Let’s Lookback.io

No pun intended. Sort of.
(Note: Lookback.io did not sponsor this post.)

It’s not everyday at a software shop that a client will ask for a step back to re-evaluate their product from a UX perspective. The story usually pans out where clients are ready to start building an application even if there are glaring errors that need some tender loving UX care and direction. We recently had a client who went from a purely engineering job to a UX/UI redesign job – upon their very own request. We were stunned. Dream client? Perhaps, yes! UX Research called and we gladly came running.

While prepping for our new and exciting endeavor, our team huddled together and figured out that there was a significant problem. What were we going to use to record our interviews? Over the years, there has been a constant struggle within the UX world to articulate which application one should use when recording user testing/research sessions. Ask any UX researcher and you’ll get the positives and negatives of tools that currently exist in the market. There are several applications used by various team members here at DevMynd(custom software development company), but none of these applications have ever been shared with the same enthusiasm that one would express when talking about Sketch, Slack, Snapchat, (ahem… Pokemon Go) or what not. With the death of Silverback until further notice, we were on the search for something good. (Word on the street is that Silverback has resurrected in the past few weeks.)

After receiving some suggestions from our UX network, we did a little bit of research ourselves, tested a few, and came across an application called Lookback.io. Here are some reasons why we’re pretty pumped about it.

8 Reasons Why We Like Lookback.io

1) It’s free (at least for now)

When you’re running lean in a startup, being resourceful is pretty key. On top of that, having to pay for something before seeing its value seems a bit bad mannered lately in our tech world so we were happy with Lookback.io’s pricing strategy. I’m sure later down the line there will be some payment structures for this tool but until then, #leanmachine.



2) Dashboard heaven

You have a dashboard where you can organize all your videos according to different projects and organizations you may be serving. Having to organize your files with whatever filesharing service your company is using can be daunting. We appreciate the fact that Lookback.io thought of the many clients consultants like us might be serving at any given time. #thatorganizationthough



3) In context comment tracking

You can make comments directly onto the video’s timeline so that a comment is now attached to a time slot within the video. This feature is probably one of two features that we were most impressed with. Raise your hand if you have video files with separate note files that need to be pulled up side by side when reviewing. (DevMynd’s hands are raised.) If SoundCloud, Youtube, and Medium had a baby, this would be it. #lifesaver



4) Segmented Sharing

You can highlight a segment of the video and send a customized link to someone to watch that specific part of the video, which means less time looking through videos and more time analyzing important information. The is the second feature, along with the one above, that had us raising our brows. It’s brilliant and we’re betting that this was derived directly from researching us UX research folks. (Whoa, meta.) #efficiency



5) Better mechanisms for communication

You can tag your fellow co-workers on specific notes that will notify them via slack-ish behavior. No more copying and pasting your file sharing links with email – use your common internet language behavior to improve communication throughout your operations. (They recently pushed out an integration with slack. #dreamcometrue)



6) Access it anywhere

It stores your videos within the app where you can access them all via internet. If you’re worried about permissions and such, there are small settings that you can set up when sharing content with clients which is helpful. This part isn’t so amazingly new when comparing file sharing services in general but it’s nice to know that it’s not an application that you need to install locally to your machine in order to access content. #thecloudissoreal



7) Clever sound feedback

Whenever the user clicks, the sound is heightened so that there is no guessing as to whether they clicked or not. This might be uninteresting to know but it’s actually incredibly helpful to clearly hear the sound of a click. It’s small details like this that we enjoyed within Lookback.io and we were pleasantly surprised while discovering the thoughtfulness of its experience. #noguessinghere



8) Mix and Match

As a researcher, protecting your users is key and Lookback.io gives you the option of recording both the screen and the user’s face expressions, or if the user opts out, just recording the screen. Audio is implied here but you can turn that off too. It’s important to note here that even if you’ve recorded all the different options available to you, you can export any video to contain segmented components of the recording. #chooseyourownadventure

I’ve had a few exchanges with Lookback.io because there were a some bugs here and there that were confusing our team. They were responsive, helpful, and pretty friendly. When we completed our project, I asked if there was a feature where I could export my notes into a CSV file or anything of that sort. They kindly told me that they don’t have that feature yet but emailed me the files pulled directly from their data bank. This is very much appreciated.

In this particular situation, our dream client was in need of a portal that didn’t require any mobile design/testing, so our team didn’t utilize this feature provided by Lookback.io. Regardless, it’s important to say that it exists. If you give this application a try and end up using the mobile version, tell us how it is and what your experience was like – we’d like to know!

Moral of the story – this application served us well in our research endeavors. There are lots of fancy applications out there that will let you edit, stitch videos, build in your presentation, etc., but if you’re looking for something simple, effective, and created with the needs of a UX Researcher in mind, give it a try. You may always want to Lookback.io forever.

Janice leads the design discipline at DevMynd. She has been with the company since 2016.