QuickVid is a concept app for macOS that makes communication for teams, especially those working from home, more effective by trying to recreate real-world interactions and behavior digitally.
I designed QuickVid during my time at General Assembly’s User Experience Design Accelerated Immersion course in San Francisco, California. It was a great experience developing the design along with UX experts and learning from feedback and usability studies along the way.
I conducted various user research surveys and interviews on the topic of collaboration at work and learned that one of the biggest impediments to working from home was the limited ability to easily collaborate with coworkers. Users tended to favour working from home only when solo work was being done.
My research revealed that users wanted a desktop app for communication that was simple to use but that didn’t add yet another program for them to check into when working from home. There already existed a number of video conferencing solutions for the workplace but none of them were as natural and effective as simply walking over to a colleague’s desk in person.
To ensure QuickVid was lightweight and felt natural, I studied real world interactions people have at work when in person. People usually just walk over to their colleagues’ desks, casually check to see if they are busy, and then ask them a question. In a real life interaction, they don't need to say as much as on Video chat or IM since they can point to their real life computer screen to provide context.
To mimic this interaction in QuickVid, I included a bold feature where as soon as a user initiates a call, his/her screen is automatically shared and the recipient immediately begins to see a small thumbnail of this video. The recipient can then just hover over the call to quickly see the shared screen in full. This feature would easily give the recipient a quick preview of what the caller wants to discuss. I also experimented with the idea of being able to hear a caller instantly without having to accept the call, just like in real life, but that felt too intrusive. Although this auto share screen experience is fairly demanding of the recipient's attention, I found users were receptive to the idea since it would only be available during work hours with work colleagues and there would be an option to disable it during meetings.
I designed the UI to be minimal and fade into the background. It would only appear when a call was active. I did so by designing the core experience around the Mac OS X system tray rather than use a traditional app icon on the dock. This made the app feel like it was running ambiently and only appeared when necessary.
The most challenging aspect of designing QuickVid was deciding what to leave out. Walking the fine balance between mimicking real life interactions while keeping the software lightweight and not too intrusive was challenging. In the end, talking to users I felt that the bold design decisions I made could be justified and would work in a real life setting. I was happy my final concept could offer a meaningful differentiated solution.