Chat App Development: Must-Have, Nice-to-Have and Extra Features to Help You Stand Out

Olga Ezzheva
Published on Apr 22, 2021 in App Development

A synonym to modern communication, messaging apps have taken the world by storm. That’s not an exaggeration — 41 million messages are sent out every minute. And as quarantine measures continue, the time spent on mobile messaging apps is also up, reaching an average of 24 minutes per day among US adults.

Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger dominate the global arena with 2 and 1.3 bln monthly active users, respectively. Top 6 messaging apps throughout the world include:


Soruce: Statista

And although chat app developers are facing tough competition from these super apps, entering the market is not impossible — the overwhelming majority of people use more than one messaging application to stay connected.

Whether you want to compete for global audiences or empower your employees with modern communication tools to streamline collaboration, here’s a list of features to consider for including in your chat application.

Must-have features

Private and group chats

This is a no-brainer as messaging is the basic chat app functionality. In addition to one-on-one conversations, make sure that users can create and join group chats. Viber can support 250 participants in a group chat, while Telegram pushes the limit up to 200,000 members.

Multimedia support

A modern chat app needs to support not only text but also multimedia messages like photos, videos, documents, and other files. Voice messaging functionality is too very important for those who are in a hurry or just too lazy to type (no judgement here).

Quick search

A chat log is a valuable record of information exchanged and decisions reached. But finding a particular message in a conversation can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. In-chat search feature helps users immediately find the message, locate the required document, or dig up the context for a decision made even years ago.

Rock-solid security

Privacy and security issues continue to be the nightmare for app chat users. The last thing anyone wants is for their personal data to be leaked out. That’s why end-to-end encryption is a must to ensure that only the sender and the recipient can read the messages.

Nice-to-have features

Voice and video calls

To take your chat application up a notch, try adding audio and video calls functionality. Group video calls will be greatly appreciated not only by friends and family members who want to hang together but also by work teams who need face-to-face communication to get things done in a more effective way.

Geolocation sharing

In chat apps like emergency help solutions the ability to share one’s location in real-time is one of the most important. But the location sharing feature is worth including in any other type of chat apps, for example, to let your friends know where you are.

Self-destructing messages

There is no such thing as too much security. That’s why many chat applications allow users to send self-destructing messages that disappear after a pre-defined period of time. Add this feature to give your users greater peace of mind.

Stickers

This feature will instantly bring user engagement to a new level. Add curated sticker packs or let users create their own customized chat stickers for every occasion by converting images and even selfies.

Features to gain a competitive edge

HD video conferencing

Now that remote work is a hot topic, video conferencing becomes a go-to feature to ensure effective communication between distributed teams. Introducing high-quality conference calls with support for hundreds or thousands of participants will certainly make your chat application stand out and attract the attention of customers.

Collaboration tools

In addition to communication, a modern chat solution needs to support team productivity as well. For that, try incorporating such collaboration tools as shared team calendars, polls, to-do lists, support tickets, interactive reports, and see how your chat app becomes the solution of choice for remote workforce.

AI-powered chatbots

You may also want to consider including an intelligent chatbot to cover repetitive tasks like scheduling a meeting, pulling up-to-date contact information, and more. This will help streamline workflows and free up time for participants to focus on tasks at hand.

AR-based effects

If your chat app is more on the entertainment side, think about adding highly engaging AR functionality. This can include AR layers, filters, and 3D objects for users to experiment with. Tele by Spatial, for instance, taps into iPhone’s AR capabilities to transform a chat in a virtual meeting, blending real faces with avatar bodies.

Wrapping up

Millions of people choose chat apps as their favorite means of communication, and many use more than one application. That makes entering the messaging apps market a highly lucrative idea. And while no modern chat app is possible without messaging functionality, multimedia support, and strong security, it takes a particular set of features to stand out. Think about adding high-quality multi-party video calls, rich collaboration tools, or AR effects to rise above a competition and increase your market share.

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About the author
Olga Ezzheva

Olga Ezzheva is a technical writer at Oxagile, a leading software development company that provides software engineering and IT consulting services for SMEs and Fortune 500 companies alike. You can reach Olga at olga.ezzheva@oxagile.com or connect vi...

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