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Facebook Messenger Evaluation and Redesign


Over the course of an entire semester, my team and I engaged in the process of redesigning the Facebook Messenger application, based on problem areas that were identified.


Time-frame: September – December 2016

Course: Human-Computer Interaction; Grade: A

Role: Interface evaluator, interviewer, homepage re-designer, competitive analyzer, helped with personas

Methods: Interface analysis based on usability principles, persona creation, competitive analysis, interview, wire framing, prototyping


Phase 1

Interface evaluation and user testing

Step 1

Determine research questions and focus:

We conducted an interface evaluation based on usability-principle violations to initially determine issues users might have.

Step 2

Using the initial interface evaluation as a guide, we conducted an interview and task walk through with 4 participants that used the application to see if they indeed found issue with the identified problem areas.

Step 3

Created personas that helped define 2 potential use cases: Frequent users and Ocassional users.

Frequent User

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Step 4

Competitive Analysis

Phase 2


Step 1

Plan redesign of the home screen based on identified issues

Sketch ideas

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Step 2

Develop a final redesign based on identified issues.


Identified Issues

  1. A favorites system which was based on an arbitrary algorithm, which participants did not understand, as many of the contacts listed in their favorites list were not people they frequently or ever talked to through Messenger

  2. Tapping on a user only allowed them to chat, which some users felt was limiting

  3. Too many sections, which some users felt cluttered the homescreen, considering they did not utilize particular sections, such as “Birthdays” at all.



  1. Provided users with agency in deciding who is in their favorites list, by allow them to select their favorites by pressing a star. Similarly, they could remove favorites by clicking the star again.

  2. Plus signs have been added for each contact so the user can easily tap it and then decide to chat, call, or video call, thereby giving them greater flexibility in achieving their desired goals. This replaced the global blue "+" button which offered similar functionality, but required the additional step of having to subsequently choose who the user wanted to interact with. 

  3. Remove the “birthday” “ unseen” and “More conversations” section. Doing so reduced clutter, which impeded users from attending to the primary and relevant functionality


A fully interactive prototype that incorporated a design that users felt gave greater control over functionality and more intuitive.

Step 3

Validate designs through a final round of user testing.