PJ Rosa

Decorum

Product - Role(s): Product Design

Decorum is a revisited look into structured, hierarchical communication for those looking to easily, circulate, retrieve and archive information. Think the tree-structure of a forum with the familiarity of a chat client.

See On Figma

My role

My contribution to this project has been handling all UX and visual design efforts.


My friends talk too much

Our slack group talks a lot...

The Problem

Decorum is trying to occupy an odd space. Imagine you and 10 of your friends are talking in a group chat about a topic. Frequently, talking about a topic devolves into talking about related subtopics. We defined this as "cross-talk". Cross-talk derails and makes a conversation difficult to keep up with. Especially when you're reading the conversation after the fact. Other solutions like Slack have tried adding threads to keep conversations organized, but Slack threads can get lost, aren't divisible and are generally not friendly for discussions longer than a few lines.

Additionally, If you use something like Slack or Email you're expected to answer right away, or at least it feels that way. This makes communication platforms addicting, even pressuring to use. We want Decorum to take that feeling away, so that you're pulling actionable items instead of being pushed them. This way you can focus on what you need to do.

Who's it for?

Decorum is mainly for smaller groups of people. Groups of people who are looking for structure in their communication.

Examples would be, niche hobby communities, teams within an organization, large friend groups, research groups or clubs.

What does success look like?

We want Decorum to be a product people get satisfaction out of using. This also means helping people to feel empowered to talk on their own and not be burdened by pressures to use a platform.

So to help alleviate these issues, our main goals for the product are to be:

  • organized, sort of like email.
  • approachable, sort of like a chat client.
  • asynchronous, sort of like a forum.

From the research we've done, nothing like this exists.


Decorum process

A very early initial brainstorm of Decorum.

Process

A great amount of effort went into defining the problem. At first we thought we knew what we wanted, we assumed communication was a pretty straightfoward problem. However, after a bunch of prototypes and ideas we couldn't quite see a clear picture to a solution. So after a lot of discussion we were able to distill what we wanted into a certain feeling we want Decorum to achieve.

We view a chat client akin to being in a room with friends, actively being present in a discussion. We want Decorum to feel like sitting in the park with a community of people you're familiar with. Being able to feel present, but also not necessarily needing to feel involved.

My friends and I find this feeling in social centers of old school MMORPGs or old community BBS forums. It's this feeling of being able to have a high level presence of a community while also feeling no pressure to jump into and out of a conversation.

Check out some of the ideas we've gone through so far:

Where we are

Currently, Decorum is being developed our spare time. Since we're now past prototyping, the product is being built and slated for release sometime next year.