January 1, 2019

Just launched — MeetMonocle.com

Happy New Year hackers! This is my first post after listening to probably all of the podcast episodes. It's inspiring to see that so many of you are creating and launching so many interesting products and it definitely contributed to my motivation to keep launching small products.

Today I'm launching a helpful tool for web designers and developers who frequently need to get feedback from their clients. If you ever used email to gather feedback from your clients (no idea what browser they're on, what OS or device they use, getting vague 1000-word emails ...) you know what a frustrating mess that often turns out to be.

Instead, MeetMonocle (https://meetmonocle.com). After add just one script tag to your web project, clients will be able to easily point and click any element on your site and give feedback on it. Instead of using perfect and thus unrealistic screenshots (like when using redpen or sketch cloud for feedback), clients now see the real web page on a real device. We'll log the OS, exact browser version, screenshot and everything else you need to efficiently process that feedback.

Your first project is completely free and I'm really curious to know what you all think or what I can improve to make this little tool more useful.

Thanks for taking the time to take a look and for all the feedback!

Make it a great year to try new things and learn!

  1. 5

    Love the landing page, logo and idea.

    "Email is for suckers" struck me as a bit harsh, but that might just be me.

    1. 1

      Hi Justin, you might be right, but at least you noticed one of the taglines ;). I'm not a native English speaker, so I might miss some nuances there. Does anyone else think that sentence is harsh or rude?

      1. 2

        Really awesome idea. Pulling from @JustinTanner comment - For the tagline - maybe something like "Email sucks as a design tool" so it's not your potential users that are suckers - but the act of using email for design collaboration that sucks.

      2. 1

        Your grammar is good, I'm trying to think of something as short as that conveys your meaning.... Email is a poor design tool, sorry that's a hard one.

  2. 3

    congrats on your launch. Maybe you could add some screenshots to the landing page ? I had no idea what the tool was about when the page opened

  3. 2

    Seems pretty nice. Great colours. Mailchimp is using a similar style now - yellow/black/font.

    I'm submitting your product to SaaShub now, who would you say are your top competitors?

    1. 2

      Hi Stan, I would say that something like sketch cloud (for feedback) or redpen is doing the same thing and I've know them for years. They are great and mature products; Reason for creating monocle was that one company asked me to, because they didn't want to upload screenshots for their 60-page online stores and other products they released.

    2. 1

      Thanks for submitting to saashub!

  4. 2

    The demo is awesome, but I almost missed it! Maybe increase the size of the "try it" arrow a bit

    1. 2

      or maybe you can have the gif that shows the flow of the app in your homepage right away?

    2. 1

      Good idea!

    3. 1
      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 19 days ago.

  5. 1

    What the fucking fuck, this is so useful. Just registered an account here on Indie Hackers, browsed at most 10 posts, then I found this. This is exactly what I needed... on all of my websites, and all the websites that I'll be building from now on. I'll be honest though, I'm not doing great with money, so I'll probably just use the free package for each website, on a different email.

  6. 1

    A bit late to this. Looks like a useful service. Congratulations on getting it out there!

    Btw, noticed a typo in one of the headlines: “These fine folks

    also use Monocole” 👈

  7. 1

    I really like this tool! I'll pass it along to the people at my agency to see if they're interested in it.

  8. 1

    pretty cool tool, not sure how i could use it right now, but cool nonetheless...

    most times people just send me screenshots with issues highlighted

    1. 1

      I used to work that way too, but I didn't really like the process of going true endless mails with vague screenshots and descriptions, replying and asking what browser they were using. The company that contacted me wanted a tool like this where feedback gets logged into a simple case tracker for their developers to follow up on. If email works fine for you and your clients, I see no reason to change that process.

  9. 1

    Super cool! Can you give more info on the technologies used?

    1. 1

      Hi Jelle, ask away! I've tried to keep things simple but that gets out of hand pretty quickly as you may know. Having said that, I've used vuejs + firebase (backend) + sass + vanilla JS to build the app. I use parcel to build the whole thing and I like that flow. Firebase is cool but I've also learned that I tend to prefer working with custom mongodb+express in order to prevent lock-in, make testing easier and just to have more flexibility. Laravel would have been a solid option as well. One of my personal goals of building this little app was learning firebase so that I could compare the stack in the future.

  10. 1

    It might be wise to add a final pricing option "More than 50? Contact us?" That way you can have larger organizations involved. However, I don't think number of projects is the right way to charge. I would re-think and potentially look at amount of feedback. This way you can better scale with client size.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your input! Right now I have a couple of agencies that typically have around 10 active projects, no more than that. I'm thinking of waiting for feedback and seeing how many projects get added per client before I add larger plans, it might be not needed at all?

  11. 1

    Uh-oh. Are you sure mailchimp will be happy with your website using their design?

    1. 1

      I experimented with several versions and color schemes in figma so I could easily switch back to one of my other versions. Do others also feel the same way about the homepage? It's a pretty popular color scheme I guess, and I was definitely influenced by https://postmarkapp.com which I use regularly.

  12. 1

    You should add an email form so people can subscribe to a newsletter of some sort on your home page so people can keep track of this project which could also work as a sales funnel.

    1. 1

      Good point. On the other hand, do you like to sign up for those kinds of emails?

      1. 1

        I think it's cool to follow the journey of someone starting an application from scratch. I think levels.io did this so well, propably why he has such a big following.

        I signed up anyways. Good luck :D

        1. 1

          I'll consider adding such a form, but I think Pieter / levels.io is operating at a very different level and has much more interesting stuff to say than I do!

  13. 1

    This is a nice tool. Seriously well done!

    I’ve just signed up and will implement on SongBox later today.

    1. 2

      Hi Mick, that's great to hear! Would you mind if I added the SongBox logo with a link on my homepage under the "These fine folks also use Monocole" section?

      1. 1

        Not at all. Go ahead.

  14. 1

    Very interesting concept and great site design!

  15. 1

    This is really cool. So you somehow find each div the users is hovering over? I tried it first on my iphone and it wasn't a great experience, it's probably a bit trickier to deal with a touch screen I assume.

    1. 1

      Hi! Yeah you're right. On smartphones there is no hover event, so the experience "on tap" doesn't feel as natural as when using a laptop or desktop computer. I'm also realistic that this is the best I could do in 3-4 weeks in just a few hours a day (babies at home take up some time ;) ) and I'll iterate on this to make it better on mobile.

      Do you have any ideas on what could make the experience better on your iphone? Thanks for taking a look!

      1. 1

        I think you might have to rethink the mobile experience since there is no way to hover on an iphone. Maybe you could have a two step process, select a div (which highlights the div), then you have the option to make a feedback form with a much smaller button "Submit feedback", if this button is pressed the big form is presented. If the user doesnt press this button they can simply keep selecting another element until they are satisfied.

        1. 1

          That's seriously good feedback, thank you! Next question on my mind is: when should I serve up the mobile experience with the two-step process? Hardware detection is a no-go, but max-width/resolution checks may not be accurate enough. I'm thinking of trying [@media](/media) (hover: hover) to target the right audience.

          Thanks again for the feedback, my estimate is that you'll see this implemented in the next couple of weeks :)

          1. 1

            I've been thinking about implementing a similar application. I have had so many emails with clients back and forth which is just a mess, you are trying to solve a real problem for sure.

            I'm not sure how you would find out if a user is using their mobile phone, maybe this https://stackoverflow.com/questions/11381673/detecting-a-mobile-browser

            I agree, resolution might not be a good way to go about it.

        2. 1

          could also implement a pseudo cursor, maybe like a small circle they can drag around which then causes the element highlight?

          1. 1

            After thinking about this, wouldn't dragging cause a scroll or wouldn't mobile users expect that?

            1. 1

              was thinking something like this: https://output.jsbin.com/qomatagesu

          2. 1

            I'll experiment with alternative cursors to see if they fit the use case, thanks for the input!

        3. 1

          I agree that the 2 step process would be the most viable solution for mobile.

          1. 1

            The mobile experience did feel a bit awkward when I launched it, but at least it was usable is what I was thinking. I'll try the 2-step process and will report back ;)