Cécile Parker
Senior Product Designer
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I joined the anonymous social media startup, Secret, in 2014. I designed the web version of the platform, Secret's anonymous chat feature, and features to enhance security...



I joined the anonymous social media startup in 2014. I designed the Web version of the platform, including a Secret Search tool, Secret Questions for iOS and Android, as well as features to enhance security: community guidelines, new reporting mechanisms... Early in 2015, I participated in the brand redesign project (ask me about it) and led design for the Anonymous Chat feature. I also created collateral for the massive "Spring break" launch.

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Secret Questions


Web app


Careers page


Email campaign

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Secret v2 onboarding


Anonymous chat

Anonymous 1-1 chat was one of the most requested features from the beginning. Users wanted to be able to message each other directly, and have private conversations. The feature was only prioritized after the brand redesign, and it was assigned to me—yay! The team wanted Secret chat to be playful and safe. Some of my design decisions are explained below.


My conversations

1. Conversations with unread messages appear in bold, with a time stamp for the latest interaction. Conversations that have not been named display the name of the other person’s avatar.

2. A reply icon indicates that I sent the last message.

3. Conversations are ephemeral and disappear after 48h of non response. After 24h of non-response, the circle behind the avatar starts representing the countdown. I cannot keep a conversation alive without the other person engaging in it.


Chat screen

1. The navigation bar takes the color and name of the avatar I'm talking to. For context, I can rename the conversation (it shows on my side only).

2. The pinned message above the line is the secret comment that sparked the conversation. It links back to the original secret.

3. Bubbles differentiate chat from comment threads or other sections of the app. My bubbles have the color of my avatar (Blue Star). 

4. I cannot send photos until the other person engages in the conversation.


5. The contextual menu allows me to view the original secret, leave the conversation, or report the other user’s behavior.

6. Avatars glow when both users are looking at the conversation, to indicate presence. The UI also includes a "Read" stamp and typing indicator.

7. Sharing photos is now enabled.


On the other side...

1. This is what the same conversation looks like for the other user, Purple Skull.

2. Photos received are dimmed. Users can guess what the photo is about and choose to view it or not. Press and hold to view the photo in full screen. When released, the photo returns to its dimmed state.

Why all the dimming? Because this is Secret we like secrecy. Because unwrapping presents is fun. And for practical reasons too: nobody likes to see a dick pic they didn't ask for.



My photos

1. The photos I sent are not dimmed on my side.

2. Instead of a "Read" label, photos have a “Seen” count. This introduces a playful constraint in the way people consume each other’s content. If the other users takes a screenshot of my photo, the label will also indicate it.


Print & collateral

Space fox headphones.