Gracie Sharkey

Cafe Convos App

Bachelor of Design Interaction Mobile App Prototype

A chat-room style game

This app is intended to help users feel more connected to one another in a deeper, more authentic way. My final iteration is set in a 3D modelled café and follows chat-room-style game play. The app provides conversation starters for its users, intended to cultivate more meaningful conversation and to remove the barrier of initiating a chat.

To keep the app focused on deeper interactions, the conversations between users will lock after 24hrs of inactivity. To message the same person again, a user will have to start a new conversation with the in-app conversation starters that are placed at tables within the café. This will encourage users to spark new conversations instead of falling into small talk or being intimidated by a dead conversation. These locked conversations will be able to be viewed within the vault inside the app, however, they will no longer be able to be added to.

My app was born out of research surrounding social media and its user’s frustrations around feeling alone and disconnected from people in their use of the platform. I wanted to see if there was a way to improve this experience so that it could fulfil the expectations of its users and make them feel genuinely connected to one another. Through my research I found that passive interactions, which included things such as liking or commenting on someone’s public posts, left people feeling disconnected. In comparison, direct interactions, which included things like direct messaging, helped users feel connected to one another and had a positive impact on their wellbeing, often allowing them to stay connected to people they otherwise might not have been able to.

I have a particular passion for interaction design and found that a game, while solving my original problem, would allow me to explore this. I learnt a lot of skills and techniques during this project including baking and preparing textures for importing into Unity or other game developing programs. The app was made in Sketch and the 3D space was modelled and textured entirely in Blender.