Streamlining the process of exchanging messages on world’s largest knowledge sharing platform
What is Quora?
Quora is a platform that allows people around the world to share knowledge. Its pattern is similar to Yahoo Answers, you can ask questions — other people answer them. There’s a feed to browse through the popular questions.
The Weekend Project
I have been using Quora since 2013 and it is my second home on the Internet after Twitter (Sorry, Zuck). During the summers every year, my Quora inbox explodes due to doubts from students confused about choosing their college.
This year, However, I found some UX problems while browsing Quora Messages. I was free over the weekend, so decided to fix these issues because, why not?
Traditional 2-column layout. Works like charm. However, there’s still scope for improvement.
This is not a full-fledged redesign, I just fixed small UX issues I often face and cleaned up the visual design. So in case, you clicked the article in hope of finding some gradients and long drop shadows, I am sorry mate.
Similar Enough, with some improvements. Let’s get into the specifics –
Search Through Messages
Problem — While helping out students, often I need to refer to a message I sent last year or even earlier (College advice doesn’t change much over the time). For that, I need to scroll all the way through tons of other messages to find that particular message. Frustrating to the core.
Solution — Add a simple search bar.
Problem — Check the above image. Can anyone figure out, how many messages my brother has sent me? The answer is a big astounding No. Often, I need to know the message count which in turns can give an idea of the length of the message or if the message is urgent (People tend to spam a lot if there’s a deadline or something coming up)
Solution — We can show the number of messages in a simple label alongside the text, similar to Facebook.
Use of Relative Time
Problem — Quora uses relative time (eg. 1h ago) to show the time of a recent message. I often have to back-calculate by looking at the current time to know when I sent this message. This ultimately increases cognitive load.
Solution — Use Absolute Time like 5:35PM instead. This format doesn’t force the users to think. Everything is upfront.
Location of Save Draft Button
Problem — The Save Draft button is placed terribly near to the Send button, which can be catastrophic sometimes. You might click the send button by mistake when you actually wanted to click Save. Bang — and there you send a half-written message.
Solution — Autosave the draft and Use a Delete draft button (placed at the extreme left). In this way, you can always see the state of the system beside the Send button and if you want to clear it all, use the destructive button on the left.