BFF Sally - Fake Calling Bot

Made by Chun Wang

Found in Final Project - Weird Conversations

My bot helps to get users out of awkward situations by acting as users' best friends and initiating fake calls.



Write about the big ideas behind your project? What are the goals? Why did you make it? What are your motivations?

My big idea is to create something delightful and memorable. I don’t want to create another serious, make-your-work-efficient bot because there are a lot of them on the market already. I was trying to create a “what” moment for my users. I want my bot to be fun and unique so that people are willing to show off to their friends and families after they try my design, sharing how “weird it is”. 



Describe what informed your ideas and your outcome? How does your outcome relate to other work in the field? What are the precedent projects?

I want to have fun with this project, so I kept looking for inspirations from examples on the internet and things around me. My initial annoying alarm bot idea was inspired by my roommate’s LG alarm setting. Her phone shows her four numbers when the alarm goes off, and she has to put them in ascending order to turn the alarm off. It was such a love-and-hate experience. I thought it could become a fun bot idea, so I started coding, but I later switch to the fake-calling concept because my code works better with that theme. 



Outline your approach to the project? What ideas did you generate and how did you refine or reject them? What did you research and explore? what were the design choices? What challenges were encountered and how did you resolve them?

My initial idea was to make an annoying alarm bot which requires users to complete tasks that the bot asks in the alarm call to officially turn it off. However, I found the knowledge behind what I was trying to create was quite advanced, such as voice recognition, interactions between SMS and call, etc. Therefore, I later switched to an easier version, just making my bot to call users at the alarm time they set. In the end, I changed my context to the fake-calling scenario because I think the idea makes more sense, and it adds more fun and weirdness. My biggest challenge was reading values from the database. The concept is new to me, and I am still finding ways to make the reading experience smoother.



Detail what you created. What methods or techniques did you use? What tools and technologies were involved? Include images, code or video.

I eventually created a fake-calling bot, which pretends to be users' best friends and calls them when they are stuck in awkward situations. As a result, users can get out of those uncomfortable moments. I utilized Giphy API to add more fun to the conversations, Twilio platform to send out messages and initiate calls, gem Chronic to understand natural language when comes to date and time, rakefile to schedule auto-texts and calls, and database to store and retrieve call information that users had put in (time and date). 



Reflect on the process of making this project. What did you learn? What would you do differently?

Throughout the process of making this project, I not only learned the ways to write code, but the more important part is I got a taste of thinking through the process of creating a technical project. I think gaining the ability to map and connect logic dots behind the scene will be helpful for any future product/service development projects. In addition, I got a lot of insights from user testings. Sometimes, I am blind about what I can optimize for my bot because I am so familiar with the process, but I can easily spot weakness by overserving how others interact with my design. 



These 2 links have the video demo of my bot. (prototype)

And the actual codes are posted on Github.

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49714 Programming for Online Prototypes

· 9 members

A hands on introduction to building online products and services through code


My bot helps to get users out of awkward situations by acting as users' best friends and initiating fake calls.


October 17th, 2018