Scaling Direct Messaging

Integrating group chat for in-app direct messaging.
Integrating group conversation in-app direct messaging.

Project Summary

hOp is a multifamily community application that encourages people to meet in real life. I was tasked with extending the product to allow real-time conversations via group conversations and scaling our messaging feature.

Scaling Product Design

Part of this assignment was how to integrate group messaging into our existing direct messaging features. At this point, we've only allowed a singular direct (peer-to-peer) chat. How do we help members have conversations of similar interest? How do they customize their groups? How could we encourage them to leave the app and have these conversations in person?

This was a very collaborative effort, where I partnered with engineers and project managers (and sometimes leadership) at every turn. This helped ensure that what we were producing was technically feasible, but also gave us a pulse on LOEs and areas where we could enhance the user experience. Working across teams, a big part of my approach was flow diagrams and documentation.

Flow charts and whiteboard notes. Flow diagram, with enginnering.
Collaboration sessions working with engineers to think through workflows.

Design details

There is a user expectation on how these types of interfaces function, so there wasn't a huge fascination to get overly creative here. Meaning, I wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. So my approach was to create something familiar, yet visually pleasing to inspire conversation.

Easily chat with friends and neighbors on hOp!
Easily chat with friends and neighbors on hOp!

Group messaging introduces some new design components, along with some newer navigation patterns that we plan to roll out as the app matures. Patterns that improve the search directory experience, control over chat preferences like muting notifications, and including cover photos.

While some ideas are great, they’re not always shipped with the first iteration. But they’re ready!
While some ideas are great, they’re not always shipped with the first iteration. But they’re ready!

There is a lot going on within a direct conversation. So it was important that the look and feel of the product felt lightweight and inviting, but also, function as expected.

hOp group conversations in direct messaging.
hOp group conversations in direct messaging.

Integrating into Direct Messages

With direct message features already established, there was some refactoring required that's not always alluring. Thankfully, I was able to lean on the expertise of my team, both product and project managers, along with direct collaboration with engineering.

Detailed product overview.
Detailed product overview.

Connecting humans

Marketing, emails, and bots, oh-my! We enjoy bringing people together and our product helps connect neighbors, facilitate conversation, and enables real life interactions. All the design I've contributed to hOp was a commitment to bringing humans, closer together.

Chat in-app and meet in real life.
Start a message on hOp, then meet in real life.
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