Thanks to the explosion of low-code and no-code development tools, building web applications from scratch has become easier – and cheaper – than before. But sophisticated search and navigation functions can complicate the process. A recent survey by IT research firm GoodFirms puts the cost of a complex application at between $91,550 and $211,000. This is before any debugging, marketing, and release expenses.
James Evans, Richard Freling and Vinay Ayyala encountered the problem themselves when prototyping an online grading tool — CodePost — for computer science homework. They ran into a classic UI challenge: new users couldn’t figure out how to use the tool, while existing users found it slow and difficult to navigate.
The trio were inspired by other developers who had built “command palettes” – menu bars with shortcuts, essentially – to create their own custom solution. The result, CommandBar, aims to give users a way to search in their own words for what they’re trying to accomplish instead of having to struggle with buttons and menus.
CommandBar quickly grew from a tool to a growing company, whose clients include ClickUp, HashiCorp, Gusto, Netlify, and LaunchDarkly. In a show of investor confidence, CommandBar raised $19 million in Series A funding co-led by Insight Partners and Itai Tsiddon, co-founder of Lightrights, with participation from existing investors Thrive Capital and BoxGroup.
To date, CommandBar has raised $23.8 million.
“It’s so natural to extend a model we use all the time – research – to software. Every application wants to make it easier for users to move from intention to action. But we also realized that the build well to take full advantage of this model was difficult, and wasn’t something every company had to start from scratch,” Evans told TechCrunch via email. “We augmented our seed to validate that CommandBar could be widely useful in different types of software and for different types of users. We are now extremely confident that all applications will soon have an interface like CommandBar, so we are now moving to seize this opportunity and integrate CommandBar into as many applications and in front of as many users as possible. »
Picture credits: Command bar
CommandBar lives inside apps, serving as a search bar with results that include commands like open a page, invite a teammate, or view help center content. Beyond commands, CommandBar can provide onboarding steps or highlight new features, as well as personalize the experience based on where users are and what they’ve been up to recently. ‘application.
Developers copy a code snippet to install CommandBar and configure or modify commands using a low-code editor. An analytics dashboard on the backend displays popular queries and synonyms for commonly used terms, which developers can use to identify and add missing commands.
“Top notch, we improve the user experience without requiring a lot of work from our customers. After installation, which normally takes a few hours, CommandBar makes it easy to find and use features, and all of the in-app experience is faster,” Evans said. . “Second, removing user experience friction impacts the unit economy of our customers. Making it easier for a new user to find a feature they’re interested in means the user converts to a customer. Giving loyal users a fast app experience makes them more likely to renew, increase usage, and rave about the software in their networks.These are revenue benefits we’ve seen, but On the cost side, we’re also seeing customers spend less on support to answer questions like ‘How do I do X.’”
CommandBar, which currently has 15 employees and plans to hire another 20-25 by the end of the year, claims to reach three million end users through its client apps, compared to “a few hundred thousand” at Fall 2021. According to Evans, the focus will be both on integrating CommandBar with mobile apps and on building recommendation features that help users orient themselves and determine the types of tasks an application can perform.
Picture credits: Command bar
“Businesses today need to create…recommendations explicitly: Maybe you want to help new users on large teams invite the rest of their co-workers. But soon, we’ll provide these recommendations automatically, based on what that past users did — kind of like a Netflix recommendation algorithm, but for in-product actions,” Evans added. “We expect to reach a tipping point where this … becomes a user expectation.”