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What are user presence indicators?

A user presence indicator is a feature that reflects the real-time availability of other users within a conversation or group channel.

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Typically, presence indicators are displayed as icons or symbols next to each user’s name or profile picture in a contact list. These icons may change color or appearance depending on the user’s status, which may be Online, Idle, Away, or Offline. This feature allows users to make informed decisions about when and how to engage others, creating a more effective and satisfying messaging experience.

Benefits of user presence indicators

  • Real-time interaction: Presence indicators show users whether or not others are available, promoting real-time interactions between both parties to drive engagement.

  • Improved user experience: Presence indicators lead to timely and responsive in-app communications, helping to improve user satisfaction and retention.

Use cases for user presence indicators

  • In-app chat: Popular chat apps like WhatsApp provide presence indicators to show the availability of contacts and foster conversations.

  • Social apps and online communities: Users appreciate knowing which of their friends or connections are online, allowing them to strike up conversations with who’s around.

  • Operations: Collaboration platforms like Slack include presence indicators, helping team members know when colleagues are available to meet and collaborate.

  • Customer support: Presence indicators are helpful to customers and support agents, allowing both parties to see when the other is active in the conversation.

  • Clienteling: Presence indicators allow support agents to know when customers enter or leave a conversation, indicating when to start or stop service.

  • Online gaming: To facilitate multiplying gaming, platforms like Xbox Live use presence indicators to show when friends and teammates are online.

  • Dating apps: Presence indicators allow users to see when potential matches are online and perhaps open to a responsive connection.

  • On-demand services: Food delivery and rideshare apps use presence indicators to show when service providers are available for requests or deliveries.

User presence indicators facilitate real-time communication and collaboration. This feature is available in the SDKs (software development kits) and UI (user interface) kits provided by Sendbird and other leading in-app communications platforms. With these kits, developers can quickly build and customize the user presence indicator feature for their project, without coding from scratch.

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