Enhancing User Interaction in Online Community Apps
People make communities, communities make cities, cities make countries, countries make regions, and regions make the whole world. It is this balanced equation that has been there since day one. Communities now have many shapes and forms that make them differ from what they looked like ten or twenty years ago. This is due to many factors, most importantly, the great impact of technological advancements. One of the technologies that has had the most impact and transformed the concept of communities is apps. Applications are now the leading medium for online communities, where millions of people connect. In this article, we will shed light on the significance of online community apps and what it would take to build one.
The Rise of Online Communities: Eradicating Hurdles for Endless Communication
The minute the World Wide Web was launched and became accessible to everyone, the whole world transformed. This included the way people lived, acted, and even communicated. But let us concentrate on communication for a second. Before having or even knowing internet access and the world that existed beyond that, people usually relied on direct communication. Many had small communities, open or closed, where they gathered based on similar interests, preferences, or just because. These communities existed everywhere, in neighborhoods, schools, universities, and so on. They kept the world going and made it much better. The concept of communication kept progressing and never stopped. So, for instance, people started communicating in the 1970s and 1980s via phones. However, the biggest progression in communication wasn’t until the launch of the internet.
The First Steps of Online Communication: BBS
The emergence of online communities is not recent and existed way before you could ever imagine. The first certain trace of online communities dates back to the late 1970s and early 1980s. Keep in mind that back then, public access to the internet wasn’t yet popular, and only a few people had it. During this time, some technology appeared under the name of the bulletin board system or BBS. It is sought to be the first method or way of forming online communities.
These BBS, or bulletin board systems, were programs that ran on computer servers. They allowed computer users to run and execute functions like exchanging information and messages. People enjoyed BBS and started to take it to the next level. In no time, this command-line-based system started to include other functions like playing games and establishing communities for users where they could post public messages and engage in threads and endless conversations.
The Next Upgrade: Websites
As much as BBS was fun and had many capabilities, it also laced many things that made users look for other means of communication. This is where websites appeared in the picture. Websites were a better and more enhanced upgrade from BBS. They were easier to access and more simple to deal with. The first-ever online platform that was made solely for communication and collaboration between users was The Whole Earth ‘Lectronic Link, aka The Well. This platform has been able to gain a large number of users since it was launched in 1985. By the year 1993, it was able to acquire over 7,000 users, which is equivalent to millions of users in 2023. Some experts name The Well as an influential platform that paved the way for many online communities to be established.
Everybody Welcomes Social Media!
Social media is another form of communication that truly encourages the process of establishing online communities. The real launch of the concept of social media dates back to the late 1990s, when the first social platform, SixDegrees, was launched. This platform was the real deal back in the day and many people rushed to create their accounts and join the new realm of online communication where they could communicate with anyone worldwide. By 2000, this platform had over a million users, which was considered an exceptional success. However, as the competition got more fierce with more platforms getting into the picture, the platform called it quits in 2001.
What Are Online Community Apps?
Now that you have more than enough knowledge about the history of online communities, let us dive deep into the recent form of online communities and learn exactly what it is. As apps started to be an invaluable tool and get involved in most aspects of our lives, it is no surprise that they became a major part of communication.
Aside from social media apps and messaging apps that still encourage creating and engaging with virtual communities. However, there was a special focus on having apps that specialize in online communities only, which is when online communities apps emerged. Online community apps are digital spaces where users can connect, engage, and communicate based on many factors. For instance, a community can be found in the application based on a certain hobby, interests, demographics, and so on, so that users in the same community have a better chance to communicate seamlessly without any difficulty.
Best Online Communities Apps on the Market
Now let us list the online community apps that you might have encountered or even use daily.
The first app that we have to include is Reddit. Reddit is a veteran gamer when it comes to the online community game. It is a renowned platform that is known for its vast collection of communities and engaging interface that makes communication much better.
Another app is Discord, which is more known among the younger generation. Discord is an online community app that completely changes the game. With its modern, advanced, and tech-based interface and functions, it was able to attract a large number of users, mostly people between the ages of 18 and 25. It includes voice, video, and text communication within servers dedicated to specific interests or groups.
Popular for its creativity, visuals, and curation features, Pinterest lets users build interest-based boards, interact with individuals with the same interests through shared pins, and discover new information.
The Key Characteristics of Successful Online Community Apps
Intuitive and user-friendly designs are essential to successful online community apps that encourage interaction. This requires the development of user interfaces that promote smooth interaction, quick access to pertinent information, and straightforward and effortless navigation. Improved user experience and continued engagement can be the outcomes of thoughtful design choices, including bold calls to action, personalized suggestions, and advanced search tools.
Value-Driven Content Creation
Online community apps that do well in the market inspire and enable their users to produce high-quality, relevant content. Features and tools like blogging options, various multimedia integrations, and easy content-sharing capabilities make content creation more enjoyable. To further encourage continued involvement and user engagement, these applications can provide rewards for exceptional achievements like titles and badges, such as the popular Reddit trophies feature.
Scalability and Flexibility
Successful apps are designed to accommodate growth and changes in the user base and functionalities. To be successful, these apps need to be able to adapt to new features and a growing user base. The infrastructures have to be scalable, so they can take on more users, more features, and changing community dynamics without degrading performance or the overall user experience.
Data Privacy and Security Measures
Given that online community apps include an enormous amount of information. From conversations, threads, media, and so on, they are obligated to be safe when it comes to securing all this sensitive data. Data privacy is one of the main characteristics of successful online community apps. This is especially true in this era of advanced cyberattacks and malicious attacks. By using strong security measures, encrypting data, and providing clear privacy rules, these apps prioritize the protection and privacy of user data. Also, by giving people choices for altering privacy settings, they give people authority over their data.
How Could You Build Online Community Apps Effortlessly and Seamlessly?
Given these superpowers, aka characteristics, of an online community app, how complex do you think it is to build one? Well, personally, if I had no prior tech knowledge, I’d say that it is very complex, almost impossible. This can be 50/50 between wrong and right, depending on the development method followed.
So, if we choose to go with the traditional development method, it can be quite difficult. Why is that? Well, the development process depends on the complexity of your app. So let us say that you want an application as complex as Discord, with different forms of communication, servers, and so on. Building an application with such specifications would require a huge amount of money as well as an abundance of time. So, if we want to give an estimate for developing an online community app, it would definitely exceed $30,000. This, of course, would vary depending on your requirements.
Now, what about the “effortlessly and seamlessly” in the title? Are they just for show? Of course not! The world doesn’t end with one choice; there is a way better alternative. Ever heard of no-code development, more specifically, nandbox? If not, then today is your lucky day! Nandbox is a native no-code app builder that will allow you to create online community apps in no time. Whatever you are looking for—a Reddit or Discord replica—it is attainable. With a vast collection of features such as channels, groups, audio and video calling, newsfeeds, messaging, and many more, you have what it takes to create a robust online community app.