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. This was a completely new feature, so there was no old version to iterate upon.
I co-led project this with 1 other designer, a PM, and 7 engineers on this project. We kicked the project off with a Joint Application Design meeting where we aligned on expectations and goals. We also had weekly check-ins with the whole team.
Usually when iterating upon a feature, we collect UX research data through the following ways:
However, this was a completely new feature so there was no pre-existing feature to gather feedback on. Through past interviews with Customers, they had expressed frustration with emails. They noted that:
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. We created prototypes using AdobeXD and presented them to users for testing. Users preferred having the icons grouped together on the right side. 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.
We researched how industry leaders designed their @mention functionality (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
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 this mini 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. We created a prototype to test out different widths of the chat and the expand/collapse functionality. Users liked the smaller width better and did not have issues opening up and using the chat.
Because this was a new feature, we allotted time for beta testing. We released this feature to select users to allow them to test it; overall, the feedback was very positive. One aspect users did wish they had was more indication of presence. They wanted to know who else was online and when someone else was typing. These were features we had already identified and had wanted, but didn't make the cut for the MVP. However, we had some time after the release, and were able to implement these features afterwards.
Our defined goals for this project were achieved. The # of messages posted increased by 73% over the course of a year. Today, over 13,000 Conversation posts are sent monthly.
A few features and stretch goals, such as being able to view the members when mentioning a 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.
6 months after release, Conversations went through minor cosmetic changes to match Winmore's rebrand. Below is the final design with the visual rebrand.