In order to start using Chatango, new users must establish a profile. After coming up with a username and password, people only have to include age, gender, ZIP code and an e-mail address. From there, users can fill out as much or as little about themselves as they wish in the About Me blurb.
The Main Profile box allows subscribers to share more about their interests, embed videos, music, pictures and links, akin to other social networking sites. Since Chatango searches profiles through keywords, users should employ descriptive, specific keywords when filling out their profiles to make it easier to find friends with similar interests. For instance, people who describe themselves as "laid back" might not receive as many compatible friend requests as someone lists out hobbies.
Once Chatango users set up a username and profile, they're given a direct URL to their profile page, which follows the format: http://username.chatango.com. The user can then customize the appearance of the profile page with various colors, fonts, skins and add-ons, such as mp3 players.
Chatting on Chatango involves little more than clicking on a user's profile and tapping out a message. If someone goes offline but doesn't want to miss any Chatango messages, the site features a MessageCatcher that users can download. The MessageCatcher, which is only operational on Windows platforms, lives as an icon in the Windows system tray. It sends an alert whenever a Chatango chat arrives in someone's profile. That way, when a person logs back into Chatango, he or she can respond to missed messages, kind of like voice-mail for a chat room.
As in other online communities, people may not always want to converse with certain fellow users, and Chatango realizes that. The Settings menu includes a block feature to prevent unwanted users from being able to send messages. In addition, the privacy function can restrict whether a user's profile can be found through Chatango search, whether a user can receive offline messages and if a profile picture accompanies the user.
The greatest benefit of Chatango doesn't necessarily take place on the Web site at all. The portable chat room application permits people to embed a public or private Chatango chat box on personal Web pages and lets them moderate the conversation to take their online conversations virtually anywhere.