Issue #6 - In Your Face
This week we take a look at In Your Face, created by Martin Höller. Designed essentially for people who frequently forget about their meetings, the app works by blocking the entire screen to serve as a reminder. This can be particularly beneficial for those who frequently juggle numerous meetings and get engrossed in their work amid sessions.
The app is designed to automatically find events from the calendars the users have chosen. Furthermore, if a meeting link is included in the calendar entry, the app conveniently provides it for easy access.
What is In Your Face?
In Your Face is a meeting reminder app for Mac. With the app it is impossible to be late to your meetings.
Where did the idea for In Your Face come from?
The app was inspired by a coworker who would always be late to our meetings. He was so focused on his work that he constantly would miss calendar notifications. After some beers at a company outing I said to him “You really need a reminder in your face to be on time. I’m going to make an app especially for you.” This is how In Your Face was born.
What’s one stand out feature you’d like everyone to know about?
When you are deep down in your work it is easy to ignore the little calendar notifications that pop up 10 minutes before a meeting. And when it is actually time to go you already forgot all about it. In Your Face shows a full screen alert exactly when it is time to go to the meeting or join the conference call, blocking whatever you are doing and making it impossible to be late. This is especially great for people who get easily distracted, hyper-focused or who suffer from ADHD.
How do you promote In Your Face?
I’m really bad at marketing. I have a Twitter and Mastodon account for the app and the website of course. I also try to contact journalists whenever there is a big update (having a press kit on the website), but unfortunately this was not very successful so far. In early 2020 the pandemic hit and everyone was starting to work from home and having video calls and I’ve added support for joining video calls from the meeting alerts. This was also the time when the app got on Apple’s radar (I have it on good authority that it was used widely within Apple itself). I’m lucky enough that since then it is regularly featured on the App Store, which really is the biggest driver for downloads.
How did you decide on the pricing?
When I initially launched the app, it had the basic functionality and was intended as a fun side project. So, I set it up with as a one-time purchase at the beginning. People started discovering the app and really enjoyed it. I received a lot of feedback from users, along with many feature suggestions. As the app's popularity grew, I also started getting more support requests. Working on the app great fun, but I could only dedicate time to it during evenings and weekends due to my day job, and it started taking a toll on family life. Last year, I faced a decision: either halt the app's development or turn it into a real business. Obviously I chose the latter path. Creating a sustainable business also meant transitioning to a subscription model. When it came to setting the price, I aimed for something around the cost of a monthly coffee. That's why I settled on $1.99 per month and $19.99 per year for the subscription prices. I think this is a fair price to ask for someone who taps you on the shoulder and reminds you about all your meetings.
How did you launch In Your Face?
The first version was launched more or less silently on the App Store in August 2019. I promoted it on Product Hunt and on my personal Twitter account. From then on it was mostly word of mouth until the first App Store feature.
How long did it take to get to the first version?
After the aforementioned company outing it took me a weekend to build the first prototype (which was successfully tested on said coworker) and then another two weeks to make a product out of it that could be put on the App Store.
Is there anything you’ve learnt that stands out?
There are two things I’d like to mention. For better and for worse, as indie developers we are often a one-person show and we wear many hats. I’ve only recently started reinvesting some of the app’s revenue into hiring a professional graphic designer. She did a wonderful job in redesigning the icon and giving the UI a good polishing. I should have done this way earlier.
The second lesson I learned the hard way was when transitioning the app from paid to subscription. Communication is key, and at the time a lot of users were confused and angry because I did not communicate well how existing users would be grandfathered. People thought now they have to subscribe to the app they already paid for, where in reality a subscription was only needed for newly added features. This resulted in lots of negative reviews and angry posts on social media.
Any tools or apps you would recommend others check out?
I do all my graphics work in Affinity Designer. I’m also a huge fan and longtime user of Alfred as a replacement for Spotlight. Recently ChatGPT became part of my workflow, especially when it comes to writing or refining texts and for doing translations.
Where can everyone go to find out more?
Check out the website to get an overview of the app. There is also a tutorial video on YouTube, even though it is a bit outdated
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