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Re: Seeing when a message is read

Employee
Fernando V Employee Member Since: Aug 11, 2016
1 of 36

Hi! My name is Fernando, and I am a Product Manager working on the Collaboration Platform team here at Upwork. My team is responsible for everything that lives inside the Messages page, as well as all features that allow a freelancer and a client to work better together.,

 

One of the issues that come up most frequently when we review feedback between clients and freelancers is a lack of responsiveness. Things are going well, until one of the parties (the client or the freelancer) stops responding to messages and people get anxious to know whether it's just a delay or if people have seen the messages at all.

 

In order to address that, we're considering adding "message seen" indicators to our Messages page (and consequently to the Messages window on the desktop app). If you've used mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger you will be familiar with this - being able to tell when someone has seen your messages.

 

It would look something like this when you hover over a message (these are early mockups):

 

Screenshot 2016-12-08 15.43.41.pngScreenshot 2016-12-08 15.43.58.png

 

 

When we launch this feature, would you like to be able to turn it off? Bear in mind that this means you would also not see these indicators for when other people see your messages.

 

Any other feedback you might have about this would be most welcome.

 

Thanks!

Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
2 of 36

I responded to a thread about this recently and said I'm not a supporter (I'm a client). Just because I've read a message that doesn't mean I have time to respond to it right then, or I might need to research the answer to a question or something first.

 

In terms of managing my freelancers, it's extremely rare for me to have a communication issue with my freelancers. And I understand that they have lives and other clients, so again, just because they read my message that doesn't mean they have time to respond to it right now.

 

I can see this being a nightmare for freelancers with already demanding, difficult clients. It should definitely be optional, if it is introduced.

Community Guru
Christy A Member Since: Dec 30, 2015
3 of 36

As long as it remains optional, I think it's fine.

 

I would strongly suggest that the default setting is "disabled", with hover instructions on how to enable it.  That way, users aren't passive participants in functionality they're not interested in using.

 

 

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
4 of 36

To answer the question "When we launch this feature, would you like to be able to turn it off?" Yes.

 

inb4 "Freelancer read my message 3 hours ago and did not answer... want my money back."

 

How would you know if the messages are read in email? I often leave the message center closed so people don't see me online or because I find that by turning off the message center I can rely on emails better. 

What happens when I read a message on my phone but can't answer right now? There are a lot of people who get really ridiculously insulted if you don't reply right away. It's why I turn off Skype.

What happens if I leave the message center open on the message room for a client that just messaged me? What status is shown? The message center is open but I haven't read it yet.

What happens when I reply via email? Does it show "read?" 

What happens if the client sends me a bunch of messages one right after the other and I send a response via email in between them? How are emails batched? Will it show that I read all of them even though I only read the first 5, for instance, and walked away but sent a quick email in between them?

 

 

Honestly, this is going to cause problems. Just think about Skype or text messages that show read status and what happens when people don't answer. So many people get so impatient over it. It's primarily why I don't keep Skype open. 

 

I also think that when people see that a freelancer reads a message and answers hours later (I'm someone like that), it's going to play a factor in their JSS scoring even though replying within 24 hours is perfectly OK unless there is some 911 issue.

Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
5 of 36

Oh and without a doubt there are going to be freelancers bugging the living hell out of clients over the fact that they read the message and didn't answer within a few minutes. 

Community Guru
Preston H Member Since: Nov 24, 2014
6 of 36

Ugh no.

 

How do you know I didn't click on a message or open a message without reading it?

 

If there was only one freelancer on Upwork this might be needed. But there are millions of freelancers.

 

If a client hires a freelancer and the freelancer is not responsive.... Then the client should consider hiring someone else.

Community Guru
Christy A Member Since: Dec 30, 2015
7 of 36

@Jennifer M wrote:

 

<snip> 

I also think that when people see that a freelancer reads a message and answers hours later (I'm someone like that), it's going to play a factor in their JSS scoring even though replying within 24 hours is perfectly OK unless there is some 911 issue.


This.  I didn't even think about this.  It's a huge concern and there should be some pretty significant thought put into it before you launch.

 

Because communication response times are such a fluid metric (24 hours is fine for me but a client might think that 2 hours is excessive), the risk to JSS is high.  This might significantly impact private feedback.

 

I don't want to be all "Chicken Little, the sky is falling!" but I think it's a very legitimate concern.

Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
8 of 36

Fernando, I 'liked' your original post because you actually ASKED if this was a good or bad thing and what our feelings, from both client and provider perspective, was.  

 

However, I'm another vote for only if we can disable it.  Frankly, it is too intrusive and micro-managing for professionals - and I believe that professional is how Upwork would like to portray their service.

Community Guru
Nia G Member Since: May 3, 2016
9 of 36

I would certainly like to be able to switch this off. 

 

Personally, I would prefer not to have it at all. IMO, it really seems to be a feature best left for social apps, platforms, etc. It doesn't strike me as belonging on a business platform.

 

And, when I've heard this idea tossed around in the forum, it has always been by inexperienced, anxious newbie freelancers. As was already stated, this will cause nothing but problems for these freelancers (who don't always conduct themselves in the most professional manner due to being in a tizzy about client responses and the like). Seems like more of a detriment to me.  

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Community Guru
David G Member Since: Oct 6, 2011
10 of 36

 I'm not a big fan of this idea and would definitely want to turn it off.

 

I just had a client who marked me down on availability and communication for a job because I didn't get back to her quick enough on email--keep in mind that this was a job that started and ended within twelve hours or so but she still felt I didn't respond quick enough to emails.The client was pleased with the work, just wanted to know why I didn't respond immediately to emails. If she knew when I had actually read the emails, she may have been even more upset.

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