Meet Kevin from ApproveMe.com
We sat down with the founder of ApproveMe.com to learn how his team uses Volley to improve communication with developers, in an effort to deliver the best E-Signature plugin on the market.
Our developers love how easy it is to know what needs to be fixed, what needs to be tweaked, when something's fixed, when something's not. Volley just removes the mystery out of notes and QA.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. To get things rolling, I would love to know a bit about ApproveMe and what it is?
We created a product about six years ago called WP signature, which transforms a WordPress powered website into a legally binding Court recognized document signing solution. And this last year, we also launched a contract template marketplace, which has about 100 plus contract templates for small to medium sized businesses, the sorts of contracts that businesses need to run their companies and organizations. And in addition to that, something that we haven't publicly been talking about is, for the last five years, we've been collecting feedback from WP signature and working with some incredible UX designers that have built some pretty famous and popular products on the internet to create a document signing solution that's built off of the feedback from WP signature. It's in its own separate class, more of a document signing experience, versus the old corporate document signing apps of the world.
Awesome that you're serving the document signing space. So, what did your visual feedback process look like before you started using volley?
Oh, gosh, it was an absolute mess. We were all over the place, we had Asana cards, and then within cards, we would sometimes have an account with Cloud App, which allows you to add annotations to screenshots. So we'd create some annotations, drop in a couple custom short links to a Cloud App screen with the annotation. And then we’d go and have discussions in Slack about a Cloud App annotation, and then those would get lost. Often we'd have to just meet in person and work through things. So yeah, a bit of a mess before Volley.
Yep, I noticed the exact same problem with my teams. Things can get pretty scattered. So, what made you decide to add Volley to your process?
I started realizing we need to take our design to the next level, instead of just building another WordPress plugin. We ended up working with a former designer from Twitter to help tighten up some of our branding components. During that time, we brought on a design coach to guide the process, he’d worked for Atlassian and HelpScout. He started shaping the philosophy behind how we approach not just design but user experience. We started identifying various pain points. I would come to him and say “Hey man, you know, this screen we designed is absolutely gorgeous, but it's not adding up on the front end.” You know, the front end, guys, no matter how talented they are, are just missing the mark. I came in thinking this was a problem that was exclusive to the ApproveMe team. And he was like,”No, this is everywhere”. He introduced me to this concept of what he calls a CANEI (Continuous, Always, Never Ending Improvement). And so his advice was get your screen pixel perfect from a design perspective and continuously work with the front end team to make it right. We were stumbling through the dark, one day, constantly losing momentum with our old way of working through feedback, when we came across Volley. It seriously was this missing component, we can just go to town screenshotting things like “this little button is off, add this border radius here” and the guys just check it off, and it's done. And it's pixel perfect. It doesn't require this heavy lifting. You know, it just takes the ambiguity out of notes!
That's great! You mentioned thinking the “design to dev” gap was confined to your company. That's what I thought, too. After seeing it everywhere, I eventually realized It's not a talent thing, it's just kind of a natural part of the process. So, how has it been getting started with Volley?
It’s been super easy. All of a sudden, a bug shows up and you just take a screenshot and annotate “hey, this is where an issue is” and our developers can quickly see what's going on. You have a comment thread on that screenshot in Volley, versus the back-and-forth in Slack which will inevitably get lost.
Any other benefits in general that you've seen with using Volley?
Our developers love how easy it is to know what needs to be fixed, what needs to be tweaked, when something's fixed when something's not. Volley just removes the mystery out of notes and QA.
What would you tell other people about Volley?
Volley is one of the single most important tools that we've added to our company's Arsenal within the last five years. We've saved money on multiple levels, from time to market, productivity, and not having to pay a developer essentially 3x what they now can achieve in 1x. Volley has skyrocketed the productivity of our business and certainly has been the missing piece, something that we didn't know we were looking for, until we found it. How do we ever live without this?