Responses

Front


  • UI Design
  • Prototyping
  • 2020

Context

Front is a communication platform for teams helping customer-facing teams better interact with their customers across a variety of external communication tools

Overview

Responses are a powerful way of replying to messages in Front. It allows users to send saved responses, saving them time, and increasing the quality of their replies.

Usage of responses was low and users found it difficult to find and manage their personal and shared responses.


Over a couple of weeks, I worked on the wireframing of various explorations, conducted internal feedback sessions where I presented low-fidelity prototypes, and iterated on high-fidelity designs.

Before

Explorations

Based on the problem definition, we decided to focus on a few key areas:

  • Better organization
  • Make it easier for users to find the response they are looking for
  • Make it easier for users to make edits to responses
  • Improve the composing experience and provide more formatting options


As a secondary goal, we also decided to explore a few ideas on enhancing the productivity of users with new ways of surfacing responses.

Key goals are represented by color overlays are used in the following explorations

Modal

To remove constraints related to the existing solution, we started from a blank page and decided to start iterating on a larger UI component to improve the functionalities of the response picker.

The Relying on a larger UI component to improve the functionalities of the response picker.

The side navigation allows us to create multiple sections, making it easier for users to find the response they are looking for. The first section is a short list of the most frequently used responses, followed by the personal responses created by the user and the list of all the other responses available (categorized by team).


This exploration also incorporates some ideas from the Snippet exploration (more details below)

Modal exploration with goals overlays
Customization of the list of visible responses

The larger message viewer/editor helps the user to get a full preview of the response, and can also surface entry points for variable insertion in responses. It also provides all the formatting options available in the regular message composer.

Variable insertion CTA

Message Preview

While the current implementation is limited in terms of features, we decided keep the current dropdown UI as a foundation and redesign it. The goal is to reduce the amount of new UI the user will need to relearn when we launch this project.

Message preview with the existing response dropdown

Snippets

During interviews, I noticed how repeating tasks could be avoided by providing more advanced solutions to power users. Here the user is able to register frequently used responses and insert them directly into the message composer. As the user is typing their command, Front will try to match it to a corresponding response and display a preview of the message.

Snippets with goals overlays
Snippets in quick reply composer

Responses suggestions

Snippets seemed like a good way to speed up the process of inserting a response and I wanted to go one step further in that direction. I explored a proactive solution that would provide recommendations to the user, based on the context of the conversation.
Instead of having to manually pick a response, Front will showcase a list of matching responses based on various criteria (emotions, topics, previous conversations...)

Ranked responses suggestions

Prototypes & Feedback sessions

I had the opportunity to create a few interactive experiences based on the low fidelity explorations. Because of time constraints, I didn't have the chance to interview external users but I set up a few interviews with teammates from the sales, customer success, and support teams at Front.


Based on the feedback I collected, I was able to isolate recurring comments:

  • Modal felt too heavy, users preferred the lighter experience of the existing dropdown combined with the message preview
  • Users liked the "Frequently used" section in the modal experience, as most of them use a limited set of responses frequently (especially for the support use case)
  • Being able to organize responses with categories seemed very intuitive and convenient (most users use their personal responses and responses from their team only)

User flows for the different explorations

For the last round of iterations, we explored a concept that combined the lightness of the message preview concept and the flexibility offered by the modal. This concept is optimized for the recurring usage of a limited set of responses and provides an improved browsing experience.

Iteration for the dropdown concept
User flow for the hybrid dropdown & modal concept

Final Design

Based on the last feedback session, we decided to focus on the updated dropdown and message preview direction. We prioritized the lightness of the experience and made improvements to the existing solution instead of going with a brand new system (this allowed us to limit the scope of the project).

Final revision
Dropdown improvements
New message preview UI
Message preview states
Message preview edit action

Outcome

Feedback from users was very positive, and they specifically mentioned improvements around:

  • Reduced time to find responses
  • Reduced usage of the search function, due to the addition of the "Recent responses" section
  • Increased confidence when selecting a responses thanks to the new preview UI