WhatsApp continues to dominate the instant messaging space in South Africa, and is ubiquitous across most people’s smartphones.
However, there are other messaging apps which offer some valuable features which are currently unavailable on WhatsApp.
These features are popular with users and are likely to improve customer experience – making them options WhatsApp may consider in the future.
Here are five features that WhatsApp could add to its platform to improve its offering.
1. Android invisible mode
A feature WhatsApp users have been wanting for years is the ability to make themselves invisible to other users.
Users can currently hide their “last seen” time, and they can also disable “read recipients” – so that WhatsApp doesn’t display a blue tick when they have read someone’s message.
However, users cannot hide when they are actually online – unlike other popular messaging platforms such as Telegram and Facebook Messenger.
Going invisible can be useful if users don’t want someone to know that they’re aware they’ve received a message.
2. Automated “away” responses
For years, email clients have offered the option of setting up automated “away” responses for when users are on holiday or off sick.
A WhatsApp auto-response message would allow users to inform those who send them messages if they’re unable to read or respond to messages.
This could be helpful if they’re going to be in an area without signal, or if they just don’t want to be disturbed.
3. Blocking screenshots
Snapchat has a great feature which prevents users from taking screenshots of shared images and videos.
WhatsApp messages are often intended to be private, but if the recipient’s smartphone falls into the wrong hands, taking a screenshot of messages is an easy way to expose this information to a greater audience.
Implementing a similar functionality to Snapchat’s screenshot-blocking technology would allow WhatsApp users to feel more comfortable in their private chats.
4. Self-destructing messages
Another privacy-focused feature that WhatsApp could consider is self-destructing messages.
Telegram, one of the more popular competitors to WhatsApp, offers this feature – and this is one of the app’s greatest selling points.
It allows its users to send a message that automatically deletes itself a certain period of time after being seen.
This reduces the risk of having old messages containing important information being accessed through hacks – as this information will no longer be accessible on the device.
5. Birthday notifications
WhatsApp’s big brother, Facebook, already provides users with daily birthday notifications.
This has come to many users’ aid, as it helps them to remember birthdays of friends and family that they may have otherwise forgotten.
It shouldn’t be particularly difficult to add a birthdays feature into WhatsApp – particularly since we know that Facebook already has the feature available.
To allay privacy concerns, WhatsApp could make listing one’s birthday an optional action, as many might not want to disclose their personal information on the platform.