Software Engineering · Startups

Web App or Desktop For Launch?

Christopher Wilson Tech product manager, Infusionsoft expert, process automation fanatic, veteran startup exec, & seasoned pitch man.

March 5th, 2015

This has never been done before so we need your opinion to shape it into what our customers want. We are creating a tool for video producers that will automatically scrub their footage. It allows you to edit WHILE filming using voice commands, I won't try to explain...there is a video that does a great job showing the concept here: www.voicecuttech.com.

My question for all business experts... Do we launch with a web app or a desktop version? A few things to note:

1. The web app is already built as a functional prototype with a pretty good user interface and an end to end solution. The web app gives the ability for a user to upload large/long clips with voice commands in the audio, let our system search out the commands and cut the footage into clips of only the desired footage. It can also stitch the clips together, add music, and render out a final HD video or lesser quality web file.

2. If we were to build a desktop app it would be a lightweight version at first with no big interface. It would function like a drag and drop with the ability for a user to quickly drag clips (with embedded voice commands recorded while filming) into the software and the software would spit out clips of the desired footage. These clips could then be imported into FCP, FCPX, Adobe Premier, or any other editing software. It could not stitch the clips into a quick video (yet) like the web app. 

MAJOR advantage to a desktop version. NO UPLOADS TO THE WEB, large video files would stay on the users machine and the VoiceCut clips created would be saved right to their hard drive.

I'm very interested in your feedback! We have 1 developer that is putting in some major changes to the voice recognition program and therefore has little time to do major modifications to the web app or build a complete desktop solution.   The voice recognition is the key to all of this so it will be very robust, but we want to make sure people LOVE it. 

We have vote out to our pre-launch sign up list, so we will see what they say!

David Fridley Founder at Synaccord

March 5th, 2015

Your business model matters here.  A web app could be a good part of a software as a service model where you sell a subscription.  The desktop version is more something that you pay a one time charge for.  Great to have both options, but with one developer you need to focus.

But the lean startup recommendations apply here - get whatever you can as soon as you can in front of users and get their feedback. It's awesome that you have a prototype.  So if you already have a web app - go show it to people and ask for their feedback.  Don't ask the leading question "would you rather have a desktop app" just show them the app and ask them what they think and see what they tell you.

Eric Wold

March 5th, 2015

Ask Tony Pinto in Simi Valley. He does a ton of video work, plus has a deep understanding of software design and marketing. Aren't that many people brilliant at all three...

Danny Sung

March 5th, 2015

As a user, my personal view is that generally speaking native apps are always more of a pleasant experience than web apps.  Web can give you certain benefits of a central off-site server.  From your description and the description given in your product video, it doesn't sound like those particular aspects of web apps come into play for this application.

And in the case of video, you can be quite bandwidth limited.  I'm not sure if I'm your target market, but I know in my case if I were working with large video files and I just need some cuts here and there, it would take me far far less time to just load up iMovie than to transfer my videos to a website.

Andrew Lockley

March 6th, 2015

Can you make it a layer that fits over existing Web storage?

Stephen PMP Project Management Professional

March 5th, 2015

Eh, about the question at hand... It's a mobile world, if you can cram a lightweight version of the missing desktop functionality into a Web app that users could alter on the fly, then that's the way you want to go, hands down.  You can always spend extra coins down the road when you have more capital and [hopefully] more brand awareness and backing.  You might even be able to roll out a more killer desktop version. 

Eric Wold

March 5th, 2015

Been a marketer and a product manager for a long time. It's easy to say "go mobile", and that might end up being the right answer in the end. But it's your target market you should pay the most attention to. Ask the customers.

Is the target an amateur mobile audience, or professionals?

Stephen PMP Project Management Professional

March 5th, 2015

Sage response, that.  Curious though, none of this was fleshed out in your testing/validation?  What vision was bought into? 

Andrew Lockley

March 6th, 2015

BTW I'm very interested in this project. Please contact me personally - first name dot last name at Gmail dot com. You don't have website contact details.

Christopher Wilson Tech product manager, Infusionsoft expert, process automation fanatic, veteran startup exec, & seasoned pitch man.

March 6th, 2015

Thank you for all the wonderful feedback.  I should have pointed out that the original intent of the software was to support my own team spread across the U.S. that films video tours and needs to deliver footage...hence the web app...but since then we realized other people could use it so we have been rethinking the approach.  That was probably some pertinent info because my team WAS the only customer...at first. 

Eric Sullivan CEO at FoundationLab

March 6th, 2015

Like any business I think you need to go through a proper strategy session with someone who understands how to conduct one and then have them or yourself do the deep dive research for persona development, customer surveys, and interviews. That is going to give you more accurate data. I don't know that a lot of us here on FD are target customers so we could just offer opinions but probably wouldn't be the ones spending money. If you decide you want to go down the path for the strategy piece I can refer you to someone.