• July 12, 2016

Olark Introduces Hummingbird Live Chat

Olark Live Chat today introduced Hummingbird, a mobile-friendly version of its live chat experience. Ideal for chat on smaller screens, Hummingbird helps small to midsized businesses talk to customers who are making purchasing decisions on their handheld devices.

"Hummingbird reinvents the live chat experience for the mobile consumer," said Ben Congleton, CEO and co-founder of Olark, in a statement. "Most mobile live chat solutions try to shim the existing pop-up or floating window approach into the limited real estate of a mobile phone. We built Hummingbird so talking to businesses on mobile has a similar look and feel to consumer messaging platforms like Messenger or WhatsApp. We've also given ourselves room to grow on this new platform so we can create richer experiences for our users and their customers in the future. Stay tuned! Hummingbird is just the first step in bringing our human-first approach to conversational commerce."

Key features that differentiate the mobile-friendly Hummingbird experience from the traditional Olark Live Chat experience on a mobile device include the following:

  • Smaller chat button - For mobile Web visitors, Olark's traditional 'chat tab' is replaced by Hummingbird - a smaller, circular 'chat button' that takes up less Web site real estate. Visitors simply tap this button to initiate live conversations.
  • Full screen chat - When visitors tap the chat button, a conversation window expands to fill the entire browser tab, as opposed to opening a new tab for the conversation.
  • Messenger app-like experience - Once a conversation is initiated, it will look and feel much like popular messaging apps, with a left/right response orientation, message 'bubbles', and a persistent operator avatar.
  • Unread message alerts - If visitors minimize the conversations, they'll receive red, unread message alerts just above the chat button. The alerts indicate how many messages have been sent by an agent while the conversation has been minimized. Visitor can expand conversations again by tapping the chat button.
  • Offline icon - When a business is online and available to chat, Hummingbird will show a chat icon. When a business is not available to chat, Hummingbird can be hidden or configured to display an envelope icon indicating that visitors can still send the business an email.

"Developing this mobile chat box has been much more than simply making a responsive version of the desktop chat box," said Joe Westhead, Hummingbird product manager at Olark, in a statement. "Under the hood, we have completely changed how the chat widget is made, which will be a benefit to the desktop version. This means that future versions can be developed quicker and easier than before, allowing for improved features, more customization and increased visitor agency."

Just like the desktop version of Olark Live Chat, Hummingbird loads asynchronously. Hummingbird also features a mobile-friendly version of the offline email form, which customers can use to submit questions when chat is offline; and a mobile-friendly version of the pre-chat survey, if businesses choose to require visitors' names and email addresses before starting chat.

Hummingbird does not require users to download a new app or integrate new software. Visitors can chat with businesses in any mobile browser, and the Hummingbird experience is available to all Olark users at no additional charge.

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