PerfectLearn beta period uptime report

PerfectLearn’s overall uptime (Pingdom’s summary is provided below) for the month of March was 99.51%. This uptime also coincided with PerfectLearn’s beta period. So, on the whole, I’m pretty satisfied with PerfectLearn’s stability during its beta phase.

PerfectLearn Pingdom Report March 2015

PerfectLearn Pingdom Report March 2015

All of the downtimes except the downtime on March 09 where scheduled downtimes for deployment purposes (the roll-out of bug fixes and functionality enhancements). The "3h 20m" downtime on March 09, however, was due to my VPS hosting provider scheduling a Xen security-related update with a mandatory reboot.

The apparent stability of PerfectLearn makes me confident that version 1.0 of PerfectLearn is ready to be formally released.

Stay tuned for updates. Subscribe to the PerfectLearn newsletter.

PerfectLearn development update March 2015

In the last two weeks only one big(ish) change has been implemented and deployed. All the other changes to PerfectLearn have been minor user interface-related tweaks and fixes. The big change was to PerfectLearn’s editor component. Previously, PerfectLearn was using the Bootstrap-wysihtml5 editor. Bootstrap-wysihtml5 is a reasonable editor. Nonetheless, in retrospect, it has proven to not be up to the task of serious text editing. In many respects, it is a decidedly liteweight editor. So, after discussing this issue with some of the more active beta users, I decided to swap it for a Markdown-based editor.

PerfectLearn Markdown editor

PerfectLearn Markdown editor

The new editor has some neat functionality, including the ability to preview the resulting HTML before saving the topic and a full-screen option (which I find particularly useful).

PerfectLearn full-screen Markdown editor

PerfectLearn full-screen Markdown editor

Based on the feedback from the users and my own impression when using PerfectLearn, I’m convinced that replacing the editor, even at this late stage of the beta phase, was the right thing to do.

Stay tuned for updates. Subscribe to the PerfectLearn newsletter.

PerfectLearn feedback

Over the last couple of weeks I have released several screencasts (on the PerfectLearn YouTube Channel) in which I attempt to explain how PerfectLearn works in conjunction with providing an overview of PerfectLearn’s benefits.

The feedback from numerous people that have watched the videos has been overwhelmingly positive. Not only have people expressed their interest in PerfectLearn but also, and perhaps more surprisingly, I have also received a lot of very useful insights at both a product level and at a market(ing) level.

With this blog article it is my intention to capture (in no particular order) for future reference what I consider to be the most important insights I have obtained from discussing PerfectLearn with several people after having published the screencasts on YouTube.

User Data

There is nothing more important than knowledge and specifically when talking about individuals, their personal (documented) knowledge is of inestimable value. Hence, for a user knowing that their investment in PerfectLearn is safe because if necessary they can get access to a full dump of their data/documented knowledge is an important consideration when evaluating an application like PerfectLearn. In that respect, it makes sense to offer several ways for a user to be able to export their data, including JSON and XML dumps, HTML, and perhaps even Markdown.

User Context and Touchpoints

Users will be accessing and using PerfectLearn in different locations, contexts, and on different devices. Obviously, one size doesn’t fit all. My thinking in that respect has been heavily influenced by the concepts of touchpoints and cross-channel blueprints (as outlined in the article Cross Channel Design With Alignment Diagrams). Specifically, I am leaning towards the following cross-channel blueprint:

In the above graph you will see how each touchpoint (that is, phone, tablet, and desktop computer) is different with respect to the main user intentions/interactions. That is, on a phone, knowledge acquisition is the most important user intent, on a tablet the intents are more equally divided between knowledge acquisition, knowledge surfacing, and knowledge organisation. And finally, on a desktop machine, the user is probably more focused on the actual organisation of knowledge. The actual touchpoint proportions are arguable but the principle of an application behaving differently depending on the user’s current touchpoint and context is valid.

Target Groups

With regards to marketing PerfectLearn and the accompanying communication of PerfectLearn’s benefits it makes sense to focus on specific user needs.

The plan is to first focus on knowledge (management) geeks and life-long learners. The next target group will be people who are researching/investigating one or more topics of interest (both professionally and non-professionally). Finally, the third target group will be both teachers and students. Obviously, these three groups are not mutually exclusive and it is more than likely that there is at least some overlap between them.

The important lesson to take away from this point is that you really do need to understand each group’s unique pain points and ensure that you effectively communicate how your product addresses those pain points.

Stay tuned for updates. Subscribe to the PerfectLearn newsletter.