The Challenges of Building Communication Apps

21 Jun · 5 min read

The Challenges of Building Communication Apps

The field of online communication has a large potential for further development. Logically, many entrepreneurs and business owners try to get their share of this huge market. Although it might seem that it’s saturated by large players, such as What’s App, Skype or Viber, there’s always room for new chat apps. After all, each of these brand names were once just an idea. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss the key challenges that building such an app include. Also, there will be some potential solutions and shortcuts that will help you overcome those obstacles. 

The major considerations

Let’s say that you’ve been using all of the mainstream communication tools in the last few years and you’ve identified their major drawbacks. Now you’ve come up with an idea how to improve those communication services. Basically, you’d probably include most of their elements in your chat app but it would contain that one special ingredient which would make your solution stand out from the crowd.

You’re aware that you’re competing with some of the greatest business players in general. Some of them have been in this game for more than a decade. 

On the other hand, there are numerous open source chat apps and some of them have a substantial number of users. 

Launching an open source chat app

That may be a nice way to put your business idea to practice – you launch an open source app and see how people will react to its elements. It could be a nice reality check of the special features that make your concept unique.

After you’ve invested some time and money in the open source communication tool, you might realize that there aren’t many rounded-off open-source solutions. In turn, if the free chat app you’ve launched doesn’t meet the basic standards of the industry, such as smooth customer experience and customer support, you won’t be able to compete with the big names. 

Also, if your communication solution isn’t less expensive and more practical than household names in that field, users won’t even consider using your app. 

Conducting market research

Now let’s assume that you didn’t follow the path that would take you to the dead end of an ineffective, futile open-source chat app. 

An idea that doesn’t pass the reality check is just a mere thought. Therefore, make sure that you conduct market research before you make any other move regarding your chat tool. 

Since market research is a pretty broad category, let’s narrow it down a bit. For starters, it’s always best to use free tools to gather the information you need. You can use Facebook polls or other Facebook tools to check if the audience you’re targeting likes the idea of a new chat app at all. It’s important to ask the right questions in that poll. Some of them have to refer to the elements you’d like to add to that tool which don’t exist in other similar apps. 

Calculate the profits

If your target audience has responded positively to the idea of launching an app with those special features, move on to check the potential profit you can make. At this point, it’s vital to decide whether or not your app will be completely free of charge. For instance, you can allow free access to all the features of the app for a limited period of time. After that, you can start charging for the most advanced features. 

However, if you lock those unique, special elements that make your chat app better from the rest, why would anyone continue using it? Therefore, think about generating profits from ads in the app and giving up on charging for any of its features. 

On the other hand, if people have shown their interest in your app and its innovative bits, they would probably be willing to pay for some of them. But they really have to make a huge different in comparison with the existing apps and be more affordable. Hence, you have to think through this process and make sure that you don’t make a move that could ruin the entire effort. 

Gather knowledgeable developers

Regardless whether you’re planning to form a team of developers or work with another business, you should work only with experienced developers. Of course, some people might object that juniors and beginners should be given a chance, as well. This is true, but it’s the app-developing companies that should recruit and train them. 

A business party that wants simply to put a business idea into practice should communicate and collaborate only with senior developers. According to PayScale, the average salary of a senior app developer in the US is about $67,000. Even if you decide to hire individuals from other countries, you’ll have to spend a substantial amount of money on their payments. 

This is why collaborating with a team of experienced app developers from another company or agency is the most logical option here. You have the money and the idea(s), while they possess the experience and the commitment necessary to put them into action. 

It’s also important to prepare for some differences in the estimated costs and the final price of the project. It’s important to ask in advance whether the team in question supports the ‘release early, release often’ strategy or whether they like to finish the entire project first. Our two cents: it’s better to participate in the entire project and ask the developers to keep you posted on their progress on the go. It would be great if you could test some aspects of your chat app as soon as possible. 

The final word

If you think that you’ve identified a soft spot in the existing communication tools, you should try to push the idea forward. Of course, don’t do it head-on but develop a certain strategy and follow its steps. In case that it turns out that other users also think your idea could be useful, apply the tactics from this article to overcome the obstacles along the way. Also, you can talk to our app developers whenever you want and get some practical advice on this matter. 

The article was first published here

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