The competitor analysis of these well-known platforms helped me visualize two use cases for the Poll feature.
a) Use of Poll feature within group conversations
b) Use of Poll feature in WhatsApp Status
With the two use cases in mind, I prepared a semi-structured questionnaire and interviewed 7 of my family and friends who use WhatsApp regularly and actively use at least one other social media/chat platform.
Since WhatsApp is largely popular among all age groups in India, I chose my participants considering who could represent each of these demographic groups mentioned below:
- Ease of use and glitch-free experience has made WhatsApp the go-to medium for daily communication
- Apart from personal chats with friends and family, participants use WhatsApp every day for work-related chats and to communicate with other business services in the local community
- WhatsApp Groups is a crucial platform to disseminate information, raise a query, plan things and discuss topics
- The participants had groups ranging from 10 to the maximum limit of 256 and actively participate in 3–4 of them regularly
- While accessing group messages is easy, planning and decision-making are clumsy
- Participants either form sub-groups or share external links such as Doodle, Google Forms etc. to plan events or vote for views and opinions
- Indecisive conversations usually lead to muting groups, loss of information and endless chat scrolls
While the in-depth interviews helped me uncover the pain points in a group conversation, participants had mixed opinions about WhatsApp status. For some, the interaction is nice as they can share updates and see what others are doing but for others, it is not really interesting beyond simple status updates.
Hence, before I could proceed, I first needed to make sure WhatsApp Status could be my logical second use case to test the poll feature.
To proceed, I assumed that WhatsApp Status lacks interaction and engagement that the user needs to build a conversation.
With the limited time I had set for this project, I ran a small survey to see if I can justify my assumption. A total of 33 voluntary participants took part in the survey from which I could derive 28 unbiased & conclusive responses.
The key findings are:
- The engagement level with WhatsApp status is fairly rare as 11 respondents have uploaded something as a status only once a year and 7 have interacted only once a month
- 5 respondents have not uploaded anything to date as a WhatsApp Status
- While sharing opinions and suggestions will depend a lot on the content, 24 out of the 28 respondents think they might like WhatsApp Status more if it can become engaging and interactive
- The survey definitely helped me validate that WhatsApp Status lacks creative interactions
- There is definitely an opportunity to make WhatsApp Status more engaging for people to use it more frequently
- A new feature like Poll in an interactive format should be a good addition to the WhatsApp Status to kickstart a conversation
Redefining the Problem:
The insights from the discovery phase allowed me to rethink the problem definitions for both the use cases. I framed them into actionable problem statements, as mentioned below.
People in the group need a way to make quick decisions on small things because long conversations lead to loss of information and no results.
People uploading WhatsApp Statuses need an option to have some engagement because there is limited interaction that happens till the status is live for 24 hours.
Moving forward, the definitions helped me define my key user personas.
The Development Process:
With the help of insights from the interview and competitive analysis, I created a prioritization matrix based on the MoSCoW principle to design the most important elements that build up the Poll feature in the group conversations.
For my secondary use case, i.e., to incorporate the Poll feature in WhatsApp Status, I emphasized creating interactive and engaging stickers that allow users to vote based on their likeability and mood. These stickers could be quickly added to the stories uploaded by the user.
Testing my Solutions:
I started with a low-fidelity paper prototype and quickly tested it with 5 of my colleagues and friends. I chose Android (which is unarguably the most used OS) as my platform to move ahead with my design. As recognized from the test, everyone was able to follow the basic flow of the feature interaction.
However, there were some interesting observations while I conducted the test with them:
- During my early interviews, I found that most tapping/touch happens near the text input field at the bottom in a WhatsApp chat. So, I assumed that the Poll feature could be an addition to the attachment section like all other attachments. However, when prompted to create a poll feature within the group, 2 of my friends reached out to the top right more (Kebab) menu.
- For my second use case, I asked participants to add a poll sticker within the WhatsApp Status. I observed that almost everyone was searching for the Poll feature as an explicit icon on the top app bar along with other feature icons rather than under the stickers section. This was interesting because even though the participants have interacted with a similar feature on other platforms, they had a very low recall of the same.
With these observations in mind, I moved to high-fidelity screens to better understand the user and their interaction with this new feature.