Overview
As a product design snootern on the Live Team, I collaborated with designers, product managers, and engineers to create new live and core chat experiences across mobile and desktop. I ultimately shipped five new features for Reddit's Live Chat and core Chat products.
Mentors: Robinson Scott (Staff PD), Donny Guy (DM), Inga Hampton (PD)
Duration: May to August 2022​​​​​​​
Highlights​​​​​​​
But First... What is Reddit Live Chat?
Live chats are real-time conversations where redditors can discuss and react to each other live. Live chats are useful for discussing live events (e.g. game day matches, episode premieres, tech launches, news) and serve as casual conversation lounges for redditors to connect with one another.
1. Alerting Users of New Reactions
Problem
How do we notify users that they can react to messages within a chat and thus increase engagement within synchronous conversations?
Outcome
An integrated redditbot comment to alert users they can react to messages within the chat.
2. Core + Live Chat Merger  
Problem
How can we design a way for users to engage with all their synchronous conversations in one surface?
Context
Previously, there was no easy way for Redditors to return to all their live chat conversations since each of them could only be accessed through its respective subreddit, fragmenting the live chat experience.
Outcome
A new way for Reddit users to return to all their synchronous or asynchronous conversations within the mobile and desktop chat tab.

Desktop Chat Modal. Note "All" contains a dropdown menu with "Live" and "Messages."

3. The Live Discovery Page
Problem
Given the redesigned chat tab, how can users more easily discover live conversations they're interested in and differentiate between conversations they have already joined versus have yet to discover?
Initial Explorations
It was essential that various Reddit conversation types, such as talks and direct messages, could fit in the chat tab alongside live chats. Thus, my initial designs allowed users to find all live and upcoming conversations and set reminders to join the latter.
Further iteration resulted in the removal of the Live and Upcoming filters in favor of Chat and Talk. To ensure better discovery of new conversations, 3 subcategories were added per filter: Communities you follow, Recommended, and Popular, giving users the ability to easily find new and trusted sources of synchronous engagement. I also moved the icons into the profile image space so as to reduce crowding on the metadata line.
Outcome
A new way for users to discover both live chats and talks within the chat tab. 
Product Thinking
Designing at Reddit also gave me numerous opportunities to hone my product thinking skills. Here are some of the most valuable lessons I picked up:​​​​​​​
Meeting vs. Exceeding the Spec
Great product designers also push for more ambitious or creative solutions to show what’s possible for a feature. Providing PMs with multiple designs that can meet and exceed the spec is invaluable for innovation.

"Yes And"
The ability to build on top of other people's ideas and not just defend your own as a designer is essential to collaboration. Design teams work together most productively when they recognize the value of each other's ideas, even if they still require further adjustment.

Cross-functional Collaboration
It's essential to know engineering limitations as a designer, and the best way to ensure your designs will be implementable is to communicate early on with engineering partners. This prevents wasted design efforts and helps inform smarter creative decision-making.
Reflection​​​​​​​

Sunset from the Reddit SF office towards the end of my internship

Reddit taught me so much about what it's like to design for a business that at its core has always been about fostering community. Over the 17 years it's existed, Reddit has undergone immense visual and product design transformations, and its users have often been critical over these changes. However, Reddit's dedicated fanbase and unique attraction among netizens is still indicative of how deeply it pays attention to making something that people love. As a designer, I couldn't have asked for a better place to grow and receive amazing mentorship.