Whale 2.0— A New Beginning
Today, we are excited to announce Whale 2.0 with a new redesign. Over the past few weeks, we challenged ourselves to think hard about the assumptions we made building the last 32 releases during the past nine months. With today’s update, we simplified the app to just its core value: discovering interesting questions and watching interesting people answer them. Considering how passionate and tight-knit our community is, we thought that we would answer some of your questions preemptively about the changes. If you have other questions, please ask us, and we’ll record a video answer.
- How does the new Whale work?
The new app is all about simplicity and giving you control. We want the app to be accessible and useful even when it’s inconvenient to watch videos. Our hypothesis is that people enjoy browsing questions first and only watching the answers that they’re interested in later.
The new app has four screens:
- Explore: This is where you see questions asked to people you follow. Swipe right if you’re interested and want them to answer it, or swipe left to pass.
- Watch: Questions that you swiped right on appear here once they’re answered. Think of it as a video inbox — you’ll only see answers to questions that you expressed interest in.
- Answer: Questions that people ask you are listed here. You’ll be able to see exactly how many people are interested in your answer for each question.
- Ask: Tap the plus sign at the top left corner from any screen to ask anyone on Whale a question. In the future, you’ll be able to ask anyone on Twitter a question, even if they’re not on Whale.
2. Why did you take away the home feed?
The biggest piece of user feedback that we received was that the home feed was not relevant enough. We noticed that people were scrolling through several pages of content in the feed before finding something they want to watch. People spent more time browsing than consuming. As a content platform, we knew that we needed to figure out a better solution.
Secondly, bookmarking videos to watch later was a very popular feature request. Most people are not in a position to watch videos throughout the day (no headphones, in public, with friends, etc.). Even though many people wanted to use Whale throughout the day, they couldn’t.
Lastly, the feed format isn’t ideal for Whale’s content. Feeds tend to suffer from information overload, where it became really difficult to parse through the magnitude of questions and images. As a user, the only thing I should think about is “Does this particular question pique my interest?”, something much easier to parse when the content format is clean & simple.
Hence, we decided to move forward with a radical redesign to optimize for mobile consumption, and only show you videos that you want to watch. By swiping left or right, your preferences help us surface better content that’s personalized for you, and let answerers know that you are interested in hearing from them. We think this is a win for the community and can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
3. What happened to all my purchased and collected coins, and why did you get rid of coins?
We’re doing an ICO! Just kidding. While the old coin model was fun and contributed to bringing people back to the app, we noticed that most content created on the platform was free to consume. We also noticed that some users hoarded coins but never used them to watch videos or ask questions. Overall, coins complicated the product for new users, without providing much utility for existing users, so we decided to remove the coin model completely. Ultimately, we see Whale as a place for learning and making authentic connections with people so the coins got in the way of this mission. If you purchased a coin pack, we’ll contact you regarding a full refund.
4. Wait, what if I’ve earned coins through answering questions or paid unlocks?
Throughout the next few days, we will be reaching out over email to everyone who has a payable coin balance to send you the proceeds over PayPal. You qualify if you have a coin balance through answering paid questions and paid unlocks. If you qualify but don’t hear from us over the next few days, please send us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. What happened to my profile in the app? Where are all my old videos?
Don’t worry. All of your videos are still available and accessible on your web profile found at https://askwhale.com/add/username. We’re also working on adding back profile functionality in the app shortly.
6. How do I discover people and follow new people on Whale now? Why did you remove following?
Following people in the Whale app was not something we ever prioritized in the design from the start. However, we are planning on bringing back follow/add functionality so that you can grow your audience on Whale and connect with interesting people within the app.
7. Why did you remove Facebook login?
Twitter is the platform that best mirrors one’s interest graph. People tend to follow thought leaders, experts, and online personalities in addition to their friends. We’ve made the decision to restrict users to login with Twitter in order to build critical mass around our core audience.
We hope you enjoy the new update. We’re excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to talk to some of you and get your feedback. Thank you so much to the Whale community for your input and being a part of this wonderful adventure.