Samuel Sholkoff's profile

Nearbee, the best enterprise networking app ever

Nearbee, the best app that was never developed
Sexy pitch name: "IBM Tinder"
Nearbee is a networking application that promotes impromptu, silo-breaking, in person connection. Being a consultant is a hard life: it's fraught with travel delays, dirty hotels, packaged fridge sandwiches, and tables for one. I sought to solve this bleak and solitary livelihood with this application. 

There are over 400,000 IBMers in the world. What if IBMers could connect wherever they traveled in a quick, and informal manner? What if instead of formal happy hours, presentations, town halls, stuffy tucked-in shirt, wipe your mouth after every bite kind of interactions, IBMers could forge their own simple meet ups regardless of business unit or experience level? I know what you're thinking: sounds like a great idea for any big company. Check out this fucking awesome app below.
Look at those dirty screens

An entire design system from scratch, because I could, because the user deserved it. I designed an application that the enterprise needs, both in form and function, with the hope that it would inspire some god damn passion in the stagnant workplace full of stale internal apps.
#Process

Of course after I identified the problem, I didn't just start designing. First I assembled a team including a project manager, back-end developer, tester, and a sponsoring partner. Then we surveyed 130 IBMers. That confirmed our pain points and helped us craft our golden path through the application. Then I started design while the back-end developer began making all the api connections and services we would need.
Design choices

The experience of using this app needed to be as sexy and frictionless as the idea itself. Naturally, I leaned a bit on popular dating and social networking apps. Although, where this app differs from those apps is that this is an inclusive, browsing experience. Negative actions like "swiping left" or making "private events" create negative energy and form a pretty serious god complex. This app is all about sharing, meeting, and experiencing. Throughout the design process I was deep in a paradox: design an app that's so easy to use it compels the user to put their phone away and talk to someone face to face. Quick actions, simple navigation, and browsing behavior were the underlying motivations for every design choice.
Take your dry, corporate shit elsewhere

This was an excellent experiment in just how delightful #hig I could make an app. And moreover, I wanted to see how much I could push common UX and UI patterns to create a really unique and jovial experience. A main consideration for me was making a scalable and inclusive application that anyone in the world could connect with. Apps that I love are Airbnb, Citimapper, and Slack. I think those companies have really nailed micro-copy and cute ornamentation and I wanted to emulate their ethos as much as I could.
Nearbee, the best enterprise networking app ever
Published:

Nearbee, the best enterprise networking app ever

Delightful enterprise networking mobile app for impromptu face to face interaction.

Published: