Kim Montgomery

Written by

Kim Montgomery

24 March 2020

News & Features

Results: Which Novlr features are important to you?

At the end of last year, I sent all newsletter subscribers an email asking them to tell us what Novlr features they want to see next, and which are the most important. We sent the email to 50,000 current, past, and trial users and 441 took the time to fill out the questionnaire. Of those that filled out the form, 69% were active users and 31% were not.

I promised I would share with you what we found and we always strive to be open about our plans so have crunched the data to share with you.

Which Novlr features would convince non-users?

To begin with, we asked those who were not active what would need to change for them to subscribe? This was a free text answer but the breakdown looked something like this (as a percentage of those who answered this question):

27% waiting on Features
Almost all of the features these people are waiting on are already on the Roadmap. Some people highlighted new possible features for us to build too which was great.

Some said they were waiting on features that already exist! This is very useful for us, as it highlights that we are not showcasing everything Novlr can do well enough. (Examples were making comments, a share novel link, export to .epub, word count targets, and version history – all of which Novlr already has)

20% would like a lower price
The price is something we do regularly review and have been considering a number of future options with multiple level plans. However, this is an expensive developmental change to make to the app so can only do this when cash or investment allows. This is something we are looking at over the coming months.

20% waiting on mobile support
We are constantly told that mobile support is important for our users, and finally, at the end of 2019, we were in a position to prioritise this. Novlr has been accessible on mobile and tablet but not usable enough for us to consider it supported. The reworked mobile browser app is currently in the testing phase which means it will be with you in a matter of weeks. We know that this is a long time coming and should hopefully make a really big difference to many of you.

As well as the above: 10% just weren’t writing at the time; 3% don’t like subscriptions and want a one-off price (an extremely unlikely change for us considering the ongoing costs of an online software), and 20% had other niche reasons (including one that just asked for “FREE CHICKEN”).

How our Roadmap features ranked

Next we wanted to find out your priorities for our development.

We asked you to rate 29 of our top planned Novlr features on this scale:

Novlr features checklist

From this, we have been able to rank the features by most popular to least popular, and that list looks like this:

  1. On export, make sub-chapter headings optional
  2. Mobile responsive browser app
  3. Add typewriter scrolls as a preference (keep text in the middle of the page)
  4. Improve drive dropbox integrations to clear out old backups
  5. Onedrive Integration
  6. Mobile phone app
  7. Ability to sort novels into group/folders
  8. Weekly goals and streaks progress email (optional)
  9. Character profiles
  10. More writing courses
  11. Create more shortcuts (eg. open chapter bar, switch on focus mode, switch to evening mode, go to dashboard)
  12. Order novels by drag and drop
  13. Archive completed Novels
  14. Outlining/planning corkboard-style tool
  15. Ability to add links within planning section
  16. Additional font sizes
  17. Allow comments to be exported
  18. Notes per chapter (optionally visible while writing)
  19. Be able to load more versions going further back in time
  20. Make subchapters collapsible
  21. Add estimated book ‘page count’ feature
  22. Add a justify text option
  23. Dyslexia/accessible mode
  24. Find and replace
  25. Collaboration/share with my editor tools
  26. Dropbox & drive integration – add .docx as an option
  27. Search novel text
  28. Public status page/bugs we’re aware
  29. Weekly writing prompt series in-app

This was extremely helpful for us. Particularly because the top 5 desired features are not huge tasks (with the exception of mobile responsive which is already in testing) so we can rework our Roadmap to add those in without a long wait or big costs.

I also noticed that most votes were at “I can wait” on the scale, and fewest on “I want this immediately”, which suggests a beautiful patience among our demographic! As well as hopefully suggesting that many of the most desired writing features have already been built.

If you are interested in the raw data for this question, see it here.

What else did we learn?

Finally we asked if there was anything else you wanted to share with us about how we could make Novlr better. We had lots of suggestions – many we hear often but also lots of new ideas.

Some used this space to alert us to small usability changes they would like to see (like when you add a chapter can it add beneath currently selected) so we have added a number of small bugs and tweaks to the next few weeks plan in order to improve the experience for everyone.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer our questions – we rely so heavily on your feedback and couldn’t build Novlr without you. It’s worth noting here too that the more income we can generate from subscriptions, the more and quicker we can build features, that is currently our limiting factor, so if you love Novlr please do shout about it to your fellow writing friends.