In order to increase Rocket.chat adoption, its really important that users are able to easily send an invite to rocket.chat to their friends.
The standard way to do this on mobile phones is for the Invite button to list the users contacts from their address book and then for the user to choose that contact and then for the default messaging app on the phone to be launched and a message to be sent. On Telegram the message is:
"Hey, I’m using Telegram to chat. Join me! Download it here: https://telegram.org/dl."
This approach is fine but it has some drawbacks:
- it requires access to the users contacts/address book
- the invited user then needs to not only download the app but also find the person who invited them, which involves knowing their username.
- Though the inviting user can edit the prepopulated message before sending it, it does not encourage the sending of a customized message to the invited user, which I think would increase the likelihood of the invited user joining and responding. Imagine if the the message instead was “Hey Joe, do you think the Chicago Bulls will be any good next year? Let’s discuss over Rocket, etc.”
- The invite can only be sent to a single user as opposed to a broadcast message to a group of friends or to twitter or facebook.
I’d like to propose another mechanism that leverages the “share” feature that is available on both Android and IOS. Note that when I click “share” then the OS shows me all the different apps that support sharing. On my Android phone it looks like this (apologies to my friends who are listed here):
In addition to one-to-one messaging, many of these apps support sharing with a group or in a broadcast mode such as facebook/twitter. Before launching the “share” functionality, we can prompt the user to send a personal message. Additionally, instead of asking the user to download the app, we can just point the user to the direct message chat or the channel/private group that the user happens to be in. So, for instance, if I have a channel active with my friends discussing the Chicago Bulls prospects in 2019, then I can invite a person or persons to join in that group by simply including a URL to the web version of that group: https://open.rocket.chat/channel/chicagobulls for instance. This way the message will look something like:
Hey Joe, so and so thinks that the Bulls are going to tank again next year. No way! Help me convince them they’re wrong. We’re discussing here: https://open.rocket.chat/channel/chicagobulls
The invited user will then only need to register an account and he/she will get right into the discussion and start using Rocket. They can keep using the web client or, if we implement this feature Mobile app install banners, they will be prompted to install the app if they are accessing from a mobile device.
In general this proposed approach involves less friction for the invited user as well as solving the other problems with the standard invite approach listed above.
Lastly, whether we go with the approach I describe or the standard approach, I would love to see invite functionality added to the web and mobile clients.