Hayven was designed to be an all-in-one productivity tool, including everything from chat to file management. Based on the idea that all actions stem from conversation, it was a friendly chat focused app that would transform your messages into actionable tasks.
The productivity space is expansive, oversaturated with dozens of apps, all serving different needs, integrating with each other. But for anyone that’s ever had to use multiple apps to manage their time, projects, or files, you know that switching back and forth between everything doesn’t actually help you get anything done.
Not only is using several apps unproductive, none of them solve the universal problem of having to manually input your information.
Here are some of our competitors, to name a few:
Let me walk you through a typical work day.
You get into the office and open up your computer. As usual, your first order of business is to check your emails and Slack for any late night or early morning messages. Like you suspected, your manager has asked you to make a few small changes to whatever it is that you were working on the day before. You open up your project management tool of choice and input your new tasks.
Now imagine having to do that about a dozen times a day? Awful, isn't it?
Imagine not having to type out your tasks anymore. Interesting idea, but how will you track what you need to get done?
Enter Hayven. A chat centric app that can turn your conversations into actions.
You’re chatting with your co-worker and they ask you to generate a report. With the click of a button you can easily turn that message into a task. Now your manager asks you to set up a meeting. Not to worry, with the click of another button you’ve added it to your calendar.
Even with a clear idea of what set Hayven apart from other apps I was worried that there might be some adoption issues with such a saturated market. New apps were being launched weekly and existing apps were always adding new features. Not only did we want people to start using Hayven, we also wanted them to migrate away from their previous productivity tools.
I started with research and detailed competitive analysis to get the ball rolling. I documented all the features, pros, cons, and areas of improvement for all our major competitors; learning how every tool seemed to fill its own niche within the market. A product canvas seemed like the appropriate tool to summarize all this information; what better time than the present to try it out?
It was time to shift focus from our competitors to our users. I wanted to understand why people chose to use or not use productivity apps. What experiences did they enjoy? What did they dislike? What were they even looking for in a productivity tool? I decided to conduct user interviews and gathered several people from a couple different industries, ranging from juniors to senior management to small business owners.
The interviews lead to two user personas: a mid to senior level employee, and a VP level manager.
Perhaps it’s because I love the idea of project management tools, but I was surprised by what I learnt. Many working level people didn’t care much for productivity tools, opting good ol’ pen and paper or the default notes app on their phone instead. I pondered on that thought for a while before finally realizing that I didn’t actually enjoy tracking my projects because it always felt like additional work.
Those at a management level generally liked productivity tools. They felt it enforced accountability and organization and enjoyed that they could view what was being worked on at a high level. It was for these reasons that we decided that Calvin, our VP level manager, would be our prime persona.
With the personas created it was time to dive deeper into the user journey.
I mapped out a task flow representing Hayven’s ideal workflow vs. Calvin’s current workflow. I then mapped out a task flow based on how Calvin’s workflow adopted to some other project management apps. The main difference was that users would begin with chat and only venture to the project page to view their tasks.
I began sketching out rough ideas of what chat-to-action could look like, but immediately found it too limited. While great for rapid iterating and simple layouts, sketching was a less than ideal solution to display lots of necessary information.
I soon transitioned to Sketch where I began wireframing at a medium-fidelity. Using symbols, I was able to include lots of information and repeatable patterns. I must’ve designed a dozen different solutions, some safe, others crazy. We wanted our users to feel comfortable, but we also wanted to push the boundaries of what made a good chatting experience.
We decided to focus our efforts on the desktop experience and try something along the lines of crazy. Other than Slack, many chat apps were meant to be used on mobile, giving us an almost blank canvas to reimagine how people chat on desktop. Keeping that chat was mainly a mobile experience in mind, we decided that in order to best compete with apps like Messenger or WhatsApp, it was best to keep our experience conservative.
Next, we divided the work up. I would be responsible for the Connect portion of the app and my co-worker would be in charge of the Management portion.
Inspired by blogs and news feeds, we settled on a masonry style chat dashboard as the apps home page. This gave users the ability to glance at all their messages before focusing into a conversation. We also wanted to provide users with a second, “classic”, list view if the masonry tiles made them feel too uncomfortable.
The conversation page is where all the hard decisions were made. This was the heart and soul of the app, the place where users would be able to turn their conversations into actions. Not only could they create tasks and events through chat, users needed to be able to search through the conversation for different content easily.
Not only was Hayven a robust chatting app, it was a powerful directory. By selecting a contact users would not only be able to see their contact information, but their entire history together. We wanted to make information as accessible and transparent as possible.
As the desktop design came together we switched gears and focused on mobile. While the design was much more conservative we strived to make each interaction fluid and native to the device OS. We aimed for the easiness of WhatsApp with the power of Slack and Asana.