When we started work on Import.io, we were focused on addressing a key problem: The people who needed access to web data weren’t able to get it.
Historically, if you were a business user and needed to gather web data, you would have to embark on a significant endeavor, including finding and hiring development resources, defining scope, running tests, and so on. This also meant that a program would need to be developed for each specific website being accessed, and the program would need to be maintained, which often presented big issues over time.
Import.io changes this paradigm completely, offering the business user a direct, easy way to get the data required.
Early on, Import.io offered a number of inherent features that delivered on this promise. The solution was designed with the business user in mind, so no development, scripting, or any other technical expertise were required. If you knew how to copy and paste a URL, you were on your way to extracting and deriving value from web data. We also found that customers don’t want to download software, so last April we delivered a full SaaS version of the solution. Since then, all you need is a browser and internet connectivity.
Recently, we’ve made enhancing ease of use a big focus for our engineering and design team. The following new features and enhancements are a result of this effort:
- On-demand resources. Working with the tool, users can readily access a number of resources. The solution now offers a first-time user dedicated landing page with instructions on how to successfully get data. Each button now has tool tips. Tutorial videos are available on specific functional areas. We also provide online chat while in the product for instant human assistance.
- Machine learning-fueled assistance. Based on the millions of queries that the solution has supported, Import.io continues to get smarter. For example, in many cases, when users enter a URL for the first time, the solution will automatically make recommendations based on what we’ve learned that users typically want from that URL. Also, many fields are often not correctly labeled within a site’s code; the solution will attempt to relabel specific columns. Plus, we continue to improve these recommendations moving forward.
- Enhanced table usability. If you’re accustomed to using spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, you’ll have little or no learning curve when working with tables in Import.io. We’ve delivered a complete face-lift to our interface, making our tables much easier and more intuitive for first-time users. The technology is designed to handle thousands of rows of data without sacrificing performance. At the same time, we’ve added an entire slate of features for our power users, including tabbed behavior and enhanced functionality around images, links, and multi-item cells.
- Scheduling. If you need to do ongoing extractions, we’ve made that easy to automate, so you don’t need to manually submit a request each time. Just set the schedule for when you want jobs to run, and Import.io will take it from there. You can save all required credentials as part of your jobs, so you can schedule extractions for sites that require logins. You can even receive automated notifications when jobs are run and results are ready for use.
All these features ultimately make the solution more effective in meeting our most important objective: helping the non-technical user be successful with their web data gathering objectives. We’ll continue to deliver upgrades, so stay tuned for more news in the months ahead. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out this latest version with instant free access.