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How to create an app like Clubhouse? – The voice chat social platform

What Is Clubhouse?

The clubhouse is a voice-only social media app where users can join rooms and interact with each other via voice chat. After signing up with a name and profile picture, users are taken to a list of rooms created by other members. 

The rooms are a tight-knitted community centred around the creator, and you can join and sit through the ongoing discussion. All users are automatically muted during sign-up, but they can unmute themselves when and as they deem fit to participate in the conversations. 

Joining Clubhouse is by invitation only, which makes it an exclusive and unique social media app.

The Clubhouse app has brought a new era of social product that can only be obtained through an exclusive invitation. Our team reviewed the app and would want to discuss how to create an app like Clubhouse.

Simply described, the app is a live-streaming audio-chat app. Users may either start their own conference or listen in on other people’s talks.

When Elon Musk used the Clubhouse app, it made news. Overnight, the user base surpassed 2 million.

If you have an idea for a similar app, we have created guide to making a Clubhouse app.

Clubhouse Features

Onboarding – When new users sign up for the app, they will be asked to enter their names and upload a profile photo. After that, members are free to join as many rooms as they like.

Feeds – It contains a list of rooms that may be of interest.

User Profiles – In Clubhouse, no special introductions are required. Only your name, profile photo, and a brief description are asked.

Clubs – They’re formed around certain themes. They aid as in uniting of people who share a same interest.

Search – Allows users to look up subjects and people of interest.

Upcoming Events – A schedule of upcoming events, such as talks. Users can choose to be notified when certain events occur.

Activity – A historical log of activities on your account. You can find out who is following you, new members, and on-going events in Clubhouse.

Notifications – This allows you to be notified of interesting events like the start of a new conversation or new members joining a room. 

How Clubhouse like app is unique from all the social apps?

Exclusivity – the invite-only app, with the world’s tech elite as the initial users, makes everyone who joins feel like they are part of a tiny universe.

Audio-based unscripted and unrecorded discussions – with no-video and live-only talks, this aspect provides a sensation of closeness and gives a totally hands-free experience, allowing users to use the app while completing other activities.

Simple user interface – it is incredibly simple to switch between rooms and jump in and out of any chat.

The ability to choose from an infinite number of rooms provides the spontaneity of real-world talks.

Personalization – It enables everyone to receive a feed tailored to their preferences, whether that is Bitcoin talks, weight training, or dog walking.

Ads-free space – It’s an add-free space now, its developers only recently announced the monetization scheme for creators.

Building an app for voice chat like Clubhouse

Research and idea validation

Before pouring in a not insignificant sum of money, anyone — whether a start-ups owner or an established business team — needs to make sure that their idea will be able to survive on the market.

If you decide to outsource your app development, you will get help from the project manager and the team. An experienced PM will assist you in assessing your strong and weak points, finding a unique solution to your target users’ problem, and aligning the future app with your business goals.

You will need to research other players on the market — your competitors. Speaking about how to make an audio social media app like Clubhouse, now, Clubhouse is a unique solution. It has no direct competitors or known analogs.

Twitter has launched audio tweets for its iOS app users in June 2020 but that is not the same as what Clubhouse does.

Clubhouse is also different from podcasts, not only in that it is broadcasted live but also because people listening in Clubhouse rooms can ask to participate in discussions.

The closest service to Clubhouse in this way would probably be Twitch. However, Twitch is a video streaming service and watchers can only participate in the stream via text messages in a chat. So, it’s also not exactly the same as Clubhouse.

Few or no analogs means it is the prime time to build an app like Clubhouse but with a twist.

MVP/MLP

The fast-moving industry today makes it a challenge to stay relevant when app development can take up to a year on average. That is why most development companies will offer you to launch a minimum viable product, or an MVP.

An MVP is a version of your app that has only the core features and is launched with limits, for example, in a certain geographic area or for a limited number of users. In game development, it is called beta.

At the pre-development stages, you and the team will discuss which features to include in the MVP.

Read more on the topic: Creating an MVP: The Art of Small Steps.

Clubhouse itself is not yet a complete product, which is evident by its lack of so much as a website — right now, the landing page is practically bare and only has a link to the Apple App Store.

Clubhouse invite

Clubhouse itself is basically an MVP, a version for the first open testing by ordinary users. Another evidence of this is the lack of popular features users expect from social networks these days — text messages, video support, fancy design, etc. These features may or may not be added in the future based on the users’ feedback and the app’s market performance.

Feature-wise, a Clubhouse-like social media platform seems simple to develop, but do not be fooled — some of these features are high-end and not the easiest to build.

Admin Panel

It gives you the opportunity to monitor the app. It should have a dashboard for you or your designated employee to check out any metrics important to your business, keep an eye on the performance reports, and exercise moderation duties.

Design and development

The design and development stage are the longest one in app creation. Designs are usually made in stages as well:

  • Navigation concept / Low-fidelity prototype
  • Medium-fidelity prototype
  • High-fidelity prototype
  • Low-fidelity prototypes can be hand-drawn on paper or a planning board, or they can be digital sketches. The point of a low-fidelity prototype is to establish the basis for user experience design — the relations between screens and which button leads were.
  • Medium-fidelity prototypes have a basic user interface but are usually black-and-white. Their aim is to make sure that the team and the app owner see the app the same way.
  • High-fidelity prototypes offer a somewhat finished design. It is also a fairly popular option to make high-fidelity prototypes in the form of app mock-ups or bots. With the option to click/tap through screens, the developers can offer these prototypes to a test group for appraisal.

Cost to Design an App in 2021

At the same time the designers work on prototypes, the project manager will discuss the development with the app owner. One of the important questions to answer will be the platform to develop for.

iOS vs Android

If you have money to spare, it is recommended to develop for both iOS and Android simultaneously. However, if you would like to save, you can start with the platform used most by your target audience and expand later when you have started to get revenue and maybe found funding.

That is what Clubhouse did. Clubhouse today exists for iOS only, but the Android app is said to be in development after receiving $100 million funding from Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm:

Cost-wise, Android and iOS development are not vastly different: iOS development is generally more expensive and takes longer but Android apps take longer to test instead.

As of January 2021, Android is more popular worldwide with 71.93% of the mobile OS market. However, the situation by country may wary: as per Statista, in the US, the share of iOS devices is 56.22% to Android’s 43.5%.

Feedback and iteration

During the first stage, the market research, you, and the team will settle on the metrics to follow for assessing the app performance. For an app like Clubhouse, the metrics can be:

  • Number of downloads
  • Activation rate
  • Sticking rate (how regularly users open your app)
  • Session length and intervals
  • Daily sessions
  • Screen flow (great for evaluating user experience)
  • Bounce rate

Having launched an MVP or MLP, the next step is to monitor its performance and gather user feedback. This is essential for further development. User feedback can point out any UX drawbacks and help prioritize features for the next release.

If you have launched a marketing campaign for your app at any stage, its results will also contribute to the overall feedback.

After gathering and analysing performance and feedback, it is time to go back to Step 3 and make changes for the next iteration of the app. Rinse and repeat.

The technical side of developing a Clubhouse like App

The most important part of developing an audio social network is providing quality audio streaming. In a nutshell, an app like Clubhouse works as follows:

A user creates a space for communication and sends an audio feed to the server.

The server serves as a passthrough and a distributor of sorts, sending this audio feed to everyone who’s in the room.

Clubhouse officially does not record audio, nor does it store it anywhere, which makes it impossible to listen to a conversation at a later time. This means that if you decide to develop a mobile app similar to Clubhouse, you won’t need powerful servers for storing audio data.

However, you will need solid servers to distribute quality audio to many users — some rooms in Clubhouse gather thousands of listeners. You might consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) — a service with numerous servers around the world that can help speed up content delivery by using a server that’s close to a given user. CDNs are widely employed by streaming services like Twitch and Netflix.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App Like Clubhouse?

WebRTC is the most easy method for creating an online equivalent of Clubhouse (which is used for web communication by several of the services mentioned here, including Wowza and Agora itself).

All of these providers provide high-quality kits for developers to create a plug-and-play audio chat software. The main distinctions are in code specifics and pricing.

Your selected app development firm should recommend the service that is most suited to your demands and budget.

Cost to make app like Clubhouse

To make your own app like Clubhouse, you will need a team of specialists. If you are going for an iOS app to contest Clubhouse itself, here is who you’ll have to employ:

1 project manager

1–2 iOS developers

1-2 backend developer

2 UI/UX designer

1 quality assurance specialist

All things considered, the time to build an audio social network like Clubhouse for iOS only will be approximately 840 hours. With this estimate, the cost to develop a mobile app like Clubhouse will be about $18,000 for iOS and Android.

Web apps are the quickest and cheapest to build, although, for audio social network, the web should probably be a secondary platform.

If you choose to cover all platforms, Android, iOS, and web development can all be conducted simultaneously.

Conclusion

The lengthy epidemic has left us yearning for spontaneous and unpredictable communication to supplement carefully scheduled work-related Zoom sessions and monotonous talking on messengers and traditional social networks. Podcasts are excellent and instructive, but they don’t convey the sense of belonging or participation that Clubhouse provides – even if you don’t speak out in Clubhouse rooms, you feel as if you can.

That is why, given the conditions, Clubhouse has become a unicorn business despite lacking features considered essential in a social network such as file sharing, video, and even text conversations.

Furthermore, social media app development has been on the upswing, and Clubhouse is simply a fresh look at the same need for communication that we’ve had for a long time. It’s possible that we’re looking towards the future as well.

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