Lookback is an app that enables iOS developers to find out how people use their apps without dragging them into a usability lab or using overhead cameras and one-way mirrors. It keeps track of what's happening to the app being tested while using the front-facing camera on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod to film the user. This means companies can test apps in real business situations, rather than laboratory conditions.
Since Lookback can now work with apps sold in the app store, not just in development, it could also be used in situations where user support is difficult but essential. (Users have to opt in by downloading the Lookback app.*) The high quality video is recorded to the web, where developers see the face and screen recordings side by side.
The app was given a private beta launch late last year, and claims several thousand users, including Spotify, Yammer, Venmo and King.com. In fact, the app developed out of Spotify, where lead developers Joachim Bengtsson and Jonatan Littke worked before co-founding Lookback in Sweden. Littke’s brother Carl, a web developer, became the third member of the team.
Today (Thursday), the start-up announced that it had raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Lakestar, Index Ventures and an angel investor, Ilya Sukhar, co-founder of Parse. In a press statement, the company said: "As Lookback continues to grow, this strategic investment will be used to scale both the platform and team, and also expand its services to new arenas."
In a telephone interview, Jonatan Littke, the CEO, said the company was already working on an Android version."We are interested in every platform out there, eventually."
Littke says that Lookback is "more about understanding the individual user, rather than 3,000 users." However, "what you can do that you couldn't do before is research at scale, with users in different place, such as on the metro or at work. You now have the opportunity to understand users even better."
The new SDK is now available at lookback.io
Lookback is now in its public beta phase and is available free, but the aim is to charge for it, possibly via a subscription.
* Update: Lookback says "users can opt in by going to an app's About page (if the app has included the Lookback plugin), rather than downloading a Lookback app."