Whatsapp is one of the most successful instant messaging apps till date. Its growth in the industry and acceptance among public was constant ever since it was introduced. Interestingly, the app scaled in popularity with little paid promotions and the credit goes to mouth to mouth publicity.
Inspired by its success story, many young enthusiasts are desirous of creating a similar app that can give a tough competition to the app. However, even when things seem simple from outside, there are a lot of important factors to be considered and executed well to establish and maintain such a success over years. Let us have a look at the important areas to be focussed to develop a decent instant messaging app like Whatsapp:
1. Instant messaging option:
This is the basic facility you should incorporate with the app. The users should be able to receive the messages instantly if they have an internet connection. Also there should be provision to store the messages in case they are offline and provide the messages in the order of time received as soon as they get back online. As this features are every common, you should bring in some variety to make things attractive such as usage of emojis and stickers or mute chat facility
2. Profile and Status:
Setting up a profile and status page is the speciality of Whatsapp. If you prefer a similar app, include features to set a profile in which you can add your photo or relevant details. A status option can be set in parallel to let your friends know what is going through your mind or if you are now in the midst of an event or travel.
3. Registration Page:
There should be a proper registration facility using which you can validate the identity of the user. Minimal details need to be included such as their name; place and identity can be checked through a verified mobile number, email id or both.This is important to assure a safe messaging platform giving no way for fake users.
4. Contact Integration:
The feature should be set such as other users in the chat list can be imported from their address book on their mobile. Alternative options can be included such as to include friends from Facebook or Gmail. There should be an option to invite them through an email or SMS message to make sure that there are no unwanted users in the list. Also users are supposed to be given the right to block a person if they no longer want to be in touch with them.
5. Real-time connectivity:
The prime importance should be given to assuring real time connectivity when developing an instant chat app. Prompt and immediate delivery and receiving of messages gives the real feel of an instant messaging app. So make sure that the feature is maintained despite the distance between the two users or time zone or compatibility of devices used.
6. Push notifications:
This is important to keep the users active round the clock with alerts, notifications and online availability of other users. However, give them the power to decide the frequency at which they wish to receive such notifications such as always, every hour, every 2 hour or so on.
7. Set favourites:
A feature should be included to help the users to set their favourite contacts with whom they make the most conversations. This helps them to make easy conversations always without the need of finding them from the big list every time. Also an option can be set for group broadcasting in which a same message can be shared with many users all at once.
8. Multimedia file transmission:
People won’t be satisfied if you allow them only option for text messages. So design the option to allow multimedia file transmission. This lets them to share the images or videos and stickers or GIFs related to their text messages to make their communication complete and more interesting. You can even include options to record and send audio clips if the conversation is a bit too lengthy to type.
9. Un-compromised security and privacy:
Ensuring the privacy and security of the user data without third party involvement is an important area to focus. The users should be given the power to decide on the visibility of their data to specific users or groups they prefer. The app should include premium encryption technologies in their design to assure utmost security of the user details.
10. Group chat options:
There will be users who share the common interests or those who are part of a particular organization or family. A group chat option would help them to share messages to everyone in the group within no time. Users can also get involved in good group conversations to take a call on something or simply to have fun. There should also be option to share images and videos to spice things up.
11. Quick search facility:
It becomes useful at times to have a look back at the old conversations to confirm on some details or see a date at which the conversation happened. A quick search facility helps them to do the same and it would be good if you can allow searching using keywords.
12. Multi-platform availability:
You may start of the app for a particular platform say iOS and slowly expand to other platforms, as well. It is important to extend its usage to Android, Windows Phone and even Nokia Symbian to improve the user base and reach of your app.
13. Video and voice calling:
At times, users would wish to take the communication to the next level through voice or video. So an option to make voice and video calls would help them to have a complete communication platform. This is really a good option if the users find it difficult to express their views or ideas through just texts.
14. Cloud services synchronization:
Cloud services are now very common with such apps so that users don’t need to worry about their device space. However, it is equally important to synchronize the services so that a change made in a device is updated across all other devices. And make sure that users can access the messages from any synced device despite time. The backup options are a real help to fetch back the files deleted accidentally.
15. Presence management:
The chat users would sometimes wish to know the availability of other users to initiate communication. The presence management feature allows users to know who all people are online at present. Another option lets them to see the last login time of the people who are presently offline. However, users should be given the complete privacy and the decision should be left to them on whether to showcase their visibility or not.
16. Social integration:
Users would love it if you give an option to combine the usage of the chat app with social media accounts too. This gives them a chance to share the message on the chat to Facebook or Twitter and vice versa. This helps them to utilize the app as a comprehensive means for information sharing.
17. Unparalleled technology:
From front end to back end, Whatsapp has used advanced technologies to produce the best ever instant messaging app. If you want to use similar technology, have a look at its technical features. The primary programming language is Erlang which is known for its speed and scalability. The app started off with Ejabberd server which works with pluggable modules that combines a lot of must have features that ranges from one-on-one messaging to Message archive Management (MAM). For data base they used a distributed DBMS, Mnesia which is excellent in quicker request responses.
18. Consistent app improvements:
Once you design the app and attracted some users, your job is not over. You should assure ongoing maintenance throughout the journey to make sure that all is well for the users. Get constant feedbacks from the users to know about the bugs and which all areas need improvement and fix it in your future updates.You may go for additional options every 4 or 6 months to keep the app in rhythm.
This is just a vague idea about how to develop an instant messaging app. This is not a single step process and should be executed in small realistic stages. But to make the idea successful, there should be serious research about the positive and negative possibilities that can occur at each stage. A mobile app development company that is well knowledgeable about the latest technologies and who is ready to sweat it out to take a continuous effort is really important to make it possible.