We released our Jimdo mobile apps for iOS and Android back in 2013/2014, which feels like ancient history now but actually speaks to how much we’ve improved them over time. It used to be a real novelty to build and edit a website on mobile. Now you can do way more with our apps, like manage store orders, blog, edit photos, etc.
We still put a lot of effort into improving the apps, but our mobile team has wanted to get a little more experimental and think about what we can do next.
Here’s the issue with new features, though: we don’t want to just add them (and make our apps more complicated to use) unless they are really of value to our customers. We needed a way to test some new features—basically, throw some spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks—and quickly get feedback from our users without making the existing apps too complex.
We needed a way to test new features and quickly get feedback from our users—without making the existing apps too complex.
That’s why we’ve decided to try something new with our mobile strategy. Let’s release new, standalone apps and let you try them out to see what works and what doesn’t. That way we build apps that are the most useful (always a plus!) without too many secondary features or endless menus.
Here are the “rules” we came up with for ourselves:
- Choose ideas for apps that we can build and test quickly.
- Keep the apps as independent from our existing main app (the website builder) as possible.
- Make them simple, make them fast—they don’t have to cover all possible use cases. For example, these apps are for phones only, not tablets.
- To start, we’ll release them in English and German, rather than all our supported languages.
- Focus on one platform at a time—in other words, remove the pressure to release an app for both Android and iOS at the same time.
This frees us up to develop new ideas without some of the constraints that we typically work with.
There’s a trick, though—the more people we can get to try the apps and tell us what they think, the faster we can improve, build, and integrate the new ideas. If you’re up for testing our apps as they come out, we need you!
Here’s a look at the first two apps we released:
Jimdo Live Chat (Android and iOS)
The idea behind Jimdo Live Chat is that you should be able to talk to the people who use your website. We built the app so that customers can start a live chat conversation with you to ask questions or get help if they need it—right through your website.
You will get a notification when a new visitor is on your site but if you don’t feel like chatting at a certain time, you can turn the chat and notifications off and enjoy your dinner/vacation/Netflix in peace.
Jimdo Analytics (iOS)
Google Analytics is great, but the data can be overwhelming. That’s actually why it’s great—it collects more data and ways to crunch that data than most mortals will ever need. Sometimes you want to sit and dig into that data, and other times you just want to check in quickly.
The Jimdo Analytics app takes the info from your existing Google Analytics account and puts it into a format that’s easier to use on-the-go. We built a simplified dashboard with the most commonly requested information for your Jimdo website, and you can check it whenever you want. It also provides real-time website data so you can get an alert every time your mom visits your website. (Kidding, kidding—though maybe that’ll be in the next version).
So far we’ve had over 5,000 downloads for the two apps, and we’re hoping that more of you will give them a try and let us know what you think. The more feedback we get, the better we can make them and the faster we can figure out if these are good ideas to pursue.