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ThinkUp DrinkUp.xcodeproj
ThinkUp DrinkUp
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ThinkUp DrinkUp

A Social Drinking Game


Smartphones are a great way to stay in touch, but they far too often come between people in small social groups, distracting us, and preventing us from connecting with each other.

Whether it’s by Facebook, Instagram, or something else, these devices and apps designed to connect people and bring them together end up coming between us once we finally get together.


While the phenomenon certainly isn’t a new one, it’s growing in severity. It’s gotten so bad, in fact, that it seems to even have been given its own term, “phubbing,” a portmanteau of the words “phone” and “snubbing,” or when you ignore the company you’re with to focus on something on your phone instead.

Current research from a number of sources suggests that this is not an isolated problem and is, in fact, a symptom of a larger sociological problem related to the hyper connectivity that these new decides and services bring to our lives.

“Phobias linked to hyperconnectivity have even started to appear over the past few years. One example is nomophobia, the fear of leaving home without a smartphone. This person would fear seeming uninteresting, or missing something of importance.

There’s also Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), that makes us stay connected constantly so we can share or compare ourselves with others in order to control our anxiety. These two phobias often come together, and can create a toxic cocktail for the relationships of people who are affected.”

To Address This

I would have to both engage individuals in a group activity, and the activity would have to involve a smartphone.

A Solution

ThinkUp DrinkUp, A social drinking game that engages all users through fun personal interaction.

One player is the subject of the questions, while the other players answer.

First, four players enter their names, and one is chosen as the subject of the questions while the other three answer questions about that player.

The players then pass the iPhone around to each other to enter their answers to the question in short-answer format. After all three players answer the question about the fourth, subject player, they pass the iPhone back to the subject player. The subject player is presented with the Answer Picker Screen.

The subject, chooses the “best” answer. The questions are designed to provide fun, engaging answers that are neither right nor wrong, per se. The point of the questions and answers are to be fun and engaging, as well as a bit silly. Once an answer is chosen, the next screen presented is the Congratulations Screen.

The One Who Is Chosen Gets To Drink As a Reward. Winners are free to scale the drink size to whatever they happen to be drinking. This has the added benefit of making it more and more difficult to keep winning. Players can then choose to play another round with a different subject or to play again with new players.

UX, Development, User Research, Etc.

The Questions

A Sample, and their development
  • Designed to provide personal insights into players
  • Designed to be funny and engaging
  • Designed to be potentially embarrassing and make the players vulnerable to each other, encouraging both openness and bonding
  • Adam is given a ridiculous superpower. What is it?
  • If you were a waiter and Adam was rude to you, what would you do to his food?
  • If Adam were a Bond villain, which one would he be?
  • If Adam won the lottery, what would be the first thing he would buy?
User Feedback
  • Response was highly in favor of questions that made the subject of the questions seem vulnerable, revealed uncomfortable information, and/or disinhibited the group
  • Disinhibition and schadenfreude involved in the answer greatly motivated players to play further and the more potential for group bonding

+ “it’s a good way to embarrass your friends in a light-hearted way”

+ “it’s a good way to guess about [the subject’s] inhibitions”

+ “I like it because it lends itself to both couth and uncouth answers”

+ “great question because it helps make fun of your friend’s vices”

Further Development

  • Continued refinement of the iOS app
  • Further user testing
  • Further increasing number and quality of questions