A personal product design project to redesign the desktop application for KakaoTalk, a mobile instant messaging application for smartphones and computers primarily servicing the South Korean population. Tools included Sketch and Photoshop.
Currently, KakaoTalk is one of the most popular messaging service in the Asia region, primarily serving it’s users on both iOS and Android smartphone devices. However, with more focus dedicated on the smartphone app, the desktop app feels more like a port of the smartphone service both visually and in usability rather than a native app. Being a service my community and I use daily, I decided to redesign the desktop application to address user needs and pain points. I also wanted just a bit more practice on visual design.
Competitive Market Research: From exploring the desktop messaging space, I found that the two major players were Slack and Facebook Messenger. Slack served more on the productivity side of messaging, while Facebook Messenger was a more casual messaging service. Both services had a smartphone application, but their desktop applications were unique and delivered on taking full advantage of the desktop space.
User Research: Through conducting user interviews, I found that while most users enjoyed their smartphone messaging experience, many found that desktop experiences were a bit clunkier and not as intuitive. In regards to KakaoTalk, I found that the majority of users used the service for both casual and productivity messaging, and expressed a desire for a more work-friendly desktop version.
Users want a centralized and simple way to organize their messages
There is a bigger demand for messaging interfaces that are friendly for group messaging
Most users use two or more messaging services on mobile and desktop for all their needs
With the current desktop version of KakaoTalk almost looking exactly like the smartphone version, KakaoTalk wasn’t taking full advantage of the differences of designing on the desktop. The current desktop version of the product operated by opening new windows for each chat group, which while positively received by user, did not help in organizing and centralizing messaging efforts.
The current desktop app for KakaoTalk (on the left is for Mac, and on the right is for PC)
From here, I began the ideating process, taking inspiration from existing messenger platforms and playing around with new design patterns. I sketched out several ideas in different variations to establish how different elements worked with each other and to maintain a consistent visual design.
Sketching more is definitely one of my New Years' resolutions
From these sketches, I went on design out several features that would help centralize key features and bring in familiar elements to help users simplify their desktop messaging experience.
Message Preview Module - Left Side Bar
More Information Profile
Finally, with these different features designed out, I proceeded to combine them together to design a complete messaging platform. I maintained the yellow branding, but got rid of the dark brown as it felt distracting. I opted in using a more layered system to indicate hierarchy to users, always putting the messaging module on top.