I’ve always had a fantasy in which I walk into my room, see something I want to change, and with the snap of my fingers, it is updated within moments. Just think of that being an actual option in real life! With the creation of myWebRoom, a virtual room in which you can shop for products, create your dream living space, and connect with new people all in front of your tech device, it actually is—virtually, of course. Think of it as a 3D Pinterest, like Cliché Editor in Chief Megan Portorreal does! It’s an innovative, imaginative, and extremely organized social platform that allows you to be creative in your own personal style through designing a room centered around your interests, favorite sites, and must-have products. You’ll be blown away with the amount of tasks you can check off with myWebRoom: you can listen to music, socialize with other members, shop for new items, book a trip, or discover even more. Whether you love interior design, are looking for a new way to decorate a room, or you are just the casual daydreamer like myself, myWebRoom is only a click away. We chatted with the lead product designer of myWebRoom, Ling Lim, for you to get to know how myWebRoom was created, how it has grown, and how easy it is to use!
Cliché: Where did the inspiration to create myWebRoom grow from?
Ling Lim: Our co-founders were heavy Internet users, and the inspiration came to them as they were looking for a better way to manage the 20,000 tabs they had open on their browsers for various purposes! They thought that there had to be a way to better organize and incorporate everything into one place. As they started looking for the perfect tool, ideas emerged as to how they could group all of the information that they cared about into an interface that would intuitively allow them to do so. Eventually, they decided to build it themselves for their personal needs!
What makes this site more unique than any of the other social/design platforms out there?
myWebRoom is a social bookmarking and content discovery tool set in a virtual room setting that is entirely up to the user to design. When we were doing research on our competitors, we found different bookmarking, content discovery, and design sites, but nothing that bridged the three experiences. We wanted to create a more all-encompassing platform for people who are looking for more. With the sharing of articles and websites on various social media platforms, I believe that we are in an era of social bookmarking where people seek to express themselves with the kind of content they interact with. When I show my friends what I am reading, what I am contemplating about, and/or what I believe in, it helps connect me with like-minded individuals or drive discussions on certain topics. There are many social platforms that have been really successful with that (think sharing links on Facebook and Twitter), but they lack two big features that I feel would be ideal for consumers that we made a point of focusing on. First, we did not want to limit our users when it came to self-expression. While sharing content is a great way to do that, we wanted to create a foundation for that. This is where the customization of the rooms and the products come in; whether you are into Batman or dreaming of owning a loft in the Upper East Side, we have something for you to organize and share your content from.
Second, the sharing of content has always seemed very fleeting on most social platforms. Through user tests, we found out that many users often fail to revisit links that they have saved or shared, simply because most tools are not optimized for that. We wanted our users to be able to effectively organize and share content from their rooms, be it for their own bookmarking purposes or for the purpose of sharing content.
For anyone new to myWebRoom, how would you describe it?
I have had to describe myWebRoom many times when I meet new people at events or even just to my Lyft drivers! I always say, “Imagine the space we are in, but on your computer as an interface. Click on, say, the TV, and you get a stream of cool videos. You can then save them or bookmark your own sites in that category. The same goes for all the other items in your room!” I tell them that myWebRoom is a fun social community that provides an easy and engaging way for you to discover and organize your favorite sites. You can create folders and your roommates can visit your room! myWebRoom lets users open any website, watch videos, shop, and more, all from within their room.
How did the idea of a personalized room come about?
Back in 2010 when the founders started conceptualizing the product, the idea of a “social” ecosystem was very important in the consumer web sector. They knew that they had to incorporate “social” behavior into the product in a way that felt natural and engaging. As they started to brainstorm how to put those elements together, they thought about how people express themselves through decorating their own spaces and how they would visit their friends’ rooms and hang out. They noticed how when people move into a new room, it is a blank canvas, and slowly they begin to personalize it until their room is a unique reflection of them. They began to gravitate towards making a “room” as the main visual interface. They wanted to create intuitive relationships between objects and types of information just like you do in real life! They wanted users to be able to have a place that they can call home on the web, where they can bring in their favorite content to a living visual profile that they designed to express who they are.
Being able to purchase an item via myWebRoom with just a click of a button is such an innovative and modern way to shop online. Are all the items in the rooms available for purchase, or just some?
We have partnered up with many amazing online stores, and we carry their items on myWebRoom. The majority of the items that you see on the website are available for purchase from the rooms. There are, however, two instances where items are not for sale. Sometimes our designers create items based on a room’s unique theme, and these items are not actual products at the time of production. We also have a very exciting feature called My Contributions where users can request for personal items to be created and placed in their rooms. In most of the cases, the item is personal and not for sale to other users. For example, users can take a picture of their couch at home or even their dog, and our team will render it for them so that they can use it in their room. They also have the option of inputting a URL to a product that they’ve found online, in which case we add it to our shop for everyone to enjoy. We launched this feature last October and have since received 2,000 requests!
What do you hope for myWebRoom in the future?
I am very excited for the future of our product! I envision a future where you have the option of allowing your roommates to visit your room to check out what you are up to—what music you’re listening to, articles you’re reading, products you covet (so they can get it for your birthday!), etc. The possibilities are endless. Every room is your portal to someone’s identity on the web. myWebRoom is marrying content discovery and organization with your own creative social profile. Our kids are not going to want to use Facebook! They are going to want to be roommates.