My Role

I led the user experience and visual design of the chat, contacts, and call features.


Product research, UX research, interface design, responsive web design, mobile app design


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 Problem

The productivity space is expansive, and oversaturated with dozens of apps, all serving different needs, and 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 inputting your information manually.
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. As 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?

The Goal

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.

The Process

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, but 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 of 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 for good ol’ pen and paper or the default notes app on their phone instead. I pondered 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 adapted 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.

The Solution

Inspired by blogs and news feeds, we settled on a masonry-style chat dashboard as the app's home page. This gave users the ability to glance at all their messages before focusing on 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, but users also needed to be able to search through the conversation for different content easily.
Not only was Hayven a robust chatting app, but it was also 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 the 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.

Thanks for Reading!