From Viber to Whatsapp, Chat apps are all the rage now. They have enabled communication like never before. It’s natural that you would want to build one either as a standalone app or as an addition to your existing product or service. Either way, it’s quite exciting to create a chat app for businesses.
So how can you replicate the grand successes of WhatsApp and Facebook messenger?
Here are 7 things to keep in mind before creating a chat app.
1. The basic essentials of any successful chat app
a) The best way to launch the chat app is to first launch its MVP (Minimal Viable Product). Whatsapp followed the same method and presented the essential features that can pique users’ interest and grab their attention. You can then continue developing the app capitalizing on users’ intuitive feedback. This way, you will follow a careful and confident path to create a chat app, and curb the initial cost of development and learn about your market impression.
b) Make up your mind about whether the platform is going to be native (iOS or Android) or Hybrid. Whatsapp first created their app for iPhone, and then went for Android after seeing tremendous success. Whatsapp now offers satisfying Windows PC and Mac messenger services and have evoked incredible response in Asian countries. You can walk on the same trail and build a native app. Android chat app development also sounds perfect for this approach.
c) Whatsapp focused on putting users first as they presented the chat app free from annoying advertisements. You can also surrender to users’ needs and avoid in-app monetizing tricks and emphasize on excellent user experience. Thus, you will receive thumbs up from your messenger users.
d) The way your app appears to users can tell a lot about your app success. If you are/have developers who work delicately on UX/UI, there is a big chance you will create a chat app that will be downloaded by many people. Almost 90% users judge your app based on their first impression about its design, icons and style.
e) Whatsapp designed a chat app that took off quite gloriously. The reason is being consistent in their ability to add new features and capabilities from time to time. Initially it was a simple messenger app, the interface of which then evolved to become feature-rich and user-friendly. It added new capabilities to make audio/video calls, send emojis, pictures, PDF and multimedia, stickers, etc. By improving the inner app structure periodically, users remain surprised, captivated and glued to your app.
2. Learn a great deal about the Target Audience
There are so many things that are usually determined by your target audience including features, design interface, mobile platform, etc. Mobile platform relies majorly on the target audience that is going to use your chat app. You don’t want to create a chat app without considering how well it will touch its users.
If you want your app to end up on a massive number of mobile screens, make sure you build the app on both iOS and Android. These two platforms are the most popular mobile operating systems present in around 95% of total smartphones in existence. Android has a huge share in the market engaging close to 80% of the users. However, iOS users are more loyal and promise bright revenue opportunities for app makers.
3. Documentation of your chat app idea
It is difficult to protect your ideas with legal system since the protection available is minimal. But it is crucial to preserve and shield your app development idea before you create a chat app. This becomes important when you reach the developmental stage. So you can find one solution to this: Documentation.
The documentation of your ongoing experimental ideas is proof that it belongs to you. You can’t achieve success in the first attempt, and the development process often involves many attempts, failures, refinements and partial breakthroughs. You may even need to save your attempts in a document for a while before they can be reused for future success. This is how an idea works out and meets the best results.
Make documents simple, concise and crisp in a way that you can understand better. It will help you for future reference. Note down all your scenarios and use cases, all the combinations of layouts and widgets and colours.
Also jot down the suitability of a specific platform for your app and thoughts on the vision of UI choices each time you try different screen sizes and resolutions. To remember more precisely, draw frameworks with details of how each element will be placed, and where, and how it will affect the overall layout of the app.
4. The estimated cost for creating a chat app
The cost of creating a chat app is a complex subject as it involves a lot more than what comes to mind initially. It is more than just about calculating development time, hourly rates and investment of resources.
The team you need to create a chat app encompasses UI/UX designer, 2-3 experienced developers, project manager and a QA expert. You may also need a developer to handle back end app infrastructure and develop an API.
Considering design, development and testing scope, the ultimate moderate development price may stretch upto $5000 to $15000 for a basic to medium range app.
If you want a high-quality work from professional developers, the price will definitely hit around $10,000, which includes a fully functional instant messenger like Whatsapp.
The final price is again subject to the amount of complexity involved and intensity of challenges while giving shape to unprecedented features. So it all comes down to the following deciding factors:
a) Backend development: This is the logic-based operating system that enables the exchange of data between mobile app and a database.
b) Third-party integrations: Third-party integration of libraries, frameworks and other essential services are accountable for enabling many functions in real-time mobile chat apps.
c) Admin panel development: This is a dashboard sort of tool that helps monitor and operate apps, manage users, statistics and various types of content.
d) In-app purchases: Nowadays there are lots of virtual rewards, objects and merchandises that can be implemented as in-app purchases for a chat app.
e) Types of devices/OS: In both Android and iOS, the chat app must be compatible enough to work consistently across the recent previous as well as latest versions of OS updates.
f) Customization: It is obvious that custom interface designs are a little higher in price as compared to those built using standard components. Further animations and combination of standard and custom designs drive the cost up.
5. Tools that matter for an instant chat app
Open source cross-platform app frameworks are the best way to reduce app development cost. They are free to use and available on different websites online with fully fledged SDK and code libraries. As you create a chat app, some features can be directly integrated using third-party plug-ins with smattering of customization.
For instance, Puship is one of the best options for implementing push notification function for iOS and Android devices.
Below are a few handy app development tools that help create a scintillating app and diminish costs:
AppGyver: Very popular web-based tool today that also offers hosting services for cross-platform iOS and Android apps made of multiple pages.
Alpha: It is considered as a rapid app development tool that creates web as well as hybrid mobile apps that support offline functioning.
ViziApps: it is a viable combination of an online visual designer and customizable sample apps that support building iOS and Android native apps with code generation.
Appcelerator: based on Java-script, it provides an excellent cloud service for using a wide selection of automatically scaled network features and suitable data objects for your app across iOS, Android, Windows and BlackBerry.
Sencha: It uses HTML 5 and supports handful of devices across different platforms. It helps developers improve development speed and boost their productivity with its pre-built components. Its HTML5 code can be translated into both android and iOS platforms.
Corona: Initially designed for Windows OS, it can be used for developing apps for many platforms. It enables you to start coding for the app in minimal time, making your implementation process faster. The language used for programming is Lua in C.
Xamarin: An efficient chat app building tool. It is multi-task app developer tool that supports virtual testing on multiple devices, app monitoring and performance testing, and app store delivery.
RhoMobile: It enables you to create native apps across a wide range of OS and devices. Its framework is open source, based on Ruby. You can build apps for Android, Windows Mobile, iOS, and many types of Smartphone devices. The best part about this open-source framework is that it just requires one-time coding.
6. Incorporate the latest technologies and trends
There are plenty of chat apps available in the market. This stiff competition makes it difficult to create a stand out app. The best way is to incorporate features that are in tandem with the latest trends. It can help gain attention of the general audience.
For Instance, Snapchat arrived on the scene with a truly unique concept and revolutionised how the western world approached social media. Instagram and messenger followed suit with AR features. Similarly, there should be some unique selling point that makes your app unique.
7. Making lucre from your mobile chat app
Monetization is a good idea of balancing the cost of chat app development as it generates great amount of revenue. Look around to see how other apps are doing it in the market.
Whatsapp started to make small revenue from each user by initially charging a tiny subscription fee of $0.99 a year. The app creators allowed the users to enjoy the chat services free for one year. As number of users soared, this augmented total earnings. However, modern messenger apps are free of cost nowadays.
Whatsapp’s historical success ceased the archaic philosophy of annoying users with frequent in-app advertisement. People began to choose chat apps that offer no intrusion. You may find it wise to make users’ experience enjoyable by exempting them from punitive ads.
Surprisingly, stickers sell a lot and are hot favourite among young audience who would like to make their conversations more expressive, fun, interesting and lively. Think of paid stickers as a good, try-worthy source of revenue generation as used by many contemporary messengers. You can offer them on a decent price to engage more users.
If you are to create a chat app with multiple facilities, you will find that specially designed paid wallpapers and themes can also be used for customization purpose and are loved by users who like to experiment different things every day.
You can also add small fun games in chat threads with exciting levels, currencies, virtual objects and other thinkable in-app purchases.
In a way, there is no limit to how much you can play with your messenger app and augment its progressive features to create more monetization opportunities.
SMS texting has been long replaced by instant chat messengers due to its ability to offer smarter, quicker and exciting ways to communicate with people across the globe. Such chat apps allow people to remain seamlessly connected without paying anything for the service. Competition among chat apps is definitely fierce, but the messenger market always welcome apps that have power to surprise users with fascinating features and unseen capabilities.
Also, chat apps have become a necessity for custom enterprise software. If you plan to create a chat app that offers incredible potential to change the existing standards of traditional communication, you can contact a reliable mobile app development company in India. Share your rough sketch on messaging application with a company that has unparalleled programming skills and competitive resources, and get it done.