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Interview With Chris From SevenSpark

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Those of you who read my recent review of UberMenu, the WordPress plugin I recently installed at WP Mods to improve the top navigation bar, will know that I am a big fan of SevenSpark; the company behind UberMenu.

So I was pleased when Chris, the man behind SevenSpark, agreed to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about UberMenu and his company SevenSpark. Enjoy :)

Q. Is UberMenu the first premium WordPress plugin you have developed? If so, why did you decide to develop a plugin rather than a theme (taking into account the market for premium plugins is smaller)?

A. Yes, UberMenu was my first premium WordPress plugin – though I released a free plugin several months beforehand (an extension for Contact Form 7). I found that process useful as it let me experiment with the plugin basics and get some feedback from the community.

At the time I came up with UberMenu I was actually working on several projects, including some themes. I ended up shifting gears and focusing on UberMenu once I recognized an unexploited niche. Mega menus are a popular style, and there was no good solution for WordPress at the time. I researched some of the search statistics for keywords related to mega menus and WordPress, and found there seemed to be a good amount of interest but no out-of-the-box solution. It ended up being a good move!

Q. How long did it take to develop UberMenu?

A. The initial framework for UberMenu only took about a week to develop. Then I set to making that framework more robust and adding on extra features and increasing configurability. All in all the process took about two months, while working on various other projects at the same time. I’d say it totalled about 80-90 hours of development work.

Q. UberMenu has a lot of features. Why did you decide to release the plugin at the low price of $14?

A. In fact, the price was originally only $10 – it was increased to $14 after some new features were added in version 1.1 or so. Keep in mind that CodeCanyon sets the prices, not the authors. So the first decision was whether to release the product independently or through the CodeCanyon marketplace, where I knew the price would be fairly low and I’d be sharing commissions. In the end I decided to leverage the popularity of Envato and the ease of the marketplace, and I’m glad I did.

When I was told that the plugin would sell for only $10, I was pretty disappointed at first. Clearly, the product was being sold for far less than it was worth. But I think the guys at CodeCanyon knew what they were doing. Pricing the products low and making up for it in volume is the name of the game. I think the low price really helped it take off in popularity, especially in the early stages. In the end, it was definitely a good decision. The only issue with the price being so low is when it comes to support, but that’s another question entirely.

Q. Have you any plans to extend the functionality of UberMenu in the future or perhaps release a limited version of the plugin to the WordPress community for free?

A. I have a few feature enhancements on my list for the future, but most of the big ones were taken care of in 1.1, and there’s a fine line between useful features and bloat. I do plan to release a Style Preset Expansion Pack as an add-on in the next month or so.

At some point I may end up releasing a free “lite” version of the plugin, but I’ve yet to work out where to draw the line in the balance between providing a quality lite version and not devaluing the premium product.

Q. So far you have released one plugin and one theme through ThemeForest. What’s next in store for you and SevenSpark?

A. I have several projects in the works right now, but some major freelance work has been delaying my marketplace submissions. I have a new plugin coming out shortly (currently in the review queue) and I have a new theme that’s about 20% complete. I’ve also got some other smaller projects in the works. I’m looking forward to getting back to work on those!

A big thank you to Chris from SevenSpark for taking part in this interview. For more information on Chris and his work, please check out his portfolio.

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