How one web agency built a simple, yet powerful tool that changed their workflow
Messy feedback. Time-consuming feedback. Confusing feedback. It all started from there.
I remember getting increasingly frustrated with how difficult it was to share actionable feedback. Feedback that was easy for me to report and easy for our tech team to understand.
This was back in the early days, when we were still a web design agency. Back then, it was just the three of us - Emile-Victor, Olivier and I. Emile-Victor was the designer, Olivier was the developer and I was the project manager.
Where it all started
After successfully completing several large client projects, we began wondering how we could transform our extremely clunky QA process. How could we make our workflow easier and more efficient?
Testing and reporting bugs was a nightmare. We were often struggling to keep track of all the feedback - emails and screenshots seemed to fly in all directions.
On my end, the process usually involved me:
- Taking screenshots
- Opening an image-editing software to annotate and save
- Locating the technical information needed
- Opening Trello, finding the right project board, creating a new issue and then attaching the image
After all this, Olivier and Emile-Victor would then have to try and interpret my feedback - inevitably coming back to me with additional requests for information. Not having immediately actionable feedback and the never-ending back-and-forth between team members were major sources of frustration for everyone.
All in all it was a long and complex workflow.
I kept thinking, why isn’t there a better solution? Why can’t we have a single source of truth?
That’s when we put our heads together and asked ourselves: in a dream world, what kind of tool would we want?
We decided that we wanted a tool that could:
- Speed up our QA process
- Make it easier for non-technical people to report bugs and feedback
- Allow visual feedback with notes
- Automatically grab the technical info needed to reproduce and fix bugs
- Send feedback directly to our project management tool of choice
None of the existing tools seemed to meet our needs. They were either buggy, hard to use or trying to be their own full-service project management tool - duplicating work unnecessarily. We just wanted a simple tool that could fill the gaps in our existing task management system. We wanted a tool that everyone on our team could easily use.
And so the idea for Marker.io was born.
If it doesn’t exist, build it
We quickly threw together the first version of our tool, a Chrome extension, and started using it in-house. We immediately saw the difference it had on our team’s productivity. Reporting bugs and feedback became super easy.
The way non-technical and technical people communicated with each other improved. We simplified the workflow and made it more efficient.
Now, all it took was:
- Capture bug/screen
- Send directly to the right Trello board
And the best part: it auto-included all the technical specs our designer and developer needed to implement the fixes. For a non-technical person like me, this was a relief. No more trying to figure out which OS I was using or what resolution my screen was at. Now we had an easy, standardized way to report bugs and feedback.
Then something magical happened, someone we didn’t know downloaded our extension.
Our brains started going into overdrive. Maybe we’re onto something. Maybe we can do something with this.
Before long, a bunch more people were downloading and using Marker.io.
With our personal experiences in mind and our goal of a simple, yet powerful tool, we started improving it. This is when you could say the idea of Marker.io transformed into the business Marker.io. So, shortly after we decided to close our web agency and focus full-time on our new project.
To infinity and beyond
Today, we’re a slightly bigger team of five to support our ever growing number of users. With an increasing number of supported browsers and destinations, Marker.io is no longer just a Chrome extension.
We currently support:
- Mobile (beta)
While we may have grown, we’ve still kept the same goals: a simple tool that helps non-technical and technical people report bugs and feedback better.
Best of all is that we keep improving. Stay tuned for some really cool updates coming very soon :)