Events for iMessage

INSIGHT:

We’ve all been part of this conversation thread before:

Just part of a real conversation in a group chat of 30 girls.

 

Group messages are the best way to talk to multiple friends more intimately, but they’re definitely not the best setting to figure out a mutual time to get together. Message boxes get spammed, and chats get muted. Everyone says when they’re available, but no one really keeps track. Even after a day’s chosen, figuring out a time and place is still part of the hassle. These plans might even fall through if planned in advance and forgotten about.

Utilizing other scheduling services like Doodle or WhenIsGood may be useful for meetings, but seems out of place in a social context.

IDEA:

Events for iMessage is an iMessage app that helps in organizing events or meet-ups between friends with a focus on each individual’s availability.

Checking availability and planning events have always been a conversation. From the simple “I miss you, let’s hangout” text to sharing availabilities and creating a Calendar linked event, Events for iMessage makes this conversation digital. The idea was to bring both casual and professional event planning directly to iMessage.

Want to set up a mutually available interview time? Meet up with old friends for dinner? Suggest events as an organizer and send your own availability as an attendee. Share the event to Calendar with just a few swipes.

PROCESS:

The first thing I wanted to figure out was how to visualize the picker for the day and time. Designing it as an iMessage app gave it many constraints, so having a simple and minimal interface was important. The most popular scheduling apps utilize a “painting” mouse gesture, and I felt that it was appropriate to maximize the iOS potential with a finger-based swipe. A challenging question to address is always “Should I be innovative and create new UI?” However, following pre-established user interactions of existing apps and innovating in other areas instead is an answer that is often appropriate. Just because an “innovation” is made doesn’t mean that the user can be (or should be!) forgotten. 🙂

 

Because of the lack of screen real estate, a step-by-step interaction process was the most efficient. I juggled different ideas, including week-by-week interactions and displaying a vertically scrollable calendar, but these had too many micro-interactions and didn’t work out.

 

Some other questions that I tackled were: (also seen in my notes in the sketches)
  • Should there be a differentiation in views between the inviter and the invitee? (my answer: only up to a certain point)
  • How should responses between different people be differentiated? (A: stacked opacities of one color)
  • Should people highlight when they’re busy or when they’re available? (A: when available, to physically interact with and confirm when you want to be available)
  • How should the hours displayed be determined? (A: chosen beforehand)
  • How should existing calendar events (from iCal) that conflict be displayed? (A: hold for a popover)

 

Other features included incorporating other apps from Apple’s ecosystem:

  • PHOTOS: Create and be automatically subscribed to a shared album with iCloud Photo Sharing.
  • MAPS: Suggest and vote for the eventʼs location with Maps.
  • MUSIC: Add a shared Apple Music playlist through MusicKit with your friendsʼ preferences in the mix.
  • PAY: Send or receive money from individuals through Apple Pay in iOS 11.

 

FLOW: