Sprint name: Daken
Sprint focus: Inbox redesign & Question bank
Not many people know this, but we initially built our system to mimic the software we built our first marketplace on in 2018: Sharetribe.
This meant that a lot of our designs were based on someone else's plans, rather than our own. It was a great way to get started, but those designs became quite stale over time. As we've grown Tutti over the past few years, we've phased out most of those designs, but one prominent set of pages remained until last week: the inbox & communication pages.
We actually received a number of complaints as we grew that our messages flowed the wrong way, with the message box and most recent at the top, rather than the standard that everyone sees today of text box and send button at the bottom on WhatsApp, iMessage, FB Messenger, and every other message system you can probably think of.
But beyond simply reversing the direction of messages, we saw this as an opportunity to integrate what we've wanted to for a while: a clear split of information on any message or booking. Our new layout has clearly been inspired by one of the most common messaging systems on the planet.
- On the left are all messages you have ever had with anyone on Tutti, along with a simple search box to find messages in seconds.
- In the middle is the conversation, along with a simple title explaining the context, and a text field with attachment and send buttons at the bottom.
- On the right is more relevant info:
- If this is a booking enquiry, it shows all enquiry info (dates, times, costs, status), and relevant buttons (edit date/time, cancel, give quote, pay, various other ones depending on the circumstances)
- If it's a simple direct message it shares more info about the person you're talking to.
- If you're talking to anyone you’ve spoken to in the past, you can also see a history of all previous interactions in this panel
- If you're talking to a host, you can also view a list of their available listings, so you don't have to search for any listings you may be talking about.
On mobile you have the same information, except they are split into 3 separate screens and not all visible at the same time:
- Clicking inbox will take you to your list of messages (whether direct messages or booking enquiries).
- Once in inbox, clicking a message will open the relevant message or booking enquiry thread
- When viewing any chat thread, there’s a little icon in the top right: a little i with a circle around it. Clicking this opens the ‘relevant info’ section described above.
The goal of this system is to make it significantly easier for you to keep track of messages, and very easily have all relevant information in one easy to browse place.
If there are any bits of information or buttons you think we could add to improve this section, please let us know.
The other half of this sprint was adding custom questions.
Another design that has lingered on from our Sharetribe days is the way we collect information for potential enquiries. Before now we simply asked every user 4 key questions:
- What will you use the space for?
- How many people will be using the space?
- Do you need the host to provide anything (chairs, lights, power, engineers, staff, etc)?
- Anything else you'd like to add or ask?
People had a plain text field they could fill out with as much or as little information regarding those 4 questions. Very often they wouldn’t even answer the questions, which meant that hosts would have to send their own versions of those questions because that information is often important in order to determine a quote.
The other common occurrence was hosts needing to know more information than just the 4 questions we asked, so after an enquiry was sent, they would then ask a number of questions to clarify the request.
Both these instances seem less than ideal. So we created a new system: “Question Bank”
Hosts can choose from our list of pre-written questions OR write their own. We suggest that hosts don’t set more than 3-5 initial questions, so as not to overwhelm users, but they can choose to ignore that advice if they want. And they can always adjust/rearrange these questions whenever they want.
Questions have the following options:
- Custom name
- Required or not
- Re-order (by dragging/dropping or clicking the arrows)
When a user sends an enquiry now, they are presented with either the default questions we set or the custom questions the host has set. When an enquiry is sent, the host receives an email with the list of questions and answers.
As always, alongside adding these 2 major features, we also fixed a number of bugs across the system. Here's a list of some things we fixed:
- Wrong booking availability shown in edit time
- Location already booked error
- Error when creating a new location
- Error when booking multiple days with the same time
- What3Words showing earlier than it should
- List a space cancellation modal - wrong text
- Listings defaulting to free
- Hosts unable to select times outside of their available options when editing time
- All locations marked as free on similar locations for a closed space
- More info section on listing causing an error
That's all for today. See you next time!