Good videos are hard to create on a mobile phone. As a result, it is an underutilized medium.
It’s easy to add a filter and make a photo look good. Video, however, is a much richer medium that incorporates sound and motion, so it is more challenging to make them entertaining.
What if a video app was based around messaging (snapchat-esque)? What if the music was completely random, i.e. not up to the user?
What if the user had to send the video to a friend before they could even hear the random song on their video, thereby incentivizing sharing and incorporating a new emotion in social media—surprise?
Just shoot a video, add optional effects like slomo, filters, and text, select friends to receive your creation, and Wizzy will magically add the perfect soundtrack.
Hint: turn your sound on :)
Wizzy is unique because the sender is surprised by what song has been dubbed on to their video. The recipient is also surprised because they know their friend has no control over the song choice. No other apps do this meaningfully like Wizzy.
The user doesn’t have to spend time debating or finding a song. Like Instagram did for pictures, Wizzy allows for the creation of an entertaining video in a few taps.
Messaging vs. feed
We’re still exploring which would be best, but we released a messaging-focused product because these are such quick and dirty videos, perhaps not meant for feed sharing. I think music makes video messaging more interesting. Also random music for feed-sharing could be difficult because the videos are attached to the user’s personal brand.
Wizzy wants access to the user’s contacts and notifications, so we ask for this in the sign-up process. However, if the user decides to skip this step, Wizzy will ask again contextually within the app. In the sign-up process, we don’t bring up the native iOS accept/deny access module unless you tap ‘allow.’
Wizzes don’t last forever
Received Wizzes last for 24 hours. The sender can download a Wiz to their camera roll if it is especially good or meaningful. We made this decision because we want Wizzes to be sent often and don’t want the sender to worry about their Wizzes coming back to haunt them later. Our goal: feel free to Wiz often and to Wiz drunk. They’ll be wiped in 24 hours.
Toggle camera effects back and forth while recording
We used a ‘tap to record’ and ‘tap to stop’ recording method rather than a ‘hold to record’ button. We did so in order for users to be able to toggle on and off selfie cam, flash, and slomo. We figured (and found) that this would make videos more interesing in general.
More than a toy
A completely random song is great, but after beta-releasing Wizzy in the app store and watching how 1500 people used it the first few weeks (including an entire high school in Chicago) we learned a few things. Most importantly, we realized that if we wanted Wizzy to be more than a toy, we needed to make it easier for people to communicate or “message.”
Song filters & text
We wanted to keep Wizzy lightweight and retain its aspect of surprise. I kept that in mind when we added the ability to add text and song filters. For now, song filters are simply six or seven emotional song categories. Such as “Thugged out,” (adds a random gangster rap song to your video) or “Flirty,” (adds a random pop/r&b song). These features make it easier to communicate a message or emotion in your video.
In order to preserve the creation speed the initial release version had, I set the filter automatically to “random” and the user has to then tap the filter icon to choose a different one. Adding text is simply a screen tap, so if a user wants to send a quick video, it is easily accomplished.
Sending a video
The send screen includes ‘best friends’ and ‘recents’ at the top. Best friends are an auto-generated list of people you wiz the most.
Loading the video
I designed an indicator of the percentage of your video that has been loaded. To make this waiting screen more engaging, I added a soundwave animation and a random pull-quote from popular song lyrics.
Viewing your own video
When viewing your own video, you can easily navigate to your inbox, download your video, or share it to your social networks if it’s especially good.
Designing the inbox
Received videos are organized by friend thumbnails, such that when a friend sends you a new video, that friend’s stack of videos bubbles to the top of your inbox. You can then side swipe within the video viewer to watch that sender’s other unwatched/watched videos.
Grid view vs. list view
I chose a grid view, because Wizzes are organized by user (in stacks). The argument for a list view was that Wizzy is message-based (and a list view makes more sense for messaging).
Showing new wizzes
I differentiated new wizzes from watched wizzes by making watched wizzes black and white while new, unwatched wizzes are in color with a blue tab.
The Wizzy team at the end of the Greylock Hackathon. From left: James Ruben, Jonah Grant, Brendan Ryan, and Nathaniel Hajian. We prototyped Wizzy at Greylock and placed in the top 10, demo’ing the app to hundreds of people.
During the live demo, we took a Wiz of the judges and displayed it on a projector with loud speakers. “I Just Had Sex,” by the Lonely Island was the song that Wizzy had selected. It was perfect.