Gwapit is a productivity app that helps you access and process all your notifications from a single place thanks to powerful filtering.
In February 2018, I joined Gwapit for my final internship of my Visual Communication studies and got hired afterward. I was the first and -most of the time- the sole designer on the product which was both a great challenge and a huge opportunity. During a year and a half, I worked with the team to define our product based on continuous improvements in order to find our market-fit. Along the way, I had many responsibilities among the following:
Strategy & Process
Feedback & Planning
Feedback process definition
Design & Handover
Design library creation
Functional specifications & QA
Today’s companies usually use lots of different applications that generate tons of notifications. There are two typical reactions to it: shut them down or let them be. But in the end, both reactions lead to an increase in interruptions.
I partnered with the product manager and the marketing to understand how people work, their process and identify the issues that provided them to work efficiently. We started by conducting 15 semi-directed interviews with a voluntarily large audience to re-focus on the one we could help the most then we selected 5 types of jobs to conduct guerrilla tests.
Examples of questions
When we talked to people, we realized that everyone had different organization methods, different issues, different tools. At this point, we understood that it would be much harder to define a target that we imagined. However, this knowledge helped us to establish criteria to optimize the interest in Gwapit.
From our interviews, we noticed that people use an average of 7 apps and receive between 100 and 300 information per day. Tasks and information of various levels of importance are mixed up and very hard to manage efficiently.
Even if they usually don’t notice it, the Fear of Missing Out is a crucial part of dealing with information. They need to know that they have what is important in front of them and that they get easily get to the rest.
Most of people didn’t even realized how much interruption influenced their job. They tends to consider that stoping what they are doing to reply to the email that just come in is normal. Actually 82% of people said they deal with the notification as soon as they receive it.
During user research, we realized that the need to centralize information was very important. We decided to create a workplace to gather and manage notifications from work applications.
The challenge was to create a unified inbox to gather incoming notifications from multiple types of applications.
A powerful notification filtering
Our goal was to create an easy way for the users to have topics that fit their usage without spending forever to set it up.
First, we attempt to classify notifications. We organized a card-sorting test to understand how people grouped information. We realized that, usually, there was no obvious classification. It depends on your profession, your organization and even on your current priorities. However, even if it couldn’t be automated, it was still possible to create default topics that were obvious such as Calendar or One-to-One conversations.
Manual filtering can be very difficult to apprehend. Most of the users just left right away. But we knew it was important, so I had to create a way to make it easier. The idea was to generate filters based on a particular notification. A bit like Spotify when they build a playlist based on one song. Thereby, the user was able to have personalized topics easily.
An automatic to-do list
When people work with multiple applications, the information can be duplicated and hard to find. Everyone knows it. But everyone wants the job they ask for is done, so they follow up. ‘Hey, when do you think you can give me that?’. Notifications are doubled and you never know what is done or not. The idea was to have only one place to keep up with the work to do. First, all notifications go into Inbox. One click, and it’s moved to the Done section. And even more, if it’s done on the native application, it is automatically considered as ‘Done’ on Gwapit.
A good preview to make decision
Because of the high number of notifications, it was important to display enough information to give all the cards to the users. In a blink, they could choose to have more details, to reply, to mark it as done and so. From iteration to iteration, we added the native app icons, the time of reception, improved the display of sender, title and content.
Being the first and only designer in a young start-up was both exciting and daunting. I often felt like I didn’t have enough experience to make decisions. But I did anyway. And trying things, making mistakes and trying to fix them helped me grow as a designer. Because we were a small team, I had to step out of my comfort zone to do things I was not comfortable with. I remember being super intimidated to meet users and take their time. But those experiences made me discover how much I like it. Meeting users and listen to them. Figure out how they use my designs and what could help them. I would never go back.
During my time at Gwapit, I also start to read more and more about accessibility. I started to implement some of the rules that are often forgotten. I realized that, with a few simple things, it can change a lot for everyone.