What is Thursday?
Thursday is a tool for remote teams to build a strong culture. On Thursday, you meet your teammates in Lounge, a spatial room to spend time with your whole team, and then breakout into smaller rooms for some fun activities, which we call Mixers.
Before we dive deeper into mixers and the design and thinking behind them, let us understand what common activities teams do and try to analyze some patterns behind these.
Most teams, remote or not, do some socializing activities, whether it is a team-building activity, some fun games, or a party hosted after hours. Now let's take the activity of a games night, where the team is playing Jenga. When a team decides to do such an activity, the main purpose is not of playing the game itself or to find the best person at Jenga. By the act of playing Jenga, the aim is to socialize. Make it easy for people to talk about and have a shared experience. Jenga is a social lubricant and not the goal itself. More talk, less activity. Same for other events such as a dinner party or a team brainstorming. The goal is not to eat or to solve the actual problem itself, those are by-products. Socializing is the goal.
Creating digital socializing rooms
The intended use of mixers is to recreate these moments of smooth socializing in a digital space. Creating a room for conversations to flow smoothly, without the plague of awkward silences, blank stares, and video call fatigue that current tools offer. We don't just want our users to talk and call it a day, we want them to feel like they are out for a walk, with a mug of warm coffee in their hands, conversing with their friends.
When optimizing for conversations and socializing, a small bunch of team members always wins over a large group of people. You can see this example in a big socializing event as well. Instead of forming a large body, people naturally move into smaller groups to have meaningful conversations.
Our decision to breakout into smaller rooms was very intentional. And we don't just stop at that, we see who is in what room and make sure that we keep the next rooms fresh, with new members. Not repeating the same group again. We also vary the room size depending on the activity, so something like charades can have 12 people in a room to create a fun exciting environment, whereas mindful talks keep is at 3 people to keep things tight-knit and give space for some reflection.
Designing for fidget
A huge problem that conventional video conferencing, even with smaller breakout rooms is that they feel too empty. Even with the whole screen filled with videos, you have to reach out of the digital space to find things to fidget with. With our mixers, we designed them, unlike these skeletal interfaces. Similar to real life, full of things to fool around with. When not talking, or passively listening to other people having conversations you always have something to fidget with, in the form of interaction or movement.
A bit of folly
Along with the two intentional design choices, we sprinkle each mixer with a bit of fun, always breaking the conventional view of how a team activity is done, an element of wow, grabbing the users' attention, making them curious, and letting them explore the spaces.
In the 'Would you rather' mixer, instead of just simply asking users to click a button to make the choice, we ask them to move themselves to the side that they choose. Similarly, 'Doodle race' has an actual paper which you hide while drawing, 'Charades' is a team sport, and 'Drunk startups' has a funding round at the end.
When we did our first launch, we had 3 mixers. As of now, we have tripled the offering with 9 mixers all with varied dynamics. We have hosted about 1000 socials with 3000 mixers. All our mixers have an average user rating of 4.2, a great testament to the love and care we put behind designing these novel experiences for remote teams.
If you want to try our mixers, you can. For free. No signup. Yup, not bluffing. Let us know how you like them and how we can make them even better: