Meetup: Notifications Admin Tool
At Meetup, Community Support is key to the successful offline experiences. This is why there is a team of 30 full-time Community Specialists answering every question and email that our members and organizers send. They are tasked with answering simple questions about our platform, coaching organizers, and troubleshooting technical issues.
One of the technical cases with the highest volume is about notifications and email settings. People constantly write in saying they didn’t receive a notification on time, or that they missed certain announcements. In order for a Community Specialist to give a thorough answer of why that happened—and how to prevent it from happening again—they need to dig into the user’s preferences and notifications database.
To solve a Notifications case it involves opening eight different tabs in a browser, several emails back and fourth with the user, and a lot of digging. All in all, one Notifications case would take about 30 minutes, that is double the time than any other Support case.
Documentation by Deirdre Johnson and diagrams by me
With this problem clearly identified, the internal Tools team was tasked to simplify this tedious workflow and reduce the case handle time significantly. This is when I started working on this project.
The Tools Team Product Manager and I had a few sessions to unpack everything we knew, we proceeded to write clear the user and business goals.
We quickly found out that there was a lot of useful information, however, it was spread out across different databases or admin tools. The challenge was to find which were the most useful bits and create the right information architecture for it.
I started sketching what these attributes meant and which ones were important to see first as you started solving a case.
Do you need to see their name first or is the email address more valuable?
Is the group name more important than the event notification they are inquiring about?
Is the ID more relevant than the type?
When should we show the device type?
Is the delivery method and score valuable at a glance?
Once I started working on the wireframes and getting quick feedback from design peers and the Community Support team, I iterated to surface the most relevant information and simplify the navigation. The product manager and I started talking to engineers about a potential MVP.
Which data could we harness that was already accessible?
Can we start building the backend for it as we finalized the designs?
Are there any edge cases we are not accounting for?
After the wireframes were finalized, I had time to do UI work. At the time, we had a brand new cross-platform Design System that I was eager to try in the new Admin tool we were building. I spec-ed all the visual details.
I collaborated with the Front-End engineer to make these a reality, unfortunately we had to rush the launch and get this tool in front of the Community Support team so they could start saving time.
A lesson learned: Internal tools are about efficiency and clarity, not visual polish.
We reduced the notification case handle time by 54%. Now it only takes 14 minutes.
Quickly after launching the internal tool and onboarding all Community Support Specialists, we reduced the handle case time to 14 minutes. That is a 54%. We saved about 200 hours of work a month.
Nowadays, the Notifications product team is focused on building a better experience for users, ensuring the send times are accurate, and only sending push notifications when they are highly relevant and valuable to our members and organizers.
It was unique opportunity to work on a low-profile project and being able to dive into the research, work closely with the Product Manager, and own the design outcome. It was extremely rewarding to build a few screens that helped people do their job faster, and save them time in their busy day.
I learned to ask all the technical questions I could possibly think of, because that can make the difference towards building the right thing.
This was the first time I worked on a UX project by myself. I followed these questions from Julie Zhuo, to set up a user-centric brief and constantly relied on Farah, my Design Lead, for advice.