Thoughts on Wechat Mini Programs

The other day I had a try on the wechat mini program, more specifically, a dictionary app. The user experience was just fine, and it certainly is a good way not to install something that I don’t frequently use on my phone. It also supports putting a shortcut on the launcher so it really looks like, and can be used like, a separate app.

But, I thought about it once again, the whole “mini program” is just an HTML5 webpage, an web app. So what exactly can a web app benefit from moving itself into Wechat? More user? More user stickiness? Or better performance? Sure, with the built-in support of Wechat Pay, it will be easier for users to make small amount payments in mini programs. Also, if web app like Zhihu(值乎) made itself a mini program, it would be easier for user to find—not from the dialog list but from the mini program list(Too bad I don’t even like Zhihu值乎). But what else? I’d say Zhihu(值乎) is somehow successful, but I hardly think web apps like Zhihu(值乎) could benefit much by making itself a mini program.

On the other hand, though, there are many things that mini programs are not good at. First, if you want to run a mini program, you need a wechat. That means only one single device for everyone. What about the tablet that I have right beside my phone? Nope. What about my backup phone that I don’t log in my wechat account on? Nope. Everybody who have more than one devices and usually switch phones knows how nasty it is to use one wechat account and switch devices, it’s anti-human.

With no multi-tab support, mini programs in wechat just can not be the wise choice for web apps. It’s really hard to switch between chat dialogs and mini programs, but isn’t it a basic feature for smartphones to have native multitasking support?

I’d rather open a web app in a browser tab, bookmarked it, and pin it on my launcher, cause that’s how it should be used. That’s the home of a web app, the browser. Today, people are just using wechat as their mobile browser, too bad it’s such a bad browser, because it shouldn’t have even been a browser, not in the first place.

Again, it’s really SAD to see people using wechat like using a browser, or even an operating system. Tencent should really build a “wechat phone” for them, cause it’s all they gonna need.

Really pathetic.

BTW, comments are always appreciated:)