WhatsApp Analysis: Identifying User Pain Points and How It Can Be Solved

Recently, I’ve started conducting analysis for products I personally use and love. This is interesting and beneficial activity that I think helps me in three ways. First, it is always interesting to get deeper into product details, listen to its users and think how you would solve their problems. Second, it helps me to improve myself and grow in terms of being better Product Manager. Last but not least, I send my case studies to these teams hoping I contribute my efforts in order to make products better.

This post is about WhatsApp — mobile app I use everyday to stay connected with my friends and family.

*I am not related to WhatsApp in any way. This research is done by me voluntarily as attempt to find out how WhatsApp can be improved.


Objective

  • Identify user’s pain points, understand their needs and propose solutions

Target audience

  • 15 respondents who are my friends and active WhatsApp users. They are working professionals, age 25–35 years old and all iPhone users

WhatsApp’s mission

Company’s mission is: ensuring that anyone could stay in touch with family and friends anywhere on the planet, without costs or gimmicks standing in the way.

User Feedback

Question asked: “Please tell what brings you annoyance using WhatsApp on your phone”

Below are user feedbacks gathered by me.

Each pain point is colored differently according to frequency of received complaints.

The brighter red — the higher number of complaints.

How I would prioritize

Below is my chart on how I would prioritize issues based on the information I currently have. There are only two categories.

  • Issue is important for user
  • Issue is important for WhatsApp in terms of its mission and vision

Now, lets dive into more details about each pain point.

No video call feature

User Feedback

  • “I wish there would be FaceTime in WhatsApp…’’ (Video calls and FaceTime are synonyms for a lot of users who participated)

Reasons for issue

  • Users switch to FaceTime for video calls whereas WhatsApp is their preferred communication tool

Suggestion

Video calls were mentioned often during research. One of the most interesting problems here how UI/UX can be implemented in a simple and accessible way.

Conclusion

Many WhatsApp competitors have video calls and it seems to me a high-priority task for the team . Launch of video calls will help keeping WhatsApp users connected with their families and friends with additional feature, and as result increase key metrics such as retention and engagement.

Can’t search in chat

User Feedback

  • “There is no chance to search in chat. I wish I can search by name, keyword and etc’’

Reasons for issue

Users don’t know that there is app-wide search feature in WhatsApp. I have three assumptions here on what might cause problem:

  • users don’t see search field which is in the top of chats lists
  • users see search field, but presume it is only for chat name’s search
  • users want to search only when they are in particular chat and since search field is not there now, they don’t know search feature exists

Suggestion

The best thing to do here is to test these assumptions to find out which one is the source of user problem.

Conclusion

This was frequently addressed complaint, thus I gave it a high priority. What seems to be a reasonable fix (I might be not right though) is to place search field in the top of every chat as well.

Phone button is too close to profile picture*

*I’ve conducted this research on 14th September and WhatsApp fixed this issue with update released on 19th October with a slightly different implementation.

User Feedback

  • “Phone button is placed too close to profile picture. It is evil’’

Reasons for issue

  • User wants to tap on profile picture but initiates WhatsApp calling instead

Suggestion

I would propose to place profile picture next to name. Thus, phone button issue can be solved as well as picture next to name seems more organic*

*Above I suggest changes only in private chats and it would be bad solution for group chats where names of chat members are displayed. WhatsApp recently released with solution that is good both for private and group chats — image is placed slightly to the left, not in the center

Conclusion

Issue is highly-prioritized because a lot of respondents experience annoyance with this button and it is quick fix for WhatsApp. Hence, a lot of users will be happier and not much resources would be spend to fix it.

Can’t select all media files in chat and then delete them

User Feedback

  • “It is annoying that I can’t delete all received media files in chat at once and have to select them one by one’’

Reasons for issue

  • In order to get some free memory space users want to delete files in their chats and spend a lot of time selecting them one by one

Suggestion

Here is how solution can look like.

Conclusion

Taking into account that there are a lot of complaints about this issue I assume it is high priority for users and an old pain point. Proposed suggestion seems to be aligned with WhatsApp’s vision to keep things simple.

Can’t open profile picture of person in group chat who is not in my contact list

User Feedback

  • “In order to do that I have to choose «Message + xxx xxx», open chat and tap on profile picture”

Reasons for issue

  • It is always curious to see profile picture of people you don’t know. This can be done easily if person is in your contact list. However, I presume that fixing this issue by removing “barrier” between people who are not in your contact lists would require painful changes in code because phone number is user’s login in WhatsApp

Suggestion

Nevertheless, I would recommend solution that you can see below.

Tap and hold on table view cell or profile picture
See enlarged image on blurred background

Conclusion

This was described by respondents as an old pain point as well. Resolving this issue might bring better user experience and smoother communication in group chat.

WhatsApp calling interrupts when I get another call

User Feedback

  • “I don’t know why call on mobile is prioritized over the conversation I am already having in WhatsApp’’

Reasons for issue

  • Obvious reason — user is forced to be interrupted

Conclusion

I presume that there is technical restriction from Apple that prevents to simply resolve this issue. This issue is clearly a room for improvement and a nice problem to solve in order to give users ability to easily communicate which is WhatsApp’s primary goal. If it is out of WhatsApp’s team control, then there are yet no way to relieve this pain point.

Starred messages are saved only in chats they belong to

User Feedback

  • “I wish I have access to all starred messages in one place. I often don’t remember in which chat I saved it’’

Reasons for issue

  • Difficult access to starred messages as well as a need to memorize chat where this particular message was starred

Suggestion

  • There is already Favorites section in the app which might be appropriate place for Starred messages. User can switch between contacts and messages on the top of the screen
User can go to Favorites and switch between Contacts and Messages on the top of screen

Conclusion

There were number of complaints about this issue and it can be a nice improvement for users. However, I would give low priority for users and WhatsApp because I assume that people don’t often save messages in chat. It would be great to find out some stats on how often users save messages in private and group chats.

WhatsApp calling is too fast

User Feedback

“Dial is so fast, I don’t have time to cancel it’’

Reasons for issue

This was one of the most interesting findings. Initially, I thought it is related to issue about small distance between profile picture and phone button.

However, respondents told it is a different case. Reasons I found are following:

  • user changed his mind after pressing phone button and wanted to cancel, but call was already initiated
  • user was scrolling down in Calls section and accidentally launched call

Suggestion

Throw alert (e.g. «Are you sure you want to dial now?») before calling for those users who has chosen to set up this kind of alert.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that a lot of users addressed this issue, it doesn’t seem to me as a problem or disadvantage for WhatsApp. Increasing connection time will negatively affect team (tremendous effort contributed for this feature) and other users (who love this speedy call).

Summary

To sum it up, WhatsApp is a great app that meets user needs for communication in easy way and without any costs. Some proposed features can be added in order to bring even better user experience. Video call feature is what currently WhatsApp doesn’t have, but I am sure this will be implemented very soon because it seems an important part to company’s mission and vision.

Special thanks for reading draft of this post and giving feedback:

  • Jessica Johnson
  • Nick Ivanecky
  • Ilya Matvienko
  • Aigerim Shorman

Thanks for reading, feel free to response and press 💙 if you liked this post

*I am not related to WhatsApp in any way. This research is done by me voluntarily as attempt to find out how WhatsApp can be improved.

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