Shared Collections

Connecting users with their loved ones online through shared media collections of their treasured memories.

WhatsApp users have tons of past messages and images, making it difficult to find specific memories. I designed a new feature to help them and their loved ones look back on these important moments by uploading photos and videos into shared collections, filtered separately from their entire general media.

Skills

UX research

Interaction design

User testing

UX research

Interaction design

User testing

Team

Solo project

Timeline

Oct - Dec 2023
3 months

Research

WhatsApp rose to popularity internationally because as an online messaging app, it made it easy (and free) for users to connect with others- no matter where they are in the world.

APP AUDIT, USER INTERVIEWS

To better understand how people use WhatsApp to connect with others, I conducted an app audit and interviewed 6 power users who have been on the app everyday for the past 10 years. Users call and text daily but they barely ever use the other available features.

I initially wondered if living in different time zones affected their ability to call their loved ones. However, I realized that once the best time to call was established it easily became a part of their routine.

But I noticed that one issue kept reoccurring,

Long-running chats collect
an endless scroll of images, videos, and texts.

Long-running chats collect an endless scroll of images, videos, and texts.

Long-running chats collect an endless scroll of images, videos, and texts.

Shared media, links, and docs are only organized chronologically by the date sent.

USER JOURNEY

The difficult process of searching through one's history to find something sent in the past became my area of opportunity.

HOW MIGHT WE…

Enhance people’s ability to feel connected with their loved ones online through shared memories?

Development

After a couple rounds of sketching, I narrowed down to two divergent solutions which I tested with power users to determine the feature's key desirability.

Concept #1 - Low-Fi Prototype

Media albums separated from their general media

Finding

WhatsApp users send and receive tons of photos.

Everything from special events like birthdays or the smaller, everyday things like what they made for dinner.

Insight

Finding a photo from the entire general media is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Concept #2 - Low-Fi Prototype

Audio captions attached to photos

Finding

People utilized the video and audio call feature more once they moved away.

It became an important way to connect with their loved ones while being physically apart.

Insight

Hearing and seeing someone feels closer than just texting.

MAIN INSIGHT

People care about the memories in their chat’s history whether that’s old photos, texts, or audio messages. It's their life.

KEY ITERATIONS

User testing between each fidelity enabled me to distill meaningful insights which led to notable enhancements.

Insight #1

After a special occasion, photos are flooded into the chat. Organizing these would make it easier to find all related media.

Early Iterations, Mid-Fidelity

Create collections within chats or for yourself.
Anyone in the group can add to shared collections.

Create collections within chats or for yourself. Anyone in the group can add to shared collections.

Create collections within chats or for yourself. Anyone in the group can add to shared collections.

Solution, Hi-Fidelity

Collections are made to be shared either in 1-on-1 chats or groups.

Insight #2

Users care about keeping up-to-date and participating in the entire conversation, not just listening to one isolated caption.

Early Iterations, Mid-Fidelity

Leverage the direct reply feature by attaching voice messages to sent images. Users are able to see this caption whenever they click on the photo.

Solution, Hi-Fidelity

All direct replies to a photo are saved into a comment section, visible when the image is pressed.

Solution

Create a shared collection in your chat.

Create a shared collection in your chat.

Users are able to create and title a
Shared Collection when uploading photos. An announcement is made in the chat, encouraging others to view and add to it.

Reply to an image in the comment section.

Reply to an image in the comment section.

Images with a comment thread are indicated within the shared collection. Users are able to see the number of replies and add to it.

Add your own photos
to an existing shared collection.

Add your own photos
to an existing shared collection.

Users are able to directly add their images in to collections, saved separately from the rest of their library’s general media.

Photos within collections are organized by date added for consistency with WhatsApp’s existing media system.

Reflection

It’s important to consider different kinds of users.

During the ideation and iteration phase, it was important to define my target audience as power users in order to distill meaningful insights that informed my solution.

Looking back on my case study, I realize there would be room to consider people who have just started using WhatsApp as well. An important next step would be to consider their unique needs and how this feature could better their experience.