As of 29 April 2019, Silverback will sadly no longer be available to download and purchase. We will continue providing support to Silverback customers for 6 months after that date, and release critical critical updates if necessary.
When we created Silverback nearly ten years ago, we did so to scratch our own itch for simple and affordable usability testing software. We also hoped to promote usability testing as a vital part of the design process. In that we succeeded, and the design community (and its customers) now benefit from dozens of amazing usability tools with teams dedicated to their support and advancement in ways we simply cannot. It’s for that reason we’ve finally taken the decision to retire Silverback.
At the time we launched Silverback, the only other dedicated usability testing tool cost in the thousands, was jammed full of niche features, and was prohibitively expensive and difficult to use.
We were fed up of testing being relegated to the end of a project. The preserve of usability agencies, in shiny labs with one way mirrors. We wanted to promote formative usability testing, and put it in the hands of designers and developers everywhere. After all, you wouldn’t let your code go out without testing it in the browser a bunch of times, so why not the same for your designs? So we decided to create the iPhoto of usability testing, to our competitor’s Photoshop. A simple app that contained just the bare minimum features needed to turn your laptop into a mobile usability testing lab.
Unlike so many start-ups, we didn’t set out to make a huge profit from Silverback. Instead, we priced it at a point that would cover its development, and any extra we donated to our favourite gorilla charity. In fact we donated so much, we even got invited to dinner with Sigourney Weaver—the charity’s patron—in New York. The project was a huge success, and Silverback was used by everybody from Twitter, NASA and the Obama campaign. We like to think that we played some small part in putting Rovers on Mars and a good person in the Whitehouse, although I suspect we may be pushing our luck slightly there.
Anyway, in the past 10 years usability testing has gone from a niche activity to the way all good software is design and built, and we’re well served with other tools such as Lookback. So we’ve taken the decision to finally wrap the project up; in fact it’s something we probably should have done a good few years ago.
We know there are tens of thousands of people out there who still use Silverback, and love its simplicity. So we’re going to continue to support the app, releasing updates and patches for the next 6 months. After that, we’re considering open source-ing what we can of the code-base, on the off chance a friendly developer want to carry on the project (let us know if that’s you).
Suffice to say, it’s been a fun ride. Thank you very much to all our customers over the past 10 years, and happy testing!