Midterm Summary – User Experience of GroupMe

Whether you are an Android user, iPhone loyalist, or neither, GroupMe helps to solve the issue of mismatched messaging softwares. GroupMe is a free platform that allows you to join and engage in group messages on the web, through SMS, and/or through an app with WiFi connection (GroupMe App Parent Guide). In an age of hyper connectivity and virtual communication, people have increasingly utilized GroupMe for large group messages and individual messages. You are able to send pictures and videos, create polls, set up calendar events, and more on GroupMe. GroupMe is extremely popular amongst students, which could be due to the free aspect of the app and the ease of connecting with others regardless of their technology platform. Since GroupMe has become so embedded into many people’s everyday lives, I thought it would be interesting to look at the user experience of the platform. 

To gauge the experience of GroupMe users, I created a 14 question survey with a mixture of open ended questions, multiple choice questions, scaled questions, and a Net Promoter Score (NPS) question. The survey was sent electronically to approximately 125 people and 22 people ultimately answered the survey. I selected a questionnaire to inquire about people’s experiences with GroupMe due to the ease of reaching a great number of people remotely and to generate statistical data. 

A large majority of respondents found that GroupMe made it easier for them to send messages to group chats, create and answer polls, and communicate with people who have Androids/iPhones. One respondent noted that they like how they can message people whose phone number they do not have if they have been in a GroupMe group message with that person before. 

Most of the respondents did not like the look and feel of GroupMe. Specifically, 59% of the respondents had a negative opinion on the design and layout of GroupMe. An unappealing layout and format likely elicits negative feelings and makes the user more agitated when problems do arise. One respondent said they think that GroupMe should make it easier for users to search through messages and organize their messages/groups. Specifically, they stated, “I get spammed with messages and I think there could be a better way to sort through information.” Along the same lines as this sentiment, three other respondents said that GroupMe should have better grouping capabilities (i.e. academics, clubs, Greek organizations, etc.). Moreover, one individual said they wish that GroupMe had more reaction buttons for messages, rather than just a “like” button. 

For the most part, it seems like there are negative characteristics and perceptions of GroupMe, despite individuals habitual reliance on the platform for communication. The platform makes it difficult for users to sort through and organize their messages, which can lead to frustration and confusion. Furthermore, communications could be more nuanced and sophisticated if there were more reactions available for messages. Since communication is such a vital aspect of our daily lives, an unaccommodating platform can quickly become overwhelming and unlikeable. 

After identifying the problems of GroupMe, there could be several improvements of the platform. Currently, all group messages just show up in a list format with no possibility of organization. To solve this issue, GroupMe users should be able to organize their group messages into folders. The design of these folders could be similar to Slack’s “Channel” feature. This would allow for a less overwhelming messaging experience, especially when a user has multiple active group chats. Furthermore, users should be able to save messages, pictures, or videos to a specific “Saved items” folder. Users would be less likely to lose messages with this feature. 

Another common complaint about GroupMe is that it is hard to fully communicate, or express one’s real feelings, with only one reaction button in the form of a “like” button. To solve this problem, GroupMe should introduce reactions similar to iMessage. iMessage has a love, like, dislike, laugh, emphasis, and question reaction that individuals are able to use to respond to text messages. If GroupMe were to redesign their interface to include more reactions, users would have a more fulfilling and beneficial experience communicating with others. These three changes would allow users to have more positive and complete communications. 

Overall, a re-design of the platform to allow for organization of chats, an area to save important items, and more sophisticated reaction capabilities would leave users feeling more fulfilled and satisfied after using GroupMe.

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