Today marks the first beta build of Webchat 3, the new version of our much beloved and widely used Webchat product. There is a lot going on under the hood to make Webchat our most complete application yet on the new platform and we are very excited about the improvement it represents for our publishers and their users. Historically Webchat has been the most engaging application on the Userplane product line in large part because reaching the critical mass for meaningful conversation is so much easier then Instant Messaging.
How its different from Webchat 2
In rebuilding Userplane’s product line from the ground up a unified connection and consistent experience was a key consideration for us. Webchat 3, along with it’s little brother Webchat Lite, use the exact same connection and protocol as Webmessenger 3 and as a result there is only one connection to our server. When that is combined with our philosophy that when our publishers succeed we do and our drive to make pricing simple and straight forward you effectively get Webchat for free. Implementing a group chat experience and an instant messaging experience ( Webmessenger or Presence Bar ) costs the same as we do not charge an additional fee for implementing multiple applications.
What’s new in Webchat 3?
Well it’s not done yet but there are a few key points to highlight as they represent radical departures from Webchat 2 which was built when the internet was a different place.
Optimized Mobile Experience
Not only does it work on mobile devices, it works really well. The user interface has been optimized to dynamically adjust based on the size of the screen and takes into account best practices to make the interface work well on touch devices. While there is no unified approach for video on mobile web browsers to date we are actively following the progress being made by the major browsers and will be ready as soon as there is a viable option to deliver video to mobile web browsers.
Still very much in the works, the video components in Webchat 3 have several key improvements over the previous version. If you have ever used audio and video on a web application you know that doing so without headphones can be perilous, improved echo cancelation greatly improves the user experience making the need for headphones a thing of the past. In addition to that we have listened to our publishers and given video a much higher priority in terms of positioning, size and we will even be introducing a full screen option to give your users the ability to take full advantage of the video and audio streams.
APIs and Analytics
In the previous version of Webchat accessing information about who was chatting, what they were talking about and where they were chatting was a sizable undertaking. Our advanced APIs and Analytics will make receiving this information a lot easier and be more comprehensive.
My next post will be all about our analytics component that is coming online as a part of the Webchat 3 release.