not something you take slightly. However, we’ve always wanted to get into the hybrid mobile app development scene, and we couldn’t think of a better opportunity than this one for doing so.
A completely new framework, using a library we’re not familiar with, obviously signaled that it’d take us some time getting up to speed, and that’s exactly why we love taking on challenges like these.
Throughout the project, we:
- Tested and pushed the limits of hybrid apps. It turns out you can do pretty much everything but a few things.
- Lived the experience of facing the technical challenges and requirements of launching an app to both Apple’s and Google’s stores. Some ASO (App Store Optimization) as well to help users reach the app faster.
- Honed our skills in mobile app design. It’s a completely different thing when you’re designing your own product and being your own client.
- Put our project management skills to the test. With other internal and client projects, how much can we deliver in a sprint?
- And so much more that would need a separate article to cover.
Gettin’ the job done
Creating compelling experiences is not new to us, and we know what it takes to get there. We have put a lot of effort and brains into Retimer, involving our entire team to decide the scope and define our roadmap.
Working with a roadmap helps you stay focused and accountable. Far from being foolproof, it helped us decide which features to work on and stay on track. We intend to release our roadmap to the public to make users a true driver of Retimer’s change.
Once we finished our MVP, our beta tester pool (A group of friends and colleagues, and why not: family) gave us a great amount of feedback that helped us move forward, and thanks to them, we were ready to ace Retimer. However, we knew this first stage was centered around building technical skills and getting familiar with the concept. If we wanted to make our next version a success, we needed a complete overhaul in aesthetics and function. Thus, enter the design team.
Our designers set to the task of making Retimer look great and perform spectacularly. They analyzed all the metrics obtained so far and reviewed the interactions between the users and the app, redefining some major features and removing irrelevant stuff. Lastly, they also got involved in defining our launch strategy and creating all the visual materials you see today.
Retimer came with these new features:
- Solo-timer: Cool name for tracking your own time, huh?
- Meeting cost preview: We added this feature to help managers be more conscious about their money, even before starting a new meeting.
- Revamped stats menu: more useful ways to see your stats, at a glance, and over time.
- Notifications: We rebuilt the notifications system and made it more reliable. A NIGHTMARE to set up, but it’s worth the effort.
- Chromecast compatibility: Because it’s great to broadcast the timer to a big TV so everyone can see it (only Android for now).
- Multi-language: Porque también hablamos español, as well as a lot of our user base.
Lots of new stuff, right? Paraphrasing Uncle Ben: “With great new features comes along a great set of bugs.” We tried to get a little fancy with bug tracking. Our testers were being really diligent in reporting bugs, so we made an open document where we could talk about the issues we found along the way and solve them.
When bug-squashing ends, launching begins.
With little to no budget, launching a product is hit or miss. However, it didn’t stop us from wanting to make a great launch. We focused mostly on social media and different platforms to share products, especially Product Hunt.
Now, Product Hunt is a whole world in itself. Following that part, we prepared everything in advance to launch day. All the media and content for all platforms were ready. A launch article was in place too. So we set up to launch the product, and here we are!
We’re excited to announce that a new Retimer is well underway. Our users’ feedback really helped us get a clearer view of what the product should have and how to behave.
This is what we’re working on right now:
- Meeting templates.
- Specific time inputs (you’ll be able to add hours, minutes and seconds).
- Detail pages for meetings to show specific information, team members, and more.
- Meeting rating. This one is a simple yet HUGE feature that will help users add context to their data. Not every long meeting is bad, and not every short meeting is good.
- Comment on a meeting. Following rating a meeting, you’ll be able to leave a comment that will help give context to it.
- Predictive text for meetings.
- Edit meeting title. Should’ve been from the beginning.
- Really tentative: MacOS port. We want Retimer to be in everyone’s hands or desktop!
These new challenges mean that we’ll need to learn more and work better as a team. Our Director of Operations, Fer, is already on the way with new and crazy methods to make Retimer better.
Finally, we invite you to download the app for your platform of choice (iOS or Android), and please give feedback! We’ll seriously take it into consideration and will guide us throughout future releases.