As each year nears its end, we always want to take stock of what we've accomplished, and 2019 is no exception. As we look back, we get to see where we tried, where we succeeded, and where we failed to meet both personal and professional goals. From the perspective of Clearview Social, I've asked the same questions of our product, and our efforts in engineering:
- Did we make a significant impact with our development?
- Did we push our product in new and innovative directions?
- Have we set ourselves up for future successes?
With those questions in mind, I wanted to take some time to outline where our product has been, and some of the directions we are planning to take it in the coming year.
Creating a Mobile App
We set out in 2019 with an ambitious goal: to launch our first native mobile app for Clearview Social. We wanted folks to be able to easily access and schedule content, and we wanted to be able to notify users of new content through push notifications. While the majority of our users historically have been desk-bound professionals, we found that in 2018 about 12% of our users were now accessing our software through their tablets or smartphones. We knew that with time, as we entered into new markets, this number would only increase.
As an engineering team, this was our first attempt to build a brand new Clearview experience, from scratch, on a new platform. We wanted to create a visually remarkable product, with a user experience that was easy to learn and responsive.
Since we launched the mobile app, about 10% of our weekly users engage with Clearview Social through the app. We see that as a great start, and want to continue improving the native mobile experience in 2020!
Redesigning our Web App
We initially launched our React-based Web Application in early 2016, internally named "v3" (can you believe that was our third version!!) Since 2016, React has seen numerous updates, security and performance improvements, and in 2019 we knew it was time to make another update. A lot has changed in our product between 2016 and 2019 though ... we have many new features, and even more new clients! So we set out to roll out our new designs, page-by-page, throughout the year. Our new design, aptly named "v4", includes the following pages so far:
- Branding & Customization
- Company Settings (Landing Page)
- RSS Manager
- Queue Engagement
- Queue Builder
As we've created each page in our new design system, we had an additional goal as well: to make our newly created web app accessible and available to mobile devices. While our previous web app only contained a subset of features on mobile, our new web app rolls queue building, engagement, and analytics into our mobile web experience!
2018 was the first year that saw us start to develop features specific to our Enterprise-class clients, and 2019 saw a continuation of that trend. Some of these features included:
- A Clearview Social connector application for Single Sign-On through OneLogin
- Additional Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC) for managing Company Accounts
- Providing admins the ability to curate RSS feeds in Industry News
Developing for 2020
As we plan for the new year, we are looking to continue building upon our new designs. We are also planning to develop a new set of features that will help you continue to leverage Clearview Social as an integral part of your social media strategy. Our development strategy is a three-pronged approach:
For a long time, Clearview has been about tracking one thing - articles shared on the web. This has been a great way to deliver on our promise of "Message Amplified. Results Measured". The truth, however, is that many of our clients have corporate pages where they post office images. Sometimes there's a promotional image. Sometimes they just want to announce their employee of the month, or wish someone Happy Birthday! It's a cumbersome process to create a web page just to do that, and we want to make it simpler. That's why we are currently developing Original Posting through Clearview Social. Coming soon, you will be able to craft original messages, with or without an image, and post them to your connected social media accounts.
In the future, we also want to investigate additional communication channels such as:
- Facebook Groups
- Facebook Stories
- Video Posting
In 2019 we introduced several new channels for receiving content to share. We started by adding an integration with Pocket. This provides users an integration where they can collect content from around the web, and receive queues of content to share from their pocket. We also introduced trending feeds provided by Buzzsumo, which are always updating with the latest articles that are going viral on social media.
In 2020, we are going to continue integrating more content, but we're also going to make our content aggregation smarter. This includes things like allowing users the ability to set up topics they would like to follow. We are also going to work on integrating with additional content aggregators, such as Feedly, to provide more ways for users to leverage their existing content channels in Clearview Social.
Since our launch we've supported "the big three" of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. As we continue to grow and support additional markets, we're going to need to expand our networks. In 2020 we will be working towards integrating with Instagram. We agree that Instagram integration will be a nice pairing with our Original Posting feature!
Continuing the Redesign
As we roll into 2020, our redesign efforts will also continue. We are currently redesigning Your Shares and Industry News into a unified experience, similar to our native mobile app. We also will be moving Analytics, Adoption, the Activity Feed, and more in the next 6 months. While we work on the redesign, we are also evaluating metrics such as browser support, and making data-backed decisions on our platform's browser support. As we write this, the current US Browser Market Share is as follows:
- Chrome: 49.56%
- Safari: 34.78%
- Firefox: 4.23%
- Microsoft Edge: 3.97%
- Internet Explorer: 2.77%
Oh, Internet Explorer
The US stats run a bit counter to our software usage stats, however, and list Chrome as the leading browser at 38%, with Internet Explorer at around 30%. Internet Explorer has already seen its eclipse in national market share, and with good reason. Microsoft Edge is more secure, significantly more performant, and conforms to the latest web standards. In fact, the rendering engine behind LinkedIn doesn't fully support Internet Explorer! This may lead to shares to appear with unexpected results on LinkedIn if you use IE 11 to browse the web.
While we will continue to offer some degree of support for IE 11 in our redesign, we encourage our users on Windows 10 to upgrade to Microsoft Edge. If you are on Windows 7 or 8, we highly recommend using Chrome as your default browser.
In the last year, Clearview Social has more than doubled its active user base. We are sending tens of thousands of queues every week, and have millions of shares provisioned for our users. Our growth as a platform is built on a wonderfully dedicated team of professionals that exhibit our core values in all departments.
Our Engineering Team is excited with the opportunities the next year will provide, and we are excited to take on the challenges of building a better Clearview Social for our users.
Until next time, Happy Sharing!
- The Clearview Social Engineering Team