A billion active users? Yes please. Now is an exciting time for Smooch. As many of you have asked, we are now in process of bringing our beloved conversational experience to the Android platform. Soon, more of you will be able to build meaningful relationships with your users.
As we’re venturing on this path, our key design principle remains the same: building a beautifully simple SDK that feels native to its platform. Our efforts are focused in making sure our messaging experience feels like an integral part of your app and closely follows the Material design guidelines.
In my initial research phase I looked at how other popular messaging apps fared on Android, and had to conclude that even Google's own Hangouts app garnered worse reviews than its iOS counterpart. Unlike more recent Material outings such as Google Inbox, Hangouts feels unpolished (after all, Hangouts was the first Google app to adopt Material design). This opinion seems to resonate amongst users as seen by the reviews on the Play Store.
I decided to start by designing the core conversation experience and I used InVision to quickly create an initial prototype of the messaging feature.
Invision let us rapidly test the usability and look and feel of our Android interface on a real device. It makes it easy to iterate on the proportions and size of elements. Because Smooch has to feel like a native SDK component, getting all of the little details right is the most important part of the design process. Our top concern is quality and we want to make sure that your users will be delighted when they reach out for help or feedback.
Styleguide & typography of a Smooch conversation
Improving the experience with animation
Creating authentic and elegant motion is a crucial part of Material Design. As such, we’re thinking carefully on where to use animations to enhance the experience and guide the user. For example, we’ve been exploring different ways to animate the entrance of new messages as well as other pieces of the user interface.
Prototyping animations for entrance of messages
I hope you enjoyed this quick look into how we’re crafting our messaging experience on Android with the same care and attention that we’ve given to other platforms. You can try our Android SDK in beta version, and stay on the lookout for the full release coming really soon.
Share your thoughts with me on Twitter, I’d love to hear your feedback as well!