Infovis in the coronavirus era

This article from The Conversation is a great starting point for education in information visualization, the challenges in creating clear graphs, and what an information consumer can do to understand what they are seeing. The author is in the Geosciences, so it’s not surprising that her best example comes from that domain. The map at … Continue reading Infovis in the coronavirus era

This article from The Conversation is a great starting point for education in information visualization, the challenges in creating clear graphs, and what an information consumer can do to understand what they are seeing.

The author is in the Geosciences, so it’s not surprising that her best example comes from that domain. The map at the top of this post flips the colors of the “landslide” areas in a way that makes it clear which areas are susceptible.

9 Savvy Apps Every UX Consultant Should Have in Their Toolbelt

UX consultants can make use of many helpful tools to improve performance and productivity. From the designing to the testing phase, having the right apps and services at your disposal can make all the difference. Here are 5 indispensable tools that no …

UX consultants can make use of many helpful tools to improve performance and productivity. From the designing to the testing phase, having the right apps and services at your disposal can make all the difference. Here are 5 indispensable tools that no UX consultant should be without. 1. Sketch for Design Sketch is a powerful […]

Easy. Insightful. Trusted. 10 Reasons Big Brands Choose Loop11 for User Testing

Let’s face it: if you’re building a website but not engaging in online user testing, you might have a problem. Operating based on hunches may cause you to take your online presence in a direction your audience never agreed to or felt comfor…

Let’s face it: if you’re building a website but not engaging in online user testing, you might have a problem. Operating based on hunches may cause you to take your online presence in a direction your audience never agreed to or felt comfortable with. That’s why online user testing has become such an important part […]

2020 UX Research Tools Map

Our good friends at UserInterviews have just updated their brilliant UX Research Tools Map to the 2020 version. Their subway-inspired guide of over 100 UX research tools lists all the different tools you can use to conduct user experience research. You…

Our good friends at UserInterviews have just updated their brilliant UX Research Tools Map to the 2020 version. Their subway-inspired guide of over 100 UX research tools lists all the different tools you can use to conduct user experience research. You’ve never had so much choice and now, no excuses for not conducting your own […]

How VWO has evolved over the years

We celebrated our 10th birthday last week. In 2010, we launched VWO as the world’s first A/B testing tool with the now industry-standard visual editor for making website variations. Back then, it was called Visual Website Optimizer because, well, it provided a visual way of optimizing website (conversion rate). I’m Paras Chopra, the founder &…

We celebrated our 10th birthday last week. In 2010, we launched VWO as the world’s first A/B testing tool with the now industry-standard visual editor for making website variations. Back then, it was called Visual Website Optimizer because, well, it provided a visual way of optimizing website (conversion rate).

I’m Paras Chopra, the founder & the chairman of VWO. For our 10th anniversary (on 27th May 2020), I and my co-founder (& the CEO) Sparsh Gupta looked back at our decade long journey together to see how far we’ve come.

What came out of that reminiscence is the story of how VWO looked like back then and how it evolved over time.

How VWO started (2009)

The reason Wingify is the official name of our company (and not VWO) is because the first version of the product was actually called Wingify. It was the year 2009 and I was fresh out of college. Having attempted several startups during my undergraduate days and seeing all of them flop, I had come to realize the value of marketing and started learning about it.

However, the more I read about marketing, the more I fell in love with it. After a while, it dawned on me that perhaps my next startup should be about marketing. And that is how Wingify was born.

Here’s a screenshot of how the very first product (called Wingify) looked like:

screenshot of the original Wingify app
Wingify was the precursor to VWO

I distinctly remember launching it on Hacker News from where we got initial 15-20 users. The feedback I got from those users was overwhelmingly clear: I was trying to do too many things in one product and it was damn confusing. So, acting on this feedback, I decided to focus on one feature of the product (A/B testing) and do it really well.

I chose to focus on A/B testing because:

  • a) science progresses when theories are either confirmed or disconfirmed by running experiments. Applying the same idea to everyday decisions (like which button color to use) is insanely satisfying (fellow experimenters give me a high five ✋);
  • b) the de-facto tool back then (Google Website Optimizer) was a nightmare to use as it required complex code wizardry even to get a simple headline A/B test setup. I sensed an opportunity to simplify that by providing a visual editor for making variations of website.

So, that’s how Visual Website Optimizer was born and the very first version (in 2010) looked like this.

VWO v1.0: notice the cute panda at the start (I have no idea why I put it there)

The first customer (2010)

The initial users for VWO were the same people who had tried the previous Wingify version of the product. In contrast to how they felt about Wingify, since the very beginning people loved the simplicity and speed that VWO afforded them for A/B testing. Sparsh and I remembered that our goal in 2010 was to make $1000 dollars in the first month and when we launched paid plans, within the first week we were half way to our goal.

Screenshot 2020 06 08 At 7 00 30 Pm
Sparsh telling me to not worry about hitting the $1k goal and I being hmm.

In fact, we did 4x of our goal and ended making $4000 in the first month. Each month after that, we kept growing and within 8 months of launching paid plans, we were doing >$25,000 monthly revenue.

The first hire (2011)

Because we were growing fast and the customer support load was getting too much for the two of us, in early 2011 we decided to hire our first employee and shift to a proper office. (Until then, I was working from my home in Delhi and Sparsh was contributing remotely from London).

first hired employee of VWO
From left to right: Sushaantu (our first hire), Sparsh and I.
The year is 2011 and the photos is of our second office. The first one was even smaller!

Quickly within a year, our team grew from 3 to 7 and Ankit Jain (who heads our engineering now) joined the team.

early days of working at VWO
Ankit on the left and I on the right (both in the foreground). We were hand-writing Christmas cards to all our customers and partners. Did you get one?

The VWO team has continued expanding ever since then.

VWO team party
From left to right (in 2014): Kushagra Gour, Anuj Bansal, Ankit Jain, Sparsh Gupta, I (Paras Chopra), Siddharth Deswal, Shweta Agarwal, Ankit Sinha, Himanshu Kapoor, Hariom

Now, we are 250+ people. It’s incredible to see more and more people in our team photos each passing year.

VWO's million2billion party
This photo is from our #million2billion party to celebrate us hitting a million dollars monthly revenue. Photo is from year 2016.

Getting serious and not-so-serious about A/B testing (2012-2017)

Very soon, as the engineering team expanded in 2012, we redesigned VWO’s interface and made it look nicer than the previous version.

VWO v2.0: no more panda in the interface but in its place, we added more testing options

Also, because we were bootstrapped with no investors (which is true even today), we did many things just for fun. Like, having a hamster as our product mascot which ran as a loader whenever a website was getting loaded in the visual editor.

VWO's original product mascot hamster
We still love our hamster! It’s painted on a wall in the office now.

Or, launching Bob, the fisherman – a comics guide on A/B testing.

bob the fisherman explaining the meaning of a/b testing
Don’t know what is A/B testing? Let Bob, the fisherman, explain it to you.

From A/B testing to Conversion Rate Optimization (2017-2020)

Along the way, we realized that successful A/B testing requires going beyond what Bob, the fisherman, suggests. Successful testing isn’t just a matter of creating two versions of it and hoping one of them works out. It requires a prioritized pipeline of user research-backed hypotheses.

This insight enabled us to evolve VWO into a full Conversion Optimization platform by adding user-research capabilities into it. Today, VWO not just has A/B testing but also has heatmaps, user session recording, form analytics, website surveys, funnel tracking, experiment pipeline manager, experience targeting, and more.
(Some of these functionalities were made possible by the two acquisitions we have done so far: Navilytics and Concept Feedback).

We also expanded the channels that we enable our customers to experiment using VWO. From helping our customers to optimize front-end of websites, we know help A/B test server-side code, optimize mobile apps, and also browser push notifications.

VWO has gradually expanded to offer all that it takes to do successful A/B testing.

VWO's website product menu header
VWO 3.0: the world’s only platform for end-to-end conversion rate optimization

Our journey so far wouldn’t have been possible without the support of all VWO partners, employees, and customers.

So, if you’re one of our partners, employees or customers, a big THANK YOU for all the help and love you’ve given us.

The next ten years (beyond 2020)

Honestly, I feel like we’re just getting started. Our attitude at VWO is to imagine that we’re starting a new company today and then ask ourselves: given the people, financial, technology and brand resources we have now, what opportunity can we address in the next 10 years? We keep debating how will experimentation happen in next ten years and why can’t we be the ones who make it possible.

Needless to say, I’m as stoked today as I was ten years ago.

Hopefully, instead of being 20 year olds discovering the ways of the world, the now 30 year old something Sparsh and I can much more confidently and decisively lead VWO into creating the future of experimentation.

Stay tuned for our next 10 years!

PS: If you have any VWO (or company related) memories of the last 10 years that you’d like to share, drop me an email at paras@vwo.com

Three challenges to overcome for awesome remote moderated user testing results

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Coronavirus lock-down measures may have stopped the global economy in its tracks, but workers around the world were quick to adapt to new technologies, pick up where they left off, and carry on. Many UX designers and researchers made the switch to remote moderated user testing to keep their website design projects on track. If […]

Meet the New Loop11

    Over the past months, our team has been working hard to rebuild Loop11 from the ground up – introducing new features and significantly improving the experience. With more complete functionality than ever before, our latest updates h…

    Over the past months, our team has been working hard to rebuild Loop11 from the ground up – introducing new features and significantly improving the experience. With more complete functionality than ever before, our latest updates help you capture customer feedback on your web designs more efficiently than ever before. If you can’t […]

Introducing Loop11’s Tester Panel

For the past 12 months we have been building a panel of paid testers from around the world who have had to perform stringent qualification tests to ensure they are ready and able to complete usability studies on our platform. We were wanting to build o…

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Our Response to the Coronavirus

Over the past weeks we have been watching the concerning spread of the Coronavirus along with the rest of you. As more and more Governments encourage people to limit personal contact, we’ve decided to take action to help facilitate remote moderat…

Over the past weeks we have been watching the concerning spread of the Coronavirus along with the rest of you. As more and more Governments encourage people to limit personal contact, we’ve decided to take action to help facilitate remote moderated testing so that UX professionals can continue to get the job done while in […]

Release Notes: 5 Second & First Click Tests, Image Testing & More…

Following on from our recent release of moderated user testing, we’re happy to announce the release of some significant additions to Loop11’s testing suite: 5 Second Tests First Click Tests Image Testing The Lostness Metric Safari Testing Update 5 Seco…

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