OkCupid: Global Messaging

Overview

Global Messaging is a real-time communication platform for OkCupid. It allows users to read conversations, view their inbox, and compose new messages, all while staying out of the way of the content of other people’s profiles. I worked closely with a designer and backend engineer to build the system, and with the data science team to monitor its testing and release.

Messaging someone new

Our previous messaging system began with a first contact window which blocked the profile of the person to whom you were writing, and had a separate message thread page. We unified these systems into an interface which keeps out of your way by staying pinned to the bottom of the viewport, and maintains its state across pages.

Writing a first message

Quick inbox access

One pain point of the previous messaging system was that the mailbox was a full page load away from whatever you were doing, which made it difficult to quickly see if a new message was interesting. We added a dropdown to our site-wide navigation bar which shows the user’s incoming messages.

The global inbox

Having a conversation

Clicking on a message opens a chat interface which allows a user to compose and send messages, as well as receive new messages in real-time.

Real time chat

Advanced Features

In addition to these features, the Global Messaging system offers quick access to other recent threads an ongoing conversations.

The “more conversations” menu

Results

We released this feature as an A/B experiment against the previous messaging system, and saw a 6% increase in messages sent — an extra 2.8 million messages sent per month. Since its release, 1,030,401,419 messages have been sent through the system, and it sees about 1.3 million new messages written each day.

Thanks for reading.