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- Hey Vineet, so good to talk to you! Can you introduce us to TeliportMe?
- Very cool! How did TeliportMe get started?
- TeliportMe started as just an app right? What made you move to the web?
- What did you want to change?
- How did you end up using Polypane for this project?
- What results did you see with Polypane?
- What's next for TeliportMe?
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We interviewed Vineet Devaiah, the CEO of TeliportMe on their move to the web and how Polypane is helping them do this.
Hey Vineet, so good to talk to you! Can you introduce us to TeliportMe?
Yeah, Teliportme is the world's largest online virtual tour and 360 panorama sharing website. People can create virtual tours and see other virtual tours easily and intuitively using our interface.
We have six and a half million registered users, about fifteen million app downloads and millions of visits to our website each month. For the last four years we have been building the B2B side of our company, helping businesses create virtual tours and 360 panoramas of their locations. That's been scaling really well.
A live demo of Teliportme's software.
Very cool! How did TeliportMe get started?
Back in 2011 me and my cofounder Abhinav Asthana, now the cofounder of Postman, had this vision for building a crowdsourced street view. We had the idea that augmented reality is going to be the future and people are going to be wearing AR glasses. We were one of the first companies to develop an app for Google Glass back in the day, so we were very geeky in that sense. Still, that was the vision! We wanted to make sure everyone could own their own street view style virtual tours.
TeliportMe started as just an app right? What made you move to the web?
I've been a programmer for a while now and probably have built hundreds of websites in my time but TeliportMe was very much a mobile first app. We were very strict about not building out any features on the web.
We thought, if we start building features on the web then people will start asking for even more things on the web and then we're losing focus. So for the longest time we put a hundred percent of our focus on the mobile app. So for our app around 2014, we didn't even have a login on the web, just a landing page with a "download app" link. Then around 2016 we built the first basic version of our web site where you could log in and see some of your stuff. When we decided to do that, we needed to build a proper user interface, administration UI and all that jazz.
We're good at programming so we banged that out in two, three months, but the design was very functional. We used Tachyons so everything was fast and we had all the components, so we didn't have to worry about the design too much.
Then our customer base grew and changed to larger businesses and our vision of what we wanted started to change. And we needed to change the website
What did you want to change?
There were a few things. Firstly we built our initial site in React since that's what we knew and we didn't care about SEO. But that meant that the site was not properly indexable. That was fine when we didn't care about the site but now we wanted our site to be better indexable and more of a better looking marketing site too.
So this was really the first time we cared about the design, because it just hadn't been necessary even with millions of people visiting the website, since they were all going to the mobile app. But the website was becoming more important, so we started working on it properly
How did you end up using Polypane for this project?
I was in the middle of designing the new website and during the pandemic we had a dramatic change in our company structure where we went from mostly full time people to mostly contractors. Working with contractors is great but you also have to be more specific about what you want to do.
So I was using a browser to manually check sizes, make screenshots and then send those over to the contractors to show what should be changed and where. It was a very time intensive process.
Then I found Polypane and I was like "Oh, this is a cool idea" so I tried it and it really improved my workflow very fast. It obviously helped me look at different resolutions, but also with the fact that I wanted to be very specific about communicating issues I found and not wanting to waste too much time doing that.
What I really like is that Polypane is really smartly designed, the way you have figured out how to integrate it within a workflow and how easily you can use it. From a product perspective, it's really solidly designed.
What results did you see with Polypane?
I do a lot of things other than design so context switching and then checking the design, making screenshots, sending feedback et cetera cost me a lot of time. But with Polypane that was super easy, since you can just load the url, see the different sizes and everything you do is synced.
Because of that there's way less context switching. Polypane really helps there because it's so easy to get to the overview: open the link in Polypane and you can see what it looks like in like five different browsers, so that in itself is a huge time saver. I'd say Polypane saved me an hour for each feedback session we had.
What's next for TeliportMe?
Things are going well. We're a ten year old company and we've been through a lot of ups and downs, so we're cautious about being optimistic, but the product is progressing and the customers are coming in.
Before our move to the web, users were a lot more fleeting. They would download the app and then use it or not, you don't have a lot of control over that. But on the web the feedback cycles are a little bit longer, and people spend more time with your product and they can reach out if they have support questions. So we really see there's more momentum there. We've been doing this for ten years and now it's time for us to move to the web. We're definitely betting on the web now!
For the future we'll keep improving our value proposition, help people with repeated use and become more of a service provider and find partners and agencies that can use our software for their clients.
Thanks Vineet for this interview! I'd urge every web agency to have a look at TeliportMe since it can be a great addition to your service offering!