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Spoke Users and Experiences

Spoke Texter-UI Redesign

Note: this is a draft

The volunteers I observed and heard from during this design effort typically send a massive number per day. An individual volunteer might text 5-10k contacts in a session and engage in a back and forth with about 10-20% of those contacts. To do this efficiently, texters need an interface for sending and responding that is optimized for volume, ergonomics, and quality of responses.
Background
The volunteers I observed and heard from during this design effort typically send a massive number per day. An individual volunteer might text 5-10k contacts in a session and engage in a back and forth with about 10-20% of those contacts. To do this efficiently, texters need an interface for sending and responding that is optimized for volume, ergonomics, and quality of responses.
The Experience of Texters
People
Many of the dedicated volunteers who provided feedback during this design effort have used multiple texting platforms. Some volunteers are super-volunteers who text regularly and have developed a set of habits and tricks that make up their unique workflow. Other volunteers are new and just getting involved for the first time. The volunteer texter community as a whole has varying degrees of technical expertise.
Devices
Some volunteers primarily text from their mobile device, some text from a desktop computer exclusively, and many toggle between devices. ..and (before the deploy of this redesign) some who would prefer to use their mobile device but find themselves thwarted by frustrating bugs or hard to use interface elements in the pre-May-2020 version of Spoke.
Spoke
Volunteer texters generally like Spoke and the volunteers and appreciate its ongoing improvement. Many of the active texters have a list of things they wish Spoke would do better. For this design effort the team at MoveOn opened a channel in their TextTeam's Slack for volunteers to provide feedback and share ideas. Some of themes that emerged from conversations there included: ways to optimize for less clicking, ways to make repetitive tasks faster, improved ease of editing messages, improvements to legibility, larger click targets (especially when sending out initial texts), and many other requests that were organized in a list of ideas, suggestions, and complaints (in a shared google doc amongst contributors and stakeholders).
Design Constraints
Web Application ー there is no plan or time atm to make native apps
Texter UI ー we focused only on the UI seen by texters (not the admin ui)

Incremental rollout, interaction first, visual design later ー we decided to not get obsessed with fancy transitions or visual design perfection, and instead get the rough cut to work smoothly for texters performing a list of routine tasks or handling the occasional edge case.
Note: That said, we did clean up the visual design and make the interface neutral colors so that it can easily go with customizations in the initial redesign.
Pain Points
Layout bugs & Text Editing Frustrations
The old responding UI would overlay the response text field with some buttons making it difficultーpractically impossibleーto customize a response.
Excessive Tapping and Scrolling
The old UI required drilling down to get to common responses
Disparate Menus for Responses
A separation of response types (”survey responses” and “other responses”) that was confusing, consumed excess screen real estate, and added cognitive load or wasted time when looking for a response
Clutter
Buttons arranged in a way that the UI felt crowded and made users reach for their next action + Lack of screen space for the conversation
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