Red Herring 100 Europe 2009 Finalists

We have been selected as a finalist for the Red Herring 100
Europe Award
for 2009. We are proud to be among the most promising European tech startups. And we are in excellent company: our friends from Zimory are on the list as well. Congratulations!

“This year’s impressive list of submissions from companies demonstrates Europe’s growing role as a major center of innovation in the global technology sector,” said Red Herring Publisher, Alex Vieux. “The exceptional accomplishments of European technology startups and entrepreneurs are a testament to the rapid advancements being made in building the European innovation ecosystem.”

Red Herring’s lists of top private companies are an important part of the publication’s tradition of identifying new and innovative technology companies and entrepreneurs. Companies like Google, eBay, and Skype were spotted in their early days by Red Herring editors, and touted as leaders that would change the way we live and work.

It’s your choice: sketched prototypes

We just released a new feature of pidoco°. From now on you have the choice between the old “plain” mode and the brand new “sketched” mode. No matter which elements you put into your prototype, you can always switch between both modes. The same applies to invitations: you decide which mode the test user should see.

To make it more visual, Silvan was so kind to make a Twitter prototype. The result is shown below. We think, it looks excellent. However, as nothing is perfect, please feel free to submit any thoughts of how we should improve pidoco° on our UserVoice page.

You’re welcome to explore our “digital paper prototypes” instantly in our Preview.

pidoco° at CeBIT 09

Today was the first day of CeBIT 2009. It will be the second time that pidoco° participates in a booth. On Friday the Hasso-Platter-Institute will open their booth for a Spin-off Day. Together with D-LABS we will present our young companies. In case you will be in Hannover as well, we’d be happy to meet you at our booth B10 in hall 9. Either post a comment or send us a mail to contact at pidoco.com.

One year ago: our first user

It has been one year ago that we gave our first user his account. These days, pidoco° was, well, in a very early alpha stage. I just searched my harddisk to find this old screenshot which was taken about a year ago. Comparing it to the current version, there is little in common. We had 8 different elements in our palette, the use case view was called sitemap, and yes we had a properties table on the right side. People were using Firefox 2, because Firefox 3 was just available in Beta 3. Safari has been working on its version 3.1, which introduced acceptable SVG support (today we have Safari 4 Beta just released).

Thinking about all this, the web has changed a lot. And so has pidoco°. Any guesses for what’s coming the next year? My guess is that browsers will get even faster and will further improve their SVG implementations. What I’d like to see is an announcement by Microsoft to support SVG in IE 9. Regarding pidoco°, I’m sure that there will be several new things. The first one coming next week…

Prototyping with Firefox on a Mac

Yesterday evening a blog post appeared on The Interaction Designer’s Coffee Break introducing pidoco°. I am following this blog for quite a while and can recommend it for your next coffee break. In Henrik Olsen’s own words he describes his blog as “a site for people engaged in the various fields of making the web a better experience for the users”.

Since his post our website’s traffic increased a lot, which we are very happy for. Our web analytics for today shows a very interesting pattern:

Firefox (Gecko) is by far the most popular browser (about 66%) among our visitors, followed by all WebKit-Browsers (about 24%). IE gets only a share of about 8%. We are observing this since our website is online, but every time we get a lot of traffic we are excited to confirm this pattern.

A similar, because uncommon pattern is the distribution of operating systems. Windows XP has about 45%, Mac OS about 35%, and Windows Vista about 15%.

Although the share of Internet Explorer is quite small, we hope that Microsoft starts implementing SVG for IE9. There are already some rumors that it might happen some day.

Welcome aboard Lars!

Today is a major milestone for our young company: we signed the contract of our first full-time employee! We’re very happy to have you with us, Lars. Knowing each other since our very first days at university, we are appreciative of your excellent skills and have no doubt that you will speed up the development of pidoco°.

Let’s have a fun time together!

New Release: Access to older Prototype Versions

This evening we deployed a new release of the Prototype Creator. During the past weeks we worked on many small bug fixes that should make working with pidoco° more fun. In addition, we adopted the design of the prototype repository to better fit into our website.

What you see for each of your prototypes is a list of users that have access to it and the last saved version of the prototype. You already might have wondered, why you have to type in a name every time you save your prototype. From now on you can see these names again in the repository. Because all your work is saved immediately as you go, the save button creates a snapshot of your prototype. We call this a version, a milestone, a revision, whatever you like to use it for. Ok, you have those versions, and now? When you open the detailed view of a prototype, you get a detailed view of your options.

There you have a list of all the old versions that you have saved already. In addition, we are creating a snapshot every night after you worked on the prototype. This should give you enough choice whenever you feel the need to jump back to an older version: simply copy the version you like and open this new prototype to go on with.

Whenever you feel that something is not working correctly or you have ideas how we could improve pidoco°, please feel free to get in touch with us.

Server Downtime

Unfortunately, we had some problems with our server today. There has been a denial of service attack, which caused a downtime of our server. After some hours of trouble everything is calm right now. Although you might have experienced difficulties with using pidoco°, the attack had the advantage that we learned a lot about how to defend a server and how to prevent such a situation for the future.

Currently, we are investigating who might have started the attack. We also contacted our lawyer and are considering legal actions against the initiator of the attack.

Experiencing spotme at UPA Europe

The first European UPA conference is over right now. I enjoyed three inspiring days in Turin and met several people I already knew and saw some new faces. It gave me the chance to collect lots of feedback and new ideas for pidoco° that we will have to discuss once I’m back in Berlin.

One major learning regarding pidoco° was that without a demo, it is hard to sell. You really have to focus on the main advantages and be able to present them in a short way. Especially, if a competing product is presented right next to you, it is crucial that within the few minutes that you have, your audience knows how to distinguish both products. For the next time, I will spend some more time to be better prepared.

When having a look at the conference program you will see that there have been several people coming from different continents. This made the conference even more international and provided the European community with good insights into best practices of world leading companies. Thorsten from eResult mentions two sessions in the usability blog (in German) with which I just agree.

However, besides the sessions there were these litte devices that every attendee got upon registration: spotme. These are handheld devices with a non-touch screen some few navigation buttons and a keyboard for writing text. They were stuffed with all the information you need for the conference: a list of attendees with photos, the up-to-date program, the conference proceedings, maps of Turin, etc. Using the spotme device, you can write messages to other attendees, exchange virtual business cards, spot certain people or get informed once they are close to you, you can make appointments, and you can receive news from the staff including feedback questionnaires. All together makes it a very interesting device to play with during the whole conference. I think there was not anybody who didn’t play with the spotme device.

As everything has also its disadvantages, I’m still wondering whether I will get the business cards that I exchanges. I was promised to receive an email sometime next week with all my data. And this made me think the whole conference: why is spotme only useful with having this device? Why is there no online experience before, during and after an event? Before the conference I would liked to have a look at who else is coming to make some appointments for the pre-conference evening. During the conference it would be nice to be able to see you collected business cards online to be sure to really have them. This would encourage people to use spotme event more extensively, because many people doubted to really get their data. And the experience after the conference might start next week, although I have no clue what to expect.

Therefore, I will wait to receive this email in order to have the opportunity to stay in touch with some people. Depending on how this experience will be, I might ask spotme for an offer for our UXcamp next year, because the device itself was fun to use.

UPA Europe in Turin

On Wednesday I will fly to Turin in Italy to attend the first european UPA conference. I am sure that it will be a very interesting event with many people to meet and sessions to attend. pidoco° will also be presented in a poster session.

To me, this conference will be a special event, since it is the first time that I can tell people that we have a product on the market. Up to now it was always about talking to people about this project and our Prototype Creator in beta phase. Right now, we have launched the new web site, we opened registration to the public, and everybody is invited to use pidoco° for prototyping.

In case you are attending the UPA Europe as well, feel free to leave a message (volker at pidoco.com) and I’d be happy to meet you in Turin.