Native Access Q1 Update
Hi everyone, Welcome to another quarterly update! Before we jump into things, I want to deeply apologize for the service instabilities on January 22, thank you for your patience, and remind you that our services are back up at usual capacity. I’ll follow up with more information after our postmortem to share what happened and our intentions to move forward.
2023 was a busy year, and we’re happy to have made a lot of progress in our ability to address common issues. We had hoped to do so more iteratively with more frequent, lighter updates, and we’ll continue to work on that this year.
One of the biggest improvements we made was to our startup flow at the start of the year. Since we shipped version 3.2.0, we have more than doubled the amount of users who see their products within 10s of launching Native Access.
Our biggest topic of the year however was to increase our download success rate. We’re still actively collecting insights in the latest version we shipped to see our progress, but when looking over the course of the year, it seems our download success rate has gotten significantly better. But downloads aren’t the only part of our deployment flow, and as such there’s still plenty of work to do on the other phases, such as reducing the burden of large files on your system and the duration of updates, as well as handling the intricate realm of compatibility concerns.
We also released a feature allowing you to uninstall your content products. We fully intend to iterate on this feature further, but are already happy we’re tackling the biggest bulk of our products now!
All in all, this was a year with the theme of maintenance, and we’re happy with the progress we’ve made so far. We still have a ways to go, and we’ll continue to deliver more enhancements, but the progress is heading in the right direction.
For 2024, our biggest theme of the year is reducing friction. Native Access continues to become a healthier place to manage your products, and we have many aspirations to enhance it even further. To stay focused on the most important work we can do for you, we sometimes need to make difficult decisions regarding our legacy tools and systems. This is why I would like to announce that we will deprecate support for the previous version of Native Access – Native Access 1 – on February 28, 2025. After this date, products can only be activated on Windows 10/Mac OS X 10.14 (Mojave) and higher. Products not supported on these operating systems will not be activatable anymore either. Please take care to update your environments by that time. If you haven’t updated your Native Access to the latest version of the tool, you can find the download link here. All your preferences will carry over.
As we draw closer to the deadline, we will provide additional information on how to manage your environments, share which products are impacted, and guide you on how to future proof your projects, so stay tuned for these posts.
January - March
Now to our commitments this quarter specifically. We’re aiming to ship a new Homepage by the end of this quarter. This will come with an Announcements section and a revamped “New” experience through a Recently Added section. In addition to this, we’re revamping our startup flow to remove our splash screen and our login window, and move all the steps to our main window instead. This will also come with browser-based login. We’re also adding some upgrades to our subscription user experience in Native Access so we can make the products you own via a Subscription more clear, and also adding a My Account section in the preferences with quick links where you can manage your account. Lastly, to get you experimenting with your new products faster, we’re adding the ability to launch them via Native Access.
Regarding the Announcements section, we’ve taken all of your feedback and our own learnings from its time on Native Access. While many of you have expressed interest in being made aware of ongoing sales, the general sentiment was for it to appear more muted, tasteful, and naturally within the app. Moving forward, we’ve established new real estate that we’ll be populating with more relevant experiences. We’re still working towards the types of content we’ll surface in this new real estate, so when we have a clearer strategy, we’ll be eager to fetch new feedback. Expect this to ship near the end of the quarter.
The New tab has been a feature many users have loved for quick access into the products they most recently purchased. However, once Native Access closes, the New tab also disappears. We want to highlight the newest additions to your account at all times, so instead of a dedicated New tab, we’ll add some space that contains a smaller selection of your newest products permanently. We’re limiting the selection, however, as the Library page will be the hub for everything you own, as it is now.
There’s a lot more we plan to add to the Homepage over time. Our goal with this page is to get you up and running a lot faster, and as such, a natural part of that experience is being able to launch your products. We notice that the natural transition from Native Access into the products you own is completely missing, so for applications we will provide an open button. We’re eager to allow users to open Kontakt instruments in the standalone Kontakt application as well. We will not do this for plugins though, as they are only openable via the DAW.
Lastly, I want to dive a bit deeper into why we’re revamping the startup experience. In July we encountered an issue with our login service, but our tech setup prevented us from being able to ship updates to users who aren’t able to login, meaning we couldn’t hotfix the issue or rollback the update. To enable this, we’re getting rid of the splash screen and moving all of the setup into the same window as your products. This should not change startup times. Alongside this, we’re making two additional changes. To reduce friction and make logging in smoother and faster (and usable with a password manager), we’ll be using the login window on the website instead. Users who are already authenticated will not be affected, but future login attempts will go through a browser. Finally, you will see a new EULA agreement experience the next time you start Native Access. This startup experience will be shipped in 3.9.0.
We hope your experience with Native Access has improved over the years, and as always I look forward to getting your feedback and experiences.
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