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I am working on a project that involves sending messages. Messages come in two flavours - a simple quick message and a full message (or campaign) which includes some additional information.

I am struggling with the following...

On one hand I don't want to have two very similar pieces of functionality split out (quick message and message) with users being confused as to what functionality goes with what - (i.e. 'why isn't there just one message function?')

On the other hand, if I combine these two functions I could lump all the 'advanced' features under an advanced tab. This to me is lazy, especially as the options come at different stages of the message sending process (eg. specifying a caller ID rather than a number [first stage when entering recipient] as opposed to tracking delivery [at the end before sending]) and peppering through the process with show/hide functionality leaves the whole thing looking even more clumsy.

Has anyone had experience of splitting out functionality which could go together?

  • By messaging you mean the in-app messaging/notifications or email messages? – Zoe K Dec 28 '14 at 8:47
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I would not split this functionality as their cores are the same.

Are you working in an Agile team? That would help inform your evolution of this experience.

My advice is to keep it simple to start, and place a button for more advanced as that would help you determine some metrics for how many people use this 'advanced full message' feature. You could then use this to optimize this section for your users as you get more data later on.

Example of progressive reveal with CC, BCC, attachment, event invite fields: enter image description here

It's always better to make an informed decision in this case.

I also recommend putting together a simple Invision prototype and do an A/B test to not only guage what works better but also to hear their feedback on each one. That would inform your choice better than any recommendations here as it would come directly from your users.

(Not to say that any of us here aren't qualified to make a reco, just that you should be tailoring your software to your user feedback)

Question your assumptions:

  1. Are you sure your users would get confused? How do you know?

  2. Do they need a separate experience for each context? How would your users see it?

  3. If you do split it out, are you using the right terminology for them? (simple message vs. full message)

  4. Is combining the functions the 'lazy' way or is that going to bring more clarity to what you are trying to do?

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When you are talking about 'functionality', this is not something that the user would really see the difference between easily. For them it is just some message that is shorter versus some message that is longer. Also, it is not so much the functionality that you need to worry about, but rather the nature of the message (error, warning, info, etc) and the type of content in the message (instructions, actions, selections, etc).

If you use those ideas to structure and group the messaging service that you are trying to provide, it will help to provide a consistent user experience.

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Just a suggestion here, In case you want to know what the users want, you could compile a survey for the same giving the two options and asking users what would they like more or choose given a choice?

Another suggestion, always go with the simple functionality first. So the quick message should be done and pushed to your users. Once this is done you can look into how you can integrate the advanced message functionality into your system.

Another way to check which is used most is to enable usage tracking to determine which is used more frequently by your user base.

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You could show both simple message and full message in one table view along with a filter button. On tap of filter button user could tick simple or full message then the tableview will be reloaded with only the selected message type.

So this way you could provide user to see both message at once and separately as per users usage.

Hope I got your query right and my answer helped :)

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It depends on how different those are and what is the business strategy for both features.

To me, messaging and campaigns are two very different things.

Messaging is a must-have feature for social service/social media, something with a conventional functionality that should meet users' expectations, whereas a campaign might very well be a killer feature and a "delighter" (see Kano Model https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kano_model), something that people would pay for in a freemium paid plan, and it can be designed according to actual users' needs, not according to the existing industry standards.

As such, these two features should be positioned in UI differently, advertised differently, designed differently etc. So yes, I would split them. If there is a business incentive for that just yet.

This all being said, if "campaigns" are only couple additional strings of text or an attached image, then keep it as an advanced mode.

How to tell how different those are:

  1. Do messaging and campaign cater to the same user need? E.g., reaching out to another user. If yes, don't split.
  2. How many different subfeatures do they have? If less than 5, don't split.
  3. Do extra features of campaigns push them into a different class of features? If no, don't split.
  4. Do both features work for the same user scenario? If yes, don't split.
  5. Finally, are features mutually exclusive, i.e., if one of them doesn't work, will another be a substitute for the user to complete a certain task? If yes, don't split.

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