One of the most common user challenges is that it’s too difficult to write personalized messages to everyone on an online dating site. This goes hand in hand with the other most common complaint, which is that it's common to receive a lot of low-quality first contact messages like "hey" and "sup?". Our hypothesis was that if we could create a fun and engaging way that makes it easier to send higher quality personalized messages in the POF app, more of the messages sent would get a response. This was to tie in with POF’s “All About Conversations” brand focus for 2017.
We built a new tool for the POF profile that allows users to quote a piece of information about a person when sending them a message. The in-context messaging interface allows the user to write and send a great personalized message without ever leaving the other person's profile.
The first iteration saw relatively low interaction with the feature (less than 5%), but very high repeat usage (80% who use it once used it again). This hinted at problems with discoverability, but overall indicated there was value for the user. The next step planned was to iterate on the onboarding, including animation hints, iteration on tooltips, and more feature promotion/marketing.
POF has extremely rich profiles that customers take 100 minutes or more, on average, to complete on sign up. This feature was a way of leveraging the profile to allow users to write better and more unique messages by directly referencing something they find interesting about the other person. I created designs for a custom selection tool that allows the user to select a piece of information to quote and use as a jumping off point for a conversation. This involved me working closely with engineers to prototype and develop a new custom component for the app, including getting the animations and haptic feedback just right through iteration and design reviews. As a flagship feature for the brand, it required constant check ins and reporting to key stakeholders, including a daily jour fixe with POF's GM during the final decision making phases where I presented progress updates. These meetings required collecting and incorporating the most important feedback while still keeping conversations focused on decision making and maintaining forward momentum. Because it was a completely new UI element, I spearheaded a round of user testing to identify usability issues, and was able to improve on a few key pain points by tweaking the controls and including tool tips before going live.