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What is a thumbnail generator?

A thumbnail generator is a feature that automatically creates small preview images or thumbnails for media files shared during messaging.

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A thumbnail is a visual representation of a larger image. Also called automated thumbnail generation, this feature allows users to preview images, videos, documents, and other rich media in the messaging interface without having to open the file itself. This contributes to a more seamless, engaging experience for users whenever they share media.

Benefits of automated thumbnail generation

  • Smooth user experience: Thumbnail generation allows users to view a preview of shared content and decide quickly if they want to open the file as part of a more seamless experience.

  • Lightweight data: Thumbnails take up less storage space than full files, helping ensure that the messaging experience remains responsive and uninterrupted by the potential slowdown that can arise when transmitting large data files.

  • Visual consistency: Thumbnail generation ensures that shared content appears in a uniform format, regardless of original file size or aspect ratio, which contributes to a clean, visually consistent messaging interface.

Use cases for automated thumbnail generation

  • In-app chat: Users appreciate the ability to preview rich media content such as images, videos, PDFs, and more without interrupting the chat experience.

  • Push notifications: Thumbnails are created and added to push notifications, enhancing the appeal of messages or content to draw users back into the app.

  • Dating apps: The thumbnail generator can create and display profile picture thumbnails of new matches or messages that include rich media.

  • Social apps: To help users identify the message sender quickly, the thumbnail generator can create and display a thumbnail of the sender’s profile picture or rich media.

  • Operations: Teams can efficiently identify attachments, documents, and files, deciding quickly if they want to open the file or save it for later.

  • Marketplaces: Shopping apps use automated thumbnail generation for product images, allowing product images to be easily added to promotions, order confirmations, shipping notifications, and more.

The thumbnail generator feature helps to drive engagement, increase content comprehension, and contribute to a more visually appealing, efficient user experience. You can find this feature in the user dashboard of Sendbird and other leading in-app communications platforms.

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