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Looking to 2021: What we’ve got in the hype-line

12 January 2021
Benjamin Humphrey

It’s become somewhat of a yearly tradition to reflect and celebrate what we achieved in the past year and connect with our customers on what we’re excited about for the year ahead. If you’re interested in our journey to date, check out these articles from 2018, 2019, and 2020.


Down here in Australia we started 2020 with months of bushfires and COVID-19 changed our day-to-day with remote work and lockdowns. However, despite the challenges of 2020, we grew our team, added hundreds of new customers, and as Australia got on top of the pandemic, returned to a semblance of normality.

At the start of the year, we evolved Dovetail’s analysis with video and audio transcription and media highlights and followed up with a second release later in the year that added highlight reels, custom vocabulary, downloading, and more. We shipped new ways to connect Dovetail to other tools with a Zoom integration and updates to our Zapier integration and added more collaboration features like project notifications and inline comments.

Video and audio transcription with highlights takes analysis in Dovetail to the next level.
Video and audio transcription with highlights takes analysis in Dovetail to the next level.

User Research is a rapidly growing discipline, and many organizations are struggling to scale research across multiple teams. The move to remote work—along with new privacy regulations like the GDPR and CCPA—has made this even more challenging, so a focus for us has been helping organizations scale their research securely to uphold their commitments. We launched our enterprise plan with single sign-on; improved our help center and security documentation; released a new penetration test report; and will soon be attested for SOC 2 compliance.

We believe that anyone can do research given the right tools and assistance. Our new Analysis plan lowers the entry price for Dovetail to $15 / month for one seat, which makes Dovetail accessible to individuals and organizations of all sizes. We launched Method in Madness where we’ve published articles on everything from the world’s best gin distillery to an editorial from Tomer Sharon on creating a tagging taxonomy.

In 2020, we also grew our team from eight to 20 people and moved into our own office in Surry Hills. Having our own space has already had a huge positive impact on our culture and our ability to attract talent. I’m excited to see the team expand further throughout 2021 as we grow our go-to-market, product, and operations teams.

Our new office in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia. Complete with on-brand purple pool table.
Our new office in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia. Complete with on-brand purple pool table.


One of the ‘perks’ of being a startup is that we always have big, ambitious plans! From doubling our team to making big changes to our product, 2021 is action-packed. We value openness and transparency, both internally with our employees and externally with our customers. That’s why we write posts like this, and it’s why we have a public roadmap and an open Slack community. With that in mind, here’s what we’re thinking for the coming year.

Consumption, discoverability, and impact

Three themes keep coming up in our research and customer conversations: 1) how researchers can drive consumption of their research; 2) the discoverability of research findings and reports; and 3) how the research team can measure the impact research has within the organization.

With these problems in mind, we’re planning some significant changes to Dovetail to continue our mission of helping product teams better understand their customers:

  • Simplified navigation. We last changed our navigation over two years ago. Since then, we’ve released lots of new features, and over time Dovetail has become less intuitive for new users. Our new navigation will lower the barrier to entry for research consumers like product managers, designers, executives, and clients, and make research discoverability easier.

  • Customization features. To drive consumption and impact of research, we believe it’s important that Dovetail feels like your organization’s ‘research home’. Expect to see new features like a customizable homepage (so you can tailor what consumers initially see), custom branding (to make Dovetail look and feel like your company’s brand), and support for custom domains (so Dovetail can live on your own domain; e.g. acme.research.com).

  • A new way to curate and report on research. Traditional research reports are typically long, wordy, offline, non-collaborative, unstandardized, and disconnected from evidence. We’ve heard that researchers are always trying to find ways to make their reports more engaging to increase consumption. In 2021, we’re working on an entirely new way to curate and report on research, and we can’t wait to share more information about this over the coming months.

Analysis for everyone

We’re a big fan of democratizing research. We believe more people should be involved in consuming research (and executing on research projects themselves), regardless of their role or place in the organization. We also think that identifying patterns and trends in qualitative data has applications beyond customer research and can extend to market research, sales, customer success, and support. With this broader lens on research, here are three things we’re doing in 2021 to make research analysis with Dovetail available to everyone:

  • New pricing. Our new Analysis plan makes Dovetail accessible to individuals and organizations of all sizes. It starts from $15 / month for one seat, so whether you’re a ‘research team of one’ in a startup, or a PhD student working on your thesis, you should be able to use Dovetail for your analysis project.

  • Embracing flexibility. Different strokes for different folks — whether you love boards, lists, spreadsheets, or sticky notes, we believe Dovetail should work for you. Expect new ways to view and layout, filter, and organize qualitative data in a way that suits you. More on these changes coming over the next few months.

  • Transcription improvements. We’re about to launch French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish support for transcription. Later in the year we’ll release more features like the ability to bring your own transcript, improved export, and captions on videos.

Participant management, data governance, and compliance

We know there are operational challenges that come with managing a research program. This year we’re hoping to launch additional features to help solve the problems we keep hearing from ResearchOps teams:

  • People. Organize your participants in Dovetail, keep track of their details and research activity, link them to the research you're doing, and segment your data by their demographics.

  • Data governance. With updated and new privacy regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA coming into effect and expected to strengthen in 2021, we’ll look to build features like data anonymization, de-identification, data retention policies, and right-to-be-forgotten features to help help teams manage the risk and legal obligations of their research program.

Scaling to enterprise

In 2021, we’ll continue to improve how Dovetail scales for large organizations to better support them in empowering everyone—not just the research team—in making customer-informed decisions.

We’ll invest in features like audit logs to monitor end-user activity, more advanced permissions, branded customization and custom domains, and multi-region support to keep your data within local jurisdictions. We’ll also continue to invest in our internal security, compliance, and privacy programs to give your organization continued confidence and trust in your use of Dovetail.

Growing our team

We’re excited to be kicking off the year with Brian Swift as our new Head of Product. Brian was most recently the VP Product at SafetyCulture, where he ran product management, design, and research. Before SafetyCulture, Brian worked at Atlassian as a Principal Product Manager, and Twitter and Zynga earlier in his career. We're very excited to see how Brian helps us execute on our ambitious product plans!

As well as product team growth across designers, engineers, and product managers, we're also looking to expand our go-to-market team in 2021 with new roles like customer success, dedicated support, and sales. Our aim is to have these roles located in a new second office in the US, so we have better timezone coverage for our northern hemisphere customer base. While we’ll continue with our self-service, product-led model, expect to see more sales assistance for our enterprise customers who need help navigating procurement and rollout of Dovetail.

With our team doubling and a new office on the cards, 2021 will be a huge year for hiring. Check out our careers page to see our current open roles and follow us on LinkedIn to see when we post new roles over the next 12 months.

We’ve got a great team, but there’s room for one more. We’re growing from 20 people to 50 throughout 2021.
We’ve got a great team, but there’s room for one more. We’re growing from 20 people to 50 throughout 2021.

Thanks for your support

As the shadow of 2020 recedes, we look towards what is already turning out to be another big year; one I’m sure will be full of surprises, both welcome and not-so-welcome. Nonetheless, we are very excited for what’s coming next, and for what we can achieve for you—our customers. Because without your support, we couldn't keep doing what we do. So, thank you from myself and the team, keep your eyes peeled for future updates — we wish you the best for the year ahead.

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