WeChat’s efforts on “take-off” were primarily aimed at fitting in its preset nature of “light social networking”. We have summarized 5 points to explain how WeChat, as an Instant Message tool, enhances users’ experience on chatting, friending, and networking improvement.
60-second “press-to-talk” voice messaging
A WeChat voice message was limited to 60 seconds and was not forwardable. This became problematic when some users would speak too quickly, prompting complaints. To solve this problem, late in 2016, WeChat introduced a progress bar for voice messaging which enables users to locate and replay a certain point in the recorded message by simply dragging a point a certain location. In Dec. 2017, WeChat enabled an online WeChat calling function. It seems like an extension of the voice message, but its impact on traditional telecommunication was obvious.
Transform voice message to text message
I love this one, especially at times when I’m about to be drowned in voice messages! It is a common sense that, most of the time, time spent reading a certain text conveys more information than the same time spent listening to that text. To make communication more efficient, WeChat’s audio message “translation” can definitely save you from listening over and over again to unclear or accented speech, and to help you grasp the main points quickly by simply skimming over the transformed context.
This function allows the user to see when another user to responding to their message through a “Typing…” icon at the top left of the screen. WeChat replying status is only available in first 10 seconds after the message is received and read, which means that if your message is not replied to 10 seconds after being sent out, you don’t need to know when he/she starts to type to reply. The aim is to excite users by making them feel important while chatting – you will know if you are special if someone begins to respond to you immediately after you text!
Scan and QR (quick response) code
QR code scanning was first used for adding new contacts in WeChat due to its quick response to pattern recognition, making “friending” a faster affair. Then it grew to include official accounts subscriptions in 2012. But payment is where it has been used most. WeChat’s pioneering vision for QR code use quickened the adoption of WeChat Pay in 2014. Users now display their QR code to store vendors when making purchases, who scan their code, and voila— the payment is complete. Now QR codes are everywhere, even for ID information storage – you probably know how it looks on Chinese blue train tickets!
Moments is essentially a more private and simple version of Facebook embedded in WeChat. Instead of manually configuring the privacy control of each post, a user’s comments and likes can only be seen among common contacts – for example, Lucy, who is looking at her friend Jessie’s picnic picture, won’t be able to see what stranger Susan says about that photo, and most likely, she doesn’t really care about what Susan says. The limitation helps create a close social circle and place every user at its center. It makes not only the user’s posts, but also the resulting “likes” and comments become that user’s private property, and prevents others from engaging with this material unless they are authorized and known to users.
Other material, such as 10 second short videos and the Moments feed, work in the same way to filter out unnecessary information and further avoid junk social connections.