Posts in: Uncategorized

Mention at Google I/O Keynote!

June 28th, 2012

Photo by @Loh

Why you should always do usability testing

June 3rd, 2012

A few weeks ago, we went out and tested HelloFax with some users. Most of the testing went really well. But, there was one issue that we kept seeing.

When people were adding signers, they’d click on “Signer” and “CC” on the left. They thought they were buttons!  Some members of the team kept telling me that they looked like buttons. But, there’s nothing like a confused user clicking on something to make a point.

Plus, people were also confused about where to enter in the signer’s name. We only required the email address, not the signer’s name. It wasn’t just a feature request, but a major point of confusion.  They expected it to be there.

Version 1:

Version 2:

Before you fill it in

After you fill it in

You’ll notice that we removed the “signer” / “cc” icons altogether. Turns out they weren’t helpful. We now use the default text fields to describe what they need to do:  i.e., “Signer’s Name” and “”. That was the easiest major improvement we ever made.

There are some themes here:

– People may expect a features. The absence of the feature can be a usability problem.
– Unnecessary icons often detract from clarity. On a clean page, simple text can be powerful.
– Talk to your users all the time. There’s nothing like a confused user to push product decisions.

50K+ Google Drive Installs in two weeks!

May 10th, 2012

About two weeks ago we announced that we were integrating with Google Drive, and since then we’ve seen tremendous interest in HelloFax from Google Drive users. In two short weeks we had 51,926 users install the Google Drive app. Alongside our previous Dropbox and Box integrations, we’re now seeing a lot of our users faxing and signing documents from cloud services.

From the day that Google approached us about Google Drive, we have been very excited about working with the Google Drive platform. We feel that we add a lot of value to any cloud storage service, so naturally we jumped at the opportunity. We were also excited to be included as Google Drive launch partners with other great products such as AutoCAD, Aviary, Balsamiq, and SlideRocket . What we didn’t expect was that we would be the most installed app.

So, thanks to all our great users, from those who have been using us for the last two years to those who signed their first digital document. HelloFax is very happy to be providing a service that has generated so much interest. We are continually trying to make the product better, so if you have any suggestions for us, leave a comment or send us an email:

HelloFax integrates with Google Drive! Win 1 TB of Google Drive Storage

April 24th, 2012

As you probably heard, Google Drive launched today and we are pleased to announce that were invited to be a Google Drive launch partner. We’ve been hard at work this last month, building out an awesome integration with this great cloud service.

Now there’s no excuse to have a fax machine. There’s no reason to ever print, sign & scan documents.

Impatient to get started? Download the HelloFax App in the Google Drive Store for free>

Here’s what HelloFax App does:

1. Send faxes directly from Google Drive

  • Don’t go to your local copy store. Don’t race to work. Wherever you have Google Drive, you can send a fax.

2. Receive faxes directly in Google Drive.

  • You get a HelloFax folder in Google Drive, where all your inbound faxes are automatically stored.

3. You can sign documents directly from Google Drive

  • Never print, sign and scan documents ever again. With this integration, you can fill out and sign documents, all in your browser.

4. All your documents get stored in Google Drive

  • Never lose an important document again. Every document you send through HelloFax will be stored in your HelloFax Folder in Google Drive.

A few incentives to integrate:

1.You get 50 outgoing fax pages / month, until the end of the year.

2.You get unlimited online signatures, until the end of the year. We’re talking business grade online signatures. Some services charge $15-$25 / month for this. We just made it completely free.

3.We’ll enter you to win 1 TB of Google Drive Storage

4. We’ll enter you to win a MacBook

Scope it out and let us know what you think!  Integrate and enter to win a MacBook Air and 1TB storage.

Feature Update: Making document signing easier

March 29th, 2012

We’re always looking to make HelloFax easier to use. Last week we released two changes as a result of customer feedback. These changes to our document signing process should address two of the bigger pain points we heard from those requesting signatures.

Non-required form fields

When you send out a document to be signed, you can now insert additional form fields to be completed that don’t need to be filled out. For example, you can now include an “Address 2” form field so people can fill out apartment numbers and the like. You can also include a non-required checkbox to allow yes/no responses and other multi-answer fields.

Signature option for signees

We’ve also updated the signature options for people sent a signature resquest. Now, when someone gets a signature request they can still use the mouse to sign, but they can also upload an existing signature file that they have on their computer, or they can upload a signature by taking a picture and emailing it to us.

We hope that these changes help make requesting signatures an even easier and more enjoyable process for both you and the signee. If you have any suggestions about other product improvements, as always, send us an email: support@hellofax,com

If only government websites looked like Dropbox

January 27th, 2012

Government places an incredible role in society. It funds our police, our roads, and schools.

It also produces websites (and regulations) like the City of SF Business Registration Office, which takes an accountant to figure out. Instead of building the registration process like TurboTax and funneling you to the right answers, it lists a lot requirements and fines if you if you make a mistake.

Why does this happen? Because conversion doesn’t matter. We can’t walk away and try an easier signup process.  100% of the businesses in SF has to do this. 100%.  It could be 10x worse and we’d still have to comply. Until there’s an incentive to be easier, these agencies will simply not get better.

Until then, I’ll be dreaming of a government website that looks like this:

Get a local number… in the UK!

November 21st, 2011

We got some very persistent emails from our users in the UK. It got harder and harder to put off.  So, we finally set it up! Also, you can get UK numbers for the exact same price as US numbers.  Basic, Premium or Ultimate Plans can get a local number. See if we have a number in your area >

Here’s how it works:

1. Pick the UK for your country:

2. Pick an area code, based on your city

3. That’s it! Then, whenever someone faxes that number, we’ll forward it as a PDF to your email account. You never have to touch a fax machine again.

Amazon is awesome

November 19th, 2011

I bought Steve Job’s biography a few weeks ago and since then, there’s been a few changes to the book. So, Amazon sent an email to me. All I have to do is reply with “Yes” and Amazon will download an updated copy to my Kindle.  I don’t have to log in, click on anything or agree to any terms of service. This is user friendliness at its best.

Awesome Services We Pay for at HelloFax

August 31st, 2011

After Gabriel Weinberg wrote about us in Services I Pay For, I thought I’d do the same. The only difference is that I’ll write about services that we pay for at HelloFax.

Uservoice Help Desk

When we got started, I would reply to ever email individually. I slowly realized that I was re-writing answers to the same 40 questions over and over again. Uservoice has this great feature, called a “canned response”. What you do is search for the most commonly asked question and insert it. Then, you can personalize it to each person (see below). The trick is to write like a human, not a robot. We went through hundreds of customer support emails and  put our answers into the system.

Plus, as a user is writing in, Uservoice dynamically displays the user your Frequently asked questions, as they’re writing the question. So, many times Uservoice can answer their question, before they send the email.

We compared Uservoice and Zendesk; we ultimately went with user voice. Zendesk has amazing integrations with other services. But, we found their interface and ironically their customer support, lacking.  With all the time we’re saving, signing up for Uservoice feels like we hired someone dedicated to customer support.


Olark lets you chat with visitors to your site, in real time. It’s one of those service you’re not sure you need, but once you use it, you realize you can’t function without it. There are many moments when someone visits your site and may have a second of indecision or a question. If they’re confused, they’ll leave and never come back. During those moments, a visitor can chat with one of us and solve whatever question they have. Plus, we also get the benefit of learning what those confusion points are, so we can improve the service. It’s also great to see people visiting your site in real time. It’s motivating to see people using your service in real time.

Amazon Web Services

Surprise surprise. Your biggest services use AWS for hosting, since it’s insanely simple to grow your infrastructure. I’ll leave it there.


We’re still in the free trial, but so far, so good. We just needed a way to communicate as a group, since gchat wasn’t cutting it. HipChat came highly recommended.

Google Apps for Business

We signed up for Google Apps for Business mainly to use gmail as our email provider. The gmail interface rocks and we don’t have to deal with mail servers. The only downside is that sometimes outbound emails have issues; so, I have to send the email from my person email account, which is unprofessional. But, it’s not incentive enough to switch.


Mailservers are just difficult to deal with and unless you’re a massive company, it’s not  worth spending the time managing them in house.  Mailgun has an extremely simply api and they’re do what they do really well, which is send email. Plus, their customer support is wicked fast.


We use mailchimp for all of our email newsletters. I just realized that we’re paying for 3 difference services that deal with email.  The thing is, each emailing need is different and you need a tool that is focused on doing that one job really well. Mailchimp is one of those few tools that combines great user experience with something extremely useful.


Bug tracker that’s been around since the beginning of the internet. What’s not to like?


Github is just awesome.


If you think about it, you spent a lot of time each day deciding where to eat every day, going there, waiting for the order, eating, paying, then walking back to the office. Magnify that by the entire company and that’s a lot of hours. So, we get ZeroCater three times a week.

Having the right combination of services is helpful to having a company run well. Plus, you need software that will scale with you as you grow. We put a lot of thought into these choices, so I hope it helps.

Any great services you feel I left out? It’d be great to look into.

When HelloFax met the neighborhood firemen

July 21st, 2011

Neal (see more on Neal) was doing a technical interview when he noticed a tree in the back yard burning. We called the fire department, snatched up our laptops and crossed the street. Good thing all our servers are on Amazon. So, we had uninterrupted services on during this entire episode!

Here are some photos of the fire. The building next to the office (see left) fared far worse than us. The place was pretty much gutted.  At one point, the fire department axed a hole through our office wall to get better access to the white building.  You can also see a hose going through our front door.

On that note, HelloFax is hiring! Never a dull day at the office. If you can still do well on a technical interview, while the building is burning, you’re hired! Email us at