We’ve teased a little about it already, but we are now announcing more details on the next version of Quirkos, a version that will work entirely in your internet browser.
Until now, even the cloud storage subscription of Quirkos has required you to download and install the Quirkos software for your computer. For many, installing software on their computer is blocked or restricted by their institution, making this an annoying or insurmountable hurdle. With the desktop version, we are also restricted to supporting only Windows, Mac or Linux, and not mobile operating systems like ChromeOS – the fastest growing operating system, and especially popular in education.
But from this autumn, anyone with access to the internet can login to their Quirkos Cloud account, and use all the main functionalities of the desktop app, running directly in their browser. No downloads, nothing to install: on any computer all your data will be available, complete with the tools to keep working on it.
This has been a major endeavour, and something we have been planning and implementing supportive technologies for over 4 years now. But since we designed Quirkos Cloud from the beginning to support the browser, we can keep the same tried and tested storage, data protection and collaboration that has worked perfectly for the last two years (and a year before that in testing). And since it connects to the Quirkos servers in exactly the same way, compatibility is ensured between the desktop and web versions (you can even use both) and on collaborative projects no matter how anyone is working. It’s what many people in the qualitative research community have been asking for: a ‘Google Docs for qualitative analysis’ where it just works in your browser, with unlimited collaboration and storage.
This is a major update for Quirkos, as it requires rewriting the software from scratch for the web. So it’s also been an opportunity to tweak the interface to make it easier to use and more modern. With professional UI expertise, we’ve made the flow easier, made many functions clearer and simpler, without hiding options. And of course, we are keeping the clear, colourful and visual interface, and of course the Quirk bubbles and layouts!
There will be newly designed manuals, tutorials and videos to help people learn the new way, and we will also be providing some sneak peaks in the free monthly webinar series over the next few months. We know it’s always frustrating when the layout of familiar software changes, but we hope that it will be smoother and better for most users, and there will always be the option of the current desktop version.
Quirkos web also provides a new base to add new features too, that can be released anytime, without users needing to update their software. In the future, there will also be special tweaks to make Quirkos an amazing experience on mobile devices too, like tablets and phones, offering the full suite of features but designed for different screen sizes and layouts. We are especially excited about this, as we believe our designs have cracked layout problems for coding qualitative data that others haven’t solved yet.
The web-based version of Quirkos will be available at no extra cost for all subscribers to Quirkos Cloud. And though the desktop version won’t be upgraded any more, it will still be available, giving users the option to work offline, and use the desktop layout if they prefer. We still provide support and backward and forward compatibility for users who brought Quirkos when it first came out, more than 7 years ago – we don’t believe in forced upgrades or planned obsolescence (it’s one of the things we hated in other software)!
There’s still a lot of work to do before it is ready for wide release, although the beta version is going to be tested by some of our users and trainers in August to make sure we are on the right track. There’s also still time to join the beta programme if you are willing to test it and send us some feedback. We are hoping to make the web version available from autumn/fall of this year, but won’t release until we are happy with it, and confident that it is going to be the best way to work with your qualitative text data.