Messaging features seem a no-brainer decision when building a community.
As a product designer at SOSAFE, I created a messaging solution to motivate our community members to chat privately.
Since messaging represented a considerable effort to our engineering partners, we conducted interviews to validate our hypotheses about messaging.
SOSAFE is a safety network where users share incidents from lost pets and accidents to crime incidents on the streets. The app receives high activity when events are active or recent.
However, once the incident has been closed, some users expect to maintain private communication.
We conducted interviews with several users and early adopters. Interviews were conducted remotely through video calls.
Questions/Unknown: How do users keep communicating with their neighbors? How can we add value through messaging?
Findings: Users share their phone numbers in the comments section of the incident to create an external group chat—like WhatsApp and Telegram.
The messaging experience begins in the list view. Users can see if they have already joined a group. Then, they can open a single chat. Also, they can create a new group chat, make it private, and share the group URL with other users.
We currently have groups with more than thirty members. Recognizing each member is crucial for building trust inside the community. The single chat view displays the bubble messages in chronological order with the name and profile picture of the member.
I created a section in the design file to provide the new messaging components.
Design handoff considerations: Empty states, edge cases in the message delivery and chat settings, loading states, modals, and warnings.
The new feature includes pairing with dark mode. The goal was to provide a seamless, well-crafted interface.
As mentioned before, messaging seems a no-brainer strategy in the social space. Nevertheless, we didn't want to build the same group chat features as we know them today; we wanted to create a wonderful experience for our community.