Fiish: A Chatbot to feed my Betta fish

Earlier this week, I walked into Pet Smart for the first time in my life with a subtle intention of getting a pet. World with a pet is amazing, agree? I ended up getting a male Betta fish for our house. He’s pretty chilled out, but I still gotta feed it and I hate forgetting.

I loved decorating the fish tank!
Dummy logo for our bot (pulled from Google)

So to not forget feeding this little dude, I wanted to spend some time today to create a bot to help me with this mundane task.


Why a bot?

  • FB Messenger is my daily driver. I open it every single morning to view messages from my peeps in India from different time zones.
  • My first thought was to ask my roommate or my friend to remind me everyday to feed this fish. I just thought of writing my little friend and Fiish came into existence. It is really easy to build.
  • No need to download anything on your phone. Just another message!
  • They’re hot. I love Poncho!
Fiish is a bot that lives inside of Facebook Messenger and reminds you to feed your fish

Specifics

Some basic things I wanted to clarify and think out before diving into the process.

  • Core experience: Fiish is aimed at reminding me (fish owners) to feed their fishes. This can be achieved using a simple message:
Message received with a reminder → User fed the fish → The end
  • Context: I may not be at home when the reminder drops into my Messenger. What will happen then? My first thought is that I should be able to postpone this reminder to until I get back home. Seems about right!
  • Error handling: There are no errors in a conversation, it is a conversation either ways. Keeping that in mind, I will have to make the experience of the conversation subtle and will have to capture all the use cases. Maybe not in the first version, but incrementally I’ll need to make it complete. For now, it can just serve the purpose of reminding me to feed the fish when I need to. That’s pretty much it.

Quick Prototyping

I used Botframe for mocking a sample conversation
Onboarding prototype I made using Botsociety
Capturing the happy path

At this point, I could see it working in action. I sent these videos out to a few people to take a look at and give me feedback.

Next step was to incorporate these changes and dive deep into building Fiish.

Platform used

I had played around with Chatfuel previously so used it to build the interface and link it to FB Messenger. But there are so many platforms out there which you can use. Feel free to experiment!

I also had to include an integration with Zapier to make Fiish ping me every morning at 8. Still unsure if it works without any roadblocks but I’ll improve it as I learn.

Download Fiish: m.me/fiishbot

What’s coming

  • Right now, Fiish is in its very early inception. There are a lot of use cases pending to handle and make it complete.
  • I will add onboarding soon where Fiish will be able to identify the fish by its type and recommend timings to the user. That seems like its a little long shot considering the time I have but why not?
  • There is a lot more to fishes than just feeding them. Cleaning the fish tank, changing water every month, playing with fishes are a few of these things I think Fiish might be able to help with somehow.

I spent the second half of my Saturday exploring around this. If the integration works, I guess I have one less thing to remember and worry about. Yay!