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· 6 min read
Raymond Chen

Keep Things Simple

Using a chat SDK not only can shorten your development time, but also help you build a stable product and scale quickly. Before you instruct your team to start investing time adding all available features from ChatKitty, have you identified your product's purpose, and its primary use case?


Are you and your team considering adding chat to your product roadmap? Congratulations! You have made the right choice. As a product owner myself, I believe all excellent products eventually need to connect all users via a good chat experience. At this point, you probably have spoken to your developers about the options to make the chat happen. If you are looking at the ChatKitty website, you are probably thinking about using a chat SDK.

Using a chat SDK not only can shorten your development time, but also help you build a stable product and scale quickly. Before you instruct your team to start investing time adding all available features from ChatKitty, have you identified your product's purpose, and its primary use case?

You may be wondering why I am asking these questions. Many founders will tell you one of the hardest things before getting the blade and glory of developing a product is to plan out the features that need to be included in the road map.

Your developers and your users may have different expectations of what your product will accomplish. Before digging into it, simplify what the chat needs to accomplish and who the users are.

Here is a breakdown of all the features ChatKitty offers. You may be surprised by the variety of features right away, but we trimmed our offerings to provide our partners' essential features compared to our competitions on the market.

User features:

User features

Admin features:

Admin features

Rather than going through them one by one. I want to use a more product-driven way to help you discover what chat experience you need. To help you better plan out your features with ChatKitty, I have broken down various standard chat features on the market.

Relationship apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Tinder

You are not a stranger to the apps I mentioned above. Suppose you are building something to connect people in the same communities or who already know each other; private chat and push notification are going to be your bread & butter. Besides, you can add Reactions and GIF to the conversation. For a dating app like Tinder, small things like GIF will get the conversation going. For the rest of the features, it will be up to the user survey. Whatever helps the users to make the conversation interesting, you add it.

Must: Private Chat and Push Notification Nice to have: Reactions, GIF and Delivery and read receipts

Collaboration apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangout

You need to make this category as productivity-driven as possible. Group chat and message threads are a must in this case. Especially message threads, this should come as a standard for collaboration tools. The users can follow up conversation back to the original post. Since now, we are all working from home, Typing and Presence Indicators will be nice to have. It gives the insurance that you are there and receives the message.

Must: Group Chat and Threads Nice to have: Typing and Presence Indicators

Community apps like Twitch, Reddit, and YouTube

If you are working on a product in this category, you bring the entire world together. Rather than having public chat rooms, message threads and reactions, you need to have control. ChatKitty admin tool will help you to keep heated conversations under control and restrict troublemakers on your platform. Speaking from experience, one bad character in the group will scare off other users. You need admin control as early as in the development.

Must: Public Chat Room and Admin Control Nice to have: Reactions and Threads

Marketplace app apps like eBay, Airbnb and Upwork

This category is similar to the relationship app, but your users are not here to build an ongoing relationship. Users are here to find a perfect match of things. Once it's done, the conversation can end there. In this case, delivery and message receipts are something I considered essential. You want the buyers, and the sellers are aware that the transaction is happening. A stable push notification will also be a plus, but when a seller misses a text, this may lead to a potential loss. Lastly, a presence indicator will be something nice to have, but you need to test it with your users.

Must: Private Chat and Push Notification Nice to have: Delivery and message receipts

One and done apps like Uber, Instacart, and DoorDash

Finally, we have to talk about this category. It's a category that has changed our lives forever, but we don't care too much about the message feature within them. When you think back, users only use it for a few phrases: "Where are you?" "Almost there." and "Food is here!". For this category, a private one to one chat, stable push notification and location indicator will do the job.

Must: Private Chat and Push Notification Nice to have: Location Indicators

Aside from these common chat apps we mentioned above, many other types of apps on the market have excellent chat features Hinges, Poshmark, Instagram DM, and many more. When you dig into those products' history, you can find a common theme, which is to find the bread and butter feature you need in the chat. When you don't know where to start with your feature planning, you can't go wrong, starting with a one-to-one chat and stable push notifications.

Once these features are running smoothly, your team can start to validate your idea right away without spending extra time and money on development. My team and I have learned from experience.

My co-founder Aaron elaborates in detail on our chat features in this series of articles. Stay tuned for more.


This article features the image "CEO planning and prioritizing the quarter with the team." by airfocus.

· 5 min read
Raymond Chen

Why Chat APIs Matter

Reading this title, you are either wondering what Chat API is or what value it adds to your product. You are at the right place. These are the same questions; our team wondered while ago when we were developing our first app Howdi.


Let's be honest here for a second. We are too damn spoiled by big technology companies like Facebook and Google. We don't appreciate how much it takes to create a useful feature until we start to develop our product or use a new product from another Startup. Let's use chat as an example. When it comes to chatting, the golden standard you will think of right away, is maybe Facebook messenger, WhatsApp or Slack. After you use those apps for a while and start to use other products with the chat feature on the market, you will instantly feel something is lacking. Lagging, missing messages, notification error, you can name it.

As a project manager (PM), I can speak from personal experience. You are not wrong about feeling this way. When our team was developing our first app, we didn't consider the chat feature until in the later EPICS. Although we always know the chat will help us keep our users engaged and active, we didn't have time to plan out the feature. Because of the incorrect prioritization, our users could not connect right away and slowly drifted away after the launch. Luckily, we caught the mistake very early on, so we moved our focus on developing the best chat experience possible. When we launched chat in early 2020, we tripled our users and increased active users' numbers in a few months.

That brings me back to my point. The majority of the companies don't consider chat to be an urgent feature. Founders always save the chat feature at the bottom of the backlog. Because decisions like this, more apps have bad chat experience and eventually lose their stickiness.

I understand building chat is not easy. Even if you have a good team and good programmers, it will still take a lot of time to plan out and develop the feature. This is where a Chat API comes in. A good Chat API company offers an easy-to-use API, clear API documentation, and a knowledgeable support team. You can add the API to your SDK in the morning and have it running by the afternoon. A Chat API is a lifesaver when you want to develop a premium and secure chat feature in a tight deadline.

There are several Chat API options on the market, including ChatKitty. I'll tell you more about why we started ChatKitty in a future article but let's focus on using a Chat API for now.

At this point, you may be wondering if you should use Chat API on your product. My answer to you is to check your product demographics and usage patterns.

If your demographics are older like our parents on Nextdoor, chat experience is essential but unnecessary. Most of its conversation take place in a public page. If your product is like UberEats which is not socially driven, you can delay its chat features.

All being said, if you want to target younger demographics and build a product with a social aspect, using Chat API will give you a jump start on gaining and retaining users. Dating apps are the best-case study here. When I was studying as a PM, I tested lots of apps, especially dating apps. A dating app is where you don't want to miss messages - every message you send or receive counts. You want to make sure texts are always delivered, with no missing message and delayed notifications. In a simple term, a good chat experience is a bread and butter for any dating apps.

Hinge is a good example. It has been in the market for as long as Tinder, but didn't catch on until recent years. Now, it's as popular as Tinder and Bumble. One of their action they took was using SendBird's Chat API to power their app. This move made the entire chat experience premium and smooth and made the app more outstanding than its older peers like eHarmony and Match.com.

Here is the bottom line. No matter what community application you build, its chat experience is the glue to bring users together. Big companies have the human power and capital to spend on a team to optimize their chat features. Even if their features sucks, their branding or market influence can bring in users and keep them around. For a startup, we can't afford to take those kinds of risks. Even if you haven't prioritized chat, a good Chat API can help you catch up.


This article features the image "2016 API/Open Hackathon in Berlin" by Deutsche Bank licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0