The virus outbreak has forced a lot of companies into remote working. One of the biggest problems of remote work is social isolation. People quickly start to remove themselves from social interaction with their colleagues and that has an impact on their wellbeing, on the teamwork and eventually on the business. By adding back social activities into remote work we believe we can make it more bearable until we can all go back to the office or even make it so fun that you won't want to go back ever again.

What it does

Yappy is a slack bot that matches team mates for short and fun video calls, to catch up or to discuss interesting topics. It's a simple concept, but there are quite a few challenges to make it work and deliver on it's promise.

How I built it

This is a slack app, so it uses the Slack API to post messages. The server uses Node.js and it is hosted on Google Firebase. The code is written in javascript.

Challenges I ran into

Timing is a big one. How do we increase the chance of people being available at the time of the call? Grouping comes second. Who you are matched with has a big impact on the quality of the social interaction.

Another challenge is how to encourage people to participate. Some may think that a video call with a random colleague doesn't bring any benefit. They would rather continue to work or do something else during a break. It is awkward and seems unnecessary. This is a slippery slope and little by little, without realising, they begin to loose the connection and experience all the issues mentioned in the description. This is a design challenge, a solvable one, but critical to the success of the solution.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

What I learned

What's next for Yappy

  • use the landing page to get more companies excited about our beta testing program.
  • improve the product to increase user engagement
  • start marketing it to more companies that are using slack.
  • further down the road Look into a Microsoft Teams integration to reach more customers.
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