Chapter 5

Communication Features

Does it contain social interactions?

Most large scale applications touch on one or more of these social interactions. They add a level of depth to products and allow increased engagement opportunities. If you’re not careful however, they can also spiral out of control. For many social media platforms, accountability is increasing around what they do or don’t permit on their system.

Which social interactions are included?

Each type of social interaction has a unique level of nuance.

Does the system use email?

Humanity has a love-hate relationship with email. If users are creating accounts, chances are you’ll need the standard suite of confirmation and password-reset emails. Other than that, products may or may not depend on other email related features.

Google Calendar, for example, sends emails when calendars are shared, when attendees are added to meetings, and then attendees accept the invite. The addition of a simple calendar event with many attendees could produce dozens are emails.

How does the system use email?

The distinction between sending and receiving email is massive. Sending emails is relatively straight forward where handling inbound emails can require parsing, security needs, and much more.

Do you have a preferred email service provider?

Does the system use text messages?

Text messaging (sms + mms) is used within software for account confirmations, alerts, or a variety of other functions. SMS is also commonly used for multi-factor authentication.

How does the system use text messages?

Much like email, sending and receiving email is vastly different in regards to complexity. Not only is the configuration more complex but costs are usually tied to each message.

Do you have a preferred text message service provider?

Does the system use phone calls?

This seems old school, but even Amazon Web Services uses phone calls to verify accounts. Uber uses them in their app to connect riders and drivers. Burner App’s provides a service for ‘disposable phone numbers’.

How does the system use phone calls?

Is there in app messaging or chat?

The wild success and popularity of tools like Slack, Messenger, and Snapchat have brought the value of in app messaging front of mind. While ‘realtime messaging’ is popular, similar results can be achieve without as much technical overhead.