I came up with a better way to communicate with users

76 points by atomiomi 5 days ago

f you like me and have created a website or an app that had some active users (I had 30 lol ) then you’ve probably realized that there is no good way to talk to them.

Emails have a low response rate and can be just lost in spam. Feedback forms are hard to implement and are not very flexible. Creating communities in discord/slack takes time.

So as a self-respected developer I decided to solve this problem. I thought why not bring smth like discord server directly to a website/app? Something that is very easy to integrate into your product which will automatically connect your entire user base. And this something will allow you to send instant messages/polls/feedback forms to users notifying them when they’re online using your product. And users can interact with these messages by voting/commenting or submitting forms.

So I present you Taku: https://taku-app.com.

What do you guys think? Does this problem exists and does my solution helps with that?

owenpalmer 4 days ago

Looks like a great product, and you nailed that landing page! I have a few criticisms, so forgive me if I sound overly pejorative.

1.How is this different than a chat window popup? I see these everywhere. What sets your product apart?

2.For me, popups like this are annoying if they are too intrusive, and they almost always are. How are you going to prevent this from turning away users like me from your clients software?

3.Are there going to be notifications sitting somewhere in the screen? This also is a turn off.

4.Most of the time as a user, I prefer email. Nobody is going to bug me, but support is there when I need them. Perhaps you could structure it more like that. Make it voluntary, rather than intrusive.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Criticism is good thing. It even helps me to see my product clearly)

    So let's see 1. Taku is not just a chat popup window. You don't talk with only one user at a time. You have constant connection with all users. 2,3. Notifications won't be always on screen. Only when there is a new message. And yeah I'm thinking about enabling "Mute" for users who don't want to be annoyed)

    • stickfigure 4 days ago

      > You don't talk with only one user at a time. You have constant connection with all users.

      Can you expand on that? What specifically is different from (say) intercom?

      • atomiomi 4 days ago

        Well with intercom you can send one message to all users. And then one user can't participate in discussion with everyone.

        You can also send polls to everyone and everyone can see the results which makes people more engaged.

        DMs are not available to everyone, you decide who can have access to direct chat with you

        • stickfigure 4 days ago

          Ah, "users can talk to other users". Interesting idea, I look forward to other people trying it out and reporting back :-)

    • ouid 4 days ago

      if you dont include a mute, i will boycott every single website that uses your product.

      • atomiomi 4 days ago

        Lol, fair point. But first I need to make people use it)

        • fragmede 4 days ago

          It's a good idea and fills a needed niche. Don't let the haters get to you.

          • atomiomi 4 days ago

            Thanks man

            • peyton 4 days ago

              Dude it’s called a troll box and they’re classic. Wish more sites had them. Wouldn’t get bogged down with the doubt here.

        • ouid 4 days ago

          you dont need to make people do anything.

Olphs 4 days ago

I think it's a cool idea, and could be useful. In the best case it would be like a crowdsourced customer support, where the users will help each other. And a way to make the product more engaging.

Biggest doubt for me is that, I think this would require a lot of moderation, since surely there will be people advertising something, or recommending competitors. Or people impersonating as customer support agents and scamming your users

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Yeah I think this is main problem with products where all people can post. But I think you would be able to limit who can comment if you receive a lot of comments. Because you'll collect data on users through polls and forms

  • peyton 4 days ago

    It’s called a troll box and it’s amazingly sticky.

challenger-derp 4 days ago

I think this is a sensible idea. As a user I feel friction when needing to get in touch with people working on a software that I use.

Users don't necessarily wanna join or know how to join a discord server/forum just cuz they're using a particular software/product and need help from time to time.

An alternative to Taku would be forums hosted by the official group/co. in-charged of the product. These are a hit or miss. They usually require a sign up as well.. so now users need one account per good or service. (On Taku, a user could have a single account that spans across products).

Also, nothing stopping Taku from offering different kinds of chatting services in a single solution: Forum, Q&A, instant chat.

I suspect a selling point would be increased user engagement in terms of helping other users out... in the past, as a user I might come across a question on a forum i kinda an help out but I'd be too lazy to create an account just to post.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Yep that's exaclty what Taku is. Great that you like it

muzani 3 days ago

I set up a public chat room once. It was incredibly good. We banned one guy for posting erotica but otherwise it worked. The problem was the chat was really just a custom "wall" connected to my back end. It was hard to maintain and moderate, and wasn't live.

I tried to replicate that recently with Discord, but Discord doesn't feel anonymous enough.

I would actually love to have something like that again. Just a public chat widget suited for mobile, without needing to learn XMPP or integrating IRC or setting up my own server. Actually an old school chat room would do. I just don't want reacts and profile pics and all that junk.

I'd be quite willing to pay for it too. Not $5/month, but something.

pigcat 4 days ago

First of all, that's a very nice landing page and I can see this being useful.

I love that I can post a comment anonymously and don't need to sign up. Makes for a very low friction experience.

Some feedback for the landing page - it wasn't clear to me at first that the Taku box that pops up there is a live example. Maybe you can make that more clear with some copy change. For example:

"This is a Taku Box. All users receive this message. You can even chat with them in the comments below. Scroll down!"

Another small design feedback - it wasn't clear to me at all that "Yodelling R2-D2" (currently the top comment) was a user. I thought maybe it was a caption for the image, or an example product name, or something else. I found it confusing. Maybe a small auto-generated avatar or even just an icon of a profile next to the names would help, something to signal to me that it is a username. Or maybe even get rid of the names altogether, since they are all anonymous.

Good luck!

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Thanks for all these feedback. Yeah it's a first version definetely a lot to improve on

gus_massa 5 days ago

I suggest to change the title to something like "Taku: a better way to communicate with users" or "Taku: a widget to communicate with yours users".

I don't understand how it can be a widget in the webpage and in the app. Are you shipping two versions? Which framework do they use?

Email has the advantage that it can be send to people that didn't visit your site and perhaps forgot about it, in spite they may mark it as spam.

It's usually better to wait to post it here until it's available, and it looks like you are only building a waiting list. But IIUC the thing of the right is a live demo, so it's not yout vaporware or an idea without any implementation.

What happens if I press the button "Subscribe to Launch"?

  • atomiomi 5 days ago

    Right now a lot of things are still not clear even for me.

    I'm planning to have different ways how people can integrate it into their products: iframe, js framework components, react native and maybe even library for apps.

    Yeah I know that emails are great for some ways but I want to build smth that help to talk with existing users.

    The thing on the right is live demo that's right.

    Do you have your own product?

  • atomiomi 5 days ago

    If you press Subscribe to Launch, your email will be added to emailing list. And you will get notified when it's launched

    • gus_massa 5 days ago

      After looking again carefully, if I press the button on the left side, then the cursor jumps to the form in the right side. The problem is that it's not obvious and foolproof (at least for me). Perhaps you can make the field in the form on the right blink once or twice, or some similar animation to catch the user attention.

      • atomiomi 5 days ago

        Ah ok that's what you meant. Yeah seems like a good idea.

dewey 4 days ago

This reminds me of the days when vBulletin 3 was the hot forum software and this was called a "shoutbox".

  • pluc 4 days ago

    It was called a guestbook before that

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    And was it useful thing?

    • dewey 4 days ago

      In my experience, this was always very dependent on the forum. In some places this was too busy / spammy as everyone was allowed to post. The longer conversations always took place on IRC.

      It's a bit different than your idea, which seems to be more focused on company/founder/owner -> user communication and not mainly as a way for users to communicate with each other?

      • atomiomi 4 days ago

        Users will be able to communicate with each other in threads that only company starts. And it will be used to see what most of the people are thinking

egypturnash 4 days ago

When you load up a webpage and there is a little box like this in the corner of it offering chat, how quickly do you close it so you can see the page it's obscuring? Do you even notice it or is it just another thing in the list of twenty popups you have to close before you can see the actual page?

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    It's open only on landing for demo purpose. But in real product it will be close and if some message from comes users will see alert and if they click it then the whole box will open

tnolet 5 days ago

Looks cool, but this is exactly what Intercom and a large range of competitors do. Might want to check them out.

  • atomiomi 5 days ago

    I talked with some founders and they don't like they live chat. It designed to talk with only one user at a time. Taku is designed more like community building tool but you can collect data from users as well.

    • nubela 4 days ago

      I don't actually want my customers talking to each other.

      • ccvannorman 4 days ago

        This brought a chuckle .. there could be many reasons for this :D

      • atomiomi 4 days ago

        What kind of product you have?

ahaucnx 4 days ago

I like the idea but I am not sure if a discord server / whatsapp will get indexed by Google? If not you might loose out on getting free traffic. You might just consider a good old forum, e.g. discourse [1] which is pretty easy to implement and what we use [2].

[1] https://www.discourse.org/ [2] https://forum.airgradient.com/

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    You wouldn't need a traffic on it because it's integrated directly into your website/app. If you have people there they will be able to see and interact with it

PaulWaldman 4 days ago

My first thought was that this is chatbot like functionality. I'm now desensitized to chat bots on websites. As soon as I hear their chime I look for the chat window to close it.

My second thought was when Microsoft used to integrate feedback in their desktop apps.

But, it's an integrating concept to use radio buttons for quick engagement is a great approach. Compared to the previous two examples, this seems much more focused. Seems like a great way to get quick feedback!

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Yep exactly there are different approaches right now but they don't solve the problem comletely.

rozenmd 5 days ago

Most folks just link their Discord on their landing page, if it makes sense for their userbase

  • atomiomi 5 days ago

    That's what I saw as well. But I talked with some founders and they told me they have some trouble with discord as well. Like there are a lot of noise, it's not designed to handle multiple threads with different users, when you wanna do 1-on-1 chat you need some data on users (how often they use your product, from what country they are etc).

  • drewzero1 4 days ago

    I've seen the same with Matrix as well. (Also IRC, though fewer and fewer people seem to be using that.)

infecto 4 days ago

Interesting idea.

Something to dig into more might be the developing PLG software space. This idea is not dissimilar to PLG in general, though I think most PLG cases are for larger implementations. PLG covers a lot more but might be worth diving into a bit.

PLG, Product Led Growth, is similar to your implementation in that you are trying to observe how users, not buyers, are utilizing your software so you can sell/expand to them.

redkoala 4 days ago

You'll need to build in content moderation in an open group chat (ala shoutbox).

If this is more a one to one chatbot, this is similar to existing chatbot solutions in the marketplace but you could evolve your own spin on it. It seems to be positioned for early stage websites/apps where you can keep up with a low volume of active users.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    It's not entirely chatbot nor group chat. I think discord server is the most closest to Taku but also not entirely.

    Right now yes it's mostly positioned for early stage product that have some suer base but they wanna know more about their users so they can know what they should work on

edent 4 days ago

I like this!

At the moment, my site has a comment box for users to leave messages on individual pages. But I've no way of sending a message to all pages.

I also like the fact that it doesn't send people off to a different site (like Slack or Discord).

My big question is - where are the messages stored? I'd prefer to keep them on my server rather than yours.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Right now a lot of stuff are still unclear. What ind of product you have? I'm looking for products that are willing to integrate Taku so I can refine it until it brings value.

    If you're interested send me an email hello@taku-app.com

    • edent 4 days ago

      My product is a community site - https://openbenches.org/

      We aren't really a product in the traditional sense. More a rag-tag gathering of likeminded folk. Most discussion happens on Twitter or GitHub.

      • atomiomi 4 days ago

        Nice did you subscribe to launch? This way we'll be able to contact you later

ninkendo 4 days ago

> then you’ve probably realized that there is no good way to talk to them.

How about not talking to them? Have you considered that they don’t want to engage in a communication-level relationship with every single app they use? How about respecting their time and emotional energy and not bombarding them with communications?

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Hmm, I think for that case we can have some kind of mute option. I'm actually thought that some users gonna be annoyed with it.

srameshc 4 days ago

I really like the widget, it's well done and well thought. It feels fresh and better UX than the widget for some reason. You are onto something with Taku. Wishing you the best.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Thanks for the feedback!

Raziarazzi 4 days ago

I think that Taku-App is a good idea and I would like to try it out.

The problem is that there are too many options for people to choose from. You have to go through the whole process of signing up for an account, which can be time-consuming for some people.

My solution would be to make it easier for people to sign up, so they don't have to go through all of that trouble.

przeor 5 days ago

How it's different from creating a Telegram room for your beta product? Do you have a mobile app so they can receive push notifications?

  • atomiomi 5 days ago

    Telegram/Slack/Discord were mine inspirations but they have some troubles. First it takes time to get people there and not everyone have telegram, slack or discord.

    They are also not build to collecting and analyzing data. With Taku you can collect data from users and then target them using this data. For example allow DM only for people who uses your product daily.

    • warrenm 4 days ago

      > First it takes time to get people there and not everyone have telegram, slack or discord

      So...instead of picking an extant platform you built yet another that people need to "have" to communicate with you?

      • atomiomi 4 days ago

        They won't need to go there, Taku is integrated directly into website/app. So if they are signed up in your system then they have access to Taku

  • atomiomi 5 days ago

    If a product have an app then it will be possible to send push notifications. Or even with website but only on androids

yellow_lead 3 days ago

It reminds me a bit of Canny - which allows users to give feedback. Seems like a promising sector though. https://canny.io/

kmlben65 3 days ago

this is not so useful because your polls wont be search-indexed by search engines so people wont find them by searching app+keyword. so usecase like uservotes to add/change feature will have duplicates.

plain polls in itself had their issues - people answering polls arent people using your app, unless poll is nagged in the app/app settings(so a/b running in parallel to poll can help evaluating user feedback - remember google chrome bookmark page fiasco),

if someone resorts to searching apps site they usually either evaluating if app has something that they need to accomplish with app; or if there's a workaround or a way to do something they dont understand how to accomplish with your app - so if they didnt find a way they will try another app or do it other way.

there's much simpler live chat/search forum(Discourse)/discord all in one approach:

allow users to create topics(akin to discord rooms) relating some aspect of your app. create flat not nested, not collapsible live chat in each topic.

allow user either post new message in topic or reply with a button to existing message - creating a thread this way. allow people to subscribe to threads, maybe in side panel. auto color user messages and threads background - the way google wave did it

allow to +- rate messages in threads if user posted a message inside; if message rating is below threshold visually change it's backround - like paint half of message backround into different color, but dont hide it. allow marking messages as offtopic - color them differently too.

for single messages without thread allow rating it only to people that answered at least a few times and doesnt have much of their replies as completely off topic. this way you wont need much moderation besides removing obvious hate speech or creating topics not related to your app.

allow indexing every topic - either page them by day (hour if very chatty), then group day-pages into week pages, allow fulltext+exclude search.

no need for fancy discord/slack like webapp chats, their sole purpose is to limit outside access. your goal Is outside access - to make every aspect of your app(or its abilities/features) as discoverable and explained as possible, and to allow discussing user wants and approaches.

the main key is to make it as findable, searchable, readable(people often dont wat to fight search and just skim read) and approachable(by not having echo chamber hate community) as possible.

vortegne 4 days ago

On the bottom the overlapping "Check our Twitter Page" and "Follow Us" look cool in regular mode, but it looks pretty bad when using Dark Reader.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Hmm haven't tested in dark mode. Will fix thanks for the bug)

marban 4 days ago

Had this on my website in ~1997 and a button to leave your sentiment. Everything is a rehash they say.

  • atomiomi 4 days ago

    Was it valuable tool?

seydor 4 days ago

like a shoutbox