How we used the Manifest V3 migration to ship an overall better user experience.
Today we’re launching a completely redesigned and rebuilt version of Loom’s Chrome Extension. This new version — which you can download here — started as a need to align with Chrome’s impending Manifest V3 migration, but it quickly became a much larger opportunity to deliver net-new features, improve performance, and make it even easier for our users to record with Loom.
So, how did a required migration turn into a top-to-bottom redesign? It all started when Chrome made a little announcement about something called the Manifest Version 3 (MV3) migration…
Initial Problem Statement: The MV3 Migration
In Fall 2021, Chrome announced they will eventually deprecate and remove any extensions still relying on Manifest V2. The timeline for this has continued to shift, but the outcome remains the same: all chrome extensions have to rebuild and migrate to the new MV3.
From the Chrome Developers site: “An extension manifest gives the browser information about the extension, such as the most important files and the capabilities the extension might use. The extension platform features change when there's a new manifest version.”
A “required rebuild” is no small feat; MV3 would necessitate a vastly different recording flow.
Loom’s Chrome extension has been an integral piece of our platform offering since inception in 2016. It’s the very first recording tool we launched. It holds a special place in our hearts, and remains a favorite for many of our customers.
Once it became clear the deadline was extended, the Loom team tasked with navigating MV3 decided it wasn’t enough to just comply with the forced migration; we could go far further for our customers.
“We essentially took something that we needed to do and said, ‘Well, how could we make this even better for the user? And how could we make this even better for Loom?’” said Justin Riedy, Loom Director of Product. “So yes, we have this forced migration, but we’ve taken the opportunity to really make it the most usable recorder to date.”
The Opportunity: Building a Better Recording Experience
It was settled: this rebuild can and should go beyond the MV3 migration. Our goal would be to build a streamlined and simplified recording process, while also improving overall performance. The revamped extension would provide quick access to recording tools, accelerate the user workflow, and incorporate brand new features our video creators would love.
The other primary goal was user confidence.
“We know that people don’t always feel 100% confident when they open Loom that all their settings are correct and that they look and feel ready to hit record,” said Rajiv Sancheti, Senior Product Designer at Loom. “With the redesign, we wanted users to feel confident everything is ready to go and that they look and feel great.”
The Build: Design & Eng Synergy
The build process for the new chrome extension came with ups and downs — extended and re-extended deadlines, an entirely new user onboarding flow, and at least one “harrowing couple of days” when the team thought an initial soft launch was responsible for a dip in product engagement (to everyone’s relief, that turned out not to be true).
But perhaps the most notable element of the build was a new level of design + engineering collaboration that brought the rebuilt recorder to life.
“The way the engineering and design teams worked through this was just some of the best collaboration I’ve seen in my entire career. Everyone was so thoughtful, considerate, and, honestly, having fun together,” said Reidy.
This sentiment was echoed on the design side as well: “I learned that you can build a great design, but the only thing that matters is your communication and collaboration with engineering. That’s how it gets built. Nobody sees your figma file, they see the end result,” said Sancheti.
The Outcome: a faster, simpler, reliable recorder
The new Loom Chrome extension is ready for download here. Rebuilt and redesigned from the ground up, this next-generation recorder makes recording faster, more reliable, and easier than ever. Here’s what to expect:
A Faster, Simpler Recording Process: The interface is simpler and more streamlined, with the most requested features at your fingertips. It’s also faster. As Reidy put it: “Every button click iust near instantaneous, even when doing things like loading the camera, switching tabs … everything is really smooth.”
More Confidence in Recording: Features like Sticky Settings, stricter security/privacy protocols, and improved access to Blur, Canvas, and Virtual Backgrounds make it easier for users to feel comfortable recording and sharing.
Just for Fun: New options like in-app sounds and dark mode give the extension a sleek new look and feel. “Every single pixel has been thoughtfully arrayed,” Reidy said.
“Even if you’re not typically a chrome extension user, I’d encourage users to go give it a try,” Reidy said. “We’re really prioritizing usability and user delight in our product right now above all else, and everything about this new recorder is built from that perspective. I’m excited to see how we continue to ship that ethos in future product releases.”