Today Adam, Cameron, and I are launching Moment on the App Store. Like many people, we send text messages to each other as a way to chat, but the service was never designed to embody the fun and engaging conversations we have.
Moment is a fun way to have conversations with friends. A chat in Moment looks like this:
Conversations are more like this in person than how they’re typically manifested digitally as speech-bubble timelines. Two people, face-to-face, responding to each others’ stories with crafted stories of their own. Chats have their own sense of rhythm and pace that add value to the interaction. Emulating that was worth exploring.
We wanted to enable people to create short stories, frame-by-frame, with the right content to make them engaging and fun to share just like the conversations you have with friends.
We’ve had a lot of fun these last few months building Moment. It’s a side project we’re proud of and we’re thrilled you can have it in your hands today. We chose to ship it with the features that most embody what Moment is about.
Download it and read on for more details about some of the features that define Moment.
Creating Moment’s Unique Features
Conversations in real life
Messaging looks like this today:
When two friends are communicating there’s a rapid exchange of visual and verbal information over a period of time. A good story here. A funny joke there. These individual moments create a conversation thread. Some moments are related and some are off-topic, but the most important one is the one happening right now.
Translated digitally, that rapid exchange drove the decision to dedicate the whole screen to a split window view of the sender and the receiver. There’s no scrolling. You can see your moment (bottom) and your friend’s moment (top) with the most recent one highlighted and playing prompting the other person to respond. It’s like conversation ping-pong.
And, if the moment you’re sharing is something you want to share with others, you can forward it on to other people you’re chatting with easily. Perhaps more importantly, the interaction is lightweight and not precious. You should feel free to stop and start again, and the next moment you share is the most important one. And, it should be exciting.
Playing with time
Moving pictures are exciting. They’re suspenseful and add a little drama with each subsequent frame; almost like hanging on to the next sentence of your friend’s story. GIFs are really good at this as edited shorts. They’re also great public consumption citizens since they don’t transmit audio and, more importantly, they’re edited for brevity to carry the crux of the message.
We wanted this kind of engagement in our moments. Like I mentioned earlier, visual and verbal information over time characterize conversations so images and text were the clear top choices to include in moments.
We took the opportunity to enhance a user’s moments with GIF-like behavior without the GIF format. This allowed us to make consuming moments easy and fun, but keeps the door open for adding different interactions within each frame of the moment beyond just images and text. Sometime. In the future. Maybe. ;)
Creating a moment should feel easy and lightweight so operating the composer should be straightforward and fast. Switching between a photo or a color background with text on it is as simple as swiping up or down on the screen. There are controls for taking a photo or, of course, the keyboard for writing text. Advancing slides is as easy as tapping Next on the keyboard or swiping to the left on the screen.
Up or down to switch between photos and color backgrounds. Left and right to move forward or go back and edit in time. High five.
Chat rooms using keys not names
Imagine you have a key in your hand. It’s a key to a room that only you and your friend know about because she told you about it. No one else in the world knows where this room is. Further, you own one of two keys that open this room. The other one is with your friend and she already used it and she’s waiting for you to join her.
It sounds like the beginning of a really good story, but that’s actually how our chat rooms work. We could have made it so that your friend told you to “bring your ID and they’ll let you in,” but we (the room makers) don’t really want your information. And for that matter, we don’t want you fussing with emails, phone numbers, and passwords either.
…we don’t want you fussing with emails, phone numbers, and passwords either.
Every chat in Moment begins with you creating a room that can be accessed with two unique keys. One of those keys is immediately used for you to enter the chat and the other key is left for you to share with whomever you want to chat with. You can share that key however you can— it’s just a URL. The important thing you have to remember is that once two people enter a room, it can’t be accessed by anyone again.
It’s like the door locks behind you and there are no more keys. If you or your friend exits, the room vanishes along with the moments shared between you two. There is no preciousness here. A room is only slightly more difficult to delete than it is to create. If a room is deleted for whatever reason by one of the participants, it’s also removed from the device of the other participant, no questions asked.
It’s quasi-anonymous in this way, too. You can chat with any of your contacts by sending them the key, or you can broadcast it out and whoever sees the key (and has the app) can enter the room on a first-come, first-served basis.
Best of all, our method of using private chat rooms gets you chatting as fast as you can send someone a key without all the back-and-forth of email confirmations.
And that’s how we want to present Moment. We want our users to jump in and start having fun, creating awesome moments, and sharing them with whomever they please. There’s an option to share a chat — it exports a short video of the combined moments — so please, share them on Facebook and Instagram. Reach out to us on Twitter, too. For more specific information about using Moment, check our FAQ and if you need our logo and App Store screenshots, grab them here.
Like I mentioned earlier, we couldn’t be more proud or excited. We hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed making it.