Ideas and Validation February 18, 2020

Looking for feedback on my first ever product

Codemysoul @codemysoul

Hello!

I am about to release my first product later this year and I am now ready to get some initial feedback from the IH community!

The product is called Walkway and can be found from https://walkway.io

Walkway allows you to find nearby places quickly and easily.

The current version has a "free tier" to get initial feedback on the product and includes around 5-6 searches per day.

  1. 2

    Niche down. Niche down. Niche down.

    The technology you've built is solid but like others have said, it really provides no benefit over using Google maps directly.

    The way to deal with that is to find a niche that benefits from this type of technology and niche down. For example, lets say you focused it on:

    • restaurants
    • vegetarian restaurants
    • gluten free vegetarian restaurants

    Every time you add a new constraint to the niche you're actually moving your product further away from Google Maps and that's a good thing. If I was a gluten free vegetarian I would be much more likely to want a special product that's made for me over something generic.

    Now look, I'm not saying "gluten free vegetarian restaurants" is the best niche. That was just the first example that popped into my head. You'll need to do your own research to find something that works.

    But think about it. When you niche down, it's actually easier to come up with more ideas and make your product even more useful because your customers are easier to define. You can start implementing things that only your customers will find useful and won't be on the generic Google Maps.

    1. 1

      Thank you @craftworkgames for the solid advice! That is definitely something I have been thinking about and will most likely introduce at some point. I will start off by allowing users to filter the results by the "types", which are included in all place results. See here: https://developers.google.com/places/supported_types

      Main motivation behind Walkway when I started building it was that I didn't really like the experience in Google Maps to find places around. Here are some of the reasons why:

      1. Very poor filtering. There is exactly 1 filter in Google Maps and that is "minimum rating" when going through search results
      2. Ads. Results from Google Maps are not very organic and are manipulated by ads.
      3. No sorting.

      The Places API results are very very high quality, and it is a great place to start building a product. I think it is a niche by itself already, which could be narrowed down a lot for sure.

      Thanks again for taking a look at Walkway and providing high quality feedback! This is a first time I have ever received any feedback on anything I have completely built by myself from scratch and it gives a lot to think about when trying to build a product.

      Have a great day!

  2. 1

    Hey cool idea, but I really see no value outside of google maps. Maybe if you integrated it in a more social media manner, and maybe provided more about experiences? So if I'm wondering if theres a cool event going on right this second, I can just allow access to this app and then it will automatically show me events based on locations? Does that make sense? So if my library is having a book club reading, it will tell me that, rather than just finding a library via google. Idk, location stuff is cool, but no one will buy this. Especially, if you are already taking people's location data (which google does and their services/requests are free)...

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for your reply! It seems that there is a certain trend to be seen here. This has been a really good experience for idea validation phase for Walkway and I am quite happy with the outcome. I will let it sit for a while now and follow the initial traffic it has been getting.

      Overall, getting compared to Google almost by everyone is quite interesting. There doesn't really seem to be an alternative to find similar place data, except Google exactly. This has been a sort of confirmation by itself really.

      Other than that, it also seems that people have a hard time thinking of paying for search results. I will see how my model plays out, but I will experiment with ads a little later too.

      There is just the fact that those results cost roughly $.003 per search which would require some kind of payment model. But will have to think about that a little more. I dis make some adjustments already.

      1. 1

        Sure! Google isn't the only search engine. Websites such as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo also operate. Additionally, many people have food based apps such as Yelp,OpenTable and etc, and also the generic Apple maps is quite common, but many people prefer google maps I believe. I think google comes up because it is the most dominant and obvious player in this field. Google has a monopoly over all sort of search processes, and many of these are location based. I guess a good point is to ask yourself, what are people looking for that these majors aren't already servicing? Maybe it's impossible to find a place to keep your horses in rural areas or to locate the nearest ski spot (for whatever reason these may not be on google). The best bet for each payment is an ad based model or data-collection based, try getting local advertisers in on it so they can optimize and pay for the 0.003 every time a user searches for something. It also shows you the scale to which these companies operate, and how important it is to have an ad for every search and millions of searches every second to be profitable at scale.

  3. 1

    I'd like to be able to enter a location rather than giving access to my location. Privacy is very important to me. Also someone might be planning a trip away from their current location.

    1. 1

      That is actually a very nice idea which I have also played around with a little. I have found it interesting that as the window.navigator.geolocation, which is responsible for the location data for the site, goes down every now and then, that there is actually a location mocker within the Chrome browser. If you open the dev-tools and go from the three small dots in the up-right corner, there is the "more tools" -> sensors -option, where you can manually set your geolocation.

  4. 1

    Looks good! Although I'm fine with Google Maps for now. Will give it a spin when it's up.

    & How did you use the Product Sans font? Isn't it proprietary?

  5. 1

    Think about your revenue model. I think this should be free and funded by ads based on what people search for. I agree with the other commenters who say you should clarify your value proposition. I think picking an under served niche is the right way.

  6. 1

    You should somehow explain what the product does on the initial page, I launched https://soundportals.live not long ago and found this to be vital.

    1. 1

      Thanks, such good advice! 💪 Good luck with your product as well!

  7. 1

    This is a wrapper around data from Google Maps, right? Why wouldn't I just use Google Maps?

    I don't see any value in this whatsoever, sorry. Not in its current form at least. Being able to click just 5 items per day is also extremely limiting, I don't think users will come back to sign up. Consumers rarely pay for apps. If someone else made this, would you pay $15 per month for it?

    I'd go back to the drawing board. Making it easier to discover local places can be a worthwhile idea, but you need to work on your implementation. Figure out why someone would use this over Google Maps.

    1. 1

      Thanks a lot for your reply! There is definitely no point using Walkway if you think you are fine using Google Maps! Walkway is currently using Google Places API only, so all results you get in Walkway, you can find from Google Maps also.

  8. 1

    Decent idea. I think the most people just use Google Maps to find the locations nearby.

    It would be cool if you could add some kind of data processing to make the locations on your site be easier accessible than If you tried finding them on maps.

    1. 1

      Decent is more than I can ask for thanks 🙏 I have had like a zillion ideas but this is the only one I have gotten even this far with. And yes, Google Maps is definitely the goto choise if you want to find places around you, but I just want to build stuff around their growing ecosystem. Walkway currently only uses Google Places API for results.