E-commerce messaging experience
Research & Investigate
After a busy week, I realized that it was my mom's birthday that week as well. Since I live far away, I would have to ship a present to her. With limited time, I quickly tried to find a reliable company that could ship a present to her in two days. This is where I found Operator.
What I found interesting about Operator was that it allowed users to request services from a wide range of services through a chat system. Essentially this eliminates the need for users to constantly search for products on sites or in person. Also, it starts a conversation through texting - majority of users that own smartphones are used to texting on their phones. According to Adweek, 49% of of mobile phone users in the U.S. will use mobile messaging apps by the end of 2016. The screens above show the flow users take to talk, select, and purchase an item. After researching additional inspiration, one thing seemed to be clear, requesting on-demand services will be integrated into applications we use everyday more frequently.
Some of the pitfalls I found were
- Adapting to a new interface
- Lack of personal communication between AI system and human and wait time
- Offering different options that meet the request of the user
- Providing payment information initially before beginning experience
- Integration with other systems
Create an on-demand experience that allows users to not adapt to a new interface
One of the most vital parts of the experience is communication. The experience will focus on users not having to wait quite a long time to receive the great service. Also, making sure the communication between the AI+human and the user is similar to a conversation you would have with someone you know, it doesn't sound like you're talking to a robot the entire time. Avoid having users constantly search for hours or days through websites and in-stores to find perfect products for themselves or others. As well, not having users adapt to another interface. Instead creating an experience for users that fit within their habits.
Creating the experience
Below are initial ideas of how the experience would work. I focused on how AI + human interactions could create a normal conversation to the user while delivering on the request.
My goal was to create an experience that didn't require users to learn the ways of another interface on their phone. So I decided to focus on using an interface the smartphone users use on a daily basis - messenger. By starting on their messenger it eliminates the need for users to stop one task for another, there's something on the back-end of the experience doing the work for the user.
The image above explains the process users take to use SOS. The conversation will start by a text or voice message by tapping on the new keyboard, similar to the way Bitmoji works. The main parts of the conversation are - Request, Select, and Confirm.
Within the conversation, certain parts of the conversation switch from AI to human. Specifically, when start the initial request and feedback of the experience is controlled by a bot. Human interactions are focused within finding and select the product for the user. The goal is to create an experience that is natural as possible, especially since texting is the only communication we have with the user.
Below is the ideal flow users will take when accessing SOS.
My sketches focus on the entire experience - downloading app, tutorial, requesting product, selecting product, and confirming product. For this experience, the main area that raised concern was the limited screen size I could work with within smartphone messaging systems since I'm require the user to add SOS as a another keyboard.
Intial ideas of how flow from changing keyboard to completing the survey to chatting will look like. Movement at this point isn't completed, I really wanted to focus on the flow of the conversation.
From intial prototyping to the final designs, I realized the difficulty of switching keyboard. By adding an additional click to select the keyboard causes an unnecessary delay. So inspired by the Gboard from google, I decided to change the location of the keyboard to where the predictive word suggestion lies so allow users to quickly start their experience. I also have updated the logo look. It replicates the waiting for a text message to be seen