As Sina Weibo is growing its user base and traffic to the next level, more people have an inclination to share photos rather than just texts with the help of the prevalence of camera-equipped smartphone.

However, one thing annoying about social media is that its inherent fragmental nature makes tracking and viewing weibo messages as well as pictures an uncomfortable and non-intuitive experience. And none of current popular Weibo apps including official Sina Weibo iOS app has addressed the prickle properly.

Stepcase, the Hong Kong based-startup behind photo community Step.ly which has over 7.5 million users must have realized the setbacks. The company is launching a photo viewer tailored for Sina Weibo to provide users with consistent, intuitive and light-weighted photo-viewing experience.

 

The Story And Idea Behind Chaopin

 

According to Leon, founder of Stepcase, the idea of creating Chaopin stems from an experimental concept to create, design and develop an app in just 2 week to meet Chinese users’ needs of scanning weibo pictures.

The Chaopin team holds a unique perspective on China market, which can be boiled down into a few theories. First and foremost, busy city lifeԌEԌ taking photos in the same way that people in the West do. Secondly, cities are sprawling and those who regularly access social media have less interest to take/share photos. Thirdly, people like to consume and re-share photos.

Based on these, Chaopin team made several hypotheses to help point towards the direction for the app prior to development:

*People using Sina Weibo want a good photo viewing experience.

*People are more likely to connect with their Sina Weibo account if it’s not a pre-requisite.

*There is a demand to view and rate fashion themed photos.

The HongKong-based startup also realized that viewing street fashion photos seemed quite popular among weibo adopters even though the viewing experience isn’t that pleasant. That’s why they came up with the idea of curating an app that makes it a beautiful experience to browse street fashion related photos posted or shared on Weibo. The app will also allows you to discover and follow the people who are sharing these photos, rate the photos hot or not, see which are the hottest photos and re-share them all on Sina Weibo.

Once the concept has been detailedly fleshed out, Stepcase adopted a design-driven agile development methodology to curate a “MVP”, namely “Minimal Via Product” to test out their idea.

Beyond photo-viewing experience, you can also leverage the app to unearth and explore the latest fashion trends on Sina Weibo.

To get your hands on Chaopin, you can download it here.