The direction of Blokada

It’s been a while since the last time I made a post, and that’s because I’ve been really busy putting a lot of things together, which I hope you’ll find as exciting as I do. Also, we should have a look at the results of the most recent survey. So, let’s get to it!

The first question was: What kind of Blokada would you like to see in the future?. You could choose at most two answers or give your own. I’ll analyze the custom answers later, but among the predefined ones, this is how it looks:

Direction vote 2

Over 90% responders want more features, which is comforting… ;). I’m happy to see that the top 3 features I want Blokada to focus on in the future, consist for almost 80% of the answers. The interest in a VPN is also high at 17%. Also, over 10% of respondents want better smart TV focus, which is great since I’m already working on it (more below).

Since we’re getting to the point where further development of the project requires stable way of supporting it, I also asked you another question, which was: How should Blokada support the development?

Direction vote 1

Again, I’m happy about those results. The majority of you proposes the freemium model, which I believe is the best way to keep the core Blokada app open source and 100% free, while offering an advanced version with cool features for a small fee to support the development. Another idea you liked is fundraising on kickstarter, which is something I will most likely do to help kick-off the VPN feature (more on it soon). Another interesting conclusion from this survey is that many of you are for the idea of Blokada merchandise, which is something I will keep in mind for the future.

Overall, this survey’s results are encouraging for how I see the future of Blokada, so I’m very happy. Thank you for almost 4000 votes!

The new stuff

First of all, I’ve been working on the new User Interface of the app, which is going to fix many problems you’ve been reporting, and allow us to be future-proof in terms of adding new functionality. The main goal of the new UI is to support a great variety of devices, from small-screen smartphones, through tablets, to smart TVs. The new UI is designed to work well in any orientation and on any screen size, and you’ll be able to access all the functionality conveniently by using a TV remote. And, it’ll come with the long-awaited feature of ad blocking log included!

Another goal of the new UI is to make the app more intuitive by exposing the most commonly used features. This is based on your feedback and the questions you are asking on our social media. I believe you’ll find the app much more convenient to use!

Also, the new UI is designed to be hackable - contributors will be able to easily play with it and try out their ideas, which I hope is going to generate more contributions, and let the community have some fun! Finally, based on the early preview feedback, it looks aesthetically pleasing and fresh, so I hope it’ll make you feel good using it. Especially since you’ll be spending much more time in the app with all the new features that are going to land soon! ;)

Speaking of new features, there’s a big one coming. I’m happy to say that a good friend of mine, who’s an expert in network, backend, and cloud, has agreed to join me in our quest to make the Blokada VPN happen, and we both are super excited about it! We have already started research and design of the new feature, and since it’s quite a challenge, we want to do it right. You may have seen the new survey in the app, that is designed to help us understand your VPN needs. Please take a minute to answer it - much appreciated!

The VPN rollout will take a few stages, with location-limited invite-only beta as the first step, to make sure we can monitor how our system handles the load, and fix any problems. then we’ll expand our service gradually to more and more users. Of course, the Blokada community will have the early access, with Donors and Insiders having priority. And yes, we’re preparing some cool freebie thank-you offer for all who donated or helped the project, since without your participation none of this would be possible!

Stay tuned for details about the new UI and about the Blokada VPN, which will come in future posts. Cheers!

PS, did you know you can join Blokada Insiders and help run the project? For example, you can be managing the voting like this one. It’s totally free and doesn’t take much time. You are welcome to join us!

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