It's time to declutter WhatsApp

The app got too important to remain as it is. We should change it, without adding too much complexity to it. Here is my take…

Luis Alt
3 min readAug 31, 2019

This is a quick one, almost a cry for help. And bear in mind, I'm not a UX or UI designer, just someone passionate about (digital) services in general.

The communication app bought by Facebook in 2014 for U$ 16 billion has become an important part of daily life. We use it to talk with our loved ones, co-workers, clients. With it, we participate in interest-based groups to exchange ideas and stay updated on what's current. That's a lot to fit in(and to ask from) a quite simple app. And although some improvements have been made recently, such as pinning conversations, previewing links, and having access to links and documents in groups in a more organized manner, I personally feel overwhelmed with the number of different conversations and "suspended" to-do's or replies that keep hanging from the app, that more often than not get lost down its unique timeline/screen of conversations.

So, I decided to spend a little time trying to come up with a simple yet useful way of organizing a bit better those conversations: labels. And to do it without changing the essence of the app, and making it useful to anyone, regardless of how they use the app or to whom they talk to with it. Let's go!

So, this is how the screen looks like today (August 2019):

It's easy to get lost among so many conversations. And even though I try to archive every conversation so I don't have to scroll infinitely down to find something, and I also use search features, I often get my self feeling swamped from so many messages. So I thought of creating 3 different labels, based on universally understood geometrical figures: square, circle and triangle.

This is what it would look like in the "all conversations" tab:

New groups and broadcast lists (which are not very often used) could go together with composing a new message or somewhere in the bottom menu. The small icons beside the pictures show the label someone is part of. By doing that, we get the possibility of sorting people or groups into those labels, clearing space and adding focus to the app usage.

In my case, probably one of the groups would be for work-related conversations, the other for family&friends and, finally, the last one would be used for open tasks or specific interests like, in my case, Service Design or football/soccer. The conversations that don't fit on any of those categories would still have a place, on the "all conversations" tab, on the far right and where the app would always start.

And to add or remove someone to a specific label, it is as simple as it is right now to pin conversations or archive them, swiping:

So, here it is. This is my proposal to declutter WhatsApp. What do you think?

--

--

Luis Alt

I observe (and write about) how people use services and how organizations provide them — Founder of Livework in Brazil.