Battling browsers and constant improvement

A few months ago we launched an early version of our online meeting tools which are designed to take away some of the common frustrations when holding meetings over a conference call e.g. sketching out an idea, sharing files, brain storming ideas and tracking actions.

Our application uses  ‘real-time’ technology, which means that all changes are kept up to date without have to click refresh in your browser. This enables all participants in the meeting to have the same view and ability to contribute (unlike screen sharing software where only one user has control of the meeting). All this is achieved with just a web browser with no install of 3rd party plugins e.g. Flash, Silverlight.

As you can probably imagine, this advanced use of web technology is really pushing the boundaries of current browsers. Unfortunately not all web browsers behave in the same way and fixing all of the niggly issues has been hard work. In general, the application works really well in Chrome, FireFox and Safari but building a great experience in Internet Explorer has been a real challenge. Since we launched the app, we have released new functionality and bug fixes every week. The main focus of development has been to improve the Internet Explorer experience.

Our approach to building our company has been inspired by Lean Startup principles, which in simple terms means we listen to our user community, actively seek feedback and make frequent improvements to our service. Please get in touch if you have ideas or general feedback (positive or negative we would like to hear it) – our feedback page page is here

Below is a list of the changes in the last month:

  1. Improved File Upload – Our file uploader now uses flash on non html5 browsers (use Chrome or FireFox if you would like to use ‘drag and drop’ functionality directly from your computer/iPAD).
  2. Internet Explorer Improvements – There were a number of formatting issues and errors popping up in cases where IE works differently to open standards and the rest of the browsers on the market (honestly we aren’t bitter arrgh).
  3. Real-time Search for Tasks/Files – You can now filter your tasks/files by keywords as you type.
  4. Improvements to Itelli Draw – The Itelli draw feature allows you to sketch out ideas using the mouse and complex algorithms (big word for smart coding) create common shapes e.g. rectangles, triangles, diamonds. We now support arrows which really opens up the potential uses e.g. quickly draw process diagrams.

Over the next few releases we will be focusing on:

  • Improving the drawing tools – Making our tools more intuitive and easy to use  (they can be fiddly in sometimes).
  • Improving the iPAD experience – Our app looks great on the iPAD and is great use tablet technology, however, some of the iPAD gestures aren’t fully  supported.
  • Improving performance – Some of our users are now building fairly big project’s which can be slow to load the first time the app loads.

We have lots of new functionality in the pipeline including multiple projects, inviting participants from LinkedIn, WebRTC – but more on that next time.

One final note, for the best experience and performance when using SmarterCalls (or any other app or site) please consider using Chrome. Any feedback or questions please get in touch.


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