"The Product Philosophy Behind WeChat: Which viewpoints shaped the current WeChat"

Title: "The Product Perspective Behind WeChat: Which Views Shaped the Current WeChat"
Date: 2023-10-18T10:45:32+08:00
Slug: shaping-the-perspective-of-wechat

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    Description: Some perspectives that shaped WeChat.
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    NoteId_x: 423
    Update_time: 2023/10/18 10:58:23
    Create_time: 2023/10/18 10:18:48



This book is compiled from Zhang Xiaolong's internal speeches in 2012. The speeches' PowerPoint presentations are available online and have been seen by many people, but this book better reflects Zhang Xiaolong's perspectives. In the past two years, this book has been published in physical form, and an unpublished version is also available on WeChat Reading. A friend shared it with me, and I finished reading it on the same day.

In the current consensus of criticizing WeChat, I personally think this book is worth reading because Zhang Xiaolong is frank about many of WeChat's designs. Why did they create features like Shake, People Nearby, and why did they take a long time to release a PC version? How did they design Moments? All of these are discussed in the book, and Zhang Xiaolong does not talk about vague theories but rather combines personal experiences, thoughts, and reflections. As the saying goes, it is very down-to-earth, and I call it "frankness." Wang Shimu, who also created NetEase Cloud Music, has a similar narrative style in his book "Behind the Product."

Readers may not necessarily agree with their perspectives, but they can gain new insights from their thoughts.

Below are some notes I have compiled, which reveal many principles that were present from the beginning of the design and have remained unchanged. These principles can be said to have shaped the current WeChat. Compared to products that constantly change, this is a very valuable aspect.


User Section#

  • Users are people, and it is important to understand their habits and demographics.
  • A system should be established to allow users to evolve on their own. Systems that cannot evolve on their own have no vitality.
  • People react differently in different environments. On computers, there is more forwarding and commenting on others' posts, while on mobile phones, there is more reflection of the current state. The decision to not import photos into Moments is based on this principle. ★
  • People are lazy, not inclined to learn, and lack patience.
  • Fashion is a driving force. If everyone is using something, you will be left behind if you don't use it. The power of this implication is strong.
  • The internet easily generates chain reactions. If a product is too utilitarian, it is difficult to generate chain reactions and make users spread the word. Therefore, fashion is important.
  • Groups are crowds.
  • Humanization means treating others as you would like to be treated.
  • Needs satisfy people's desires, greed, anger, and ignorance.
  • User feedback only helps you understand their thoughts and needs to be abstracted and generalized.
  • Understand user trends through their usage feedback. This is a holistic perception.
  • When designing, think about satisfying user demands rather than just creating a feature.
  • The driving force of psychological satisfaction is far superior to tools or saving money.
  • Pleasure triumphs over functionality.
  • Focus on the main scenarios, not all functionalities.
  • The reason WeChat did not have a PC version before was that computers cannot be online all the time like mobile phones. Creating a PC version would disrupt the perception of continuous online presence. In the future, when someone wants to contact you, they won't immediately think of WeChat.
  • WeChat will evolve towards becoming a push platform, connecting users with third parties that generate information. ★
  • QR codes are the entry point for mobile phones, bridging the gap between reality and mobile devices.
  • Forget past data and experiences. Insight into current trends and future trends is important.

Design Section#

  • Products evolve, they are not planned. Products with DNA will evolve, and DNA refers to the product's values and understanding.
  • Start with product structure, then focus on detailed functionalities.
  • There should be organic connections between functional modules.
  • Design is about categorization.
  • Abstraction simplifies complexity.
  • Identify the underlying needs behind demands.
  • Design for specific scenarios.
  • Let functionalities exist invisibly without deliberately showcasing them to users.
  • Mobile phones are an extension of our bodies.
  • It is better to sacrifice functionality than user experience.
  • Design for types, not specific instances. Let users create specific instances themselves. In simple terms, create something universal rather than customized. ★
  • Simplicity cannot be surpassed.
  • If a feature does not excite people, it is better not to create it.
  • Curiosity is the driving force for product managers. You cannot understand or be interested in every demand. ★
  • Do not make everything detailed at once because we do not know how users will use and feel about it.
  • If there is no natural growth, there is no need for promotion.
  • If the solution is overly complex, the problem must be wrong.
  • Your values determine the product's features.
  • Consider the behaviors users will exhibit, whether they are positive or negative, and whether they will result in positive or negative feedback.

Temperament Section#

  • Have the desire to change the old world.
  • Have your own beliefs and visions.
  • Do not list new features unnecessarily.
  • Apple's products are bought for the overall experience. Only bad products rely on performance to deceive people.
  • Avoid using phrases like "let's" or "oh." For example, "register now" or "the internet speed is slow, oh." These phrases create an ambiguous feeling, and it is unclear what the intention is. Avoid using sentences that force users, such as "you haven't invited any friends yet." Avoid using "success," for example, "successfully saved." Is there a "failed to save" message?

UI Section#

  • The most important aspect of UI is clarity of organization.
  • Tips should only be used when necessary.
  • Only what you understand is truly yours. ★
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