In this post we'll cover everything from building a member messaging feature with templates as well as tips and strategies to growing and building your site!
Building a Member Messaging Feature with Webflow
Giving members the ability to message other users through your site can significantly enhance the user experience on any platform by fostering communication, engagement, and community building. Implementing a member messaging feature, however, requires a balance of user-friendliness, privacy, and real-time communication. Utilizing Webflow and Memberstack can simplify this task, providing a seamless, efficient route to incorporate member messaging into your project.
When venturing into building a member messaging feature, it's essential to consider the user interface, notification system, privacy settings, and how the messaging feature integrates with other functionalities of your platform. The Member Messaging template, tailored for integration with Webflow and Memberstack, provides a robust foundation to kickstart this feature entire on-platform and without relying on complicated plugins or third-party software.
Before the Build
Before you begin trying to implement messaging features on your site, you have to have a clear understanding of what you want its objectives and outcomes to be. Member messaging can serve various purposes depending on the nature of your platform, including:
- Community Building: On platforms aimed at building communities around specific interests or causes, member messaging can foster deeper connections and discussions among users. For example, a fitness app can utilize messaging for users to share experiences, tips, and encouragement.
- Marketplace Communication: In marketplace platforms, messaging is crucial for communication between buyers and sellers. It facilitates inquiries, negotiations, and transaction-related discussions, much like what is seen on platforms like eBay or Poshmark.
- Support and Consultation: For platforms offering services, products, or consultations, member messaging can serve as a channel for support, advice, and feedback. For instance, a wellness app could use messaging for users to communicate with health coaches.
Understanding the role of messaging in your platform and how it aligns with your core objectives will guide the design and functionality of the member messaging feature, ensuring it adds value to your users and enhances the overall platform experience.
Choosing a Platform
Amidst a myriad of platform choices for building your project, Webflow shines with its intuitive design interface and robust customization capabilities. When coupled with Memberstack, it becomes a powerful duo for implementing features like member messaging. We prefer Webflow for its ease of use, design flexibility, and seamless integration with Memberstack, making it a straightforward choice for building a member messaging feature in a professional and efficient manner.
Building Member Messaging with Webflow - with a Template
Setting up Webflow with a Template
Starting with a template is a strategic approach to fast-track the process of building member messaging on Webflow. The Member Messaging template is designed to provide a strong foundation, with pre-configured layouts and functionalities. Importing this template into Webflow is straightforward, setting the stage for customization to align with your brand and platform’s objectives.
The basic idea of the template is to give you the basic features required to send and recieve messages, as well as create user profiles. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish, this template can be modified to add or remove features. NOTE: group chat functionality, while possible, requires a much larger amount of coding knowledge and may delay the development of your site.
The design of the member messaging interface plays a crucial role in user experience. Webflow’s design tools offer the flexibility to customize the template to your liking, ensuring the messaging feature is intuitive, user-friendly, and visually appealing. Tailoring the design to facilitate easy navigation and interaction is key to encouraging users to utilize the messaging feature. In TalkJS itself (explained below), you can customize almost every element of your chat box through the “Widget Themes” menu. This lets you design your chat to look and feel aligned with the rest of your website.
For example, the standard chat box design is below. It could be customized to include real-time typing indicators to show when another user is composing a message, read receipts to inform senders that their message has been viewed, and auto-responses or chatbots for immediate replies during off-hours. Integrated file-sharing capabilities allow users to send documents, images, or videos directly within the chat. These may require a bit of digging through documentation to implement, though.
One of the key features of this template is TalkJS, which is a chat API and SDK that facilitates real-time messaging in websites and apps. The platform provides pre-built UI components and manages backend functionalities like message storage and real-time updates, freeing you from the complexities of implementing these yourself. TalkJS allows for design customization to make the chat interface blend seamlessly into your existing layout, and its API supports various advanced chat functionalities to cater to specific needs.
While powerful and convenient, it does comes at a premium cost, starting at $279 per month for basic business functionalities.
Beneath TalkJS and memberships, the basic functions of this messaging app are carried out on Make.com. You can see an overview of the structure below, but basically it checks for a new a new member update on Memberstack, and then routes (or does not route) it to a CMS collection depending on whether the user already exists or not. This is how your messaging app can connect to your existing Memberstack memberships (via the Member ID field in the CMS).
Beyond messaging, your platform may require a range of features to provide a full-fledged user experience. In this template we include:
- Video Walkthrough: A preliminary video overview is available for a comprehensive understanding of how to set up a Memberstack-powered chat app with Webflow.
- Make Scenario Blueprint: Provides a blueprint for syncing members with Webflow CMS. The Make.com Blueprint is available for download.
- Template ID: An ID (template_clkjglciy006q0tkvg1q22p3z) is provided for setting up your Memberstack app in TalkJS, which won't configure TalkJS but will set up custom fields in the template.
- TalkJS Documentation: Extensive docs for TalkJS are available for those who want to explore more features. Hiring a developer for implementation is recommended for those without coding experience.
- Memberstack 2.0 Slack: A community platform where guidance is offered for connecting TalkJS and Memberstack.
We recommend using ChatGPT for troubleshooting TalkJS SDK issues — but it will still require some level of familiarity with the subject for effective use.
Building member messaging with Webflow using a template offers a streamlined and efficient pathway to enhance user interaction on your platform. The combination of Webflow’s design capabilities and Memberstack’s functional prowess provides a solid foundation for creating a robust member messaging feature. This endeavor not only elevates user engagement but also enriches the overall community experience on your platform. For further insights and guidance, exploring additional blog posts and Webflow resources can provide invaluable knowledge to ensure a successful project outcome.