As we kick off our discussion, Bob takes us on a quick walk through his professional journey and his background before entering a life of business and entrepreneurship. Originally in Kilkeel but now settled in Belfast, Bob graduated from Ulster University in 2003. He has now been working in the software industry for over 15 years.
Over those years Bob has witnessed a series of changes in what is an extremely fast-paced industry. Indeed, he admits that these changes can make it difficult to keep up.
The Importance of User Interface
But what does Bob specialise in now, and what solutions do Video First Software offer? He describes the product by posing a simple question: how often do you click on something on a site that doesn’t work, and how does it make you feel when it happens?
Our answer: very often and very frustrated. When this happens, I put it down to issues with user interface. The user interface is the primary thing that will attract customers to your product, and this should be the most important element of your software product.
Video First Software is an innovative tool that allows you to test your user interface using various video technologies. Bob suggests that in the modern marketplace, most businesses tend to be aware of the risks of avoiding UI testing – and they are especially aware of the drastic implications of when this can all go very wrong.
“If the Amazon website went down for ten minutes, it would lose over a million dollars in revenue. Not all sites are as important as that – but lost revenue is a big risk of any business, regardless of its size or nature,” he explains.
What type of clients do Video First Software typically work with? According to the CEO, there isn’t a singular answer to this question. Indeed, Video First Software works with a huge range of businesses and organisations, from firms with a handful of workers to larger companies with potentially hundreds of employees.
“Our ideal client, however, is one that is distributed across the world. It’s like a video library of user interface tests and they can be accessed via one single site. Designers, developers and others can record tests for others to view, and at that stage can approve or decline those tests,” he adds.
Creating a Visual Audit Trail
For Bob, Video First Software offers significant value in massively increasing the visibility of the engineering process at a much earlier stage, helping products to get to market quicker. It is the collaborative nature of the product which helps its customers achieve just that.
“Over time you also get that visual audit trail,” says Bob, “and when a new tester comes along to join your company, they can very easily familiarise themselves with the testing process, saving time and costs on the likes of training and onboarding.”
What challenges has Video First Software encountered as a tech company? According to the CEO, the challenges are plentiful.
“There are a lot of problems and issues to take account of as a tech company. The challenge of any company is to get your product to market, to get feedback and to know you’re building the right thing. You must say to yourself – yes, this product solves problems for me – but would it solve problems for others?
“All software companies do testing. However, only 15 percent of companies in Belfast do automated testing. In the context of UI testing, automation is a bit of software, and there is a cost here. These tests can work 24/7, so they very quickly pay for themselves. If something breaks, you will know before the customer knows. We capture both manual and automated user interface tests, so if something did break, you could go back and identify exactly where the failure starts.”
This interview with Video First Software’s Bob Marks joins ProfileTree’s award-winning Business Leader YouTube series, which features a huge knowledge base of business tips and strategic advice from business owners, sectoral leaders and entrepreneurs from across the island of Ireland. To pitch your business to the series or to discover how our agency’s digital marketing services can transform your online prospects, get in touch with our expert team today.