WhatsApp

Interaction Model Carol Liao

Before

WhatsApp is one of the most commonly used messaging apps in Europe. What started with a frustration with their inconsistent icon states, quickly led to the unfortunate realization that WhatsApp had become a jumbled mess.

Somewhere along all their updates and added features, what should be a straight-forward messaging app had inherited many inconsistencies, redundancies, and confusing terminology.

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After

I started by seeing how I could organize features more clearly. Status in WhatsApp used to be the now “About” text update, yet suggested options are still status-like bits such as “Available” and “In a meeting”. Now, status is the equivalent of Instagram stories or Messenger Shared Days. With the current interaction model, these two updates are found under two different tabs. Part of this fix was to consolidate the two into one status; either text only or with photos or videos, found under the status tab, though users can always see which contacts have recently added a new status with the blue ring around chat profile images.

While we’re consolidating and simplifying, I’m also getting rid of the camera tab. Users can access the camera from either a chat or a status already, so I find it redundant and confusing to duplicate that function as a tab.

And we’re down to four tabs! Hooray! Already, I feel that the app has more focus, with a type of action per tab and no awkward crossovers. And best of all, there’s now consistency in the selected states of all four tabs; filled icons for all!

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Additional notes

The other bone I had to pick was the bar at the top of the Chat screen showing Broadcast Lists and New Group. Both are about creating new lists, yet only “New Group” appears when the user taps the new chat icon on the upper left.

In this fix, I’ve decided to remove the bar in the Chat screen, and bring both actions into the “New chat” screen. Now, there's one less element in the chat tab, brining more focus to the screen.

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