Winmore's goal was to create a space that fostered more collaboration. Because our Customers have a lot of data about many topics, we were faced with the challenge of designing chat that would still be organized to each topic. We also wanted users to be able to chat from almost any page. This was a completely new feature, so there was no old version to iterate upon. This project was kickstarted because of the CTO's vision to encourage collaboration through Chat.
We explored and iterated upon many different aspects of this feature, including:
Text Input Bar
We played around with different ways a user could input text into a Conversation. Below are iterations of the text input bar. The second-to-last design was implemented and was live for about half a year before being restyled to the last version.
We wanted a way to @ mention specific people or groups. Below is an @mention exploration.
Below is the final @ mention implementation
In the main navigation, we wanted users to be notified of activity in Conversations they were following. If a user is @mentioned, a green badge appears to the right of the Record name. If there's activity in a Record a user is following, the text bolds and becomes whiter. Below is the main navigation design.
We created a feature called Chat Anywhere so that users could use the Conversation feature even if they were on an entirely different screen. The goal was that users could easily talk about their work while referencing it. This mini-chat allows a user to send a message from anywhere in a Record.
The final design was implemented and 6 months later went through minor cosmetic changes to match Winmore's rebrand. Below is the final design with the visual rebrand.
A few features, such as being able to view members of a mentioned group, weren't implemented due to engineering resource and time constraints.
After the release, we had time to implement additional tweaks based on feedback. Users wanted to know who else was present in a Conversation, so we included an indicator denoting if someone else was typing in the same Conversation.
Users reported back being appreciative that they didn't have to use email as much anymore. One piece of feedback was that after a vacation, users would be overwhelmed by the notifications in their main menu and had trouble keeping track of all unread messages. As a result, we implemented an Unread Messages digest in Home. Below is the link to the Home project detailing that design process.