Imagine receiving a phone call from Apple and being asked to create an app for their very first App Store launch. That’s how ReaddleDocs, now known as Documents, was born. Today, over 11 million people use Documents every month for work, learning and entertainment. Eugene Plokhoj tells us about how a passion for productivity has helped Documents to innovate and evolve to meet users’ changing needs.
What’s your background and how did you get into your current role?
Starting off with a master's in telecommunication and a holistic approach to career, I began by working in sales for beautiful Italian furniture and went on to lead regional B2B sales for the largest Ukrainian telecommunication company. This journey taught me a lot about psychology, how to communicate with people and how important it is to know both your product, and your customer.
I then ran a startup creating a bunch of unique products for iOS and even one game with over 10 million downloads in total. This experience taught me a lot about design, development, people management, legal, marketing and how to persevere through challenges.
And finally I arrived at Readdle. Documents was (and is) one of my favorite products on iPhone, Documents has a large team of very talented people who work on it daily. We are building a product that will be a go-to app on every iOS device, relied on for the decades to come.
In your own words, tell us about Documents?
Documents is that colleague or classmate you can always rely on. It has hundreds of actions you can combine into thousands of flows. Maybe I only need some of these actions, and I don't use them every day, but you can perform almost anything on your mobile device when needed. People who use Documents call it a Swiss Army knife, where you have a lot of helpful tools packed into a convenient and compact user interface.
What are the biggest challenges consumers face, and how does Documents solve them?
Everyone who uses documents has their challenges: align all your cloud services together, protect your connection or download files from the web. Users take the power of Documents and apply it to their needs. It can be challenging for us to have all these actions available and keep the experience simple. That's why we invest a lot into user experience, adding innovative solutions like Smart Actions - small suggestions for the best following actions. Soon you won't need to learn Documents' UI since actions will be presented when you need them the most.
What’s the difference between a good file management app and a great one?
From the outside, Documents looks like a file manager, but in reality, the file manager is just a familiar interface for all the capabilities we've added to Documents. A file manager is a structure people use with a straightforward goal – finding needed information quickly. The problem with file management is that you have to invest a lot of time to create the structure and even more to support it. We believe that a great file manager is one where you don't need to invest a lot of time into creating a structure and have instant access to all the required information.
Think about Google, YouTube or Spotify – technically, they provide access to some files in the cloud, but you don't need to open the folder "Cats" and subfolder "Fun" on YouTube to find videos of funny kittens. Imagine a wardrobe where you don't need to organize your clothes, but every time you open it, you have a perfect set of clothes you need right now. I would say that we are building this perfect "wardrobe" for your files and information.
Documents Plus subscription includes an advanced PDF editor and other premium features. How are existing users already benefiting from these features?
Historically, Documents always was a free product, and it still is. Over 95% of its capabilities are free for our users. But three years ago, we added subscriptions for people who want the most from their iOS devices. This subscription includes powerful PDF capabilities, unlimited and fast VPN connection, and a wide variety of conversion actions. Every year, we add more and more professional actions available for our premium subscribers without additional cost.
It will take a lot of time to cover all use cases, but here are a few; convert any document in PDF, sign it and share; connect work, personal, and family Dropbox/Google Drive accounts in one UI and sync important folders for offline access; download music video from the web and convert it to mp3; and make changes in PDF documents or open it in a convenient reading mode. We define our product's power as the flows you can create with all our actions.
How does Documents help users become more efficient?
I would define efficiency by two dimensions – how fast you can get an outcome and how high the quality of the result is. In Documents, we invest in both. Thanks to our Smart Actions, we are trying to predict the following actions so you can get the result you want in one tap. Having all the capabilities under one hood and deep integration with iOS helps. Our development team works hard to deliver the best result possible, using advanced technologies and learnings from our 15 years of experience developing for iOS.
As a file management app, how easy is it to add files to the app?
We understand that people store their information in different formats and different places. Documents supports over 60 other file formats. I would highlight three ways of adding files: the Plus button, the Save to Documents extension, and the Built-it browser.
The Plus button is a shortcut to add information to Documents. You can import files from connected cloud services, Photo Library, or even create a scan with your camera. Also, Plus button helps you organize your information and create folders.
Save to Documents extension. Every time you open a file in another app, like an attachment in the email, you can tap on the share button and find Save to Documents in the list. The file will be added to Documents, and you instantly get access to the viewer of this file.
Built-in web browser. We've worked a lot to make a convenient and fast download manager in the interface of a web browser. Whenever you need to download something from the web, you can rely on Documents. I would notice here that our browser is private by its design – all your interactions with the browser are available only locally on your device, and you can enable VPN to protect your connection.
Your vision to move from being a document browser to a super app is underway. How can users get the most out of Documents this Black Friday?
You can instantly get value with some essential Documents features, but revealing the product's hidden power requires more time. That is why, for this Black Friday, we've decided to offer something unique and give our existing users the gift of 3 months of Documents Plus for free.
Just give Documents a try, and we are sure you'll love it. Offer valid 21 November - 2 December 2022. The deal has ended — please check back next year.
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