If you used to work in an office environment, it’s likely that you’ve been spending a lot of time on video calls during quarantine and are over them. You’re not alone.
Phil Libin, CEO and cofounder of product studio All Turtles (and former CEO of Evernote), was getting so tired of “living all day on video” that he launched an app to make these calls a little less painful.
The app, currently in invite-only beta, is called “Mmhmm“—something you might say while listening intently to a Zoom call, or in Libin’s example, while chewing. Users can install Mmhmm to work with their existing video conference platforms, like Zoom and Google Hangouts, and it essentially makes you look like a guest anchor on SNL‘s “Weekend Update.” While it’s fun to take on the aesthetic look of a news desk, Mmhmm also goes beyond other videoconferencing add-ons by actually improving the presentation UX in a practical way.
There are a lot of video filters that have emerged since quarantine began back in March—from the Snap camera integration to animojis to blurred backgrounds to virtual makeup touch-ups. Big brands like West Elm have gotten in on it too by providing static custom backgrounds of homes decked out with their furniture.
Mmhmm takes it a few steps further by adding new, functional components. In addition to classic backgrounds like the Brooklyn Bridge or extravagant interiors, Mmhmm has a screen over the presenter’s top left shoulder like you see on news broadcasts. This time, though, you can use it for presentations. It has the familiar feel of a colleague presenting in a conference room IRL because both the person and the deck can share the screen, rather than having to choose between the presenter and the screen that shows their deck.
If you don’t want to use the square for a deck, you can also share Instagram pictures, stream live TV, and airplay from your phone. You can also change the size of your body and move it around the screen in order to increase or decrease the deck’s visibility. Say you’re sharing a chart—you can increase its size and make yourself smaller. Want the audience to focus on you? Bring yourself back front and center. There’s also a “dynamic decks” mode that lets you record your presentation and then lets other users make changes themselves, as well as a “multiplayer” mode for group presentations.
Libin says the app isn’t designed “to replace how you normally have meetings or stream content on video—it just tries to make it better.” While this remains to be seen, you can request an invite to test the beta version yourself, and see if this hybrid “IRL+” presenting experience is really better. So we have the “Weekend Update” look. Now I just need someone to make me cue cards.