My Story of WeChat as A Designer

As I can remember, I have my first QQ account back to my primary school. Few years later, I got hundreds of QQ friends mysteriously, I knew probably 50 of them, basically my classmates, and just contacted 10 of them. I’ve used such online names like “the wind runner” and “lonely dancing”. Tried to be cool by using black and white portrait, although there was no CS version Photoshop. In the QQ space, it was filled of “remember to come to my space later”, and half of my posts were chicken soup for the soul and the rest of them were some sentences talking about something I can rarely understand now.

However, time flies quickly or maybe too slowly. I grew, and getting mature. I started to feel shame of the young me. Realized I want to say goodbye to my past. So I shut down my QQ space, no more childish posts and even deleted the application on my new iPhone.

At this time, WeChat appeared. I could log in by QQ account, renew my friends. It was that clean to make me believe I could start my new “internet life”. And yes, I did. In WeChat, I could still see my QQ friends lying there, but I didn’t have to import all of them. I realized it’s the farewell to my youth.

This is my story of starting using WeChat, but I can only tell it after these years later. After finishing my Industrial Design Master degree and getting into the industry of UX Design, the most important thing I learned is being empathetic. Now I look back to the year when WeChat published, I kind of know why it can be successful. Back in 2011 China, with the flourish of smart phone, the industry of internet started growing fast than ever. And it was the year WeChat launched, and my senior year. That was the time when the generation of young people in my age started to step into the society. These full of passion young people were eager to prove themselves, they showed their sophistication to get the sense of value identification. And changing into a new simpler, better-designed and more private chatting application was such a good idea. I cannot imagine how my boss will react to my unreadable posts in my QQ space after I add him as a QQ friend.

Now while hats off to the success of WeChat, I start to admire that the WeChat team gained such insight into the market and the potential users. Although they had the advantage of the huge group of QQ users, the timing and user targeting were brilliant. Every details in this product created 
an incredible users loyalty, here is a typical example: don’t share.

In the Moment, which is a social platform come with WeChat, when you are going to publish a moment, you can choose “Don’t Share” to someone than the other traditional ways. This little feature really solve the pain point that our social network is so complicated for us to remember all the different groups of friends.

At the end, allow me to express some personal feelings. Design and technologies are suppose to bring us better life. In my perspective as a designer, the feature of WeChat above is an amazing detail. However, that brings negative as well. Social networking is now easier but I feel the distance of people are getting farther. Isn’t a chatting app suppose to bring friends closer? When I go out and have dinner with friends, the cellphone always “eats first”. No doubt, WeChat and all these social networking learned their users well and delivered us perfect products, but sometime I miss the childish posts in my QQ space and wish we live in a world without digital masks.

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