Video conferencing

Voice Chat App Development Create Clubhouse or Discord-Like App

05 October 2021 • 12 min read
Voice Chat App Development Create Clubhouse or Discord-Like App
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Slava Vaniukov
Written by Slava Vaniukov
Co-Founder and CEO at Softermii
Video conferencing software development
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Many have been jumping into the field of voice chat app development - and for good reason.

With nearly 4.66 billion internet users, with 91% of them being mobile users, online applications are a highly profitable market. For example, two of the most popular instant messengers, Discord and Clubhouse, are worth billions. Specifically, Discord’s net worth is $2.5 billion and Clubhouse is worth $1 billion. With such shining examples as these, it’s no wonder that voice chat applications look so appealing.

But how do you make an app like Discord? Or build an app like Clubhouse?

In this article, we will go over the features that made them so successful, such as screen share, file sharing, and servers. We will also provide steps on how to build an audio chat app and how much it costs to develop a custom voice chat application.

3 Voice Chat App to Analyze Before Developing Yours

Clubhouse

Clubhouse is an audio-based social media app that allows users to spontaneously engage in voice chats. It aims towards an audience that needs mobility and a space for discussions without the need to broadcast themselves over video.

Headline: Clubhouse User Growth Over Time - build a voice chat app

It gives its users the flexibility to use its service either as a place for casual discussions or to listen to a live podcast. It’s unique from other VoIPs in which it doesn’t save any conversations after they are finished. It ensures that each call is unique and it encourages its users to spend time on the app or else they might miss out.

Develop a custom voice chat application like Clubhouse

Clubhouse is currently only available on iOS devices and memberships are limited to invite-only. Despite its limited reach, however, it attracted millions of users due to its convenient method of communicating with others. It used to have over two million active users every week.

Clubhouse has announced that they are ending the waitlist and their invite system as one year after their launch, they are out of beta. Having developed their Android version, the app is now available to anyone who registers. Now, anybody can follow Clubhouse links, hop into a creator’s community, or join any public event. Let’s take a look at some of the major benchmarks in the app’s history.

Android release

Quickly gaining popularity with its iPhone version in 2020, Clubhouse has launched its Android app after months of development. Android app is now available on the Play Store for users in the US. The developers of this voice-based social network plan to gradually make the Android version available in other English-speaking countries and then the rest of the world.

Outstanding evaluation

Clubhouse has recently raised a Series C funding round. However, the company doesn’t reveal the actual amount of raised money. Some say it may be due to the “hype” ahead of a sale, but the reason might be simpler – the Series C funding round is just multi-staged. Therefore it hasn’t been officially closed.

It means that the company has tripled its valuation since the closing of a previous series B round and now reportedly values at approximately $4 billion.

Data breach

In April 2021, user data, including IDs, names, usernames, and links to Twitter and Instagram profiles, were leaked online and appeared to be posted on the hacker forum. However, the Clubhouse team denies any data breach as the information scraped was publicly available within the app. Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison said that the referred data is “all public profile information from our app.”

After the alleged data leak, a Clubhouse spokesperson stated that they were working to improve the experience and already launched several privacy-centric features over the past few months.

New collaborations

The long-awaited collaboration is on! As many users have often compared Clubhouse rooms to TED talks, the collaboration between these two networks seems very logical. Clubhouse has announced that a partnership with TED will bring exclusive chats to the social audio platform. TED’s Clubhouse club plans to launch more of their rooms, host regular Q&As, and integrate audience interaction.

Improved Audio

Another new feature has been recently added to Clubhouse – spatial audio effects. It’s intended to give the users a richer sense of hanging out live among a group of other people. The spatial audio has to make the sound effects less flat, giving the listeners the feeling of being in a physical space and hearing audio from all around the room, from the left and right of a stage to the various locations in the audience.

Wave

Clubhouse has launched another new feature called Wave. It will replace the previous one of starting private rooms with friends and aims to make it easier. The user can wave at multiple followers at once, and anyone who accepts the invitation will join the private room as a speaker provided they are online. The feature has already been available both on iOS and Android, but users need to have the latest version of Clubhouse downloaded to gain access.

Clubhouse launched new private audio chats called Waves

Further updates

After launching their Android version, Clubhouse seems to be on fire with presenting new features. In early October 2021, the company announced the launch of four new features at once – Clips, Replay, Universal Search, and spatial audio for Android. These additions aim to help expand Clubhouse’s reach by making content available even after a live conversation has ended.

Clips feature allows live listeners to snip the recent 30 seconds of audio and share it anywhere with a link to join the room. Hosts can turn off the possibility to make clips for other users. Universal Search aims to improve discoverability on Clubhouse – when users type a keyword or name into the search bar, they can find relevant rooms (both live and scheduled), people, clubs, and bios.

The last new feature among the new ones – Replay – may be the game-changer for the app, making Clubhouse more of an audio social media. It allows creators to record a room, save it to their profile and club, or download the audio to share it externally, like a podcast. Hosts and moderators can choose whether or not they want the room to be recorded.

Clubhouse introduces new features

Discord

Discord is an online chatting platform that connects users through text messaging, video calls, and voice chats. With over 300 million users, this VoIP service became popular through a single unique idea - to add as many members as you want to a single server.

One server can host up to 5,000 members and 500 separate channels - and all for free. In comparison to other services, such as Mumble charging users for 15 members on a server, this was a major selling point. It was then able to retain its users with its other features, such as sharing files and having access to fast and convenient voice calls.

Discord User Growth Over Time

300 million users - Make an App Like Discord

The application is extremely versatile and easy to use. Users can access Discord through PC, web, and mobile-based platforms. They can also sync their accounts seamlessly between each version. It provides high-quality audio and video, unlimited chat history, and a user-friendly UI.

Signal

Signal is an instant messenger that focuses on security and privacy. Its privacy policy states that no metadata is stored permanently on its servers. From the very start, every conversation is kept secret and with end-to-end encryption, no one but the users can have access to their messages.

This messaging application is available for free and is accessible across multiple platforms. It supports text, video, and voice chats, so users are not limited to their choice in communication. In addition, users can create group chats that can have up to 1,000 members and group calls can have up to eight members at once.

With the need for privacy becoming more and more popular these days, Signal has over 40 million users. It has even been endorsed by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. It allows for smooth transitions between devices and has a sync feature that also makes it popular among users.

Must-Have Features to Add Into a Voice Chat App

Customizable Notifications

Notifications can increase engagement and encourage the continued use of an application. However, it is essential for users to change the preferences for their alerts.

Users dislike getting notifications for messages and activities that they’re not interested in. They must be able to choose to either mute all or specific types of notifications. They should also only be notified if their username or a specific phrase is mentioned.

Screen Share

It is easier for users to communicate effectively with each other when there are visuals. Users should be able to share their PC or mobile screens and have the ability to leave notes.

Social Media Integration

By allowing users to link their social media accounts to an application, it encourages them to connect with your brand through their choice of channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

File Sharing

Users need to exchange files with one another, such as images and documents. To determine reasonable size limits for sharing, you should research your target audience. This will allow you to understand what kind of files that are commonly exchanged between users.

User Profiles

Profiles should consist of a user’s personal information, such as a photo, name, and short description. It can also include the option to follow or friend the user so online connections can be made.

Search Function

Users should be able to search for their interests and profiles. If you choose to add the option for users to communicate over text, it is also vital to implement a search function so users can review old messages.

Servers and Channels

Users should have the ability to either have one-on-one discussions or WebRTC group voice chats. This is important for users who create clubs around similar interests or for businesses to have team discussions.

Sync Across Devices

If your app is accessible over multiple platforms, users should be able to sync their accounts from one device to another. Especially if your app is targeted towards businesses, users need to jump back and forth without any delays.

End-to-End Encryption

Privacy is becoming increasingly important and popular among users. Whatsapp has faced criticism for multiple years due to its security and privacy breaches. Therefore, it’s important to gain the trust of the user base to have a long-term following.

Read also how to develop a video conferencing app and build a HIPAA compliant telehealth app.

How to Build a Voice Chat App

Tech Stack

Taking a look at Clubhouses’s tech stack, you can quickly notice that a voice chat application must have high-quality audio to be successful. Therefore, you must use WebRTC. This open-source project has the proper APIs that will make seamless communications possible.

For the server-side, you will need to have powerful backend support. This will ensure that there is smooth and uninterrupted communication between users. If you are targeting a worldwide audience, it is recommended that you use Elixir, .NET, Ruby, and C++. However, if your user base will be smaller and more local, you can have your backend specialists work with Node.js, which is cheaper and simpler.

For the client-side, you will need to first determine what platforms your target audience will be using. If you will be developing an app for Android, use Kotlin or Java. If the app will be for iOS, use Swift or Objective C.

Finally, it is important to address the issue of data protection and encryption from the very start. Personal information and sensitive data can be easily leaked. So, to avoid angry users, you should use end-to-end encryption with TLS for text-based conversations. For voice chats over an internet browser, use DTLS, and for voice chats over a desktop app, use XSalsa20.

How to Develop a Clubhouse-Like App for Android or iOS in 4 Steps


1. Research The Market And Your Target Audience

Before you begin your VoIP app development, you should first determine if your idea is viable or not. If there is no market, it’s unwise to continue. In addition, you need to identify your target audience, understand their demographics, and learn their behavioural trends.

For example, what is their average age? What kind of devices do they use? What are their expectations on security? What increases or decreases their desire to use an application? Will a WebRTC voice chat on Android be successful?

It is highly suggested that you create a detailed user persona while researching how to sell your application idea.

2. Create User-Friendly UI

With your user persona, you should understand the types of people who are using VoIP apps and what is popular. Allowing users to personalize their experience is increasingly popular and that should be kept in mind.

Find a balance between a functioning interface and one that caters to user needs and desires.

3. Choose an App Development Team

A development team can either make or break your idea. Thus, you must conduct in-depth research for each company and determine whether they can meet your requirements or not.

Once you have chosen a team, you will need to create a workflow that the team can follow. However, before you begin the voice chat app development process, select the features that you’ll want and design the concept. You should also have a business analysis and project milestones ready.

4. Build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

After you’ve developed your app, you should run a test launch - an MVP. By limiting the users to a select few, you can gain feedback on your app and test its technical performance. You should release your app with the essential features that you want, so it is as close as possible to the final product.

Evaluate your feedback and improve your app before you launch the final release.

How to Integrate Audio Chatting Features Into Your Existing Social Media App

Luckily, building a WebRTC voice chat application into your social media application is simpler than you think.

You can use audio API and SDK and integrate cloud-based SIP & VoIP calling. You will be able to allow your users to engage in high-quality voice interactions and make calls through their browsers, mobile apps, and web apps. Read also how to build an app like TikTok


How Much It Costs to Develop a Voice Chat App Like Clubhouse?

Costs can depend on many variations: product complexity, features, size, design, and time frame. The number of members in a development team can also increase or decrease the price. You will typically need the following employees in a team:

  • 1 Project Manager
  • 1~2 UI/UX Designer(s)
  • 1~2 Android/iOS Developer(s)
  • 1 Frontend Developer
  • 1 Backend Developer
  • 1 Analyst

Assuming that your app is not overly complex and overflowing with features, it is expected that it will cost from $40,000 to $85,000.

How Long Will It Take?

Similar to the costs, the length of time entirely depends on various factors. For example, for an encrypted messaging application, similar to Signal, it can take up to 520 hours for the backend development alone.

On average, however, apps with a low level of complexity will take approximately three months. For a medium level of complexity, such as an app that is similar to Whatsapp, it can take four to five months. For a high level of complexity, such as Clubhouse, it can take a minimum of six months.


Softermii Experience

Building an app like Discord or Clubhouse isn’t simple. As a result, you must hire a team that has years of experience in app development and can meet your expectations. At Softermii, our skilled developmental team can ensure that your concept will become a reality and that you will receive a high-performing voice chat app.

We will work with you on every step of the audio chat app development process, starting with the foundation of your idea. We will help you with not only your technical goals, but also your business goals. We provide expert management, quality assurance, and product support so you receive a final product that you are completely satisfied with.


Takeaway

Audio chat applications have become increasingly popular, especially with the current COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a 220% increase in mobile apps in the business sector alone. As a result, budding entrepreneurs have been quickly racing to create the next Discord or Clubhouse.

However, simply creating a basic voice chat app doesn’t guarantee success. To create a successful app, you will need to ensure that you have key features that would appeal to users. Examples include customizable notifications, social media integration, and end-to-end encryption.

To build a modern application, you need modern technologies. You also need experts who know how to properly utilize them - experts like our developers at Softermii. Create the next popular voice chat app and contact us for a free consultation.

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