Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Bringing back conversations

We are a generation that relies heavily on technology to stay connected to friends. There are many alternatives that make being connected very convenient. We like sending texts over WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, or having a fun exchange of doodled-pictures on Snapchat, or liking someone’s photos on Instagram, and so on to "stay in touch". These are convenient to use. You don’t need to give your full attention. They’re not in real-time, which means we get to edit, delete, retouch, to make it just as we want it to be. “I would rather text than talk” has become more common, but these lack the basic elements that make it an conversation - body language, eye contact, tone of voice, mood, emotions etc.

These connections end up replacing the conversations in our lives. We connect with more and more people. But in the process, we set ourselves up to be isolated because of lack of conversations. We are connected yet lonely.

Actively engaging in a conversation requires phone/voice calls, video calls using FaceTime, Skype, and likewise. They’re the next best thing to seeing someone in-person. However, they have a lot of resistance associated with them. For example, a lot of effort usually goes in scheduling of video calls, and there is always the uncertainty about how long they will take.

We decided to take on these problems by building something that brings conversations back in people’s lives, something that allows you to connect as intimately as a face-to-face conversation and as conveniently as a text message. This is our new app Knock.

Knock keeps video calls short to just 5 minutes. In our tests, we found that it's ample time to catch up if you're regularly in touch. It is easy to find 5 minutes for a quick catch-up with someone. You’re more likely to answer if you know the calls are guaranteed to be short. 

Short and timed video calls

We also allow you to Knock multiple friends at the same time to see who is available at that moment. The app queues up the knocks, and you get on a call with whoever is the first one to respond.

Knock multiple friends at the same time

When you don’t see a Knock, we delete the notification from your phone. As a result there is no notification clutter on your device, and you don't feel pressured to call back right away. But, we do make sure that you know who was "thinking of you" (you missed their Knocks). You can always open the app and check that. However, we don't show when or how many times they Knock’d, or don’t tell them you saw it when you see it. 

No notification clutter
Find out who was "Thinking of you"

It's like knocking on someone's door for a quick chat, and leaving a little note behind to let them know that you stopped by.

Putting it concisely connections are useful, but we love conversations! Knock is our try to bring back the conversations. Knock is currently in beta and is available on iOS. Download it here. Invite your friends, and Just Knock! :)