4th Office

- May 2016 -


An app that upgrades the Gmail or Outlook inbox by reorganising emails around people, tasks and teams to improve collaboration and productivity



4th Office raised a series B investment in Dec 2014 with the mission to create an easy to use communication and collaboration tool. Taking an opposite direction of Slack, 4th Office is a an additional layer on the top of the already existing email infrastructure.

As I joined the 4th Office team in London at Second Home, the startup had recently pivoted to focus on a AI Assistant for emails called Scarlett.

Presented as a conversational interface, this assistant would be the major point of contact helping users with their everyday communication. It would be  providing soft reminders for emails pending to reply and giving contextual insights about the user's correspondents.

I worked at 4th Office as a contractor for 5 months, where I had the chance to design features of the core product and key functionalities of the smart assistant. 



Brief & Challenges

As we were launching a new app update including the assistant for the first time, we had to introduce it right to our early users. We naturally thought of letting the smart assistant introduce the app during the on-boarding process. 

To mock up the first version of the on-boarding, we kept in mind those high level goals:

  1. Use the conversational interface and associated visuals to explain the fundamentals and key advantages of the product.
  2. Make sure people get how to trigger the smart assistant.
  3. Illustrate how Scarlett could help the user with the most relevant scenarios, demonstrated with users’ real contacts and data.

First Wireflow

<--  Click to enlarge  --> 



Prototype & User Testing

After setting requirements with the team and exploring the idea with wireflows, I put together a clickable prototype using Marvel. 

Here is the first version we chose to test with a set of candidates:  <-  

I conducted the user testing session, letting candidates go through the on-boarding and observing their first steps using the app.

The results were pretty encouraging, we could comfortably confirm that : 

  1. All users knew how to trigger the smart assistant
  2. People generally liked and remember the name Scarlett.
  3. Candidates understood how different is 4th Office.
  4. They were feeling confident turning the notification on, knowing the nature of the insights they will later on get.  

We also learnt we needed to focus our efforts on:

  1. Explaining that the muted messages would still be accessible in a dedicated section. 
  2. Celebrating the word "follow up" a bit more as it is a core functionality of the product.

Some micro-interactions were not quiet right, we would need to fine-tune:

  1. The call to actions between the different kind of follow ups
  2. The copy to a shortest possible format
  3. The speed of the interaction during development  

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