Since launching "Obie for personal use" along side our brand new browser extension we've accumulated a modest 234 users. For context, Obie is a faster way to find and capture knowledge at work. Historically, Obie has been a tool built for teams on Slack. Through our journey building Obie for teams and organizations that have a lot of information living across disparate tools, we realized there was a huge time cost to getting started and seeing the value in our product. We decided to lower the barrier to entry by developing this "single-player" mode and by adding the browser extension, we removed the dependency on Slack.
Active installs on the Chrome store
The way Obie works is you install the browser extension, connect your documents (i.e. Google Drive, Confluence, Dropbox etc.) and voila! All of this information is now centrally searchable and hopefully, more accessible—all without having to leave the window or app you're currently working in. Great for sales folks looking for collateral, or support agents trying to surface FAQs and product documentation.
Since launching ~60 days ago, activation and user engagement hasn't been great. Most people sign up and connect and integration, perform a test search and we don't see them again.
This is interesting, because we thought there might be more resistance with getting users to connect their knowledge and documents—the data suggests otherwise.
There are a handful of sticky users who have made the search-first user experience a habit for themselves. After interviewing users, I'm beginning to glean that this is because these sticky users are the ones who have more (if not all) of their most accessed information within Obie. For other users, they may need the search functionality sparingly (if they remembered to use it) but Obie might not have the information they're searching for.
Okay, so I surveyed the 234 users. I got 17 responses, plus some one-off user interviews I did early on with those who I gave access to. I asked the following questions:
Then, I used MonkeyLearn free word cloud generator to build word clouds of the different answers. It's really nice to see a visual representation of the responses to see what stands out. It's also great to use these words for marketing/positioning.
How can we improve the Obie browser extension for you?
What is the main benefit you receive from the Obie browser extension?
What type of people do you think would most benefit from the Obie browser extension?
What I glean from this is:
It's fairly clear (at least to me) that Obie will not create a habit with the search-first user experience we currently have. From what I can tell, it's a valuable component of the product after you've formed a habit. So, you've either forced yourself to remember Obie is there to help; which is likely if you have an abundance of your information already in Obie, or you're one of my friends 😂
I reached out to the IH's browser extension community preemptively to get a feel on how people react when a browser extension they install "takes over" the "new tab" experience. The feedback is mixed, but from what I can tell it will come down to providing strong value early for the users enjoy this user experience.
My idea is to have Obie display recently and most frequently accessed docs, notes and wiki articles from all of the connected knowledge into a users "new tab" view in the browser. I think it's safe to say that clicking + New Tab is a behavior that already exists. If we can use this existing workflow to show users something that they need in order to get work done faster, I think we can create a habit and sentiment around Obie that reminds users Obie has what they need to accelerate work.
I'm also toying around with using the Chrome "omnibox" so that you can bring all of the information you've connected to Obie into the Chrome address bar search. The challenge with this approach (I think) is that users will still have to remember to append their address bar query with "Obie" or whatever keyword we choose. Something to test, perhaps.
This is pretty much what I have so far.
What have I missed?
I'd love to hear feedback from the IH community on my approach to trying to understand our users and what the next iteration of this product needs to be to make something people love.