English Research Paper

Goodbye Text, Hello Emoji: Mobile Communication on WeChat in China

CHI 2017 |


We present a qualitative study of mobile communication via WeChat in Southern China, focusing on the rapid proliferation of emoji and stickers and the lessening dependence on text. We use interview and observation data from 30 participants to investigate how rural, small town, and urban Chinese adults creatively and innovatively balance the use of emoji, stickers, and text in their mobile communication practices. We also discuss design implications of our research for the field of HCI, offering ways of leveraging the non-textual communication practices that we uncover, in scenarios where purely text-based communication may not suffice.