So, do you want to know how to make a chat app? The best thing you can do during this initial stage is to familiarize yourself with the undisputed king of messaging applications: WhatsApp. Why is this platform so popular? It all comes down to the app’s range of features and its compatibility with most platforms. On top of that, don’t forget: it was first on the market. Let’s look at WhatsApp’s features to explore how to make your mind-blowing chat application.
WhatsApp: Role and History
First developed in 2009, this instant messaging phone app was quick to take the world by storm. Its popularity led more and more developers to try their hand at making similar applications. Viber, WeChat, Telegram, Kakao Talk and Discord are just a few of the copycat chat apps available on the market today.
In 2014, Whatsapp was acquired by Facebook in what is to date Facebook's largest acquisition. Estimates say that its user base has surpassed 1.5 billion, quickly becoming the most used messaging app worldwide.
So, do you want to know how to create a chat application like WhatsApp too? Keep reading, especially if you want to learn how to make a simple chat application for Android devices.
Determine What Features Your Chat Application Needs
Some core features are the same across all popular messaging applications. This is the essential functionality that makes chat applications so successful and intuitive to use. You can use this step-by-step guide as a basic blueprint for how to make a messaging app.
How can you verify the user’s identity? The process of authentication is often integrated with the user’s initial registration for the app. Most apps will ask for the user’s phone number with an SMS confirmation code.
The next step to create a chat app is enabling contact integration. You want the user’s contacts from their address book to be synchronized with the app. This is the best way to get the user up and chatting with their friends almost instantly, so it is important to make this step as quick and easy as possible.
You should also make it possible for the user to start customizing their profile early on. This could include uploading a picture or avatar, setting a name or nickname, and sometimes adding a status that can be changed on the fly.
Instant messaging requires the user to be online in order to chat. Most chat applications now display the status of messages as well, letting the user know if the message was delivered or read in real time. Some will allow the user’s contacts to see if and when they are online.
If you’re wondering how to create a messaging app that people will want to use, you will need to provide both public and private chats. Users love to stay connected with their classmates, teammates, coworkers or family members en masse while preserving their privacy.
Voice and Video Calls
Another key feature to adopt is voice calling. This way, your users can make free calls – even from different countries and continents! This functionality is one of the favorites among users; it’s no wonder that it’s available on any successful chat app. For even more personal connectivity, consider adding video calls.
Push notifications are imperative for any messaging app. How else will the user know when they have an incoming message? Consider adding different display options for those who want various levels of privacy and alerts.
Media File Transmission
No messaging app is complete if it doesn’t allow users to share media files such as pictures, videos, GIFs and audio recordings.
Take It to the Next Level with Extra Features
Now that you’ve got the basic guideline on how to build a chat app, you can raise the bar with extra features that can make your messaging application really stand out.
Enabling location sharing lets users share their exact whereabouts in real time. Make sure it’s easy for users to toggle this on and off in their settings.
If you are wondering how to make a chat application that stands out, this feature is a winner. It allows users to create secure chats with messages that self-destruct on both devices after a set amount of time. Snapchat skyrocketed in popularity with this strategy.
You can allow messages to be scheduled in advance. Users might appreciate this for birthday and holiday greetings, as well as friendly reminders.
This is particularly important if you’re looking to attract a customer base for your business. One common implementation is chat bots for customer service enquiries.
Find a Dedicated Development Team
For a small-scale development project, you will be looking at a team of several enthusiastic UX designers, backend developers, front-end mobile developers and at least one QA specialist. Many companies choose to make the chat app Android-friendly to begin with, although hiring iOS developers in parallel would allow you to reach a wider audience. You might also want to consider building a cross-platform app to reach a broader audience and launch your app on 2 or 3 platforms simultaneously.
How to Monetize Your App
How will the app generate revenue? There are several ways to make sure you get your money’s worth from your investment.
The simplest way to generate revenue is to run advertising on your app. Built-in ads (like the ones found on Instagram and Snapchat) are less likely to disrupt users’ experience on the app.
Sponsorship is another approach to monetization that might bring you revenue, which also involves a partnership with an advertiser. The advertiser will give users rewards for completing in-app actions. Depending on your choice of partner, this could be well-received by your users.
You can impose a yearly or monthly fee for users to continue using your app. This works best after a free trial period. However, with so many free alternatives, this would require your app to have a unique value proposition.
Finally, you could choose to sell extra (premium) features within the app itself, rather than presenting them all for free. To monetize your app in such a way, you might want to build an MVP and scale it further by adding some unique and valuable features.
Possible Challenges When Creating a Messaging App
With so many similar apps on the market, attracting and retaining users can be the biggest hurdle. Your app should be compelling and offer something more than the standard. Focus on unique personalization and provide incentives for engaged use or loyalty.
With online security becoming a hot topic, any startup or business owner should make sure to implement robust security features. It means an end-to-end encryption system is a must.
Users are increasingly looking for an app that can do it all, like WeChat. The convenience of having a chat app that also lets them pay bills, create videos, and access news and games is attracting lots of converts. It might be hard to compete as a new platform with global market players until you catch up with all the extra functionality.
Don’t Forget about Great Design!
Visual appeal is at the heart of any successful app. Don’t underestimate it! Make sure you hire creative and professional designers to give your app a distinct and stylish look.
Far from being a passing trend of the 2010s, messaging apps like WhatsApp are now more popular than ever before. Despite the large number of similar apps available, there is still untapped potential waiting to be discovered. Start today with LITSLINK!