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My inspiration

As a foreign student and constant traveller, I've always been moved by how a simple hug can brighten up my day. It's beautiful and an intimate gesture.

I want people to feel that experience, even if they are far away from those they love.

Who is your target user?

Anyone who needs a reminder that they are loved and can still give love to others. A foreign student far away from home (I suppose I can relate to this one the most), a US Marine protecting his country overseas, A teacher, A doctor at the end of a hard day, I could go on.

What key features are you most proud of?

Maximizing the experience of feeling a hug while both recording and viewing content was my biggest achievement. I've described this in 2 parts below.

UX Achievements:

  • The app dives the user right into the experience of being hugged on launch. There are no instructions or words.

  • The app always stays in landscape mode. A hug is a 'wide' gesture, which I only realized after I started coding

  • The music never stops, even when the user starts recording their hug. This was done on purpose. The app does not have the ability to edit a video and that was intentional for creating a great hug. Instead, I found introducing a 5s timer before recording starts gives me enough time to step away from the camera

  • The 15s recording time was based on the average of 190 hug videos I found on YouTube. I also give the user the ability to stop a recording early.

  • A shuffling algorithm creates a new experience every time the app is launched.

Technical Achievements:

  • The toughest technical hurdle was coding the sliding filters experience. Everyone loves instagram, and I wanted to capture that experience in video with the minimal UI possible.

  • This was also my first time experimenting with Amazon Cloudfront and S3 for streaming and uploading video. My goal is to eventually use YouTube to allow for easier sharing.

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