A Very Visual Conversation

Talking & showing, hearing & seeing — together

When we’re together, our visual surroundings are as much a part of the conversation as the words we speak. We gesture toward the ‘thing’ we’re talking about to help express our ideas; whether it’s a software design idea on the whiteboard, a broken part that needs fixing on the manufacturing floor, or a beautiful sunset before us. How we do this is not linear or sequential. That is, we talk and show, and hear and see, together, in concert — what amazing abilities we humans have!

Imagine if this wasn’t the case. Imagine having to look and point toward something prior to talking about it. Or vice versa. That type of single-sensory experience would be awkward, inefficient and inhuman. Yet, this is exactly how we use messaging apps today. You post a picture and then send a text or maybe a voice message about it. It’s a sequence of posts with no mixing of sights, sounds and comments.

Our goal at Talko is to enable teams to communicate and work together in a way that is multi-sensory, fluid and efficient — as if everyone was together. Om Malik described so well how the smartphone, its camera and its apps have given rise to a very visual web. Similarly, we believe a mobile team communications app should give rise to a very visual conversation. While you talk, it should be drop-dead simple to show what’s being discussed — “Here’s the piece that broke during manufacturing.” Or to simply see where others are in the moment — “Wow, look at all the snow piling up outside the Boston office today!”

The visual conversation is one of the primary things our customers love and appreciate about Talko. Whether it’s a creative team, a global project team or a distributed product development team, the mixing of voice and visual context helps them share ideas and solve problems quickly.

How a visual conversation works in Talko

In any Talko conversation you always see what we call “Talkbar” — this is where you can tap the mic (start talking), keyboard (start typing) or camera (start snapping photos).

What’s unique is that we encourage you to show what you’re talking about as you’re speaking, as opposed to forcing you to make a linear sequence of posts. Notice in this video how someone in a LIVE audio conference can quickly share a photo and others can quickly comment with text, all with no disruption to the flow of the conversation. This type of interaction happens frequently in many of our customers’ scenarios today — distributed project teams doing daily or weekly progress meetings, manufacturing teams encountering break/fix scenarios during production, event planning teams scoping potential locations for an important client, creative teams doing “social storyboarding”, and many more. Regardless of the specific customer or scenario, a Talko conversation is often this type of fluid mix of voice with visual context.

The correlation of voice and visuals doesn’t only happen while LIVE. It’s persistent. You might re-enter the conversation a week later to recall a key decision. Or you might have missed a conference and need to get in sync with decisions or open action items. Either way, when you navigate and play back the recorded conversation you’ll find that what was shown is forever synchronized to what was said at the moment — so playback always mirrors the natural flow of the conversation as it happened LIVE. The video to the left shows this. It also shows a good example of what a classic Talko conversation ends up looking like — a unified audio-visual timeline containing a mix of LIVE talking, some voice messages and text comments, and often many photos.

There you have it, a whole new type of visual conversation!

Often times, the visual elements in a Talko conversation are mission critical — they help a team solve a problem or flesh out an idea. Other times it’s merely a matter of providing team members with a visual sense of where you are at the moment, which — while simple — tends to positively influence understanding and awareness across a team.

Of course, teams talk about many things beyond photos. Documents, video snippets and structured data are all things we’re considering on the product roadmap. We’d love to hear what you think. Please shoot us a mail if you have feedback, requests, or questions about this or any other features.

Talko Team