A sync-watching app for long distance relationships


Chills looking to fill this gap in the streaming culture, by enabling users to watch movie together simultaneously despite their physical locations.


Ideation, UX/ UI design, interaction/ visual design

See process ⇣

1. Discovery

There's gotta be a better way!

Even before COVID, I have been away from my fiancé for several months. Watching movies together is one of our favorite activities, as it momentarily suspends the 8000 miles separating us. However, as we quickly found out, there is currently no convenient way to stream videos simultaneously. Also, we're are certainly not the only ones looking for solutions.

There is even name for this phenomenon, sync-watching or "obsessively synchronized media consumption", as a New York Times article called it.

"They use more technological firepower than was required for the first moon landing: two laptops, two iPhones, iTunes, Skype and FaceTime."
Source: For Couples Split by Distance, Two Screens Can Blink as One - NY Times

How can we create

an effortless sync-watching experience for long distance relationships


enhancing their virtual interaction?

Checking out the market

Unsurprisingly there are a dozens of possible solutions however, none of them really adequately resolve the issue. I evaluated five competitors bases on content, interaction, flexibility and mood. I want to extract their qualities and adapt them for our target user.

Teleparty (Netflixparty) offers the best selection of content from the most popular platforms.
Interaction/ flexibility
Messenger allows users to be expressive in their own ways and the only competitor offers interaction between mobile and laptop.
Gaze specifically gear toward couples with a cozy, intimate and relax feel, through a soft gradient color scheme.
So what would set Chills apart?
Content selection
Users should have access to most of the major streaming platforms: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu,...
Part of the fun of virtual interaction is the endless combination of text, emojis and GIF as well as voice chat and video chat.
The experience should translate between a smartphone screen, to laptop and a 50 inch screen.
Cinematic and cozy, intimate enough for couples but also casual enough for friends and family.

2. Design

A platform that provide workers accesses
to available help, reliable information, and other workers like themselves.

Mapping content

Before jumping into the visual design, I outlined the main structure of the app using content mapping and user flow, prioritizing :

1. Discoverability of content and playlist personalization

2. Ease and flexibility of watching experience

3. Interactive communications between users

Initial user flow

3. Solution

A streaming app that focus on

an effortless way to enjoy video contents and to interact with those you love!

Content discovery
Quality and searchable content

From the competitive analysis, it is clear that a wide selection of contents is highly desirable. However, a great collection of movies and shows mean little to users, if they cannot access the content in an intuitive way. I see tags as way for users to personally their experience and discover new related contents, in addition to the typical categories of titles, genres, etc.

Watch interaction
Express yourself!

Chills offers users flexibility on how to best express themselves. An serial texters, sure! Emojis and GIF fanatics, we got you! Catch each others' reaction to your favorite scenes through video chat. Or all of the above, the choice is yours.

Platform flexibility
Phone, laptop or TV, it's up to you

Each users might have different references when it comes to watching videos. Some are perfectly content with watching a show on their phone while others prefer something more immersive like a 40 inches TV. Users get to personalize their watching experience depends on their own devices while neither compromising viewing pleasure or interaction with one another.

4. Reflection

It was a tremendously helpful experience to take this project beyond a personal issue, through further research and brainstorming possible solution and at the end crafting a cohesive experience. These are a few interesting problems I have encounter through the process:

Balance between audiences

While the app's main users are long distance couples, how can the design caters to their needs while not alienating other groups such as friends and families?

Subscription or not?

I personally would be happy to pay a monthly subscription for this app. Alternatively, I also see it being financed by all the content platforms (Netflix, Prime videos, etc) and is free to users. They then will have to link their own Netflix or Prime videos account to our app.

Content types

While the app is mainly focus on movies, it is important to consider other content type such as episodic series and even live events.

Other works


VR . game