Creating an App like Whatsapp

What, why and how of building a messaging app like WhatsApp

From being a sensational new tool for real-time chatting, today, WhatsApp has become an essential communication tool, even surpassing emails. What made it a sure shot success? Well, because it was introduced to address a grass root trait that humans have always obsessed over. Communication!

People love talking to each other.

SMS texting, social media messages, personal chats, and calls have always been highly sought after. WhatsApp simply gave new and efficient means for personal messaging to people, and it was accepted in daily lives in no time.

Monthly active users of various apps

(Source)

As the chart shows, millions of people are used to communicate via mobile apps. Their unparalleled popularity is a sheer indicator that communication industry is transforming and in-app messaging is taking it towards future.

Easy availability of mobile internet and smartphones has spiked up mobile app usage. Clearly, this opens up a new avenue for businesses to approach and engage with their users like never before. That being so, we have written this article to shed more light on how you can leverage your business by means of a mobile app with WhatsApp like conversation features.

So fellas, buckle up and get to work!

Essential features that make your app more influential

Messenger App features

Basically, a WhatsApp like app for business allows people to interact with their contacts, social connections or business networks synced in the app. For such app to remain in demand continually, it must have the features highly solicited by users worldwide. These features constitute the core of the app and attract new users to associate with you. Accordingly, here is a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves features your app should’ve.

User profiling

Upon entering the app, the user must sign into it. Users’ phone number can be a unique parameter to create distinct users in the app. Besides, with the mobile number, the security verification using SMS becomes instant and faster. Furthermore, a user should be able to create his own profile with details and media of his choice to aptly express his persona.

Syncing contacts

Basically, your messaging apps should conveniently facilitate the user with contacts he can communicate to. It can be contacts stored in phone, social media connections or list of people he needs to interact within your business network. In accordance with your objective of building the app, you can make the app fetch such contacts from various sources.  

 Enabling real-time messaging, the essence of building messaging apps

Needless to say, the app should connect the user with contact synced with the app. It must deliver the messages or the media attachments promptly to another person. Evidently, the technologies you use in app development must ensure dexterous one-to-one chat as well as group conversations in real time.

Voice and Video calling

Skype paved the path of VoIP calling across countries right from the app. Today, this is exceedingly used in all messaging apps. Be it FB Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, or Skype, the calling feature makes them further interactive. Hence, you should give the user the liberty to decide whether to use audio, video call or simply text to communicate.

Multimedia attachment transfer

Every day, chat apps circulate millions of videos and billions of images, in addition to documents and GIFs and more supported formats. That is, the user would prefer to be able to send and receive documents while chatting without having to leave the app.

Notifications

Notifications are an efficient way to alert the users that the app has something inside that they should have a look at. Using Firebase Cloud Messaging by Google (FCM) and Apple Push Notifications would make implementing in-app alerts easier. You can even allow the user to customize how they wish to receive notifications.

  • Geo-location sharing
  • App scalability
  • Quick search within conversations
  • Message broadcasting
  • Integration with social platforms
  • Status indicators
  • Calendar sync
  • Self-destructive messages
  • Subscriptions and in-app purchases
  • Cross-platform app operability
  • Chatbot integration

The list can keep growing further. However, you must enlist the top features that are indispensable for you to attract users. You can launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that is an app with only essential features, and later keep updating the app while adding new features based on the user feedback. Please note that each feature development consumes a big deal in terms of time and efforts.  Here is a suggestion, try using open-source messaging libraries and speed up development while incurring a lesser cost.   

For a programmer’s curiosity: What does it take to develop a messenger app

Before everything else, you need the industry research observations and app architecture on paper. Here is the plan you can follow if you want,

  • Enlist your requirements. What do you want the app to do?
  • Observe industry standard, best practices, and current trends.
  • How does your competitor’s app look?
  • Lay down the app architecture that describes how the app components would interact, layers in the app, data caching, data flow and accessibility, development environment, supported devices, resolution, and hardware connectivity,
  • Here is where you visualize worst-case scenarios that might need to operate in such an intermittent network,
  • Envisage the future of the app in the marketplace
  • Then, design and examine a prototype before beginning with development.

Finally, this is how you go about developing the app for real. 

App development flowchart

  • Database Framework or cloud media storages would build the foundation to raise the app on.
  • Application server for real time messaging and calling, such as XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) or  MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport)
  • Then, you would need a Rest API to communicate data to and from the app.
  • In the end, Firebase Cloud Messaging shall keep you covered for the app notification part.

Voila! You are pretty much done with the backend construction. Next is, developing the app for different platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, and BlackBerry. Take a good look at your target audience and the platforms they prefer to use. Without a doubt, iOS and Android platforms would suffice to address the majority of your users.

Evidently, native development is an uphill battle of building Messaging APIs, Chat SDK, libraries, Google and Apple cloud services for Android and iOS platforms and the whole lot. Your programmer would be certainly well versed with how to go about the native app development.

Design!

You must design the appearance of the app very carefully and creatively. Undeniably, the ‘look and feel’ do the hard-hitting piece of work and keep the users engaged with your app while enticing them to return to the app again. While designing you must focus on sentimental usage aspects, such as:

  • App logo: The users see the app icon before they can experience how beautiful your app is. Thus, it is as pivotal as the UI. Icons duly influence the users’ decision of whether or not download the app. Hence, make sure that your logo communicates your brand identity efficiently.
  • App color and theme: choose them wisely. Because, color psychology works indeed. Just so you know, monochrome colors remain in always. Ever wondered why Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, WhatsApp and more app giants exude blue and green hues? Well, give it a thought.
  • Easy navigation. Not to be forgotten that you must handle navigation deftly both at front and back end. Distribute the features and buttons on app screen such that everything comes handy to users. Try to understand whether your customers would want a single window navigation, stacked navigation bar, search driven or gesture based navigation. Take extra care of those most frequently used features. The user friendliness is a trump card that can make your app a hit or a miss.

When you have a decently working version of the app ready, begin testing. Alpha testing, beta testing, keep on testing. It is very crucial. Run all the possible test case scenarios to ensure that you have built an all-weather robust app.  

How would this chat app accelerate your business?

First off, keep in mind that you are building an app for a special business niche for your clients and prospects of the local area as well as worldwide and not any general-purpose texting application.

Businesses can deploy a messaging app for a range of utilities and can reap wholesome rewards for the same, such as;

  • Well, you get to attract more users, more of those who prefer everything done on the go, and to communicate with those who are already using the app.
  • The app even fosters the relationship between users and service providers, thereby churn reduces and more users engage with business. Thus, cross sell and upsell potential increases.
  • Your business can provide better customer support. Through the app, you are accessible 24/7, users can easily submit their queries.
  • You can establish a direct communication and feedback channel directly with the end user.
  • Increases conversion rate as well as customer satisfaction.

See, you can taste a bunch of amazing benefits when you decide to serve and connect with the end user through a mobile app with a built in chatting feature inside.

Time and resources: What does the development cost you?

Seemingly, you have made up your mind to develop all that we discussed about so far. An interactive business app will present you with a channel to acquire more customers and monetize in addition to the perks mentioned above.

So to speak, building such a messenger app would cost you a big sum in terms of time, energy and money. If you begin from the scratch and code yourself, approximately you will need more than 6 months of full time work.

In addition, you will need a team of programming rock stars, that include iOS programmer, Android programmer, front end and back end developers, UI and UX designers, Quality Analyst and a learned person to oversee the happenings aka a project manager.  

All in all, it can cost you up to and beyond $25,000 to develop such an app for your business. However, this is a ballpark number, the type and nature of the features in your app more or less influence the cost of development.

How Applozic lends you a helping hand with in-app messaging

Apparently, adding chat feature in mobile app indeed is a tough job. By now you must be wondering whether to do it yourself or outsource it. Here is a detailed answer to your ‘buy it Vs build it’ dilemma. In a nutshell, your engineers should work upon what they are good at, i.e. developing your business, and leave the ‘in-app messaging’ to experts like Applozic.

To put it briefly, at Applozic we offer best in class chat API & In-App Messaging SDK that you can use to integrate messaging in web or your mobile app. The comprehensive toolkit

  • Saves you huge development cost
  • Gives rich cross platform and multi device conversational interface
  • Make your web and mobile apps more interactive
  • Seamlessly integrates in your product

Thus, with plenty of more intuitive features, Applozic looks after your in-app chat essentials, while allowing you to concentrate on your business. Connect us to know more.

Bringing it all together

Building a messaging app that brings your business a desired output, is a lot more than just programming and launching the app. The whole lot involves post release support, maintenance, timely upgrades, integration with enterprise systems and much more. Therefore, your decision of building or buying in-app chat features has many repercussions that you can imagine. Take all the time you need to make this decision of great magnitude.

In the end, this is how one can go about developing a WhatApp like messaging app from the very scratch. Do remember that even if Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are dominating the in-app communication industry, there is still room for an intuitive app like yours to accommodate in the marketplace. You must build an app that stands out with its unique value proposition.

Without a doubt, conversational apps are a significant part of the end to end communication for businesses. It is high time you must have a dedicated interactive app for your business.

Carpe diem!


Platforms supported by Applozic

All about using Applozic on your preferred platforms

With myriad of buying channels mushrooming across digital business space, the user has plenty of options that influence his purchase decision in no time. Smartphones and web have affected worldwide business space tremendously. This very fact is the reason why businesses have turned their eyes towards directly reaching the end user, while implementing personalized approach.

There exist multifarious methods of achieving this objective and yield more client acquisitions. The most effective of them all is, interacting with the inquirers as well as existing users in real time, right when they are seeking answers to their questions. In-app communication, in a nutshell! On that account, Applozic was built with the sole agenda of facilitating other contemporary businesses setup interactive chat channels and tools on web as well as mobile platforms.

Consequently, many businesses soliciting our services oftentimes wonder whether or not we support the platform their infrastructure is built on. Therefore, this blog post intends to shed more light on the answer, in addition to exploring further about Applozic’s business efficiency. Keep reading!

Why multi-platform operations are important?

Since users are multi-platform, your business is spread across multiple platforms too. Hence, we as your service providers, have grown to support your communication requirements on the platform your business is built on.

In modern times, it is highly likely that your products or services are available across various platforms. You might already have a website, and have introduced a dedicated mobile app now. You are connecting with users everywhere across the space of internet. Apparently, customer interaction and chatting features have to remain at the core of the online frontier of your business to get an edge over competitors.

Therefore, the messaging platform you use (Applozic, in this case) in your website, must be able to perform identically, without any glitch in the mobile apps too. When Applozic integrated in your product or app supports multiple platforms, you are able to:

  • Incorporate different platforms to leverage your business.
  • Work in an all integrated environment.
  • Seamlessly sync data from different sources to one system.

And the whole lot.

Yes, there are plenty of platforms we support

Surely, we are a high performing cross-platform chat solution. Notably, being able to deliver a consistent chat experience across different platforms is the key factor that makes Applozic widely accepted. While messengers built using Applozic toolkit seamlessly integrate with web apps, we also soundly support your mobile apps built on a variety of platforms. Take a look at these mobile platforms supported by us.

List of mobile platforms supported by Applozic:

  • iOS
  • Android
  • Cordova
  • PhoneGap
  • Xamarin
  • Ionic
  • React Native
  • NativeScript

The perks of integrating Applozic to your business platform

Studies have shown that over call and email, users choose to chat with businesses to get their inquiries answered, more preferably in real time chat console. You already know how popular messenger apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Line are. Then, why should you put a simple chat window to your website, web app or mobile app? Let us answer:

  • To develop business intelligence
  • To add more value to your business with Right Tools of Communication
  • To equip your business platform with instant messaging capabilities
  • To streamline your engineering resources for better customer support

Our remarkably easy to integrate APIs and SDKs allow you to infuse ‘Just right’ communication features to your platform (Oh well, you can always tell us if you want something specific in your mind, we would be more than happy to develop it). At the other end of the integration, what you get is,

  • Increased user engagement
  • Thereby, improved customer satisfaction
  • More number of visitors convert to leads
  • Reduced cost of support
  • Lower churning
  • Increased efficiency

The hybrid messaging solution Applozic is the all-inclusive answer to all your in-app communication requirements.

Features of messaging solution built using Applozic for your business

  • One to one chat
  • Group chat
  • HD audio and video calling in real time
  • Multilingual chat support: You can text in local language of the users
  • Push notifications that bring users to chat console quickly
  • Message analytics: Time stamped texts, read receipts, message delivery status and more.
  • Ability to record and reconnect with them through SMS and email after they leave the chat
  • Ability to send and receive Attachments of various formats
  • Applozic SDK and open source UI kits allow you to design the appearance of chat console that would seamlessly blend with the look and feel of your website or app.
  • Cross application communication: Even the users from different apps can be connected to a single communication channel.
  • Chat bot support
  • Further integrates with your centralized CRM or ERP software suite

Nevertheless, by integrating your online business with such a messaging platform loaded with all these features, you can build a messaging solution of your own that works wonders for your business. You should definitely know more; want to schedule a demo for your convenient time?

Thus, with the fully managed messaging solution Applozic integrated in your web or mobile platform, we take care of everything for you, so that you can focus on what matters to you the most; your business.

Bringing it all together

Evidently, we have come a long way from using only Windows and OS X. Today, you must expand to and make customized developments for as many platforms as you can find your users on. Whichever platform you branch out to, Applozic is there to back you up as a multi-platform communication solution.

The task of interacting with users and prospects in real time poses as a challenge as well as a huge opportunity for present-day businesses. The ones who get it right, get ahead of their adversaries quickly.

Harness the power of SaaS, deliver an intuitive communication experience to everyone you work with, and take your business to a new level. Applozic is your gateway to plug and play messaging! Try us for free or Chat with us now.


Progressive Web apps

5 Amazing Benefits of Progressive Web Apps

The total number of mobile app downloads in 2017 was an astonishing 197 billion and more businesses are now venturing into having an app developed. It is almost seen as a compulsory step for most companies in the same vein as developing a website was many years ago.

The issue with developing ‘traditional’ apps is that they can be costly and often use a significant amount of data as well as storage on the users’ device. This is one of the reasons why Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) have risen in prominence and popularity. Many people are only now beginning to find out what PWAs are and this is the reason many businesses are switching from native apps.

There are significant benefits to using PWAs and we are going to show you 5 reasons why Progressive Web Apps may be better for your business.

1. Low Data Usage:

In many developing countries data is an expensive commodity. While places such as India are noticing a fall in the cost of mobile data, it is still pricey compared to developed nations.

PWAs only use a fraction of data usage compared to native apps. Konga, which is a leading e-commerce website based in Nigeria, use a PWA that has resulted in 92% less data consumption, compared to a traditional app, thereby keeping the cost of using PWAs low for the end user. A native app that consumes 10mb of data for instance can be cut to just 500kb with a PWA. This is a massive decrease when your monthly data limit isn’t huge or where buying data is expensive.

In fact, PWAs don’t require any significant storage on the device either. This frees up space for the user and contributes to better performance on their smartphones.

2. No Updates Required:

The native apps that most users have installed on their device update automatically and oftentimes this requires a manual update or a Wi-Fi connection. Updating apps without Wi-Fi can lead to huge data consumption which increases the cost to the user. For example, an update for the Facebook app can be 200mb which, if the user is not using Wi-Fi, is a significant chunk of one’s monthly data allowance. 

PWAs don’t have this problem. As they are similar to websites, the update happens ‘on-use’ very much in the way a website is updated. You see the update when you load the PWA and it doesn’t have to be updated in the background or before you launch it like a native app. It also means that PWAs can be updated a lot quicker and there is no App or Play Store approval needed so any critical issues can be fixed in a much shorter time frame.

3. Costs Are Kept Low:

For companies, the cost of developing a PWA is much cheaper than developing a native app.

A business that needs a native app, will require that app to be developed for both Android and iOS devices, which are present on a whopping 99.6% of all smartphone devices. This can be very costly especially for start-ups or businesses that are eager to see a significant ROI on their native app.

Progressive Web Apps are cheaper to produce but not at the expense of less functionality. Thus PWAs provide a better option to businesses to generate a positive ROI. Developing both an Android and iOS app can cost $20k – $80k while a PWA can be developed for a fraction of this cost at around $6k – $10k.

4. PWAs Are Great For SEO:

It isn’t just the low data, storage and cost that are major benefits of adopting a PWA approach; they can also boost the accessibility and searchability of your app. 

Progressive Web Apps load fast. Uber’s PWA takes less than 2 seconds to load and this has a marked impact on search engine rankings as faster loading sites receive a ranking boost. Your PWA will be indexed quickly too and it provides a great user experience which all add to the success of your SEO strategy. In fact, you can implement PWAs into your existing online marketing plan.

Search Engine Land has a useful guide for PWAs and their effect on SEO as well as handy guidelines for increasing the visibility of your PWA online.

5. They Deliver Business Results Too:

PWAs has so far delivered great results for the businesses using them. As they provide a seamless experience with low data usage and fast loading times, many companies have found that their conversions increase significantly by using a Progressive Web App.

Petlove saw a 2.8x increase in their conversions by switching to a PWA and the average session length on their site increased considerably too. West Elm, a home décor company, also noticed a 15% increase in the overall time that users spent on their site through the PWA and they also experienced a 9% rise in revenue per visit.

Progressive Web Apps have contributed to business success time and time again with increased conversions, more time spent on a website per visitor and a boost in the revenue that is generated online.

The Future of Progressive Web Apps

These are 5 amazing benefits of Progressive Web Apps and what they can bring to a business.

The future of PWAs is bright. While Chrome and Firefox are generally the best mobile browsers to experience the full potential of PWAs, iOS 11.3 has brought Safari into the mix when it comes to supporting Progressive Web Apps. The stick that was often used to beat PWAs i.e. functionality on iOS wasn’t as consistent as Android, is now gone.

More and more companies are now exploring the idea of using PWAs. Especially for start-ups and businesses that don’t already have a native app, this is the right time for you to explore PWAs and improve the way in which customers interact with your company online.

If you know of any other benefits that PWAs bring then let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

izaak-crook-headshotIzaak Crook is a Digital Marketing Executive for AppInstitute, a SaaS App Builder platform that allows anyone to create their own iOS and Android app without writing a single line of code.