Paired Helps Couples Spark Meaningful Conversations: Stream Chat Keeps Them Going
Paired leverages its gamified app environment to help couples connect on a deeper level. CTO Diego Lopez knew that a feature-rich chat solution would encourage higher engagement among its users. Integrating Stream’s React Native SDK enabled Paired to create a custom, multi-purpose messaging experience for users to enjoy.
Challenge: In addition to the daily quizzes and questions the app uses to spark conversation, Paired needed an in-app chat solution that would allow users to send messages to their partner and keep communication flowing.
Strategy: Paired's Chief Technical Officer, Diego Lopez, evaluated several chat vendors based on their performance, level of customization, and features before choosing to integrate Stream's React Native SDK with the app.
Result: Paired leverages Stream Chat to share important notifications with users that increase engagement and encourage them to maintain their daily quiz and question streak with their partner. The app takes user feedback seriously and continues introducing new chat features to improve UX as the SDK releases them.
Co-founders Kevin Shanahan (CEO) and Diego Lopez (CTO) found inspiration during the pandemic to create a tool that would help keep their relationships healthy in an effective, light-hearted way.
Paired is an app for couples that sparks meaningful conversation, helps them discuss key relationship topics, and strengthens their connection in just a few minutes each day. Daily quizzes and questions help partners cozy up to one another and they can purchase a subscription that unlocks dedicated question packs to help prepare for major relationship milestones like moving in together or having a baby.
Paired's app and magazine content and couple's exercises were created by some of the world's top couples therapists and academics, backed by decades of research to help users learn more about their partner and open the door to discussions that will improve their relationship.
Paired's Need For In-App Chat
The core functionality of Paired is the quizzes and questions couples complete in the app together each day. These interactions are designed to be brief and are a gentle way to introduce specific topics couples might not regularly discuss.
Lopez says, "We got feedback from users in long-distance relationships that they wanted a way to continue these conversations further in the app. Some couples do this outside the app in person, but we found a significant number wanted a central spot to work on their relationships."
Paired's Decision to Buy, Not Build
While Lopez did not hesitate to make his build vs. buy decision, he has a clear message to share with those struggling: "If someone is considering building chat—don't. Build on what's already there, and use the expertise of someone else—you don't know how complex it can get."
Lopez wanted his lean engineering team to focus their efforts on developing Paired's core competencies rather than spend their time building a feature-rich chat interface from scratch.
"It's kind of tempting, right? If you google it, you'll find articles like 'Build Your Own Chat In One Week.' But then, you realize these additional use cases like muting users, creating channels, kicking people out of channels, and a million other things—that's when complexity creeps in," Lopez says.
To encourage conversation between couples, Lopez knew that Paired's chat would have to include all of the engaging features users have come to expect in chat apps. He adds, "We wanted real-time chat with your usual features like channels, participants, message editing, typing status, and online/offline indicators—things like that. When you start adding those up on your list of requirements, it becomes a really, really complex use case. We would only consider building it ourselves if we expected massive scale." The pressure to reach parity with popular messaging apps couples typically use to communicate contributed to his decision to seek out a third-party chat vendor.
Integrating Stream's React Native Chat SDK
The criteria a potential chat partner would have to meet centered around a customizable UI, Lopez recalls, "Other solutions offered the bare bones of UI, and there were not many personalization options. We restyled the whole [Stream] chat so that [personalization] was important to us."
"Stream's React Native SDK gives us the whole UI—and building that in-house is a nightmare. We also have offline support with the React Native SDK, which we could never build ourselves," Lopez says.
The fact that the React Native Chat SDK code is open source, available, and regularly maintained on GitHub made all the difference to the Paired CTO and team of engineers. Lopez expresses his appreciation for what he refers to as Stream's "maximum transparency." He receives notifications when the code has been updated and says, "We are usually the first ones testing it, and I make sure to report any bugs—luckily, there are few." While Lopez admits this is unusual for a CTO, he says he likes to keep tabs on changes made to see how they might impact the rest of Paired's infrastructure and learn about any new feature releases that would benefit his app users.
Paired's Experience With The Stream Team
Lopez met with the lead React Native engineer and worked closely with Paired's account manager and customer support representative from Stream. He still reaches out to the support team for help from time to time, and they always respond quickly. Lopez describes the AM managing the relationship with Paired as "very helpful and interested in understanding our use case."
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