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Product Management Interview Experience : How would you improve WhatsApp

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Interviewer: How would you improve WhatsApp?

Shailesh: Okay, before I solve this problem, I would like to clarify my understanding of WhatsApp. WhatsApp is an instant messaging platform where people can chat, have a video call, voice call, send images, documents, voice notes etc. WhatsApp has payment features as well. This may not be a complete list of all the features, but this is the broad functionality of WhatsApp. Should I proceed with this, or do you want to add something?
Interviewer: You can go ahead with this.

Shailesh: Alright! I have some questions which I want to get clarified. WhatsApp currently has two different products: WhatsApp and the other is WhatsApp for business, so which one are we focusing on.
Interviewer: Regular WhatsApp

Shailesh: Since improvement can be of different types like improvement in monetization, improvement in engagement, improvement in user experience or acquiring more users. So, what is the objective of this improvement? According to my, we can think of improvement in engagement since WhatsApp is in a growing phase. What do you think?
Interviewer: Okay, go ahead with engagement.

Shailesh: WhatsApp is present for both desktop and mobile, and the usage of WhatsApp web is continuously rising, so is there any specific platform which we are trying to improve or both. According to my, we can first try improvement on the mobile application, then seeing the success we can launch the feature for the desktop as well. Is it okay?
Interviewer: Okay, we can do that.

Shailesh: One last question, do we have any time or resource constraints that I should be aware of? I am asking this because this can play an important role in prioritizing the features. Also, I am assuming that we want to improve the engagement globally.
Interviewer: No, we don’t have any time or resource constraints.

Shailesh: Alright, let me lay down the broad goal of the problem. We want to increase the engagement of the WhatsApp mobile application globally.
Interviewer: Perfect.

Shailesh: Okay, sure, the way I would like to approach it is, first will see different customer segment and their user journey. With the help of that, we can see their pain point; we will try to think of solutions for the pain points. We will also see the metrics to track whether our Solution is working fine. At last, we can think of the future of the features or some trade off if we have. Does it sound okay?

Interviewer: Sounds great.

User Segment/User Personas

Shailesh: Let me think of the user personas

  1. People who are very focused in terms of WhatsApp use. They generally don’t use WhatsApp that much, and if they, do it’s only for chat. E.g. — mid-age people, homemakers etc.
  2. People who are very active on WhatsApp in terms of chats, status etc. They are part of different groups, and they are our power users. But they are also using other applications like Telegram, Snapchat and they can easily migrate from one to another. E.g. — college students, young professionals etc.
  3. People who are medium in terms of usage of WhatsApp. They are part of a lot of groups but aren’t very active in group chats, but they sometimes do send documents, links etc. They want quick updates from all the chats, groups etc. E.g. — Busy Professionals
  4. People who are using WhatsApp for advertising purposes like selling their products. E.g. — Small business owners

Although all can be a potential target customer, segment #1 are too focused, customer #2 are already very active on WhatsApp and customer #4 has set agenda of selling things and advertising, so I think I would like to target people who are medium in term of WhatsApp usage (Customer segment #3). What do you think?

Interviewer: I think it is a fair assumption.

Pain Points/Frustrations

Shailesh: Okay let’s look at the potential pain points of customer segment #3

  1. As a user, I am not able to send messages, documents, images etc., without adding the contact number. For example, if a Swiggy delivery guy is not able to locate my house and wants me to send my location through WhatsApp, I can’t send the location without adding his number. I may not be very comfortable adding strangers on WhatsApp.
  2. While working on a project, we tend to send important links and documents to the WhatsApp project group. It becomes very difficult to track which link corresponds to which document, and we end up downloading all the documents.
  3. In the WhatsApp group, it is generally very difficult to have focused and collaborative discussions around some topic.
  4. The textual reaction is time-consuming; for example, if I am a part of some group, as a busy user, it becomes a real pain to react to the photo via text message.
  5. Being a part of any group on WhatsApp becomes really annoying sometimes because there is a huge influx of images and my phone gets flooded with garbage.
  6. Communication with people from different backgrounds is a problem. Sometimes people in the group chat posted something in their regional language, which makes a person feels left out.

Solutions/Features

Shailesh: Okay now let’s see some of the potential solutions.

  1. While transferring money to some other person, we just need the mobile number, and we are able to send money to that particular individual. Likewise, WhatsApp can have a similar feature in which a person can send messages without saving the contact number. [Solution to pain point #1]
  2. WhatsApp can have one feature in which users should be able to hyperlink a particular text with a URL and this text can be searchable in the links searching section. Also, we should be able to see the preview of the doc before downloading that document. [Solution to pain point #2]
  3. WhatsApp can have its own mini browser so that whenever a person clicks on the link/URL, he doesn’t need to migrate to some other browser like Google Chrome, Safari etc. This will retain the user into WhatsApp and will increase the user engagement on the platform. [Solution to pain point #2]
  4. WhatsApp can have features like polls, forms etc. which can help in quick discussion around some topic and people opinions can be easily gauged. [Solution to pain point #3]
  5. Facebook can extend the reaction feature to WhatsApp as well; this will help people to react to the images and the texts. [Solution to pain point #4]
  6. WhatsApp can have a group story type of features in which, rather than sending a lot of photos to the group, people can add pictures as a story and stories should also be visible on the group icon in the chat window, just like Instagram. There is no need to migrate to the status section of the app. [Solution to pain point #5]
  7. WhatsApp can have inbuilt text translation; if someone has sent the text in some regional language, then we should be able to translate it. [Solution to pain point #6]
  8. WhatsApp stored starred messages in random order, which may not be very useful while we are looking for a conversation. There can be a feature in which the user is able to bookmark the conversation and refer to it whenever he wants to visit it.
  9. WhatsApp can have more personalized GIFs and stickers. For example, if I want to send good morning to someone, it can create a gif in which the other person to who I am sending a message and I should be present in Avatar form. This Avatar form will depend on the profile photo of the person to whom we are sending the message. WhatsApp can also use VR and can also send dynamic 3d avatar of ours to the other person in the chat. This will definitely enhance the quality of conversation because personalized emotions can communicate a lot than text. [Moonshot]

Prioritization

Let’s prioritize the Solution, and we also know that we don’t have any resource and time constraints.

[High Impact] [High Effort] — #4, #9
[High Impact] [Medium Effort] — #1, #2, #5
[Medium Impact] [High Effort] — #3
[Medium Impact] [Medium Effort] — #7, #8

Initially, I would like to have features #1, #2, #5 to be in MVP. In future, we can leverage technology like AR to have dynamic and personalized avatars, so feature #9 can be on our future road map and the same thing for #4. We won’t be implementing #3 because it has a strategically different positioning from the mission and vision of WhatsApp.

Success Metrics

Now let’s see the success metrics

  1. Average number of reactions a picture/text receives per day.
  2. Increase in average amount of time the target user spends on WhatsApp per day.
  3. Increase in average number of WhatsApp sessions the targeted user is having per day.
  4. Ratio of Average number of document getting previewed to the total number of documents shared on WhatsApp.
  5. Bounce rate.
  6. Average number of links sent through WhatsApp with attached text per day.

Interview: Thank you

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Product Manager | IIM Bangalore | IIT Kanpur | https://technomanagers101.blogspot.com/

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Shailesh Sharma

Shailesh Sharma

Product Manager | IIM Bangalore | IIT Kanpur | https://technomanagers101.blogspot.com/

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