We’ve launched Chat 4.0

It’s a New Year and with it brings a belated Christmas present for you all – an exciting new SimplyVideo feature that we’re calling Chat 4.0.

We took feedback from a wide range of SimplyVideo users when trying to decide our next big feature. We found that one of the biggest pieces of feedback that kept popping up was that our in-call messaging system only supported plain text and that people would love to have rich communication in this area.

On top of that, they wanted to see some of the features they are used to in other platforms such as emojis and reactions.Instantly we saw how this could elevate and increase the usage of our platform, we also had a few little ideas we could embed along the way to make it a truly useful feature. This is how our team developed this amazing new feature.

Our planning session went like this:

What’s the problem?

Users need an area for rich text-based collaboration, the ability to upload/download files, and share content. Additionally, Extended Reality (XR) headset users had requested a way to take a photograph on their device and share it to conference participants.

Why are we doing it?

Why not? It affects all of our users and headsets being able to take a photo and upload it without having to always use a video stream will really benefit low bandwidth environments.

What are our success metrics?

Make messaging into such a powerful feature that it becomes integral to the call experience

  • Allow sharing of a variety of media (images, videos, files etc.)
  • Allow shared assets to be marked up to highlight particular elements
  • Allow tagging and toast notifications so users are aware if someone’s trying to grab their attention.
  • Use message colour, messaging indicators, and animation to increase chat prominence

How can we have fun along the way?

Let’s include a huge database of emojis, build on our annotation feature, include a high-quality link preview, allow people to upload GIFs (who doesn’t love a GIF). We can also finally bring feature parity to our mobile devices and allow chat to sync across multiple devices.

What could be really handy for the customers? How about the ability to download a transcript and zip folder of their chat, that could be used for auditing purposes later?

From this planning we built out the project and launched Chat 4.0.

Our build process involved loads of discussion as we like to get it right, straight from the off. We go over all the possibilities, the scenarios, and the what ifs. We think inside and outside the box and we never approach a project blind. We look at multiple languages, the skills of our team, multiple ways of carrying out a task, and collectively decide the best process to move on with.

This may seem time-consuming, but we absolutely believe the detail is in the planning and design, and everything comes easy once this is sorted. We’re not saying we never go back to the planning or design phase, of course we do – that’s the brilliant thing about being agile.

Our development team believes and works in an agile methodology: plan, build, learn. It works really well for us. The more we do it the firmer our beliefs become. The cycle includes testing and feedback too, which we carry out constantly.

During the build phase, we work together and have regular meetings. We pull knowledge and experience from multiple departments and disseminate information to various teams to either improve our own understanding, or further support our fellow colleagues. This is especially important when there’s a new technology involved. We’re a supportive bunch here at SimplyVideo and we work hard to ensure everyone’s voice is heard and the feedback loop is always open.

That’s the story of how Chat 4.0 came to be. We hope you love these new features as much as we do. If you have any feedback, positive or negative, let us know. We want to keep improving after all.

Click here to find out more about Chat 4.0

 

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