Sorting Conversations

Messaging 101 Series: Do You Have to Worry About Sorting Conversations?

Think about how your text messages are sorted on your phone. Every time a new message comes in, it appears at the top of your conversation list and stands out from the rest of the threads. But what if the UI didn’t include this sorting feature?

Keeping your messaging experience as seamless as possible means offering an intuitive user interface—which includes proper sorting if your users engage in multiple conversations.

However, you have different sorting options depending on what best suits your users’ needs.

4 Sorting Options for Your Messaging Experience

In theory, you could sort conversations in your messaging experience however you want. The primary goal needs to be a seamless customer experience—and part of that means offering useful sorting options that users expect.

Here are 4 of the most common sorting options to consider for your conversation list:

Most Recent Activity: This is the most popular default sorting option for messaging. Coupled with a push notification, this is a powerful way to keep users engaged with your multi-thread messaging experience.

Online Status: If your messaging experience supports a community of members or multiple public channels, consider sorting conversations by the online status of users. When customers are opening your messaging experience to engage with others, it’s helpful to know who is present in the app.

Favorites: This feature is rooted in email, but might be most familiar from Slack at this point. When you “star” someone (or a channel) on Slack, you’re opting to move that “favorite” to the top of your conversation list. Sorting this way can help your customers keep track of those conversations that are most important to them.

Unread Messages: In many cases your most recent activity also represents your unread messages. But we’ve all skimmed through our inboxes and left emails unread. Sorting this way can show you the conversations that need attention ahead of those that users have already seen.

Again, there are plenty of other ways you can sort conversations in your messaging experience. It all depends on your specific use case and the needs of your customers.

Use Cases that Need Sorting Features

It’s important to note that single conversation experiences aren’t always free from thinking about sorting options. For example, your conversational commerce messaging experience might only have single conversations on the customer side—but what about your agents? Building in sorting features for your agents can help boost productivity and efficiency even if customers only ever see a single conversation.

There are more obvious use cases for sorting conversations as well. As mentioned in the option explanations above, community and marketplace messaging experiences are great candidates for sorting features. You just have to take the time to think about how you can make the most frictionless experience possible for your users.

However, sorting features are just a small part of a larger messaging experience. If you want to dig deeper into our messaging tips, check out the full Messaging Best Practices Guide.