Quick Shareable Chat Links
UI Design UX Research
We were in a hackathon and thinking about common problems with communications in the pandemic. One of the key things that kept coming up was the concept of having a large zoom room that you're in, and needing to break off into a smaller one without losing the connection. People would tend to chat and share links within the chat section of the app that would vanish when you'd close the window. *yellow highlight is to aid in speedy scan-ability
Understanding the Problem
People like to communicate, but a lot of times there are borders that must be crossed in order to initiate or continue a conversation. Even in an in-person experience, there is an exchange of numbers / links, contacts, anything to keep the conversation going but there are always levels of friction in sharing those between users. The specific problem we're solving for this particular problem there is 1 existent link already (ability to share a link with users).
Context: most social networks require a login and if there are random friends / coworkers you just met, you won't know the common social networks to potentially join to continue a group chat, voice chat, etc.
Goal: Make continuing the conversation easy for users (no login)
There a lot of sites that do a lot in private messaging or sharing chat links, but they all look pretty outdated, it's straight forward chat. I know there are audio chat platforms and other more up to date ones, but struggling to find them. App versions don't make sense as most users on zoom are going to be on their computer.
User Interviews In chatting with potential users of litebub, we found a few things in common.
Mapping the thought process and emotions in generating a link while an existing zoom chat is going. Action: Users want to break off into a smaller group for continued chat.
Users want a link quickly prior to signing off call
Friction point: having to log in
Friction point: not knowing when the link is arriving
Friction point: not knowing topic of discussion
Friction point: creating a new group chat in slack is unfavorable
Friction point: how is link coming? email, sms, slack etc.
We created 2 personas that apply to the pain / friction points as well as user needs
1. Business Chat Smooth Sailor
2. Internet Super Networker
Users need a bridge to the next conversation without friction
The goal was to create something super simple, and low friction. A website is by far the lowest friction environment that anyone would have access to without technical constraints.
A website that creates links quickly, no login, and something fun or approachable for users to use. This can be optimized for mobile and web, and has the least friction for users logging in.
For this particular project we jumped pretty quickly into figma for ideation as we were all in different cities and it was nice to do a collaborative session. Some very loose drawings which haven't been included. One company that was of huge influence was WeTransfer in their ability to make it super simple to send a file, but have a unique environment for the user with full screen backgrounds.
Key pain points to solve for:
Sketches User Feedback
Given the feedback, we went with the most simplified approach in showing a button to get a link on index, but still allowing the concept of an optional topic.
Iteration 2 - Link quickly, topics secondary
This tested much more positively with the internal team and presenting to users.
Topics played a secondary role to typing at least 1 letter to create a link.
Add Fun - Create avatars
[INSERT] A LOT OF ITERATIONS on UX in BETWEEN...
We did a lot It, and it was about working as a team efficiently, testing out product and see what was making sense and iterating from there.
Super simple front page. Goal: Get user to create a link without friction!
Topics are key to set the context of the conversation. We set out to making choosing a topic easy by clicking some bubbles, otherwise the user could type anything they wanted.
We wanted to make links cool! something fun and interesting to click in vs a URL. We came up with the concept of having a gif you could swap out, as well as your "buddy" avatar.
We spent some time considering what chat would be like. Leslie came up some really interesting concepts in showing the "typing" action with having the bubbles race across the screen similar to a horse race.
The contact list was a challenge, we wanted to create something that was easy to develop and ideally something without scrolling. This one tap view into contacts (tap top buddy avatars next to LiteBub) was super fun and pretty easy to build.
One extra piece of goodness Leslie came up with was random exit prompts for leaving chat. Other examples such as "Run away?" "Exit Noisily", "Get me out of here" were some others we included.
How did users respond?
Prototype testers responded well for this one, they were most excited about the movement of the bubbles like a horse race(some twitter users). The shareable link was of great value for people especially in social media setting, people were eager to use it as it launched. One other startup even asked if they could use it for their core product.
We've iterated a lot on chat but there's been a lot of interest in the changing of backgrounds (NFTs) and this could be a place where we expand.
Challenges and Learnings
I learned it's much better to keep hitting small milestones, than try and extend into a more finessed product. Much better to launch lean version of product (mvp) vs trying to hit all bells and whistles in 1st launch.
What Would You Change?
I think it would've been better to design the product a little bit simpler in the beginning regarding avatars and gifs for link, we could've shipped things earlier and iterated if we didn't have as much in the pipeline. Another thing was the Thwack functionality was a challenge in booting users, cool feature though.