17776.chat  2018-07-29


This project was inspired by the webcomic 17776: What Football Will Look Like in the Future. Some of the chat logs in the webcomic are animated such that you can "see" what people in the chat are saying in real-time as they're typing. I thought this would be really fun as a feature in an actual chatroom, so I went ahead and made this app.

I was very wrong! This is an absolutely garbage feature and it's a good thing chat apps don't implement this. It combines the worst things about talking on the phone with the worst things about instant messaging. It's impersonal because it's instant messaging, but it's also real-time so you lose the ability to draft and re-read things before you send them. On top of that, the average typing speed is slower than the average reading speed, so even if someone's able to eloquently type out their thoughts on the first try, (and that's a big if!), it's still not a great experience. The only upside of this feature is it prevents the situation you sometimes run into while IMing where you're part way through typing out something but then the other person sends something that makes what you were typing irrelevant and no longer on topic so you have to delete/re-write your entire response. In that same vein, it would be really interesting to do an in depth study about how this changes conversation conventions and habits seen in traditional IMing.

Anyway, after that dissapointment, I decided to take this platform I'd already put effort into making as a starting off point to play with things like Auth0 and user/rights management in Redux as a learning experience. Then, I polished up the app UI-wise to make it fun to use and nice to look at - even if the underlying functionality is only fun for a short period of time before the novelty wears off and you miss regular IMing. Overall, I'm happy with how the app turned out and I'm glad I answered the question "is this a fun feature," even if the answer turned out to be "not really!"