hyperlink appall notesabout

2023 W11

Brendan | 2023-03-20

This week felt kind of interstitial. Lots of solid foundations set in place; lots of small things to do before beta launch…and plenty of bigger things we'd like to get to soon after!

Our main goals for the past week were to tie lots of loose ends, with a focus on fixing a list of issues that came up in our demo session with Juan (thanks Juan!); and continuing with launch prep, including our new landing page and work towards revamped pricing and signup flow.

I think we did a solid job with the former, and making progress on the latter if in somewhat less definite terms.

What we did

The product work we did this week focused on lots of small things to make the app more usable. We had a really good long chat with Juan the previous Friday which informed a lot of this work, and we got through the majority of our list, though still a few things to get to.

Fixes / small changes include:

And a few WIP still to finish, like:

On the launch prep side of things, we continued iterating on the new landing page; I did some copy and layout tweaks while Celine's been working on new illustrations. We also talked about the strategy around this and are still finalizing plans (more below). I started drafting some other things like announcement emails and a "Letters to Learners" series as a fun way to communicate the vibes we're going for.


Not a whole lot of new things to report here. The weekspace was useful, mainly for tracking a bunch of small fixes and adding the green checkmark reactag when complete. Also used to collect some launch ideas / notes…not so much for landing page work, or general discussion; I think we could improve in how we use spaces conversationally.

Celine's continuing with the "Stuffy Stuff" stuffed animal design workshop, and Jared and Celine started an "RPG Making" Space aimed at creating a one-page pen and paper RPG, based around a pantheon of gods helping shape a nascent civilization…sounds fun!

The main Space I worked on was one exploring onboarding possibilities, called "Meta-Space-Meta". So far a mix of a kind of interactive sandbox / demo that walks you through basics of how Hyperlink works, and a more extensive Space-making guide that helps direct you to creating your first 'real' Space. Both useful but I think I might end up splitting those into two separate things.

Starting a couple more Space experiments this week, and hoping to focus on async discussion and feedback a bit more with these.

How we worked

Lots of independent iterating this week, with some smatterings of collaboration, but less sync pair programming type work vs. last week. We didn't work only in 90-min blocks this week, which was more flexible but resulted in less check-ins and focus. Tradeoffs!

We had one more demo / catchup / Space-design chat, with Lizz, which was great. She's one of the only alpha users (besides us) actually using the app for personal projects at this early stage, and it was fun to hear about her experience so far! We came away with a few more bugs to squash and some things to consider moving up the priority list, like private Space and figuring out improved notifications.

I feel like it's proving very useful to do at least one of these per week, making it a regular part of our routine rather than like an intensive sprint every so often of a dozen or more demo calls in a week. It's nice to all join these and be able to be responsive quickly fixing things that come up etc. I think we could try doing maybe 2-3 a week, but one as a baseline is nice.

What's next?

Lots of things to keep exploring with the app, ranging from straightforward things we can do soon (e.g. private Spaces) to things that seem fun and useful but need more shaping (e.g. giving cards colors; better Studio page) to bigger things (e.g. customizable card action buttons; voice calls and presence).

None of these are blockers, which is good! The main feature work remaining involves opening signups and improving the onboarding flow. Jared and I chatted Friday about various launch plans, outlining changes to the signup flow, going over ideas. Talked about this more today as well.

Current plan is to do a kind of preview soft launch to a smaller group next week, with the immediate goal of opening signups so people can invite friends and test the app more for real things in collaborative contexts.

Then we'll aim to finish the new landing page and do a full launch announcement the following week. And in the meantime continue to set up more onboarding calls to get a sense of how people, particularly new users, are able to start using the app.

As part of this, I'd like to make the onboarding experience nice, even if simple! That might include just a good welcome email + maybe some pared down demo Space as a tutorial for the basics of how Hyperlink works. Can then continue lter e.g. creating more starter Space templates. Other odds and ends: implementing pricing soon; some database migration work Jared's getting into this week. I think that's it for now!

Video Walkthrough

Oh, one more thing…a brief glimpse of current Hyperlink!

Not a lot of major changes, but you'll see a big list of fixes and improvements we've tackled the past week.

Also, a sneak peek at the Space I've been working on exploring possibilities for tutorial / onboarding / guidance in the Space creation process.