Needle: E-commerce Chat

Human to Human communication through a Non-Human

Project Role:

Principle Product Designer


  • Consolidation & Re-design of consumer facing chat interface
  • Interaction prototype explorations
  • Full product UX flows & design direction
  • Guide quant/qual research
  • Theming element definition for all clients across multiple product industries.

Team Composition:

Leadership: 1 PM, VP of Engineering
Design: 1 principle product designer (me)
Eng: 1 front-end engineer, 3 software engineers, 1 dev-ops

01 Product Background

Needle is the leading e-commerce sales chat platform which strives to make online shopping more personal and trusted. With more than 50,000 certified product experts in all major verticals Needle has powered over 8 million live conversations. Needle powers the voices of advocates for brands such as Nike, The North Face, Oakley, Under Armour, Sonos and many more.

Real-time, peer-to-peer shopping assistance from a product expert provides a trusted, personalized and efficient shopping experience.

We identify shoppers who need help, and match them with advocates who love the brand and use the products in a rich real-time messaging platform.

02 Product Explorations

Currently we have two versions of our product being using by various products. There is debate internally and externally among clients that certain features are more useful/helpful for shoppers as well as Advocates. Determine which features are most beneficial from each version and consolidate them into a version that combines them all in a better product.

Research Findings

To get to some qualitative data around what was most useful for users I ran usability tests on both versions of our current chat tools. These were the findings.

03 Product Improvements

Can we sove the problems the first two versions still had?

The new conversations console was a full sidebar integration that slide in from the side covering no content on the customers website. This ensures that the experience was not hindered in any way by having visible and actionable access to any and all content at all times. That allowed the shopper to be able to interact with the advocate while still being able to browse the site withouts conflict.

Problems we solved with this solutions

  1. We didn’t cover content
  2. Moving to expandable widgets inline. Product scaleability
  3. Richer Product Recommendations
  4. Inline Notificaions
  5. Maximizing visibility & use of space
  6. Needle Branding (third party trust)

Product Widgets

The new conversations console will be a widgets focused solution.

Inline Product Recommendations
One of the largest benefits of our console over others is the ability to have inline product information in context within the conversation that ties directly to an online store catalog.

Scalable Solution
Widgets inline also allow us to add additional tools in a scalable way without introducing added complex user navigation and organization.

Ultimate Shopping Assistant Solution
Widgets coupled with a full sidebar creates for the best shopping assistant eperience in existance.


The conversations console will keep advocates at the center

Quick to Judge
Shoppers quickly judge who their talking with and decide whether its advice they should really listen to, first impressions matter. We put this front and center.

Third Party Verified Experts
Quickly understanding that these are third party verified product experts adds value and credibility to the advocate.


The new conversations console will provide a rich product recommendation

Inline Product Recommendations
Recommendations are an essential asset for an advocate in helping a shopper find the best product that suits them.

Shoppers love their imagery. They like to see something as close as they can but while not complicating their experience.

Widgets are pinned to the top of the screen as they scroll so they can quickly return to it within the coversation.


The new conversations console willl provide a way to recommend a group of products for stores that need bundles.

Recommending A Set of Products
When adding a set of product they will be grouped together and the layout of the collection with adapt to the quantity.

Save to the Wishlist
Easy Access to adding product to their wishlist so that the shopper can proceed to checkout with all the products as quickily as possible.

03 Product Learning

What we learned.

  • Shoppers really want to know who they’re speaking with and they have the most relevant experience that they can help them.
  • Advocates really loved the bundles solutions because it really reduces the conversation with no tools to bundle
  • The most progressive clients loved this solution becuase they have a responsive website.