An Ultimate Guide to Developing a Video Chat App like Houseparty in 2020

An Ultimate Guide to Developing a Video Chat App like HouseParty in 2020

2444 Views | 10 min | April 20, 2020
video chat apps

Have you ever heard about an app that got more than 18 Million downloads in a single month?

If not, let us introduce Houseparty, a self-proclaimed video chat application that broke all the records of recent times and rocketed to app stardom by hitting such a big number of downloads worldwide.

Launched in the year 2016, the application lets users host live video calls with friends on both desktops as well as mobile platforms. The app was acquired by Epic Games in 2019 but it got popularity after one-third of the world’s population went under lockdown and craved seeing and talking to their loved ones.

Being an incredible solution to the problems people are facing in quarantine – Houseparty became an overnight sensation. A few experts are even calling it a COVID-19 tale of success. And it surely is the same!

video chat apps amid COVID19

Even after having big players in the market like Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger and a number of others – the app defeated them all and is today one of the most used and loved video chat apps available in the market.

If you are also planning to build such an app – you must learn a number of things from the success story of Houseparty, how it works and what features are behind the app becoming a sensation. So, let’s get started.

HouseParty Is Not Just a Video Chat App - It Is Much More!

video chat applications

If you think that Houseparty is just another video calling application – you are completely wrong! There are a lot of things that you can do with the Houseparty application, and those things make it much more fascinating than general video applications. Here is how it works:

  • To use the app, users need to register first; using their email address or social media accounts. After a user logs in to the app, the app makes it very easy for him to find friends on Houseparty as it pulls contacts from social media apps like Snapchat and Facebook and also from the user’s contact list.
  • When a user opens the app, he can see which of his friends are online and ready to chat. Also, he/she will get notifications whenever a friend comes online. The app is super simple to use and that makes it one of a kind.
  • After friends see each other online – they can start chatting. Other friends can also join the chat without even requesting but only if the Chat Room is not locked. This functionality makes the app complete fun to use – random friends joining and chit-chatting with each other.
  • The actual fun starts after the chat begins. The app allows users to play a number of games to make their virtual meetings more exciting. Games that a user can play in-app include Trivia, Heads Up, Quick Draw and many more – a user can play these games with eight or less number of friends.
  • The application has numerous other features as well. Users can send “facemails” to each other which are video messages that play when the receiver opens the application, and the app allows users to share their screens as well. There are some in-app purchase options as well.

Now that you know how Houseparty apps works – let’s get into the process of developing such an app. Being an expert video chat app development company, we know what it will take to develop an application like Houseparty. It is a very detailed application and developing a quality app like this is no walk in the park. So, let’s see the development process.

Also Read: The Complete Mobile App Development Checklist for Every Business Owner

How to Develop a Video Chat App Like Houseparty?

If you want to put resources in a project that can yield you great returns, then investing in a video calling application like Houseparty is an incredible solution for you. So, let’s check out the process of developing a video calling application that satisfies every need of your business and your users: 

video chat app development

Step 1: Identify Your Target Audience

The most important part of building an app is to find people for whom you are developing the application – this group is known as the target audience of your app. 

So, before starting the development process you first need to understand whether your target audience is Gen X, Gen Z, Millennials, or all of them. You will have to find which group you are planning to target as that will define your app’s designs, future marketing strategies and various other aspects of your app.

Also, the functionality and features of your video chat application rely vigorously upon your targeted group of people. For example, if you are planning to target Millennials, developing the app on the concept of Hike or Viber, and adding filters and stickers in it would help you reach a larger audience. 

Teenagers and youngsters search for these cool new features while using any app for communication. Therefore, use this information to your benefit and incorporate innovation into your platform.

However, if you are developing an app for the corporate professional, or the businessman – you will have to focus more on the app’s speed and quality. All in all, finding out the target audience of your app is the most-important key to successful video calling app development. So, do some research, explore, and then go for it!

With the world going through a challenging time because of COVID19 – several industries are collapsing. But, Video Chat App Development is one of a few  industries that are thriving even when the pandemic is on its full swing and a condition of recession lurking around the corners. Find more about it in our comprehensive blog on Top 10 Industries that are booming amid COVID19

Step 2: Know Your Competitors

The next crucial step is to know your competition in the market. So research about every one of your competitors, their strategies and products. Finding a competitor is certainly not a difficult task, however knowing their strategies, and finding how they work is something that isn’t simple. 

So, for that, you can begin by posing a few questions to the common users like, which video calling application do they use, what features they do they like in those application, which features they think are not important/missing, etc. This way, you will have an idea regarding the strategy to grow out of your competitors proficiently. Let’s have a quick look at the market leaders of video chat app domain: 

Video Chat App Market

Step 3: Get the Designs of Your Video Chat App Right

Once you know your competitors and find out your target audience, it is important to think about great and appealing UI and UX for your application. While developing an app, always remember that user experience should be intuitive in the first turn. Your future users should not waste time to find how they can use the different features of your app. With respect to UI, it should have a magnificent mobile app designs to make people feel attracted towards your mobile video chat app.

While you can very easily execute the above two steps by yourself or with the help of a market researcher – you will require the help of proficient app designers in this step. You should never take the designs of your app lightly as they can build or ruin your brand’s image. Choose the colors of your mobile app very carefully, get logos designed with a proper theme in mind and make sure the app’s screen doesn’t look cluttered.

Have a look at smooth app design of HouseParty:

Houseparty app

Step 4: Sort Out the Development Process (Tools and Technologies)

As said earlier, the development of such an app is not as easy as a walk in the park. It requires the following steps:

Back-End Development

To start the development, first, it is important to make server parts for the best possible working of your video chat application. Some applications can utilize ready-made BaaS solutions, but video chat applications require progressively complex technologies and it is smarter to develop their own server from scratch. 

It is the initial step your app developers should do and if you want to take the help of skilled back-end developers at Apptunix for the same – you can contact us by filling a simple form.

Sockets Integration

For real-time information exchange that is required while streaming live you will need a technology called sockets. It will help you create an interactive connection between the server and the client. At Apptunix, our developers prefer using the socket.io library when creating video chat applications. 

Development of Video Chat Apps for iOS

To develop an iOS-based video chat application, it is the best option to use Swift Programming Language. It is a lot less difficult than Objective-C and also used worldwide. We recommend using third-party services for building video chat applications since they ease the procedure drastically and also help you lower your development expense. Using this approach, you can also hit the market ASAP.

Development of Video Chat Apps for Android

The principle of video chat application development for Android is nearly the same, however, third-party tools may vary. Kotlin or Java are the preferred languages for building a video chat app in Android. 

WebRTC

It is a widely used technology for developing video connection between devices. At Apptunix, our developers use it to develop robust video chat apps securely and fast. WebRTC makes the deployment of real-time communication over Android and iOS chat applications possible. It is an open-source technology that allows video chat app developers to do all the hard work using simple APIs.

There are 4 API Interfaces that you can use in WebRTC for building up your video chat application: 

  • MediaStream: It allows users to chat using either a webcam or a microphone. 
  • RTCPeerConnection: With this, you can activate video or audio data transfer with full encryption support.
  • RTCDataChannel: This interface gives users a P2P network for data generalization.
  • OpenTOK: This is a cloud-based PaaS platform that acts as a wrapper library. It is an open-source technology that makes it easy to set-up cross-platform video chats on API-basis.

Step 5: Testing

Once you are done with the development of both the applications – you must go through the testing phase to ensure the quality of the application before its launch in the market. 

To ensure the quality of your video chat app – have a look at the 5-Step Mobile Application Testing Checklist by Apptunix.

You can also plan to build a cross-platform app if you are on a low budget – but if you want the integration of emerging technologies like AR/VR in your app – we highly recommend you go with native apps only. 

So, these were the five simple steps and a few tools and technologies that you will need for building an app like Houseparty. However, there are plenty of other options as well and which set of tools and tech stack you should use depends on the features that you want to integrate into your app. If you need any help in the development process of a video chat app – you can contact expert video chat app developers at Apptunix.

Also, if you are really interested in making your app successful – we suggest you develop it using an MVP approach. Even Houseparty was developed using the same approach. Now, let’s have a look at all the required MVP features of apps like Houseparty that are crucial for every video chat app development process.

10 MVP Features of Video Chat Apps Like HouseParty

features of apps like zoom

1. App Onboarding

If a user installs your app, it is your duty to make the app onboarding process as simple as possible for him. There are two ways in which you can allow your users to register in your app. 

  • Register from scratch (it requires email, first/last name and other contact details)
  • Register using social media apps like Facebook and Instagram (Easy and Quick)

It is recommended that your app should provide both of them so that users can choose as per their preferences. Also, to chat easily, every user should have his/her own profile in the app where all data about them should be saved. Users should be able to change their profile picture, make edits in their bios and do whatever and wherever they want.

2. Find Friends

This is also one of the most important features of a video chat app. Your app should let your users find their friends in an easy way. Houseparty app fetch friends through social media sites like Facebook or Instagram for users and also from their phone’s contact list. Your very own app should do it the same way to enhance the user experience. 

3. User Status

It is advantageous for your users when they can see that their chat friend is online, away, or not available at the moment. Users like to see the status of other users to understand whether they are available to talk or not. So, consider this feature when you plan to make a video chat application. 

4. Video Calls

It is without a doubt one of the most essential features of a video chat app. The video calls should go through in HD and your users must have the option to share data in real-time to stay away from unnecessary delays and expenditures.

5. Group Chats

Group video calling is an essential feature to have too. Right now, Houseparty supports group video calls with at most 8 people at a time. So, if you are planning to build a competitor app – it should support on-the-go conferencing for up to ten or more users at a single time.

It should also allow multi-peer video connections with various functions for whoever is talking, listening, and moderating at any random time.

6. Text Messaging

Like WhatsApp or Skype, the most well-known video chat applications nowadays also permit users to do text messaging when they are not available for a video call. Without that, your application can’t be viewed as an all-in-one solution. 

7. Geolocation

This feature will help users get their location rapidly – the application will read the GPS information automatically and it will detect the user’s location. Additionally, the feature allows users to show their current location to their friends and further improves the user experience. 

8. Custom Filters and Animations

This feature plays a very important role in making your video chat application engaging. Animation and filters add extra engagement to your video application and keep your users hooked with your app by letting them describe their feelings easily in front of their friends.

9. End-to-End Encryption

This is the kind of encryption where devices of users are a final transfer point. Using it, the messages are encrypted on the device of the sender and decrypted on the device of the receiver. It’s not possible for anyone to read this message when it is being sent. So do not forget to add this feature in your app to guarantee that all the data of your users is safe.

10. Push-Notifications

The power of push-notifications for every kind of app is commendable. You will provide this feature to your users and it will work in your favor always. Push messages help you keep your users hooked with your application and also increase your app’s engagement rate.

While these were the must-have features for a video chat app like Zoom or Houseparty – there are some advanced features as well like you can let you users play games in-your app or you can allow them to have private calls with each other. The advanced features depend on what idea you are having in your mind behind launching this kind of an app.

If you want to take the user experience of your app one step ahead – you can use technologies like AR/VR in your app to make it more feature-rich and power packed. Depending on your app’s business model – you can make these features free or paid to make money.

Let’s now have a look at the budget and cost part of a video chat app development.

How Much Would it Cost to Build a Video Chat Application like Zoom or Houseparty?

Now comes the most part of the discussion, the costing, and financial plan. Remember that developing video calling applications do accompany noteworthy investments. And how much that investment would be relies on various factors like:

  • The features you are planning to integrate into your app.
  • The platform for which you are building your app (Android, iOS or both).
  • The OS versions you want your app to support.
  • If you are working with a video chat app development agency or a freelancer.
  • You are building an app from scratch or using SDK or APIs.
  • Where is your development center located – in the USA, UK, India or somewhere else.

All these factors will affect the answer to how much it will cost to develop a video chat application. 

Here we would suggest that if your budget is low or you’re just in the earliest stages of your business hoping to connect more individuals, it would bode well to have a chat app with basic functionalities first. When you have a decent amount of user base, you can add advanced features that you like. 

However, remember that the important features should always be on priority when deciding the budget. It will cost you somewhere around $30k-$40k for building a video chat app with just the MVP features mentioned above.

So, there you have it. All that you need to know before you feel free to begin building up your own one of a kind video calling application. Follow this guide for the same, and who knows, you may just have the next best thing on your hands!

apps like houseparty

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