Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Microstory 1362: In Need of an App

Viscom Student: Thank you all so much for coming to this survey. I’ve been racking my brain, and I can’t come up with any good ideas. I need you guys. Now, I can’t pay you, but I might be able to get you extra credit if you’re taking psychology, or business administration, or something. I make no promises, though.
Fellow Student 1: How long do you think this will take?
Viscom Student: We’ll be done as soon as one of us comes up with a good suggestion, or after twenty minutes; whichever comes first. I ain’t lookin’ to keep you all night. This is my assignment for my Visual Communications Design class, and I know it’s not your responsibility.
Fellow Student 2: If it’s only twenty minutes, we don’t need compensation, or anything.
Fellow Student 1: Yeah.
Fellow Student 2: What exactly is the assignment?
Viscom Student: I’m meant to come up with a new app. I don’t have to actually create the app, but I have to have an idea how it works, draw out the design, and prepare a little marketing presentation. There are a few stipulations, though. Even though I don’t have to program something real, it has to be technologically feasible. I can’t think of an app that reads your mind, or mows the lawn. Two, it has to be at least mostly original. I can, for instance, come up with a new photo-sharing app, but there has to be some way to differentiate it from all the others. What makes this one special, and why would someone download it, instead of a competitor’s? So, what kind of app do you think is missing from your life?
Fellow Student 3: I think I have an idea.
Viscom Student: Shoot.
Fellow Student 3: You know how everyone’s working from home these days, right? Because of the virus.
Viscom Student: Yeah, I like we’re you’re headed.
Fellow Student 3: But people hate that, because they can’t just walk up to each other’s offices, and have an impromptu conversation. They have to send an instant message, or set up a video conference. What if people had full-length mirror-sized video screens in their home offices? Instead of calling, you walk up to your own screen, knock on someone else’s “door” and then just talk. You could leave the door open all you want, too, and let people come and go as they please. You could even expand it, and have giant screens all over the walls, to simulate an open floor plan. Then people can just walk up to each other whenever they want.
Viscom Student: That’s a cool idea, Fellow Student 3, but it’s not an app. It’s a tech product that would require hardware.
Fellow Student 3: Umm, you could invent the app that manages everyone that’s part of the same network.
Viscom Student: Yeah, that app would probably exist, but I need something that anyone interested can download and use without buying all these other things, ya know?
Fellow Student 4: Piggybacking off of Fellow Student 3’s idea, though, what if you made an app that was a virtual working environment. Customers would be able to design their own working spaces, assign workers to specific zones, and let them control an avatar. The avatar wouldn’t just be some cartoon version of someone, but an accurate representation of the individual. When the avatar goes to meetings, it can raise your hand, and maybe even get up to grab a drink of water; just to make it feel a little more natural. My dad is always complaining about how awkward his web conference meetings are.
Viscom Student: That’s a very interesting idea.
Fellow Student 2: Does it work, though? Is that technologically feasible?
Viscom Student: I’m not sure. I mean there are virtual worlds out there, right? There just aren’t any dedicated towards this niche.
Fellow Student 3: It’s not a phone app either, though. I mean, I guess it technically could be, but it would be better on a laptop or desktop.
Viscom Student: That’s true. I might be able to get away with it, though, if we market it the right way. I think you’re onto something here, Fellow Student 4. Let’s run with this, and see if it can work. What other features would you all like to see in something like this?

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