Messaging app


Symplicit, Thred, 2015

The imagineroom team had a great idea for an innovative new messaging app. They’d already started working on it, but they needed our help:

  1. To validate and explore their options for product/market fit.
  2. To get a minimum version of their product quickly designed for a beta launch.

Two achieve these two goals, the project was run as two simultaneous streams: Research and Concept Exploration, and UX and Design Sprints.

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 11.22.55 am

Stream 1: Research and Concept Exploration

Symplicit and thred spent two months researching customer needs using:

  • a landscape review,
  • a 2-week online community discussion,
  • eight 90-minute interviews.

At the end of the research we held an Opportunity Workshop to digest everything learned – where we collectively synthesised the findings into themes, key insights and personas.

Stream 2: UX and Design Sprints

At the same time we ran design sprints with the team in Hong Kong. To keep everyone on track towards our final product we:

  • held bi-weekly standups/reviews,
  • developed detailed documentation of our work for the remote development team,
  • maintained collaborative project and feedback live tracking in Trello.

In this stream it was crucial to track and communicate how much work our team could achieve in each sprint – giving us a clear picture in terms of where we’d get for the MVP.

Thread presentation 3.006

The Product: Thred

Thred is a new social messaging app that:

  • aims to enhance and maintain ‘on topic’ conversations
  • around specific pieces of content,
  • with friends/colleagues who are genuinely interested
  • regardless of their platform.

We designed the thred app to support dynamic hero content…

Thred screens.

…and gave users keyboard tools to create beautiful messages…

Thred composer screens

…guided them through the creation of new conversations (threds)…

Create a new thred, screens

…and helped them share these conversation with friends regardless of platform.

Manage users screens.

The Research: Concepts for the future

From the research project running in parallel, we wanted to gain a broad understanding of user behaviour and motivation with regards to online communication.

We were seeking to learn how messaging applications and social media platforms fit into the everyday lives of the people who might become users of Thred.

From the information uncovered in this research, we identified about 8 key areas for Thred to focus on to meet the needs of their potential user audience.

We also produced personas that the team could use to help focus their design decisions in the future.

Opportunity workshop
Opportunity workshop in progress.
Opportunity Workshop
Insight analysis process.
Thread presentation 3.013
We synthesised the research into 14 themes, and 8 insights.
Thread presentation 3.014
Our two primary design personas for thred: Christine and Cameron.

My involvement:

  • As the lead Experience Designer on this project, I oversaw both streams of work, making sure we had adequate members of the Symplicit team assigned to complete the project and that the client and team was kept up to date on our progress.
  • I directed the UX and Design of the application at a high level, but also worked on a lot of the detailed interaction design by producing extensive wireframes in Axure for key screens of the application.
  • I guided other members of the team in interaction design and also in producing research synthesis documentation – such as personas and the final research report.
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