Sharechat Critique

Sharechat is an Indian Social Media app. And this isn’t like your everything social media app. So, what’s different in it?

https://medium.com/sharechat-techbyte/building-content-discovery-for-sharechat-users-78ad2e482f11
  1. It’s doesn’t have content in English. But 15 Indian regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, etc.
  2. Most of the content is regional “Good Morning message”, wishes, status, songs, poems, religious images, basically what you find in your parents What App groups.
  3. Their target user base is “India 2" i.e. 2nd wave of users which started using internet predominately after Reliance Jio gave free internet. Side story: When first used Sharechat, I closed it in 2 mins since the content was mostly Good Morning messages or some festival related so I couldn’t relate to it, but when I installed it on my mom’s phone, she loved it.

What is this critique thing all about?

I am writing product critiques to improve my product sense. So, here is my 5th product critique and some suggestions.

Device Setting: iPhone X

1st Screen

  • When you open the app is this. I really liked the graphic design. For each language an image with what is most associated is shown.
  • I have selected “Hindi” which will be the default language for below screens.

2nd Screen

  • Login screen was fairly straight forward but when you clicked on the hyperlink at bottom for “Terms and Condition”(नियम व शर्तें), it shows terms and condition in English and not the language selected by the user in 1st Flow (pain point)which discourages users to read them. There is option to get terms and condition in other languages but for that you need to select extra option.
  • Even the OTP doesn’t autofill (pain point). Not that this is a blocker, but since app is targeting “India 2" audience which doesn’t have a lot of experience in technology. Asking them to go “minimise Sharechat app”, “click messaging app”, “search for OTP message”, and “copy paste a OTP” well that isn’t a simple task.

3rd Screen

  • UI looks a bit off with black and purple design not a big fan. This app will be competing with Whatsapp and Facebook in the India 2 users daily screen time.
  • On top you can select different feed filters like Following, Trending, Videos, Trending Category topics, etc. By default, a generic trending feed is shown. Unlike Instagram whose default feed is based on the people you’re following and in order to find more relevant feed you need to search in Instagram and follow pages and people. But in Sharechat’s default feed is trending posts since its audience are first time internet users and concept of following pages or finding friends over sharechat could be a hard task at first.
  • The 3rd screenshot above is Search functionality. I like the combination of new categories(Eid) mixed with general categories(Coronavirus 2, jobs and work) for people to select what is more relevant for them. These categories don’t change automatically based on what you search for or the posts you liked. I like what Instagram does, it refined my search based on what type of content I search for. Due to the white text over white images it’s really hard to read a lot of categories.(pain point)
  • In 1st screenshot above there is ट्रेंडिंग टैग(trending tags) option on top. I don’t know how many “Hindi” speaking audience will know the meaning of tags. I would A & B test with Hindi synonyms for tags, to see which is more relevant for users.
  • Also, trending tags is nothing but one or two same content images being reposting and posting by hundreds of accounts. This makes trending tags very less engaging, since there is no new information which the user is looking forward to. (pain point)
  • After using app for 2–3 days, I think the trending tags should be ideally placed in between posts also. When users are not able to find relevant content, trending tags could be variation which helps in spiking dopamine because of new content. This takes user out of boredom and stops them from closing the app.
  • Or a better option is to have a categories section embedded with images after 15–20 posts. This will which improves content discovery through finding new categories, improves chances for retention and helps Sharechat understand user choices based on what category images they click. So, Sharechat can improve the default feed with those categories posts.

4nd Screen

  • In order to zoom on a post, you have to click it twice(pain) and reach the image details page where you can zoom in.

So, Why is zooming on posts important?

Well, I was watching my mom using Sharechat and I saw whenever some detail caught her eye, she would use her index finger and thumb to zoom in on post but that didn’t work. This method of using your index finger and thumb to directly zoom in from post list page is common across a lot of platform (Facebook, Instagram, phone’s gallery) so it’s a learned behaviour. I would stick to norms and support zoom in post list page.

5th Screen

  • On the 1st screenshot above you can there is an option of “following” next to the user name. So, the Sharechat user can follow another user from post detail page by clicking on “Follow” but you can’t unfollow them simply by clicking on it again. In order to undo the state, the user needs to go in the post creator profile and “Unfollow” them. (extra step)
  • We are using फोल्लोविंग (following) in Hindi for the profile page and post detail page. But when you want to unfollow it is written in English(why?). Ideally, we should be maintain conformity. This pattern of using English can be seen in multiple pop up messages throughout the app.
  • Lastly, comments count and comment showcasing on screen are different. In 3rd screenshot above you can see comment count is 1 but inside there are no comments.

Overall, I think there are 2 important issues which need to be addressed:

  1. Content Discovery: In my biased opinion, I feel more embedded experiences can be tested so users can find more relevant posts. Better recommendation algorithm so default timeline is more engaging.
  2. Product Experience
  • UI needs a revamp since at lot of places it feels unnatural and out of date.
  • Content/post quality needs to be improved, India 2 user won’t be reading “Good Morning”/similar messages for any longer. For which Sharechat would need to excite a lot of influencers aka Monitization strategy.

Fin:

I am writing product critiques to improve my product sense. If you have suggestions please feel free to comment or DM me. :)

Harpreet Vishnoi

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Product Manager | Writer | Reader.

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Harpreet Vishnoi

Harpreet Vishnoi

Product Manager | Writer | Reader.

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