As part of a remote team, we missed the serendipity of sharing an office.

A small remote, software consulting team hired me to help them develop their own product. I filled the role of Lead Product Designer and Product Manager. We iterated through multiple versions of an app before arriving at a version that both our clients loved and that we loved.


The most significant problem with working remotely, is the lack of unplanned, serendipitous interactions that happen naturally in an office. Those interactions also contribute significantly to helping employees feel more like a part of the team. Through user feedback, we determined there was significant demand for an app that solved this problem, but that had a more familiar interface and didn't feel too gamified by requiring a spatial UI requiring moving an avatar around a digital space.


After extensive in-person observation and testing, we identified audio volumes as being the key variable required to adjust in an online meeting to effectively simulate being in the same room together. After many iterations, including a narrow, audio-only desktop version of the app, we arrived at a drag-and-drop video app where users could easily move between conversations. I came up with the Tetris-style design of grouping conversations in order for the UI to appear as similar as possible to traditional video conferencing apps while also conveying the separation of users in different conversations. This approach worked by automatically setting the volume of the conversation a user was in to 100% while reducing all other conversations to about 30% volume.