Making plans in a group chat on an IM app
We use instant messaging (like Whatsapp) for all our communication needs today - from keeping in touch with friends and family, to gossiping with our best buds, and most of all for planning events, both small and large.
Most plans, however, fail because someone did not respond in a group, because they could not find information about the plan or did not know who else was going. Social dynamics play a great role in success or failure of an event. For instance, it is motivating to see how many people are going and to be able to refuse without awkwardness. The existing solutions for group chats do not address these needs. Simply put, planning events today is a nightmare.
Event planning is a light-weight, simple to use feature within a group chat which allows group members to collaboratively plan events with other group members.
Based on data collected from User Interviews, I came to the following conclusions:
- This feature would ideally target young people between the ages of 15-35. Older people are more likely to be comfortable with communicating via the phone than via text messaging since it’s not typically a generation that is looking at the phone all the time.
- Based on the data, coming to a consensus on the location/date/time seems to be a common issue faced by users. People have different preferences about the location, food, drinks, music/band, etc. A polling/voting feature would help them to decide. But this not need necessarily be a part of the event planning feature. Polling can also be useful as a feature independent of events within a group chat. I would prefer adding Polling/Voting as a separate feature of group chat, and thus would be out of the scope of this current feature.
- Users have also expressed a need to be reminded about the event. Keeping a fixed reminder/notification routine might not be the solution since some users might not want constant notifications. Hence, we can let each user set his/her own event reminder frequency.
- Add event location details. Perhaps add a link to a map too.
Create a new eventFields required :
- Event name - Required field
- Image - Optional
- Start date and time - Required fields (current day is default selection)
- End date and time - Optional fields (Only appear when a start time has been set)
- Location - Required (Adding actual map location can be a future enhancement)
- Description/additional information about the event - Optional
Accepting or declining an eventUser can click “Going”, “Maybe” or “Not going” for an event from the ‘Event message’ in the group chat or from the Events screen. When a button is clicked, all the buttons disappear and an icon is displayed instead which shows the status. To change the status the icon can be clicked.
Modifying event detailsOnly the host(creator) of an event is allowed to edit it. The host needs to click on pencil icon on the top right hand corner of the event details screen to enter edit screen.
Expiry of an eventAn event can be said to ‘expire’ once it’s end time has passed. After which the event can be found in the ‘Past Events’ tab in the Events screen. If there is no end time specified then it is assumed to end at the end of the day. In the future, we can also have an 'Ongoing event' state.