Messenger Links


Personal Project


2 Months


Interaction Designer

Quick Overview


Aaron is socially active on Messenger.


He needs to save and find the links his friends shared in long conversations easily.


With Messenger, he can easily find what links him and his friend shared in the past


using a page dedicated for shared content and a search bar


in a way that’s effortless and native to Messenger.


How people currently save links within the Messenger platform.

I noticed that people would scroll within long conversations to look for a previously shared link. They would then use another app to save the link for reference later.


People want to easily save and find the links found in conversations without leaving the conversation.

I wanted to understand how people interacted with links within a messaging app and how they were retrieved and saved. Since current messaging apps had no way of saving links, my initial assumptions were that people used other apps to save the links they liked.


  • People store their favorite links in their default browser/email/text and they forget that it’s there.
    • In Safari, links are saved temporarily in the user’s tabs.
    • In Mail, users send the links to themselves.
    • In Notes, users copy and paste the link into a new document.
    • Users mentioned that shared links are associated closely to the conversation that it was shared in rather than the other apps it was saved in.
  • People scroll endlessly until they find the link they want, they are usually not successful and give up.
    • Links with thumbnails help the process of finding links.
    • iMessage/Messenger’s image caching feature helps trace back images.


Saving links in a conversation require users to use other apps which get harder to find later.

Links get easily buried in apps like mail, safari and notes. Your link that’s open in your Safari tab may get overwritten by another new link or your link in notes might be buried by 10 other new notes.

More importantly, when users look for a link shared in a conversation by a friend, they immediately associate that link to the conversation in their memory; NOT the other apps they saved them into.


In current chat platforms, savings links is not a native experience or they lack a method to surface the link you’re looking for.

Surprisingly, large chat platforms like Messenger and Messages (iOS) do not have a native way of saving links. Messenger allows you to save links, but they get saved to Facebook’s main App which takes users out of the Messenger experience.

Apps like Kakao and Whatsapp automatically save both shared images and links, but they are listed chronologically. This is not an issue in short conversations between 2 people, but it becomes difficult when the conversation gets longer or if more people are in the conversation. This causes users to scroll through a long list of links or images which is no different than scrolling through a long conversation of messages.


  • Messenger and iOS have a section for sent images which users found useful to refer to. (Acts as a secondary camera roll)
    • We have to remember that this is currently where shared content is stored.
  • Only a few apps can retrieve shared links in a conversation.
    • Messenger which allows you to save links, but they get sent to the main Facebook app which still takes you out of the chat experience.
    • Kakao and Whatsapp provides a list of shared links, but it lacks organization which can get chaotic when the number of shared links increases which makes it no different than scrolling through a long chat.
  • Messenger (Web) is capable of searching through conversations, but it’s limited.
    • Mainly used to search for contacts and not content.
    • Only chat platform with a search bar for better finding of shared links.
    • Limitation is that URLs have no or few keywords which makes it harder for the search bar to surface links.



Aaron Smith

“Can you send me the link to that article again? I had it in my Safari tabs, but I lost it. I think you sent it to me weeks ago.”


Aaron is always on his phone chatting with numerous people who send him interesting articles and links to cool sites.


He saves numerous articles in either his notes app, but they get lost. He scrolls through long conversations to find the links again.


Aaron wants some way to find and organize the links his friends send him.


Finding and saving my shared links within a long conversation is difficult.


Help users find and save their links quickly with minimum effort in a conversation.



Users should be able to save a link within the same app with less actions and be able to find it without scrolling through a long conversation.


Our users shouldn’t be using another app to accomplish their task. Our product should feel familiar to existing UI patterns and not conflict with other existing features.


The challenge was keeping things native to current messaging Apps.

There are many features that get added and updated for messaging apps. When adding features, it was a challenge to avoid interfering with current features and staying consistent to Messenger’s user interface guidelines. When ideating concepts, I was aiming for ways for users to both easily save links and retrieve them at a later time.


1 button to save links was already too much effort for users and there was a concern for finding old links.

I learned several things that helped me design towards an effortless experience. First of all, a simple save button to save links was already too much work since users did not have time to manage links in general. Second, there were issues in finding links that were shared a long time ago. Users would scroll through a long list of links which did not made it different from scrolling through a long conversation.

Auto-saving shared links within the Messenger app for minimum effort.

I learned that a simple save button was already too much work on the user. 1 simple action may sound easy, but users mentioned that there was a high probability of them forgetting to save the link. They mentioned that they don’t have time to manage links for a conversation. They brought up an example of one’s browser history which allowed them to see links they have visited in their browser with minimum effort. This lead me to remove the save button entirely and move towards an auto-save feature which solved the “Finding Links” aspect of my project.

Search bar for filtering links which avoids scrolling through long list of links.

People found value in a section that had all the shared links in one page, but they mentioned that it was only practical if you wanted to find a recently shared link. A link that was shared let’s say months ago would take scrolling anyways. This lead me to experiment with a search bar that would be primarily used for finding really old links. Placing a search bar in the middle of the profile page would have broken the existing Messenger design pattern which would make the feature less native. The decision was made to place it in its own page which made the page simple and clutter free for the user.

Placing shared links in the same general area as shared images (Grouped together).

Most of my pro users were familiar with the Shared Images feature found in Messenger so it was natural for them to see shared links grouped together with it. The only concern that was brought up by users was that the shared images were competing with the shared links and users would only be able to see one at a time.

The general flow that focused on the experience of finding links.


I discovered 4 primary factors that affected the ease of finding links.

During user testing, I discovered 3 factors that had to be improved in the design. They were the following:

  • The copy used in the title of the button.
  • The placement and positioning of the button.
  • Amount and presentation of information that was associated with the button.
  • Finding links that were shared a long time ago


Finding and saving links became more effortless due to familiar placements and the surfacing of content.

Looking back at our design principles, the entirety of the project was focusing on providing an effortless experience that was native to Messenger. In terms of saving links, users were no longer required to switch apps and they were able to save links without taking any action at all. When it came to finding links, users were able to find their shared links due to its familiar placement within the app, clear language and less drilling in.


Testing the Search Bar

The search bar is an element of the interface that needs a higher fidelity prototype. The issue with presenting a prototype of a chat app to users is that they are dealing with a made-up conversation that they are not familiar with which makes it hard for them to think of terms to search. The algorithm of the search bar also needs to be clearly defined so that it is not generating poor search tags.