WeChat as a remote research tool using WeChat to understand banking with Chinese consumers

Jocelyn Sie, Koh Wei Eng, Shamil Zainuddin, Graham I. Johnson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper describes the development and refinement of an existing chat application, China's WeChat, as a remote diary tool, which researchers can employ to acquire a deeper understanding on their consumers whilst overcoming major geographical and time zone constraints. This research was part of a project to understand the experiences of Chinese consumers related to finance and banking. A diary study was conducted through WeChat and phone interviews to understand how consumers conduct their everyday financial transactions. The research illustrated the need to adapt approaches to diary participants to elicit richer data, and demonstrated the utility of a feedback loop, which reassured and reminded participants to post regularly, in turn encouraging posts with more depth. The relationships built over the course of the diary study were also imperative to the success of follow-up semi-structured phone interviews, as trust and familiarity between researchers and participants enabled more intimate conversations. Novel use of the application worked well in gaining a deeper appreciation of the experiences of selected consumers. The paper adds to the growing literature on the use and adaptation of chat applications as a substitute for conventional mobile diary tools, and concludes with a list of key considerations for further applications in a similar research context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 2016 4th International Conference on User Science and Engineering (iUSEr)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781509026326
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr) - Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM), Melaka, Malaysia
Duration: 23 Aug 201625 Aug 2016

Publication series

Name2016 4th International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr)
ISSN (Print)2471-6154


Conference4th International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr)
Abbreviated titleiUSEr 2016
Internet address


  • Remote research
  • Methodology
  • Ethnography
  • HCI
  • Mobile diary
  • Consumer experience

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