The digital industry has a big focus on messaging apps. The popularity of messaging apps stems from this fact that messages are integral to the usage of the phone. Therefore, the app market is abundant, with numerous messaging apps. With intense competition in the app market, it is reasonable to think if you have everything that building an instant messaging application requires or what is the scope of messaging apps in the app stores.
Talking about app stores, there are so many successful stories like Snapchat, WeChat, Viber, Telegram, and especially WhatsApp. Over the past few years, significant advancements in WhatsApp has made this application one of the most popular messaging app of the times. The massive user base of half-billion has made every app developer come to this conclusion on how to
Create a Messaging App like WhatsApp.
How to build a messaging app?
A series of discussions and decisions are taken at the beginning for making a journey successful till the end. Whether you belong from a technological or non-technological background, all you need to do is to start from basics or let say doing some homework before beginning with the idea of transforming the app into an actual product. Your resources may allow you to build a chat app by yourself or hire a mobile app development company, but having a clear mindset on what is needed to develop is important because a need is the basic idea of any creation. Here are some steps that you must go through while aiming to build a robust chat app.
A. Choose Platform-Hybrid or Native
Before starting the app development process, first, you have to choose the platform for your app. Because many of you would be keen to know how to create a chat application in Android whereas some of you may want to build a chat app for iPhone users or some may want both. The specification of which type of mobile users you are aiming will determine whether you would choose a hybrid app or a native app.
Native apps provide an enhanced experience and better functionality to users, but they are platform-specific, i.e., either iOS or Android. Also, if your target audience is wider than native apps will cost you a lot. A simple solution for targeting a wider audience is to go for a hybrid app.
B. Specify Target Audience
Decide the target audience of your chatting app. Are you making this app for the general population or making it for high-class business professionals? Whether you are building an instant messaging application for a business level or enterprise-level? Select your audience because this will help you in selecting the features that you would need to incorporate within your chatting app.
There are so many features that you would like to incorporate in your app, including chatbots, artificial intelligence, IoT integration, and many others, but defining your audience will help you in drawing the line.
C. Scope out the minimum viable product
The first version of your app must have a minimal product that only offers the core features. Further iterations would include more refined features. From the minimal core features to the new iterations as technology evolves, the scope of your messaging app can vary a lot.
D. Development of the app
Now you got the final picture of your product; it’s time to get started with the actual development. If you are not an expert, then you can build chat app by hiring a talented crew of developers, or another option is to create chat app free with various online platforms. Keep an eye on the budget. The initial phase for hiring a developer will require extensive and in-depth research. However, the end product will be worth the wait and the time that you would put in searching for the right developer. Because only the right developer will make your journey successful.
E. Incorporate Changes
The rapidly changing and ever-emerging technologies ensure that the developed messaging apps get continuously updated so that competition stays relevant in the chatting market. The competition starts with the industry leaders keeping WhatsApp on the top; the user experience must remain in contact with these competing apps; otherwise, you are out of the chatting app development industry.
Every journey has some roadblocks which are there to pave your way towards the success. A messaging app should be a Product-Market Fit. Chatting app development would require a lot of resources; that’s why you need to consider its monetization aspect as well. Whether you offer an advertisement based plan or a subscription-based model, the monetization aspect must be in place to incorporate all future iterations of your messaging app for ensuring the long-term profitability of your app. Here we will tell you the ten must-have things to build a chat app like WhatsApp.
Ten must-have features to build a chat app
1. End-to-end encryption
The privacy of user’s data is the top concern of chat app developers. Therefore, having end-to-end encryption ensures that their users’ information is safe. As an app developer, you must put stringent data privacy
check-ins in place to ensure the safety of your users.
2. Voice over internet protocol aka VOIP
VOIP has become an essential and must-have feature among the messaging apps that are available in app stores today. The voice over internet protocol features allows users to have video and voice calls over an internet connection instead of using a conventional phone. Voice and video calling make chatting app interactive, which means there would be no limits while interacting and communicating with each other. The Following are the main options that video and voice app can provide.
Video calling: Video call offers visual communication through the internet between users. Video calling uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and an internet connection, including the video of the calling person. This feature makes the connection with family and friends easy while living far apart.
Voice calls: Voice calling enables the users to call free of cost even if they are outside the country. With voice calling, one cannot see each other but only can hear each other’s voice.
Group calls: Chatting apps allow users to have group conversations with both video, audio, and text forms. This is a very popular feature in WhatsApp and other top chatting apps.
3. Multimedia integration
An important app functionality is the multimedia integration that is transferring documents and files in formats like videos, voice notes, images etc. You can easily incorporate this feature when you build chat app by using appropriate APIs.
4. Geo-location integration
Sharing of location in a mobile chat app makes chatting convenient for users. The Integration of geo-location makes communication better. More importantly, this feature now has become a part of every present messaging apps; making this feature a must-have in any upcoming chatting app.
5. Support from multiple platforms
Another component of convenience in any chatting app is making the app accessible from multiple devices. If you want to build a robust app like WhatsApp, then you must incorporate a feature like WhatsApp web in your chatting app. Support from cross-platform is necessary if you are intending to let your user access the chatting app through different devices like laptops or tablets.
6. Synchronization of Contact
Synchronization of mobile contacts helps in simplifying the process of onboarding. A chatting app must enable the user to send invites to their family and friends for using the app. User retention increases if the existing circle of family and friends are already on the app.
7. Push notifications
Push notifications to avoid a lapse in communication and boost user engagement as well. Enabling push notifications grab the attention of users immediately. The landmark moment of push notifications’ introduction by Apple changed the fate of WhatsApp in 2009. So do not forget to take your chatting app to the next level with push notification when you build a chat app.
8. Storage of user data
An instant messaging app contains loads of user data, including files, images, and text messages in audio, video, text, and GIF forms. To store the user data securely, you need to set a backend logic. This part of chat app development includes web servers like NGINX, file storage like AmazonS3 and databases like PostgreSQL.
9. Registration page
Authentication of user id can get implemented in the chat apps in many ways: through email, social media profile, or phone number. Most of the instant chatting apps like WhatsApp ask the users to sign in to their account with their phone numbers. Then WhatsApp sends a confirmation code via SMS. After registration, users can set their profiles by filling up their personal information and profile photo.
10. Customization of Profile
The feature of customization helps users to express themselves individually. They can change their names, background colors, fonts, patterns, names, etc. Similarly, users can control who can see their status, or the last scene, when and who is typing, or online presence, etc.