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Background

Note: This isn't the actual type of app, it's just a similar situation.

If I have a mobile chat app in which a user creates an account, creates a new conversation and is allowed to add others via email. If the email does not belong to a user of the app, then an email will be sent to the person inviting him or her to sign up. If the email belongs to a registered chat-app user, then he or she is just included, and like other chat apps the message will appear in the message list of the app.

Question

What should be the expected behavior in a scenario where the person who creates a new conversation and only adds emails that do not belong to any registered users?

Here are my thoughts so far. I do not want to require the user to add at least 1 other person who is a member. I also wanted to try to avoid having to have a list of "friends", and only allow them to start a conversation if they have 1 or more friends in their list. The reason is that I did not want to implement a friend request/invitation system. It's not a social network.

  • By saying you don't want to app a request-invitation saying you are implying that someone the email would servers not only as a invitation to join app but the only "gate" to start a conversation with the person who has invited you? – Alejandro Veltri Apr 17 '15 at 3:12
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What's your question exactly? If it's how to represent unregistered users in the app once a conversation has been set up, you can learn from any service that has a representation of unknown users. E.g. what Google Apps does when anonymous people are viewing a document (representing them by "anonymous animals"). Or what this site does with non-registered posters (assigning them names like "user_6508798" and automatically generated generic avatars. Or what web meeting services do when you're the first one to arrive - they say stuff like "No other attendees have arrived yet". You can say that the conversation is waiting for 3 more people to join, without listing their names.

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It's kind of hard to have a conversation by yourself :) They can't really have a conversation until there is someone to talk to.

Maybe you can "request conversation" and it remains in the "request" state until someone joins - either a user who already has the app joins or someone who gets the email installs the app and joins.

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