The Sing Chat Hack Day Experiment
Earlier this year there was some big news – Facebook Messenger opened up its API to developers. What does this mean? Well, it allows non-Facebook companies to integrate their mobile apps with Facebook Messenger itself, so they can grow their audiences.
This is important for brands – instant (and private) messaging are currently growing faster than traditional social platforms. They are huge in Asia, with the likes of WeChat allowing users to buy all kinds of things, even insurance and mortgages, through their app. This kind of behaviour is coming to the west – and Facebook opening up its API is a crucial step towards this.
At We Are Social we always enjoy a tech challenge, so we decided to dedicate a hack day to experimenting with this new function.
What’s a hack day?
Well, according to Wikipedia: “A hackathon (also known as a hack day, hackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development and hardware development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects. Hackathons typically last between a day and a week. Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes, although in many cases the goal is to create usable software.”
What did we do?
We asked all of We Are Social’s 11 offices around the globe what kind of app could we create that used the Facebook messenger API. Here’s the brief if you’d like to see it. The best response came from Jenni Smit, one of the senior designers in the UK office.
Jenni’s idea was SingChat.
Have conversations in messenger using only lyrics from songs.
You type in any word and several lyric suggestions will pop up
We’ve been learning from a lot of startups recently, so we decided to take a leaf from their book and create a Minimum Viable Product to test the validity of this idea before actually building the thing.
So, on the hack day we built SingChat.
This allows you to have a conversation that is entirely made up of song titles. Have a play for yourselves.
Like a true start up we looked at the data to see if it was a valid idea. We asked the users what they did on the app… and 60% of them said “we just typed stuff to see what happened”, but they didn’t engage in many conversations with people. They liked playing with the tech but they didn’t use it as it was intended – as a communication tool.
Despite this, we’ve really enjoyed working on this project, and have a lot of learnings to take into account for future innovations. We want to hear what you think too, so please play on SingChat share your feedback with us on Twitter or email!