Designing an omnichannel messaging platform

to deepen customer and business relationships

Context

Instaply provides a turn-key solution that enhances communication for both businesses and customers, with a platform designed around the before-, during-, and after-purchase experiences.

Customers can use modern, push-enabled, rich-media channels to message businesses like SMS and in-app chat – helping un-tie them from their phone when waiting for a reply.

Businesses can reply seamlessly & easily, using Instaply’s consolidated cross-platform “triage” interface. From a simple dashboard, they can manage customer inquiries and building a stronger relationship with their customers.

As the sole Lead UX Designer, I drove our market and usability research, design execution, and mentorship
 for the startup’s team of product managers, engineers, and leaders in mobile and design best-practices.

Role

Product UX Designer

Team Size

20 Member Team,
Solo UX Designer

Timeline

6 Months

Impact & Results
  • 140% Faster support triage task-completion
    + 2x More messaging screen real-estate

    after my usability and ergonomics audit reduced UI clutter
 and I introduced modern affordances to the triage system
  • 20x Customer engagement increase 
of daily message volume during my time on the project
  • 3x New channel integrations added
 including SMS, voice-to-text, and in-app chat SDK, which I flow-mapped and wireframed
  • 5x Adoption increase of active stores
 using our platform during my time on the project
  • In-Context feedback capture system
 which I hand-coded, to both dog-food our system and track impact on our new feature rollouts

Highlights of my work are below – get the full story with research, design process, solutions and more in the case study.

Research & Discovery

Quantitative & Qualitative Research

When I joined the team, one of my first projects was to audit our quantitative metrics reporting systems, and then iterate on how we could better evaluate performance and impact.

From there, I performed 1-on-1 moderated testing and over-the-shoulder observational studies, recording points of delight and stress for our core tasks and workflows. I conducted these studies on-site at headquarters and support centers across France, Belgium, and Spain.

Notes, audio clips, photos and videos show how they used our platform, as well as how they adapted it with workarounds to fit their needs better.

Persona Generation & Journey Maps

I exploded an array of possible users our product reached, then worked with the team to select prime target personas for upcoming projects. These personas were defined with vision statements and key needs, goals, and tasks that were surfaced in our consumer and support agent observational research.

Being the sole UX designer on the team, I led knowledge-sharing meetings and created call-outs to all of my design artifacts which illustrated how and why each design component would fit in our overall product development process, like our Support Advisor persona.

Principles

I defined product principles which focused our research 
and ideation process on real consumer and business needs.

IA & Flow Development

Using the usability audit’s findings on flow and feature priority, I built an information architecture map that promotes high-value functions and components essential to flow completion.

My objective was to reduce redundancy and boost navigability in flows and feature legibility across the app’s primary screen on native mobile and the desktop web app.

Final Solutions

Mobile App Redesign

What if our app was simpler, faster, and easier to learn to use, but with even more functionality?

My first initiative was focused on creating a new IA & UI foundation for the mobile platform, 
informed by our research findings, app store reviews, and our upcoming feature rollouts.

IA & Reachability Auditing

Initial auditing included ergonomics testing for our consumer and retailer mobile apps. 
The consumer app’s restructured UI places the most important elements in the most reachable areas of the screen, with a new IA model that optimizes navigation and screen usage together.

Rapid Interactive Prototyping

Interactive prototypes were built in mid- and high-fidelity prototypes for task, interaction and affordance testing. As I iterated, I discovered new ways to surface information, such as introducing a lower-elevation store/metrics drawer shown underneath the customer list.

Final Solution

The new interface features a modern navigational structure, a cleaner UI, and tighter focus on the triage task.

Support Webapp Redesign

What if our platform could help support agents coordinate effort, resolve issues faster, and connect more deeply with their customers?

I led the webapp redesign for our Support Agent segment, collaborating with the development team to uncover user painpoints, and facilitating group ideation sessions to solve for them.

Once product requirements were captured and prioritized, we wireframed potential solutions across a spectrum of fidelities. I then user tested, iterated, scaled features based on engineering capacity, and finalized work by componentizing the redesign for a per-feature gradual rollout.

These solutions are live on the platform today, and have helped Instaply rapidly increase message volume to +10M daily.

Iteration & Wireframing

This early wireframe shows a timeline model for the customer thread, with a private message interface for support agents.

Final Prototype Design

It was critical to retain the overall content structure and simplicity of the original design, as we already had a multitude of enterprise brands using it worldwide.We released our changes into production gradually, evaluating each component in the live product for usage and usability impact.

In the live update below, we have successfully launched the new Invisible Thread area, deeper customer search and sorting, at-a-glance metrics displayed in context, and a more consistent IA navigation model.

Follow Through:
Defining Key Metrics & Evaluation Tools

What if we could measure our impact of new features, and gather input from customers in-context?

When I joined the team, I worked with the team to gather and discuss current usage metrics for the product. This revealed the group’s existing approach: sifting server log data to monitor usage.

After discovering this, I set out to create enthusiasm around new product evaluation approaches: quantitative to qualitative, at different altitudes of evaluation. We developed a spectrum metrics to generate deeper insights; and as a passion project, I coded a qualitative survey widget to capture feedback in-context.

Metrics Strategy Development

I worked with the team to develop a list of metrics, from essential to “challenge” levels, which we would use to evaluate current product, new releases, and overall business performance.

At-Rollout Feedback Gathering

This is a qualitative survey widget that I designed and coded. It enabled us to capture feedback in-context for any new feature. It led to a new practice during our engineering standups: review our survey feedback and create a quick-win solution that could fit into the engineering team’s sprint.

Get the full story – research, design process, solutions and more in the case study.