Blisk Browser – How not to launch a new design tool

New tools to make your life easier are wonderful. I love these things. Sometimes though a company goes about it all wrong. Today I’d like to talk about Blisk Browser and their dreadful launch and customer service.

Back in August a new browser, in Beta stages was launched. The browser was called Blisk:


What I loved about it was you could view the desktop and mobile version of your project at the same time. Google Chrome has an inspector that does the same but not at the same time and not as pretty. I tweeted about it several times. It became a part of my workflow and I was happy.

When the beta launched you had to sign up to download it. This I did, as did many others. This is an important point… they had all our email addresses so communicating to us should be easy.

As far as I was aware it was a free browser and they never mentioned anything about it becoming as useless as it was about to be. At no point was it made clear that with zero notice, a pricing model would suddenly appear.

On the 1st November they asked everyone to update the browser which many did. Upon updating they suddenly realised that after 30 minutes it stopped working…

Blisk 2

So their version of ‘free’ is 30 minutes a day or pay £120 a year to have that lifted.

It has loads of extra features, none of which I need. Some of these features include recording, easy screenshots, more devices to showcase the site on and so on. Never in a million years did I expect them to turn it into such a worthless product, overnight and without ANY warning.

This had become my go-to tool for my workflow. For others they were in the same boat as me.

The main issue for Blisk is other tools do exist, just not as pretty. If I were swimming in money it is easier to justify £120 a year for something a bit prettier. I’m not swimming in money so what I would do is put up with a cut-down version until I reach the point I could justify it. By cut-down I don’t mean a piece of software I have to plan my clients and day around to keep within a 30 minute window.

What Blisk should have done

If I had their business what I would have done was this…

  • INFORM the customer base that big changes are about to happen
  • Have a free version (no time restriction) with limited devices to test on and no access to any other feature
  • Make everything else (including many more devices) the premium product

That way people will still be able to fall in love with it and use the limited version, which in turn will allow some of those to migrate to the premium version when spare money is flowing.

Having a product that’s only useful for 30 minutes a day it totally and utterly pointless and useless. I have never, in all my years on computers, ever come across a business model as daft as this. They are targeting a niche market but that market does not like waking up one morning to discover the product they use for their workflow is worthless and this happened with no warning whatsoever.

Remember me saying their customer base is niche? 30 minutes a day isn’t good enough to test it and find a good use for it.

So now it won’t be used again. When I have a bit spare cash laying around Blisk will be a forgotten memory because I won’t be using each week like I once did.

I know someone of you will be saying “Well if you don’t like it, don’t use it”  but that’s my point… the niche market needs to be using it to think about upgrading it. How many times have you gone back to some niche software or application you used a few years ago to see if you can buy it now? My guess is none because you found something else for your workflow… and that’s my point.

Still got the older beta version?

I believe it asks you to update the browser but doesn’t force it. The old beta has no time restrictions as far as I’m aware.

Blisk Alternatives

If you don’t fancy chancing your money on Blisk then here is one paid-for product and a few free alternatives…

Chrome Developer Tools (Free)

Blisk uses the same developer tools as Chrome so there is zero loss there for using Chrome. It also has a free mobile emulator to check your site on various screen widths. It isn’t as pretty but gets the same job done. I was using this before Blisk and I will now go back to it.

When you want to show clients what it looks like I did this… I have a transparent PNG mobile image in Photoshop and what I did before Blisk was take a screenshot of the mobile version in Chrome and paste it into the PNG image. Takes a little longer but it achieves the exact same result as Blisk and doesn’t cost you anything. If the client wants to see it working I just load up Chrome’s developer tool, which doesn’t cost a bean.

Page Insights (Free)

This tool offers advice on what you need to do on your desktop and mobile website plus gives you a visual on how it looks. ($9.99 per month)

For the same price as Blisk you can test your website on more than 100 devices, not just the few on Blisk. Use Chromes Developer tools for debugging and you’re pretty much set. (Free)

A free tool for you to check online websites. Use Chromes Developer tools for debugging and you’re pretty much set. (Free)

Another tool to check your site on iPad and iPhone.

In Summary

Let’s hope Google Chrome sees the potential in this and creates their own version with a much more sensible and grown up business model.


Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter