Wechat Mini-Programs: 8 Best Design Practices 2019

I attended a conference called “China Chat” in Shanghai last week. This is one of the most well-invested conferences in China focusing on Chinese social media, digital marketing, and smart retail. I was very enthusiastic and amazed by multiple deeply-analyzed information presented by speakers. Among them, there is “Best practices for killer Wechat Mini Programs in 2019” provided by 31Ten. This article will give you interesting key points to keep in mind from this presentation.

Quick review about Wechat Mini-program

 WeChat mini-programs are “sub-applications” within the WeChat ecosystem. They enable to provide advanced features to users such as e-commerce, task management, coupons, etc, and are excellent Wechat Marketing tools for brands that are smart about it.

WeChat mini-programs have been in constant growth since the beginning of 2018. This innovation is even considered to define the “Post-App Age”.

  • > 2.3 mil mini-programs
  • 350 mil Daily Active Users
  • 95% of commerce brands have a mini-program
  • > 60% of Wechat users use them

Users can access mini-programs through many touchpoints such as Official accounts, Wechat Moment advertising, search, scan, share… Among them, sharing is the number 1 entry point.

Mini program User Experience and Design Best practices

1. Do not copy/paste your mobile site into a mini-program

Mobile sites and mini-program basically have different purposes. The mobile site is your full-scale website with all functionalities adapted for mobile usage while mini-programs should only serve a part of those functions.

Indeed, mini-programs are used for a specific task and are integrated deeply within the WeChat ecosystem.

The user journey and navigation behaviors between the two are different, so if you copy your mobile site into a mini-program, it could create friction and thus inconvenience for users while browsing.

2. Consider multiple mini-programs for different tasks

Each WeChat service account can have a total of 13 mini-programs attached to it. Among them, 10 are owned directly and 3 by third parties.

This allows you to break down your mini-program into multiple smaller ones with singular and focused purposes.

Compared to a regular App, mini-programs need to be understood very fast, especially for infrequent use. It is recommended to offer a user experience as simple as possible and to not try to replicate a full-blown App.

3. Design for simple, specific tasks and instant understanding

Mini programs are meant for “use and forget”. So brands should not expect that users would get used to them by repeated usage and easily explore all their features over time.

The first few seconds of entering a mini-program are crucial to understanding its functionalities and how to interact with it, and each screen should have a clear focus and flow outline.

Brands should focus on the “extreme usability” and fast-learning of the interface since you can’t expect the users would learn with repeat use. Secondly, focus the interface elements on the tasks at hand and minimize any distraction to the attention. Finally, there should only be 3 to 4 max steps to complete the task.

Walmart’s mini-program “Scan to Buy” is a hit thanks to its high usability and simplicity in use. It allows customers to skip cashier queues by scanning products’ batch codes and directly paying via digital payment software.

The total user number of this mini-program in China hit 10 million (2018) and it is available at around 300 Walmart stores in over 50 cities around China.

4. Leverage menus if you have a navigation depth of more than 2 levels

Even though mini-programs have acquired massive users, not all of them are entirely familiar with the mini-programs common core features, such as the top bar’s back button for navigation.

Whenever your mini-programs have more than two layers of navigation, consider using the bottom menu bar to enable horizontal browsing between the sections.

As mentioned above, sharing is the most common way by which users land on a mini-program. However, if users click into a mini-program from a shared link, it doesn’t always show the back button on the top bar. This could cause frustration for users.

5. Use mini-program as a teaser for your official APP

Since mini-programs are integrated within WeChat, it has the ability to be seen and assessed from numerous touchpoints thanks to multiple activities that Wechat users perform on the platform.

Therefore, if users are hooked into a mini-program, they would also be willing to move on to open the App to access full features.

Mini programs are supposed to be light, fast-loading, and simple to use. So, instead of trying to make your whole App into a mini-program, you can use mini-programs to teaser your App.

6. Lead traffic from mini-programs to Official Account

You can easily access mini-programs via Official Account (OA) because mostly, it will be embedded on the menu; however, from mini-programs to Official accounts, we have to use other tactics.

You can invite your users on mini-program to subscribe to your OA by:

  • pop-up notification
  • detect the follow status of users and provide them with a Call-to-action

Make sure that the benefits of using your OA are as clear as possible: useful information, exclusive deals… so that users feel the urge to subscribe to it.

7. Leverage faceted sharing

It is critical to leverage the sharing feature of mini-programs since 35% of users access them through shared links from friends, not to mention that mini-programs are also unable to be shared on Moment and thus not easily go viral.

A shared card can be unique to a conversation with both titles and main image able to be customized.

Moreover, brands can also use this smart tactic from the “Chinese visa” Mini program to make users share your mini-program on their Moment which can be seen by much more people.

8. Measure the performance and improve constantly

Before the mini-programs or any other marketing tactics are designed, you need a clear picture of your business goals and how success will be measured.

Once mini-programs are released, you should continuously track the KPIs and adjust as well as update your mini-programs accordingly.

Here are examples of business goals and KPIs for your mini-programs.

Business goals

  • Identify existing customers among Wechat followers
  • Increase repeat orders
  • Offer a seamless omnichannel customer experience
  • Increase engagement and brand awareness
  • Generate qualified leads with name and phone number


  • % of new followers identified as customers
  • % of sales from repeat customers, order frequency, average basket
  • % of mini-program users from sharing, from favorites
  • % of mini-program visitors considered engaged
  • Overall mini-program conversion: lead generation, action completion…

Macro Conversions

  • Journey completions
  • Repeat mini-program users
  • End conversion, form filing, registration, purchase completion

Micro conversions

  • Journey steps, page visits
  • Sharings
  • Interactions with page elements
  • Page scroll > x%
  • Customer service requests
  • Traffic to linked Mini-programs
  • Reviews, ratings, comments
  • Content interactions, live streaming views, video views

As with anything else, always keep users in mind, their situation of using your mini-programs, what keeps them engaged till the end of the journey, what encourages them to keep coming back to your mini-programs…

We hope the above tips would help you design and create the most useful mini-programs for your customers.


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