case-study:-add-a-feature-to-whatsapp

Ângela Sousa

This week I’m adding a cool feature to one of our most beloved apps: Whatsapp. Have you heard of it? ?

My colleague Ida Sandes gave me this amazing idea for this 4-day project.

? Interview with Ida

Well… It should not be an interview. It should be a conversation with your user.

I tried to understand why does she feel like this feature is missing. What could be her main pain points so I can try and help her out.

? Insights

  • Her main purpose was to schedule birthday messages. She feels like she may hurt her family’s/friends’ feelings for forgetting their birthdays;
  • She also feels like she’s being rude if she sends a message at the wrong time (different timezone — from Portugal to Brazil);
  • She mentioned also that it could be used at a professional level (schedule meetings, selling products, etc). Whatsapp is a very strong app in Brazil;
  • It could also be another pain point here as she refers that if she sends an automatic birthday message and doesn’t respond right away, her friend may notice and be upset.

? Surveys

I tried to understand if people really schedule messages frequently and if not if they would like to on Whatsapp.

Wow factor: 40 responses in 7h. Thank you guys ❤

Insights:

  • 78% don’t schedule messages;
  • 62% would like to but wouldn’t use it a lot (so it won’t be one of the main features).

Main reasons for using this:

  • Birthday messages;
  • Personal reminders (for myself or for sending other people a message).

Since I can’t send messages to myself on Whatsapp, I thought that a general message scheduler would be a cool feature. Most of them didn’t refer business so I’m not adding this filter. Some mentioned timezone as an important feature.

? JTBD (Jobs-To-Be-Done)

“When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ it to help us do a job.”

Clayton M. Christensen

Meaning: What does the customer want when they buy/download something? What is his/her true goal?

I used Ida as my main user to create Jobs-to-be-done and understand. Let’s put ourselves in her shoes.

  • When: It’s one of my Brazilian friend’s birthday;
  • I want to: send them a personalized message;
  • So that: I can feel part of their lives even though I’m away.

? Value Proposition Canvas

I created this canvas to better empathize with my user since we have just 4h for research.

✍? Lo-fi

Oh my gosh. What a nightmare. I got stuck here.

I already knew what I needed to create as you can see on my first User Flow.

It’s a disgrace. I know.

Next in line: I needed to understand Whatsapp flow and how I could use their icons/screens to create something new. My feature should feel natural on the app and consistent with the design they already have. And how do I do this?

You can check the nightmare on the next sketches.

So I asked my TA and TL for help and?

… of ideas!

So my process of ideation was based on the pages that I knew I had to create:

  • Sending a message;
  • Scheduling that message;
  • Choosing date/time;
  • Be able to know which messages I already scheduled and delete them;
  • Create templates for those messages;
  • Erase/edit those templates.

Next thing I was prototyping.

I decided to prototype on paper for 2 main reasons:

  • It’s easier/faster for me than to do a mid-fidelity;
  • I think the interaction with our users is different. I’m able to change screens and add pop-ups (if necessary) in that exact moment. I had some doubts so I thought this was the best way to prove my theories. And I can’t tell you how much this helped me…
  • Well, another one: improving my drawing skills is also a plus ?‍♀️

Don’t judge yourself if you don’t understand what’s written.

I was sooo wrong. Thank god for testing!

Wrong assumptions:

  • People would directly go to write a message to a specific friend. Instead, ALL OF THEM were going to the menu;
  • They would go to the menu to delete an already scheduled message. Instead, they ALL tried to delete it immediately on the same screen.

Those insights were MAJOR to hi-fi development. Since I had tested and knew all the screens that I needed I started with my newest passion: UI. Never draw a hi-fi like this so it’s a huge challenge for me.

✍? Hi-fi

I had to dive into hi-fi and skip mid-fi since I didn’t have much time and all the users I tested with followed the same flow.

I’m designing in Android because its easier for me to test on my phone while I’m creating the high fidelity prototype (using Crystal).

? Blocker ?

WhatsApp seems to dislike designers. The screens available on their brand resources page are not up-to-date. Had to use my own screens to design.

Another one: what about icons people? I had to create almost all of them since they don’t have any library available for me to export. This was good to practice but I having only 4 days to work on this project it took me a long time to create that (#pickygirl).

Besides that, I loved the hi-fi process (#teamSketch).

So WhatsApp… are you ready? Before trying my prototype out be aware of your flow:

  • 1: Schedule a birthday message to Alex;
  • 2: Check all the messages you already scheduled to him;
  • 3: Delete 1 message.

Ready. Set. Go ?

Here are my screens for your appreciation ❤️

I have to mention some things that I’m proud of:

  • Improving my Sketch skills;
  • My attention to detail. I really wanted users to feel like they were inside WhatsApp;
  • Designing most of the icons you see on the prototype. It’s funny to see how now I can understand how I should build them like legos. I just join the pieces and adapt.

“Steal like an artist” — Austin Kleon

This was a really strange thought to me. I came from content management. “Stealing” is something very serious and that I never did. It pissed me off when I saw my article used without people even crediting me.

Because of this, I was a bit scared of UI. “How am I going to get creative enough to create something powerful?”. Now I understand that in order to create your own design you must get inspiration from other people. And that’s exactly what I did.

Here is my presentation for you to check ?

?‍? What did I learn?

  • To manage my time a bit better. I’m very picky and sometimes you have to choose between having a good night sleep or a prototype close to pixel perfect. Not having a good night sleep influenced my pitch. So a bit of a warning for you guys;
  • I should test with people that are not biased. On my next project, I’ll try and do a guerilla test so I can understand the different kinds of feedback;
  • That organizing my Sketch while I’m working is crucial. I took a long time creating my Atomic Library but it was easier for me since I already had at least my icons organized;
  • Everyone has their own pace. I trusted more the process this time and I’m very proud of what I came up with.

So WhatsApp… when should we start?

A new feature is coming.

Credits:

  • All icons that I didn’t design myself @ Font Awesome and Noun Project;
  • All images @ Pexels;
  • Android device outlines mockup, keyboard, and date time picker @ Sketch App Sources;
  • Inspiration to create my slides @ Behance.

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