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Lee Campbell

I’ve had it. I’m so unbelievably tired of trialling web apps that just aren’t product ready.

Somewhere along the line, the concepts of designing and testing a product properly before it’s put to market have been lost. These days, every numbskull with an idea turns it into a web app and immediately starts proselytising it’s revolutionary nature before they’ve even used it themselves.

It’s not just about poor design and functionality. It’s not just about the fact that web apps seem to aim for bare minimum and get by with poor integrations. It’s the goddamn money grab. It’s become the norm that start ups (which are not a new concept by the way) are founded in financial gain. It used to be that start ups were founded in innovation. They used to represent a truly new idea that could benefit people in some way. Now it’s money first, possible functionality later.

I’m not a huge fan of singling people out, but for the sake of consistency, let’s use a couple of examples.

Firstly, the illustrious Novlr. The trend of leaving out vowels to create product names aside, this web app is literally just an online version of Microsoft Word. With about 5% of the functionality of a word processor, the founder of Novlr unleashed it on the market and asked people to pay them US$10 per month for the privilege of writing things and having it saved online. I mean honestly, what is that? How did someone at some point not say to these donkeys – that’s not a good enough reason to charge people $10 a month. In the interest of fairness, I concede that this platform now offers an eBook conversion feature. Not having used it, I can’t comment on its value. But the point stands that it’s the kind of thing that should have been part of the product before it’s first release. Not over a year later.


Novlr Homepage

Next, the questionable Designrr. They’ve taken the naming trend one step further. Now it’s delete a vowel and add a completely erroneous consonant. And we wonder why our language is being lost. Anyway, this idea actually had legs to begin with. A web app that automatically converts blog posts into a lead generation eBook. That’s got the potential to add real value to people’s lives. But once again, the thing was launched well before its time. And you know what, it wasn’t even the horrible usability of the visual editor that bothered me the most here. It was the fact that in order to cancel my account, I had to a) search the documentation for instructions and then b) send a message via the live chat widget to request it. As I said to them, how little faith must you have in your product if you can’t even bring yourselves to allow people to cancel their own accounts?


Designrr Homepage

Sadly, the internet is rife with this kind of bullshit. Frustratingly, the answer is simple. Getting rich quick needs to be replaced with genuine desire for innovation as the motivation for web app development. Juggernaut corporations like Google and Facebook claim to be helping the development of new products because they buy them out and make millionaires out of nobodys. But they’re actually contributing to the problem. Because they don’t buy them out based on the validity of the idea, they do it based on their profitability.

Of course, I’m not naive enough to believe that profitability isn’t going to be a factor in business decisions. All I’m asking is that in the world of web app development, it be bumped down a rung. Pride and belief in the product needs to regain its mantle in start up motivation.

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