WeChat, the largest social media app in China launched WeChat mini-programs a few months back and this amazing feature has been an instant hit. These programs let the owner of a business entity registered in China to create a small program to interact with the users of WeChat. These small programs do not require any installation on the users’ phones and can be accessed via WeChat app itself. It not only saves the resources and space on the user’s phone but also allows the owner of the business entity to save a lot of money on his side as well.
In this article, we will discuss how you can create your own mini program from scratch. Just like a website, there are several steps involved in the process of creating and launching the mini-program for WeChat. Let’s discuss these steps one by one.
The first step is the registration. Each Chinese ID or sole trader business can register maximum 5 Wechat mini-program accounts. Some functions are not open to an individual account, such as Wechat Pay, membership card/coupon, registered mobile information, mini program nearby search function.
If you have Chinese ID or registered business in China, it’s very easy to create a mini program on WeChat. Unfortunately, if you do not have a registered business in China, you will be required more steps to create a mini program on WeChat.
Option 1: Ask a friend for help who is from China
Option 2: Use a business license from a Chinese entity
You can “borrow” a registered license from a Chinese company. Each Chinese company can register 50 Wechat mini program accounts. However, the account will remain attached to the Chinese legal entity and the legal name will be mentioned on the information page. But you still can customise your own account name, logo and description.
Option 3: Contact Tencent and go through a special process
It is possible to register as a foreign company to create a Wechat account but the special process will be required, which is a case by case process. Meanwhile, Tencent charges a verification fee.
Steps to register:
You need to go to the http://mp.weixin.qq.com and click on “Register”. When you register for the program, it will ask you to fill an email ID. Make sure the email ID you are going to use is not associated with any existing account on WeChat. A verification email from Tencent will be sent to your registered email for your account activation.
Next, it will ask you to choose the type of the entity you are going to register. You can choose between Enterprise, Business, Government, Media and Other. Media and Other will need an additional step of verification.
After that, you will need to fill out the Admin information that will have sections like Admin name, Admin Chinese ID number, Admin Phone Number and verification code. Do remember that once you click the submit button, this information cannot be altered.
For the Enterprise account, you will need to verify your bank account. In this process, you need transfer a very small amount from your bank account to Tencent nominated account.
2. Preparation for development and design:
The next step is to prepare for the application. You need to decide the color combinations and features you want to use in the application. Once you are sure about the basic information that you will need about the user interface, the next step is to start creating the application.
First of all, login to your Mini Program account. Now fill the basic information required like name, icon, description of the service you are going to provide and so on. You can invite programmers to work on your application by clicking on the “Add new developers” under Developers section which can be found under User Identity tab. You can add up to 20 verified accounts of developers maximum and 10 non-verified maximum.
Under the settings, you will find a section named “Development Settings” where you can get the AppID. You will need the application development tools as well.
3. The basic pointers:
There are a few basics which you need to keep in mind while designing the application:
- Do not use any problematic design. Don’t use any fields in the application which can be considered as irrelevant to the user.
- Avoid using any banned script inside the application associated with other services like Google fonts etc.
- Make sure to use the common font sizes like 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18 and 20.
- Keep the language of the application simple, polite and friendly.
- Make sure to highlight the key points of the application.
- Make it engaging.
- Make sure the navigation is easy even for a layman.
- Test the navigation bar on both iOS and Android phones.
- Make sure to keep the color combinations as per the requirement of the OS.
With the help of a coding program and API documentation, you can create the program in a very short period of time. Additionally, you can take help of the developers as well. There are four main types of files with extensions .js, .json, .wxss and .wxml. Every type of file has different functions in the program.
5. Testing the program:
Once you are done with the code and design, you will need to test the program and submit it for the approval. Make sure to test it completely at every step before you submit it for the review. You can connect it to a testing account as well but it is completely optional. You can check the status of your application review under the “Development Management” tab.
As soon as your code is approved, the application is ready for the release. All you need to do is to go to the admin section and click on the “Release” button and your program will be live.