At the start of 2016, I attended my first hackathon and wanted to work on a value-driven project. Social media is a big part of our lives and something our team is passioniate about, so we brainstormed ideas related to the topics. Since the hackathon is only one weekend long, it was important to scope the idea and make sure we have enough time to plan and implement our project.
Brainstorming for an idea, we came across a problem all Facebook users have. Most people take lots of photos and post them online for their friends to see, but these photos are usually forgotten the next week. This leads to the question, How can we provide content rediscovery in a fun and playful way?
I don’t have any sketches or pictures from the event as everything was really fast-paced and there was limited time to conduct user research, but I’ve outlined some of the design decisions we made. A lot of time was spent working with the Facebook API to login and retrieve photos but I’ll skip over that since it’s more technical in nature.
The most minimal solution is to show them a random picture from the past. We wanted to do better and these are the 2 categories that we focused on.
Create an interactive experience
Rather than just showing users old photos, we wanted to let them be a part of the experience. Everyone loves games so we made it into a game by turning photos into jigsaw puzzles to solve. Implementing this feature, I was attentive to make sure it was intuitive to solve the puzzle and that was a smooth experience. Creating a gif of the puzzle being solved on the homepage shows the user what they should expect once they login.
Extend the activity with a call to action
Now that we had an interactive experience, we focused on how we can create further activity. Once they solve the puzzle, we show a prompt to message their tagged friends and provide a chance to possibly rekindle old friendships
One big problem we had to overcome was the restriction caused by the Facebook API. We originally wanted to retrieve a user’s friend list and show them photos from their friends, but the API only allowed the user’s photos for our use. Our whole project idea was dependent on using photos from the user’s friends and we were annoyed that our project would be ruined. As we discussed alternatives, our best solution was going through all the photos from the current user and looking for any friends tagged. This wasn’t the ideal situation, but it allowed us to complete the project, although with some limitations.
Overall, this project was a great success as I learned a lot about product development and iterating fast. I’m also very happy on the topic we chose and the product that came out of it. We all value community and connection and this is our small way of making that happen.