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It's hard to believe 2016 is already over. I don't know if it's just me or because we're so busy here at Visme, but time seems to pass by pretty darn quickly. Maybe I'm just getting old!
At the end of each year, I like to take a look back and recap what we accomplished at Visme and look forward to our goals for the upcoming year.
We work hard to use every resource, both time and money, to its maximum potential. When you're a lean startup that has been bootstrapped to profitability without outside help, burn rate is not in your vocabulary.
There just isn't a whole lot of wiggle room for burning through resources. You either learn the precise efficiency needed to run your startup or you break down and disappear into oblivion.
2016 had a lot of ups and some downs. If I've learned anything from running two companies, it's that there's no straight road to success. At least for us, it's about taking a few steps forward and a couple steps back, so the aim is to take more steps forward than back in order to grow.
We're an infographic tool, so it made sense to visualize our progress through an interactive infographic created with Visme.
(Hover over each of the icons to view each milestone.)
For those who would rather read the entire story of our 2016 journey and what lies ahead, you can also keep reading below.
Embed on your site:
A summary of improvements and new features released throughout 2016:
Earlier this year, we launched a major upgrade of Visme.
It took a good part of 2015 for us to develop it and, hence, this is the reason why we didn't roll out many improvements during most of last year.
The release of this new version was critical to the future of Visme. It wasn't just good to have--it was absolutely necessary.
We pretty much completely rewrote the entire code base from the ground up. During pre-launch testing, we did have to work out a few kinks, but once they were addressed, it not only improved our user experience within the app but also set the foundation for the development of new functionalities. As you will see below, this allowed us to keep our promise of providing a ton of improvements and new features, which continue to be rolled out to this day.
After completely revamping the Visme editor from the ground up, we introduced 70 new timeline and comparison templates and then rolled out hundreds of additional templates across various categories throughout the year.
We also provided users with a new search function, which allows them to not only search templates by keywords but also by category and type. So if you want to create a timeline, you simply have to click on the Timeline category, or if you want to find all nonprofit infographics, you can also locate them with just a click.
We also launched over 60 custom resume templates in the form of infographics. This category of templates covers virtually every profession, from nursing and administration to engineering and design.
In our quest to simplify the process of visualizing data, several improvements were made to our chart tool. One was the ability to create automatically animated charts, which allow data to gradually appear, thereby increasing viewer engagement and retention.
The rendering engine is smart enough to display the complete version of the chart when you download it as a static file, such as JPG or PDF.
Of course, not everyone wants to animate their charts. In such instances, users can turn off the animation option under the Settings tab.
This past summer, we launched our first contest to inspire and motivate people to unlock their creative potential through visual thinking.
It was sponsored by Iconfinder, the world's leader in quality icons, and we gave away $5,000 in prizes, including $2,000 to the first place winner.
We called this initiative "Visualize Me" and created a pretty cool looking video for the contest (put together with a little help from our web agency HindSite Interactive).
Check out the hundreds of visual stories by contestants from all over the world, many of whom had never created a design before.
The top most-voted projects on social media entered the final round in which our judging panel then selected the winners based on the level of originality and the quality of the content and design. Check out the winners here.
Earlier this year, we also completely revamped our Web Banner category. We went back to the drawing board and created a series of templates for both social media and web graphics.
With a ton of beautiful templates to start from, users can now create images for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or graphic banners and ads for their websites.
Many Visme users are creating more than one project and most of them contain several image assets that are uploaded by the user.
We realized how convenient it would be for users if they could easily locate and reuse these assets (instead of uploading them every time) and organize them into folders or label them, so a couple of team members got to work on this and developed a Media Library.
This is not only a cool feature to have but also very necessary for active users who create a lot of content.
Before this year, we didn't have a Map feature. Well, we had icons of flags and countries of the world in our Shape/Icon library but no widget for creating interactive maps. So, if you wanted to visualize geographical data using Visme, you would have likely given up.
We dedicated resources to developing a pretty powerful Map widget to enable users to visually represent countries, continents and the globe. Users can now create national, regional or international maps using their own data and customize everything from the range of colors to the position of the legend.
Here is a complete overview of this feature.
When we first launched Visme as a presentation tool, we received several inquiries on the ability to upload and insert audios files into presentations.
In late 2015, we began working on our audio engine and we took it a couple steps further. Not only could users upload and attach their own MP3 files to their slides, but they could also choose from dozens of free audio files within the Visme editor and set them as background music to an entire presentation, which is useful for self-running slide decks.
That's not all. We also created our own audio recording engine so anyone can now record their own voice over inside Visme without the need do it via an external source, save it and then insert it back into Visme. The Audio feature and Media Library are two big milestones on our path to becoming the only app you'll ever need to create all forms of visual and interactive content.
Although we don't share all of our business metrics, from a high level, Visme achieved more than 175% revenue growth over the prior year, doubled its user base, reduced churn and improved retention rate, all of which have tremendous potential to be improved over the coming year.
We picked up a lot of awesome companies along the way, many of whom have entire divisions migrating away from PowerPoint and, in other cases, using Visme for infographics and other visual communication needs. Here's a few:
For example, here's a case study featuring the nonprofit organization Americans for the Arts and how they're using Visme for their visual communication needs.
We developed a lot of features last year and rather than continuing to release more and more features, our primary goal this year is to concentrate heavily on improving user experience and customer happiness.
There are also a few initiatives in the works that I strongly believe will help all types of communicators improve the way they present and tell stories and visualize data.
I can't share a whole lot about this one yet. It's a new initiative we're working on. It's not a product nor a service but a resource that will help all people create better designs and communicate visually. I'm pretty excited about it. Stay tuned! It's coming early 2017.
We're launching an updated website that will be more aligned with our offerings. You will soon find landing pages specific to each type of content you can create in Visme, as well as new resources such as the one noted above.
I founded Visme to help remove the obstacles that so often exist between users and the tools and experience needed to communicate visually. Visme has come a long way since our first version. I can clearly recall that our proof of concept back in 2013 was quite buggy and was designed to be more of an animation tool.
A lot has changed as our concentration is now heavily on presenting and data visualization (slide decks and infographics). The fact of the matter is that Visme took a very difficult route, whereas most other tools are either strictly one or the other, and when they do allow you to serve multiple forms of content, they're light on one or both sides.
Visme has invested heavily in both data visualization and presentations. No other tool allows you to create fully interactive presentations that support various forms of media with granular customization and infographics and other design formats.
This year we intend to invest heavily in improving user experience: The way you interact with features and the work flow within the app, from creation to publication, will all be revisited to further improve our users' experience.
One of Visme's coolest features is our selection of simple and easy-to-use Data Widgets. The fact is you don't always need to create large tables and graphs. Sometimes you just want to visualize smaller data pieces, such as comparing two or three things with each other.
You can visually represent people, percentages or even time. We're going back to the drawing board and creating a series of awesome data widgets. They're clean, easy-to-customize and beautiful!
We haven't been the strongest in this area. Yes, you can create multiple versions of a chart and modify various settings, but the number of charts, integration with external data and granularity of customization are all in the works. Mark my words, our chart and graph options will be one of the best in the market. Stay tuned!
We now have close to 500 templates in our library, across the content categories Presentations, Infographics, Social Media Images and Web Graphics. Going forward, we will be taking a more scientific approach to our templates and working on improving our wide selection, which can serve both as inspiration and a great starting point.
If you are looking for specific templates, please notify us at https://support.visme.co. Submit a ticket at the bottom of the page and tell us what you want.
We're going to tackle our customer happiness from three separate angles: in-app experience, self-serve help and customer help/support. The in-app experience is part of the ongoing usability improvements we're working on.
In terms of self-serve help, we're working on a lot of great educational material, including videos and help topics that will answer a majority of our users' questions when they arise. And regarding customer help/support, we will continue to work on improving the quality and speed of our support.
I think we might have broken the record for the longest duration of time in Beta for a SaaS product. The fact is that we could have officially come out of Beta last year. We've been in what I call "late-stage Beta" for some time, but we've kind of turned into perfectionists and decided to take our time. There is no set date but we're going to officially come out of Beta some time this year.
And of course, we'd like to throw in a couple Easter eggs here and there. I don't know what they are or what they will be.
The reality is we are pretty proactive at Visme. There is no bureaucracy: Our common goal is to improve the tool and the experience of our audience.
This is one of the beauties of being part of a small team versus a corporate-style culture.
We're always thinking proactively and when we find an opportunity to improve the tool or the experience, we quickly make calculated decisions and move forward.
Our goals are not focused so much on dollars and cents but on improving Visme as a tool and as a service to our ends users. We believe that as we perfect our system and take care of our customers, the rest will follow. Of course, that is not to say we don't crunch our numbers. We do, but we first set goals based on the progression of the tool itself.
I'm looking forward to this new year. For those of you who are already Visme users, stick around 'cause you ain't seen nothing yet 🙂