Savvy Alpha - July 28, 2015

Thomas -

Savvy Alpha - July 28, 2015

alpha Doesn't alpha sound pretty cool: alpha particle, alpha dog, alphabet, alfalfa. We learned so much from our early users that we did a little happy dance and then squeezed many new, cool, important features into one impressive release. Here is the list, from "a" like auto-play to "z" like - uhm - time zone:


  • Auto-play video in profiles
  • Sign in to Savvy: We keep you secure. You can now sign in to your profile or manage your account settings by signing in to your Savvy account with your email and password
  • User remains signed in for 90 days: no need to sign in to your Savvy account for a while once you are authenticated. That makes accessing your account or joining a video session a one-click action. Sweet!
  • For improved security, we request users to re-authenticate with their password when they try to change sensitive account settings such as payment and payout details
  • Password Reset feature: happens to all of us. You can totally recall the password you used for your hotmail account 5 years ago, but you just can't get back into Savvy. Sucks. When you are done trying, just request a new one by clicking "Forgot password". And, voilà - a reset link gets delivered to your email inbox.
  • Create and edit topics for your teacher profile
  • Format options for topic text: bullets help structure topic descriptions
  • Teachers can link their Google Calendar to their Savvy profile
  • Booked sessions show as "BOOKED" in teacher's Google Calendar and contain name of the learner, session goal, video link
  • Pre-select 25 min and 55 min slots as default 
  • Record profile video: right from your browser. Are you ready for your closeup?
  • Upload profile video: publish your favorite intro-video to your Savvy profile, right from your smartphone or Mac/PC.
  • View as Learner: see what your learners see when they view your Savvy profile. Amazing.
  • For Learners: ability to securely enter and change payment method
  • For Teachers: ability to securely enter and change payout method
  • Switch to automatic secure payment processing: we are using Stripe to handle all payments in a certified secure, fast and automated way. 
  • Session price setting: $10 - $9999 (or equivalent in international currency)
  • Detect valid bank routing and account numbers
  • Chat auto-expands when the other party sends a message
  • Chat turns web addresses into clickable links automatically: pretty useful when exchanging web addresses and links to shared docs during a Savvy learning session
  • Users can disconnect from video chat by clicking the "hang up" icon: even the best sessions have to come to an end. But there is always the next session to look forward to.
  • Sessions shouldn't be booked less than 12 hours ahead of time: adding a buffer to avoid unexpected last-second bookings and to give both sides enough time to prepare for their session. 
  • Send email confirmation to teacher and learner for booked session
  • Send email reminder to teacher and learner 15 minutes before session start
  • Send email to teacher and learner once session is completed
  • Video chat: graceful handling of low-bandwidth situation
  • Session-specific video rooms: only the signed-in teacher and learner can enter the Savvy video session.
  • Make Session Goal editable: at the beginning of each session, teacher and learner can see the session goal. A click allows to edit and save the revised goal
  • We updated our Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Cancellation Policy pages and linked them to
  • International time zone support: oh man, we are all so international. When a teacher connects with a learner in a different part of the planet, we take care of showing them the right times in their local time zone - automagically - in booking, calendar and all email communication, notifications and reminders. 


Some call them "bugs" and give them exotic names like "#91964576". We don't name them as we don't want to get too attached. Instead, we get rid of them pronto. Here are the ones that are no longer bothering us:

  • Scheduling: takes session length into consideration
  • Scheduling: last half hour of availability isn't showing
  • Video upload: limit file size and type
  • Video upload and creation has to be supported on mobile devices
  • Newly connected calendar not populating Savvy availability
  • User can skip session length selection and end up booking a 0 min slot
  • Edit profile: newly uploaded image not showing
  • Profile video should pause when user starts to edit their title
  • Security: disable browser feature to auto-fill password to prevent unauthorized edits
  • Changing user name not updating instantly
  • Account setup: eMail should check for correct format
  • Various layout issues on Safari for desktop and iOS
  • Video upload: current video plays while uploading or recording
  • Mobile video recording: portrait format videos turn out too large on profile page
  • Mobile web: touch targets are too small to hit easily on mobile devices
  • Account Settings and Profile Management: input validation for all fields and meaningful user guidance when fields are empty
  • Uploaded Profile images get squished (should be cropped)
  • Profile picture upload should verify file formats
  • Switching from "View as Learner" back to Teacher view should automatically switch back into edit mode
  • Multiple browser support: harmonize layout and features across major mobile and web browsers on all popular devices
  • Teacher calendar: entries include learner name in title and body, session length and link to video
  • Available times show out of sequence
  • times that have already passed show as available on Savvy
  • Make video chat responsive for Android Chrome
  • Disable "save as" for profile videos
  • Video chat link in Google calendar contained zero width unicode character which isn't visible but changes the web address, resulting in learner and teacher missing each other if the learner copies and pastes that address into the browser bar
  • Need a waiting screen for video room while user waits for the other user to join
  • Claim your name: when using an email address that was already used to claim a Savvy user name, the error message says "user name already taken"
  • Scheduling: Savvy shows available times earlier than the current time
  • Timezone support: times in email should be converted to user's preferred timezone
  • Improve layout for small screens: we hate squinting and we have fat fingers, too.


Whoa, there are still some features that aren't quite working the way they should. And that's a nice way of saying "we know there are some bugs we haven't completely fixed yet". There, we said it. Most of these have simple workarounds (see below). But, we totally get that they can be super annoying, so we're working hard on getting these fixed:

  • Video chat: in some browsers, temporary slowness of the internet connection can cause echo cancellation to fail.
    • reload the browser tab or window the active video chat is in
    • use headphones to avoid speaker/mic echo
  • Video chat: video freezes to a still image for one of the two parties
    • reload the browser tab or window the active video chat is in
  • Video chat: both parties click on the video chat link but both see the waiting screen and aren't getting connected
    • Upgrade your browser to the latest version
  • Video chat: microphone not working
    • The other person can't hear you at all while you can hear them well. Check your audio settings: is your built-in or external microphone connected, unmuted? Does your microphone work in other apps?
    • In some cases we 
  • Teacher calendar: Google calendar contains the Savvy video link but also adds a Google Hangout video chat link, which can be confusing
    • That's a user-specific setting in your Google calendar settings: when active, Google calendar will auto-add a Hangout link to every appointment you create. You can either ignore the Google Hangout video link and just click on the Savvy video link inside the appointment, OR switch change your setting in GCal → Settings → (scroll down)→ Automatically add video calls to events I create → [x] No. All done.
  • Video chat not working in old versions of Firefox, Safari and Chrome
    • Update your browser to the latest version to avoid incompatibilities
    • Switch on your browser's auto-update feature so you always use the latest and greatest.
  • Chat History: text chats between teacher and learner get lost when reloading the page and when ending the session
    • We're working on preserving all chat messages. In the future we will offer the option to receive a transcript of chat messages for each session.
  • Video upload and processing is slow
    • We're looking into options for a faster video upload and processing
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