Inspirational Designs

Skype: Video chat platform

Old fashioned paper pen pal: Sign up for a program, pick a country and get a pen pal from that country. The goal of this was to connect people from different cultures and create exciting interactions between potentially very different people.

Facebook: Facebook is a social network that creates a very public feeling image. We want to capture this image to help reduce conversations that are profane or lewd. However, we would like to create a way for conversations to have more content than they often have on facebook.

Linkedin: Social network for professionals. We want to emulate their professionalism to make users feel accountable for their behaviors on our video chat platform.

Tohla: Tohla is a great way of meeting strangers in a random chat room, where we pick another user at random and let you have a one to one chat with each other.

chatGig: ChatGig is a best place to chat with strangers and make new friends from all around the world. Your identity will be completely anonymous.

chatroulette: Chatroulette is a place where you can interact with new people over text-chat, webcam and mic. with random strangers in private chat rooms. Anonymous, free and requires no registration.

Airtime: former hyped startup trying to connect strangers to video chat in a more professional way. Flopped, relaunched as okhello

Omegle - Julian

:The Internet is full of cool people; Omegle lets you meet them.

I found it interesting that one of the largest prints on this site says “Video is monitored, keep it clean.” It is consistent with what we found by using some of these services and interviewing potential users. After we used some sites for a few minutes, we quickly realized that inappropriate videos and comments are prevalent on these video chat sites.

        I also thought it was clever of them to include a link to Adult Cams under the keep it clean warning. This will divert some of the users that came to this site with sexual intentions in mind. We’re not sure if we will include this on our website yet, because having a link to a sexual site may divert users that did not have sexual intentions in mind, but became sexual after seeing the link.

        They also have a button specifically for college students. It may be a good idea for us to have a button for a specific user group that we are trying to target to make them feel like this website is made specifically for them.

        We have also yet to decide whether we will give the option to both text and video to meet with others, as Omegle has done, or to only give the video option to our users. We have realized the need to conduct more user research after seeing Omegle’s website. We will make this design decision after conducting more user interviews.

Omegle homepage:

OkHello -Chris:

OkHello is a video chat service that allows you to create chat rooms with your facebook friends or about a topic of interest. Other people using this service can join the chat rooms about topics if you desire.

        While we feel it is beneficial that our service be linked to an account we are worried that if we were to link it to your facebook account some people may feel as if people could harass or stalk them. In OkHello, linking with a facebook profile helps to reduce the amount of spammers or very lewd users, but we feel as if this could be accomplished in a different way. The concept of a room within our service may also not work. Creating a room filled with many people would perhaps add to the quantity of a conversation, but not the quality of one. Our goal is to create quality conversations.

        However, the ability to connect with people based on interest is something we may want to preserve. Even if the goal of our service is to talk to people from different cultures we could allow users to connect based on themes that transcend cultures in order to spark conversation.

Reddit (cultural and WritingPrompts subreddits) - Thomas

Reddit calls itself the “front page of the internet” and is place for people to post topics to various “subreddits” and for people to vote and comment on those topics. It has a very active community of members and has developed its own culture. Different users subscribe to any number of subreddits based on what they find interesting. Since reddit is so broad, I wanted to specifically look at the cultural and WritingPrompts subreddits. The cultural subreddit is specifically for “Discussing culture across the world, and the social norms and politics behind it!” The WritingPrompts subreddit is a place for people to post prompts for people to write about, which often times turns into discussion in the comments.

        While reddit does not have any video component and is certainly very different from our proposed service, there is still a lot of gleam from their very successful implementation. From the cultural subreddit, the first thing to notice is that the loudest and most extreme voices often draw the most attention (largely due to reddit’s up/down voting system). When thinking this in relation to our idea, we can learn that we will probably have to find some way to normalize for extremity and work to keep conversations civil. This could potentially come in the form of being able to allow users to note if they have a very poor experience with another user.

        The second subreddit, WritingPrompts, is potentially even more interesting. While the intended purpose of the subreddit is for people just to get prompts to write, many of the topics have hundreds of comments that consist of people sharing their thoughts and playing off other’s thoughts. When investigating these comments more, one interesting thing to note is how much people play off one another’s ideas to come up with whole new ideas that they then also share. In relation to our idea, we can see how when provided with prompts, people are able to play off one another, even if they don’t know one another at all. By looking into what prompts work well and what don’t, we can learn things such as the fact that religious topics often turn into flame wars (and many other topics).

World of Warcraft - “Over 100 million people have experienced the intensity.  Now it’s your turn” - Mitchell

Blizzard created a mammoth of a game when they released World of Warcraft (WoW).  Its user interface allows for an adjustable and customizable experience tailored to each person’s playstyle.  The game is ever expanding, and the story continuously changing.  However, one of the most compelling reasons to play WoW is not the gameplay, the roleplaying, nor the story, but the ability to form guilds and form friendships and alliances with other players.

The most powerful items and biggest achievements in the game can only be obtained with the assistance of others.  Raid bosses, high-end achievements, and other aspects are impossible for single player to accomplish.  In fact, it often takes a group of well-organized players who are dedicated to each other to finish for a small chance at epic loot.  The game requires players to meet other players in order to achieve an objective.

Although the primary media is a game, the major aspect that makes it so rewarding involves the requirement of meeting strangers, getting to know them, and accomplishing something major together.