Monthly Update — May 2020

Interactr Developers
6 min readJun 5, 2020

Welcome to the first Interactr development team update. We will be releasing an update once a month to keep our users in the loop with what changes have been made, what is being worked on, and some sneak peek screenshots of future updates in the pipeline.

Introducing the Feature Requests List

https://requests.interactr.io

We’ve been saving all the feature requests everyone has been sending into support and posting in the Facebook group. Now we’ve combined them all into a list so you can vote on what features you want us to work on next.

You can also submit new features directly on the page for us to consider adding to the list.

We hope to allow you, our users, to vote on the upcoming features we’re going to be working on, and the areas of the app we will be improving.

Player Updates

For the launch of Interactr Evolution, we completely rebuilt our video player from the ground up.

We previously used something called video.js which was causing some issues with video streaming. So, by building our own video streaming player we could encode all our mp4 uploads directly to streaming video.

The great things about streaming video (The same tech YouTube and Vimeo use) is that it breaks down a single mp4 file into 12-second chunks of video. This means the load time for a video is just the time it takes to load a 12-second file not a 60-second file for example.

In our testing, this worked amazingly! However, there was a huge flaw in the way we built it and it took us a while to figure out what that was.

HTTP will only allow a certain amount of requests to the same domain at the same time. So what was happening was video 1 would load part 1, then video 2 and video 3 would start loading in parts and they would block the queue and part 2 of video 1 would have to wait before it could be loaded in causing the player to freeze.

To fix this we’ve updated the player so we now only load 1 video at a time. This will fix this issue but moves the video loading to after the button is clicked to transition to a new node. This isn’t ideal and we see this as a short term solution.

The next steps are for us to work on loading in videos before they’re played so we have no loading after a button is clicked. But we need to do this without blocking the current video loading its parts.

We have one of our developers who just works full time on finding ways we can update the player and make it better and faster so we will hopefully have more performance updates coming this month.

We still want to explore http/2 and the possibility of moving from the fastly CDN to Amazon CloudFront CDN.

Surveys

One of the biggest questions we get asked is “what’s happened to the Surveys feature”.

We developed a version of surveys that was tested at the end of April. The big outcome of this testing was the feature wasn’t good enough yet. I think on the development side we had missed some key features needed for marketers when creating surveys so we had to go back to the drawing board.

The main issue was we had built surveys to work like Interaction Layers. Each time a video finishes it shows a question with some answer choices. The problem with this was each question would need a video to play before the question was shown.

The solution to this was to allow a node to be created without a video background. This was quite a large change and there were some other fundamental things that we wanted to change which lead us to take the decision to do all these changes in a large 2.0 update to Interactr Evolution.

We also decided to put some processes in place where large features are discussed more internally and externally with our users before we work on them. Hopefully, this will prevent us from ending up in this position again in the future.

Evolution 2.0

The next big update to Interactr will contain the Survey feature, the ability to create nodes with an image or solid color backgrounds, and a complete rebuild of the Node Editor interface.

Whilst it’s too early to give a release date we’re hoping to have this in testing this month and hopefully live by the end of the month. In the meantime here are some screenshots from the current development version.

FullScreen Player

We often get asked why the player is not fullscreen. Whilst desktop browsers support the FullScreen API which is used to make a video go fullscreen. The problem is as it stands mobile browsers don’t support the fullscreen API.

I’ve seen some examples of messy workarounds on mobile but I have always resisted this as I didn’t want to have functionality on the desktop that didn’t work as well on mobile.

However, I’ve seen the feedback of how much our users want this feature so we’re going to have another deep dive into getting this working. It’s going to have to wait until the Interactr 2.0 version is released however.

How can we make the Agency better?

We would love to get your feedback on how we can improve the agency side of Interactr.

If you have any feedback please get in touch support@interactr.io with the subject FAO: Chris.

Pending QA Checks

Here’s a list of features that are waiting to be deployed pending our QA Testing Process.

  • Project list thumbnail to show the project thumbnail first before the node thumbnails
  • Add pagination to the project list page and only load the projects in for the active folder. This will improve the load time and performance of the projects list page.
  • Add a debug mode to the form element that will return the error from the autoresponder API instead of the custom error you enter in the form properties.
  • Sharing Page Updates: Allows user to upload custom images to be used when sharing on social media. This also allows the page title and description to be easier edited and viewed before the project is shared.
  • Moved the thumbnail of the player to a CDN so it loads faster.

ChangeLog

Here is a full list of all changes made to the app in May:

  • Updated error messages on the login page
  • Fixed bugs with the comment form on share page
  • Make the project name field required on the new project form
  • Fix errors with dynamic text properties fields
  • Add new background-color field for the agency for the sidebar and header color
  • Added in a new Dashboard Page with project views chart
  • Fix the background color updating issue on Whitelabel
  • Fix element group updating issues
  • Fix font loading issue on the node editor
  • Fix errors with the MailChimp integration
  • Send email notifications to user when a new comment is made on the video
  • Allow thumbnails to be gif’s
  • Fixed letter-spacing error on the node editor
  • fixed player issue when playing the same video twice
  • remove big play button when pressing space bar
  • fix issues with modals not showing on player
  • Stop elements flashing at the start of a video

Wrap Up

That’s all for this month folks.

Any feedback or questions you can get in touch with us via the Interactr user's Facebook group or through our help center: https://videosuite.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

--

--

Interactr Developers

Keep up to date with the latest news from the Interactr Development Team