In this sketch, we present a design research approach which led to the development of Zync, a synchronized video player that provides a social viewing experience for online videos. This approach utilizes an iterative design process, focuses on research pragmatics over semantics, and examines the landscape of existing tools and technologies to identify the best venue for deployment.
In lieu of creating an entirely new collaboration tool, we chose to build Zync as a plug-in module for a popular instant messaging (IM) client to help foster conversations where they normally occur. Zync augments the IM experience by enabling the inclusion of online videos within these conversations.
Based on Zync usage data, we identified three classes of people who share videos via IM, obtained insight into what people want to watch, and created a framework to understand how people behave and hold conversations in synchronicity with temporal media.