Design Framework for Private Messaging Across Facebook

The Facebook app needs a messaging layer to feel vibrant and meaningful. Discovery of content feels isolating when sharing and conservation can’t easily happen with the right people. Sharing induces anxiety when broadcasting yourself is the only way to do it. Connection feels stale when my close friends don’t feel present in the app and their activity is limited to low-frequency formats like Stories and posts.


I believe that developing atomic level private messaging for Young Adults will increase content consumption. We will know this is true when we see private messaging across surfaces has increased usage.

User/Business Problem: Workshop

Feedback suggests that young adults find current group messaging features lacking in flexibility and customization. Upgrades to allow for more personalized group chats, including customizable interfaces and enhanced notification settings, could significantly improve user satisfaction.

With the rising popularity of short, ephemeral content among young adults, adapting private messaging to facilitate and encourage more concise, expressive forms of communication—such as voice snippets or short videos—could enhance user experience.

Business Outcome:

A noticeable uptick in the average time users spend within the private messaging feature would indicate enhanced engagement, suggesting that the new functionalities or content are resonating with young adults.

  • Higher Frequency of Messages Sent: An increase in the number of messages sent by each user, especially in formats that were previously underutilized (e.g., voice messages, video clips), would demonstrate that users find the enhanced features valuable and conducive to their communication habits.

  • Growth in Daily Active Users of Messaging Features: A steady rise in the number of young adults actively using the messaging feature daily would signal that the platform has successfully integrated into their routine communication, indicating a successful enhancement of user experience.

  • Elevated Engagement with Personalized Content: If analytics show that users are interacting more frequently with personalized content suggestions within private messaging (e.g., clicking on suggested links, joining recommended groups), it would suggest that the platform is effectively catering to individual interests, thereby adding value.

User Benefit:

Young adults are seeking ways to communicate more efficiently and expressively with friends and peers. They are motivated by the desire for quick, effective exchanges that accurately convey emotions, thoughts, and information, driving them towards platforms that offer innovative messaging features such as emojis, GIFs, voice messages, and video clips.

  • Building and Maintaining Social Connections: Users are looking to build and strengthen relationships with friends, family, and interest-based communities. They are motivated by platforms that facilitate meaningful interactions, group chats, and shared experiences, providing tools that help them stay connected despite physical distances.

  • Access to Relevant and Personalized Content: Young adults want to discover content that aligns with their interests and needs, from entertainment to educational resources. They are drawn to solutions that offer personalized content recommendations within their communication channels, motivated by the convenience of having tailored information and opportunities directly in their messaging inbox.

  • A Platform for Creative Expression: Young adults seek avenues for creative expression and sharing their talents or interests. They are drawn to platforms that allow for the sharing of multimedia content, creation of interest groups, and collaboration on projects or ideas, motivated by the desire to express themselves and gain recognition within a community.

Design Sprint: Solution Ideas

As a result of doing discovery across the app and what features were performing the best for retention, I created a new set of features that helped uplift the messaging experience across key surfaces.

Implement features that help users build and maintain social connections more effectively, such as “memory sharing” for recalling past conversations or shared content, and “group watch” functionalities for enjoying videos together in real-time.

Create a content discovery engine within messaging that suggests articles, videos, and events based on the users’ interests and conversation contexts. This could include partnerships with content creators and platforms to ensure a steady stream of relevant and engaging content.

Success Metrics:

  • An 8% increase in private sharing across the family of apps.
  • A 12% increase in off-platform sharing through private messaging. ​

Full Experience:

Here is a preview of the messaging system tied to together and working across key surfaces.

Quick Send Tray

With Quick Send Tray my connections follow me as I experience the app. Sharing is quick, easy and safe.

Chat Overlay

Keep the conversation going by allowing discussion, consumption and new content discovery to co-exist on a single surface.

Visual Inbox

By integrating privately shared content into the Stories experience, we meet people where they are.

Content Keyboard

Easy access to relevant content inside the chat to make the conversation more meaningful and fun. Shared memories help form bonds; unconnected content inspires discussion or joint discovery.

Product Design

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