And get ready for the implications on mobile UX…
People like to do things with friends. That’s no secret.
Improvements in technology use this premise to guide their products. Whether it’s gaming, live streaming, messaging, or video chatting, hanging out with friends is always an underlying utility. Virtual Reality developers have even tried to replicate this through lifelike avatars, bringing people even closer together, virtually.
That’s why when something ‘new’ comes up, that taps into our propensity to communicate and come together, people take notice. That something new is Squad. Squad is a screensharing video chat app, that resembles FaceTime or HouseParty, with a slight twist. Users can share their screens. While screensharing has been around for quite some time in the workplace, Squad is the first app to effectively bring the technology to our mobile phones.
Why is it so important? Well, when a user logs in, they fire up their squad and a typical video chat layout come up. From here, you can either continue sharing your face, or switch to screensharing what’s on your phone (The Android app has an option for sharing both with picture in picture). Users can then navigate around the web, shopping together, viewing photos, watching videos, looking up memes, swiping on Tinder, and much more. This interaction takes a lot of the pressure of video chat off of those using it. You no longer have to perform or look directly into the camera at all times.
When you first load Squad, a series of options are displayed beneath the video screen, directing users toward the best experiences on their phones. This includes Instagram, TikTok, Bumble, Pictures, and more. For publishers and brands who see good results from their app usage, it’s going to become important to tailor some form of messaging around driving Squads to use your app within the chat experience. While that navigation bar may not be open to sponsored placements yet, it very well could be in the future.
Additionally, as consumers begin using apps in new ways thanks to screensharing, app creators will have to rethink their functionality. What experiences can you include that nod to the fact that more than just one person is here? For example, a shopping app might include the ability to simultaneously look at two sizes or options at once, one for you, and one for your friend across the country who’s viewing your screen.
While it’s still up in the air if Squad itself will stick around, as we’re bound to see the major players release some form of the same functionality shortly, what we do know is that screensharing in this format is almost certainly here to stay. It will be interesting to follow how brands innovate to capitalize on this change in consumer behavior.