西方世界的互联网公司宣布了“会话用户界面”和聊天to be the Next Big Thing, with major initiatives led by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Even Taco Bell has a “TacoBot,” a service that allows users to order and customize their tacos using a natural-language UI.

大部分的炒作源于中国微信服务的成功产生的焦虑,这7亿用户截至2016年4月。丝克特被吹捧为会话用户界面的海报儿童。在本文中,我们报告了我们用微信用户在中国做的用户研究。该研究旨在揭示扫描用户从事的实践,以及为什么它的用户更愿意使用微信而不是普通移动网站和应用。

WeChat: All You Want in One Place

As the name implies, WeChat started as a mobile instant-messaging (IM) app, launched by Tencent in 2011. However, WeChat quickly added other features; today, it is no longer primarily an IM application, but it also includes:

  • Apayment服务。200万用户已将银行账户与微信联系起来。这种能力允许人员到人员的货币转移,包括80亿“红色包”(所谓的,因为在2016年中国新年庆祝活动期间发出的红色信封传统上赠送了幸运的钱,以及在线付款或现实世界的企业。
  • 一个平台公司在线在线,有1000万“官方账户”。Official accounts与跨越的迷你网站是易于建立,特别方便的小型企业,与建立和维护互动网站所需的高科技技能相比。
  • An ecommerce platform,这是特别方便的,因为它与支付服务集成。
  • 社交网络。The “Moments” feature is somewhat like a Facebook wall where friends can post messages in different formats (e.g., text, audio, pictures, stickers, videos). Furthermore,message dialoguesallow users to interchange text, audio, pictures, stickers, short videos that are taken within WeChat, links, contact cards, and documents.
  • Othersocial services, such as “people nearby.”
  • Games.
  • A broad range of3rdparty services。例如,包括订购出租车,预订火车和机票,购买电影票和支付水电费。
  • Integration with the physical world.QR scanningis widely used to quickly access WeChat official accounts, and exchange information (for example, contact information). There are even plush toys that connect to WeChat.
收到从她的父母的小女孩消息在她的mon mon玩具,如图子的心脏发光所示
The Mon Mon plush toy for little children to interchange voice messages with their parents’ WeChat accounts. (Still from advertisement created by the vendor, the Chinese toy company Dan Dan Man.)

总共,more than中国用户在手机上花费的三分之一在微信中。难怪西方公司希望进入行动。

但是,微信的关键UX优势不是它从聊天服务中延伸;这是integrated user experience。每个服务都很好,但不一定比其他公司提供的服务更好。事实上,我们对微信的用户测试揭示了各个领域的许多可用性问题。什么是优越的是这些服务如何一起发挥作用并互相加强。最重要的是,these benefits are not the result of a superior, simple conversational UI;相反,它们通常通过简化的图形用户界面(GUI)提供。

微信类似于Megabortal,提供了对大量服务的访问。它几乎是一个平行的替代网站,其爆炸性演变似乎植根于两个不同的方面:

  1. IM服务的巨大初步采用,后来的支付能力
  2. The scarcity of mobile-optimized sites and services on the Chinese web

The first aspect led to widespread adoption and provided a convenient substitute for credit cards (a less common method of payment in China); the second provided one (and often the only) convenient way of online access to a business or a service.

我们向我们的中国研究参与者提出了他们的精神models在微信中,如下例所示,其中许多人认为是顺利的支付服务,官方账户比聊天服务更多。


Mental model drawing 2
微信的心理模型,由我们两个学习参与者绘制。

User Research

We conducted two rounds of user research in China:

  • Adiary study, in which 12 participants logged their WeChat use for 7 days:
    • Users sent us a WeChat message each time they used a special WeChat functionality.
    • 用户还在每天结束时完成了两个问卷:关于他们使用基本微信功能的一个问题,以及一个关于他们使用特殊微信功能的一个问题。基本功能被定义为消息,与朋友聊天,检查Moments(the Facebook-wall equivalent), and reading articles published by official accounts. All other activities were considered special features; these included interacting with official accounts, posting to Moments, using payments, scanning QR codes, and shopping.
  • A可用性测试, using thethinking-aloud method, where 14 participants used WeChat and other mobile apps to perform代表性任务during 90-minute sessions. At the end of these sessions, most users sketched their mental models of WeChat.

About half of the users were in Beijing (one of China’s advanced “tier-1” cities, with 21 million inhabitants) and the other half were in Tangshan (a smaller and more traditional industrial “tier-3” city, with 7 million inhabitants). The specificlocation doesn’t usually matter for usability testing, but, in this case, market research suggests that WeChat penetration varies in different parts of China: 93% market penetration in tier-1 cities vs. 43% in tier-3 cities. Local services (e.g., offline businesses using WeChat official accounts and payment tools) also differ in these two types of cities.

About half the study participants owned iPhones and the other half owned Android phones.

以下是可用性测试任务的一些示例(翻译成英文):

  • You are planning a trip to Beidaihe next Tuesday. Use WeChat to find what train tickets are available.
  • Use WeChat to check how crowded it is now at Sanlitun.
  • 你的朋友推荐“Jacky的小龙虾”。订购一些小龙虾,并将其交付给我们的测试地点。请在完成购买之前停下来。

微信付款规则

在日记研究中,所有记录的微信活动的32%都是支付,确认这项服务在微信中的核心作用。平均而言,在7天日记期间,每个参与者都达到了6项付款 - 每天约为一个。大部分付款是针对离线企业或物理人员的,而实际的电子商务支付是少数民族。

Recipients of WeChat payments made by our study participants.

微信支付服务普及的主要原因是其平稳的用户体验及其在跨境以及跨越商业/社会鸿沟的能力。作为一名学习参与者说:“当我用微信代价时,我只需要拿走我的手机 - 没有银行卡,没有签名,没有现金,没有变化 - 这么方便!”

微信的接下来的两个主要用途是Moments(the Facebook equivalent) with 16% of use and official accounts (miniwebsites hosted by WeChat) with 10% of use. The many other WeChat features accounted for the remaining interactions and thus summed to 42% percent of the overall use.

用户体验的集成和一致性

What makes WeChat superior is its一体化:许多功能都在一起工作,互相建立。一旦用户订阅官方帐户,他们就可以接收由该帐户推出的内容。它们还可以访问该帐户的微信页面,并查找有关公司或阅读相关内容的更多相关信息。他们可以购买产品或向公司汇款。因此,订阅账户与该公司开辟了一个互动可能性的世界,都强烈地绑在微信中。


Palace Museum account: The user can select one of the tabs at the bottom of the screen to interact with the Palace Museum (top left). Each tab opens up a submenu (top middle). A list of articles about the Palace Museum accessed through one of the menu options (top right). A WeChat “webpage” for the Palace Museum can be accessed through another one of the menus (bottom). (Note, however, that the Palace Museum’s webpage accessed through a regular mobile browser is actually not mobile optimized.)

这些微信服务通常无法通过其他移动渠道获得 - 例如,宫殿博物馆没有移动浏览器提供的移动优化网站。因此,许多用户更愿意通过一致且相对可预测的微信界面与公司互动,而不是冒险进入不同的信道并具有较差的用户体验。

通过移动浏览器访问的宫殿博物馆网站并不是移动优化。

For companies, WeChat is an inexpensive way to ensure a presence on mobile; that presence has the advantage of offering astandardized, consistent user experience。在与官方账户接合时,用户可能会成功,因为大多数看起来都一样 - 它们相当于websites designed according to the same design pattern。因此,互动易于学习,并且由相同的微信支持构建块制成,人们已经熟悉与其他公司的无数以前的互动。

WeChat vs. Traditional Websites

Although the mobile web is perhaps not as strong in China at this point (with many sites not having mobile versions), it is most likely that WeChat and regular websites will continue to coexist because they each have advantages and disadvantages. Our users didn’t expect the WeChat official accounts to cover all their needs, but they saw them as an easy way to access commonly used features.

Our users said that they preferred using companies’ official accounts on WeChat for several reasons:

  • 四通八达的交通网络。微信是主要的QR扫描应用程序,释放用户具有高的键入interaction cost在手机上,对旧用户特别令人不愉快。
  • Ease of interaction.As discussed above, it is easier to interact with an official account — you know where to click and how to use it because they all share the same basic interaction style.
  • 进入小企业。许多这样的业务(例如,水果店,手工,兴趣的组织)不太可能投资真实的网站。
  • Special discounts.微信账户的追随者经常获得促销或独家活动。
  • Up-to-date information.There’s obviously no fundamental reason why a company’s website could not be kept as current as an official account, but users’ perception was that websites were more static, whereas WeChat accounts were updated more frequently.

While WeChat official accounts have their benefits, users continued to use traditional websites in parallel with WeChat, for several reasons:

  • More complex functionality,超越简单的微信支持的UI
  • 垃圾邮件:太多由微信官方账户推manbetx官网手机登陆动的文章很容易变得烦人,即使是那些账户的追随者。有些滥用用户的信任并用广告灌溉它们。
  • 封闭式系统: WeChat excludes access to frequently used services such as Taobao (a major ecommerce site) and important music providers.
  • Impaired findability:Often different accounts will have similar names, and some of them may belong to a legit company and others may be fake and trying to impersonate that company. To make things worse, the same company may have different WeChat accounts, and the accounts themselves may be of different types (service accounts vs. subscription accounts) with different capabilities (service accounts will support payments, while subscription accounts won’t). Finding the right account can thus be challenging for users.
  • Trust issues:关于微信的manbetx官网手机登陆一些文章传播了假信息。
WeChat search results for Palace Museum (left) and for Xuxian, the fruit business (right). Checkmarks indicate that the account is verified by WeChat. But these verification checkmarks do not help identify the desired account, because many verified results may actually be returned. Some of these results will belong to the same company but will have different functionalities, and some will belong to a fake company that may take advantage of a better-known brand’s name. Users can differentiate companies by clicking on their introduction page or checking their messaging history, but these operations are time consuming.

Some of these problems are similar to those faced by users of traditional search engines, whereas others are unique to WeChat, especially the peculiar distinction between subscription and service accounts, which breaks the integrated model of the service and seems to be a legacy of WeChat’s history.

WeChat Usability Problems

我们的用户测试揭示了微信中有很多可用性问题和我们测试的各种官方账户。这毫不奇怪,因为尚未建造完美的用户界面,但应该向那些相信只需移动到新平台或拥抱新的互动风格的技术爱好者来说,这将导致最大的用户体验。相反:任何设计仍然需要抛光和适应用户的真实需求,而不是公司内部希望他们的客户会做的内容。我们将在这里给出两个例子。

Team Maker允许用户定义组事件。安装屏幕要求用户输入新事件的名称,但14个研究参与者中的10个忽略了该字段,并直接用于第二个字段(由时钟图标表示)进入事件的时间。

Team Maker’s official account: The top field had the instructions “Event Title (Required),” but it was overlooked by most test users.

Several design issues combined to cause this problem:

  • 横幅失明可能使用户由于图形而忽略了顶部字段。
  • The prompt was shown as a该领域内的占位符文本,这比单独的现场标签不那么明显。
  • 该字段未与表单中的其他字段对齐,因此看起来它不是形式的一部分,而是静态标题。
  • The activity title prompt was shown in低对比度文本,特别是与用于时间字段的更亮文本相比。
  • Users may have had a selfish-action bias, preferring fields related to their own needs (the time of the group meeting) over fields related to system needs (the title).

City Heatmap是微信功能,表明crowded a given location was. This feature is available underWallet → Public Services → City Heatmap.我们的用户很难发现它This navigational path was simply not expected, and suffered from a convoluted信息架构andproblematic namingwith poorinformation scent

这些问题对微信不特别,我们在可用性研究中看到了它们多次。New platforms have old usability issues,因为可用性的主要决定因素是人类思维and people’s needs, not technology.

基于文本的交互可限制使用

WeChat supports two different types of interaction with an account:

  1. 基于文本的:用户可以将数字或关键字发短信给服务帐户并接收来自该帐户的IM回复。(回复可以是自动的,也可以由客户服务代表作为响应微信查询而生成)。
  2. 菜单/link based: Users can select a link embedded in a text message or they can use the menu buttons available on official-account interfaces and in the chat window.

有时所有这些交互方法都可用于帐户,但在其他情况下,只支持更基本的文本界面。

宫殿博物馆的官方账户:用户可以通过发短信0-6,或通过点击屏幕左下角的GUI菜单按钮并选择一些可用选项来互动。在某些页面(但不在于在这种情况下),文本消息内的数字选项本身是令人令人发置的链接。(实际上,我们的许多测试参与者试图点击消息内的选项,并且当该动作没有产生任何结果时感到失望。)

在我们的日记研究和可用性测试会议中,我们仅注意到了limited use of the text interface.特别是,一些用户响应于订阅服务帐户之后接收的第一条消息,给出了一个数字。他们还偶尔发布了一份关键字,希望能够从该公司恢复匹配搜索结果。但是,大多数用户更喜欢基于菜单的基于文本的交互的菜单的交互。每当底部菜单可用于服务帐户时,用户依赖于它,作为与公司互动的更具权宜之处。他们还试图点击聊天消息中显示的数字选项,作为做出选择的更快方式。

Our initial interest in WeChat was to better understand conversational text interfaces. The appeal of such natural-language interfaces is that they supposedly allow users to simply express their goal and then sit back, while letting the site do all the work for them. No clicks or taps are involved once the initial query has been formulated, so in a sense, such interfaces have the potential of getting closer to the holy grail of usability — zero interaction cost. (Such interfaces do assume that users will be able to formulate a goal — an assumption that does not always hold, because用户并不总是知道搜索空间足够好。)

We did not find evidence for sophisticated natural-language understanding in WeChat. (Those human-staffed official accounts that reply to individual user queries are definitely not scalable in the long run and were not the norm in our study.) Instead of a true conversational text interface, we discovered a system that warrants the interest of an evolutionary web scientist for the way in which it mimics the evolution of the mobile web — a world in which historic, simple interaction such as the numeric-menu selection and keyword-input coexist with more sophisticated menu-based interfaces or GUIs. These latter methods are newer and often preferred by WeChat users for their lower interaction cost, yet, at this point, they have not yet completely erased the chat-box interface.

结论:微信整合为方便起见

If conversational interfaces are not a strength of WeChat, what is the secret behind its success? When we asked our users for their top likes about WeChat, the most frequently mentioned attribute wasconvenience

微信以几种方式闪耀着构建方便的方式:

  • Awide varietyof services and features
  • Integrationof these features among themselves and, especially in the case of WeChat payment and QR codes, with the physical world
  • Simple, consistent interaction在不同的官方账户中保持不变 - 与瘟疫网站的用户界面技术的多样性相反

集成和简单尤为重要,因为微信主要是移动服务。用户界面更难以使用因为他们screen-si移动设备ze limitations和易于易于触摸输入。一个简单的交互式,提供无缝omnichannel客户旅程对移动设计至关重要。

微信的不同可用性方面被称为主要阳性(在方便之后的第二个最常见)andas major negatives by our study participants. No UI is completely good or completely bad in terms of usability, and while this interface had many good parts, there were others that definitely needed improvement.

Our study participants’ likes and dislikes about WeChat.

The interplay between usability and convenience points to one of the major contrasts in our field —that between usability and user experience (UX)。While usability applies to well-designed user interfaces (UIs), usability is not enough for a good UX. Users need有用的功能that address their真正的需求而不是他们的想象中的需求。当系统方便时,它超出了可用性并成功存在useful并简化先前复杂的任务。

WeChat does all of this, and that’s why it’s successful. Not because it grew out of a chat site or originally used a conversational user interface.