Meetup for WhatsApp

During my time at university I was given a design brief to create a collaborative feature within the existing WhatsApp application that allowed users to better plan and make group decisions. There currently is no existing feature outside of "polls" which allow for this kind of collaboration. The result is a new feature I called Meetup which aims to bridge the gap between digital and physical collaboration.

Meetup for WhatsApp

During my time at university I was given a design brief to create a collaborative feature within the existing WhatsApp application that allowed users to better plan and make group decisions. There currently is no existing feature outside of "polls" which allow for this kind of collaboration. The result is a new feature I called Meetup which aims to bridge the gap between digital and physical collaboration.

Meetup for WhatsApp

During my time at university I was given a design brief to create a collaborative feature within the existing WhatsApp application that allowed users to better plan and make group decisions. There currently is no existing feature outside of "polls" which allow for this kind of collaboration. The result is a new feature I called Meetup which aims to bridge the gap between digital and physical collaboration.

End product

End product

Mobile App Feature

Platform

Platform

Mobile

Year + Duration

Year + Duration

2022 - 3 Months

Role

Role

UX Design Student

Technology

Technology

Figma

Challenge

WhatsApp has become a worldwide tool for communication but lacks the ability for users to collaborate; forcing them to rely on integrations or other software.

To be successful in this project, the solution would seamlessly offer users a new way to use WhatsApp, but not feel out of place in the current framework.

Results

After completing the design process, the end result was a new feature called Meetup. Meetup allows users to create an event, send an invite to their group chat where users can then input their availability. Meetup will then determine the optimal time for the event to take place and notify the host, who can then confirm. Once an event is created, an Event Hub is created where all messages, decisions and information is managed on one screen.

View the full process deck here.

The Process

The Process

Discovery 💡

Problem Statement:

I made the decision to lean into the problem users have when trying to organise plans around multiple people’s availability. The reason for this approach is simple; this is a struggle experienced by those who use WhatsApp professionally but also by friends in social group chats attempting to make plans. Upon researching, I found this area to be a major pain point for existing customers. Creating an intuitive, collaborative way of planning events and organising event information was the goal.

How might we help users plan collaborative events within the existing WhatsApp framework?

User Research 🔎

Existing Pain Points:

Difficulty Finding Messages

Current users complain that important information can get lost in the endless thread of messages as group chats move quickly. This makes keeping track of crucial details regarding projects, events or meetings impossible via WhatsApp. Users currently seek other software or integrations specifically to solve this issue.

Making Group Plans

WhatsApp is not a calendar, however, users will rely on it to connect and organise meetings with other people. At the moment, there is a clear gap in its ability to help users plan events, calls and meetings. This is mostly because users are forced to understand not only their own schedule, but the schedules of those who they are communicating with.

Personas:

With such a broad scope, it was crucial that I identified the users I was building for to understand what kind of features might be important to them. This was super interesting as I found quickly that I was building for 2 completely opposite types of people. This was exciting for me as it was something new that I have never approached before.

What I Learnt From Persona Development:

This project is unique as I am developing for two completely different types of people and must approach it with the intention to solve both problems. People like Joan, who love to be in control and require clear communication will need to feel like they have the ability to create events and make changes as they need. Furthermore, additional planning features would aid someone like Joan in not only finding a good meeting time but pre-planning their time together, making the event more efficient.

Mark is the polar opposite of someone like Joan. People like Mark, have other priorities and use social media and chat apps very quickly. Whilst this is great for them, it means they can miss a lot. When developing Meetup, I asked myself: “How can we make sure people miss an invitation.” This lead to the creation of the sticky banner. Missing information was the biggest pain point found when completing user research and this aims to resolve

Affinity Map:

An Affinity Map was created early on to understand the scope and potential of the project. Getting a deeper understanding of non-negotiables and listing out some early ideas was beneficial to get the ball rolling with Meetup. This affinity map also had an influence later on when building out the user personas for this project. This stage was incredibly important as it gave me a great starting point.

Further Research:

To get a wholistic understanding of the project and ensure the project was progressing in the right direction, more research was conducted, specifically Competitor Analysis and Collaborative brain storms. To read more about this research, view the full pitch deck.

Development 📏

User Scenarios:

As mentioned earlier, I was designing for two polar opposite types of people. I wanted to workshop the way that each different person would interact with Meetup so I created user scenarios that were later used to develop the UI flow of the feature.

User Flow:

These user scenarios were paired with user flows. The purpose of this was to understand the physical interaction that users are going to need to take to create and join a meetup. This gave me an idea of what I would need to include on each screen when creating wireframes.

Wireframing:

A very low fidelity wireframe was created in the image of the user flow. I wanted to quickly draft out what was important to have on each screen and where the most fitting place would be for users to access.

Final Outcome 🎨

Meet, Meetup. An all in one feature for users to plan, collaborate and share right within WhatsApp. Meetup seamlessly integrates itself into existing chatrooms without the need to exit the conversation you’re having. Struggling to find a time to get together? Meetup does the heavy lifting for you by taking user availability and outputting the optimal time that works for everyone!

It doesn’t stop there! When you create a Meetup, you are not only creating an event reminder; you’re uncovering a collaborative planning page so you can spend less time planning and more time doing!

Creating New Meetup Flow

Joining New Meetup Flow

Meetup Info Page

The Meetup Info page is a game changer. This modular page is used to ensure all messaging and data related to a meetup is in one place. Gone are the days of missing important information in the endless thread of WhatsApp messages. Users can now direct anything important to their meetup page for other members to see and reference. The idea is to have this accessible in the days or weeks leading up to the meetup, to be curated based on the needs of the gathering. After the Meetup has concluded, the page and its data will still be accessible in the “Past Meetup’s” page, meaning, the information is never lost.

“ The idea is to have this (Meetup Info Page) accessible in the days or weeks leading up to the meetup, and, to be curated based on the needs of the gathering. ”

Key Learns & Success Evaluation

This project was extremely enjoyable as it was something new for me. I have tackled mobile design solutions in the past but this was project was unique in that understanding the user from the very beginning was pivotal in the success of the project. I was building for two different types of users and therefore this was a great lesson in accessibility and purpose when developing something new.

Beyond that, it was also extremely interesting to develop a solution that exists in an existing framework. I had many design considerations that I typically would not have to worry about and this is because it was important that the feature be created in the style guide and design system that WhatsApp have already developed. This limited my creativity but taught me a lesson in cohesion.

Overall I believe I achieved the original success parameter of seamlessly offering users a new way to use WhatsApp, but not feel too dissimilar to the interactions that they are used to when using the app.

For a more in depth look, view the full process deck.

Let's change the world together

Send me a message and let's talk about upcoming opportunities

© Benjamin Martin 2023

Let's change the world together

Send me a message and let's talk about upcoming opportunities

© Benjamin Martin 2023