- 2.1.0 GUI

Steven Brown steven.w.j.brown at
Thu Aug 2 16:12:10 EDT 2007




The horizontal strip underneath the tab but above the message display.

Disclaimer: I'm currently using v.2.0.0.

Avatar Icon Size:

Use the protocol's actual icon size.  If it expands this info area 
("infopane") to fit it, then so be it.  If you want to keep it 
consistent across different protocols (maybe an impossible task), 
stretch it to the 96 of MSN or centre it in the 96x96 space or stretch 
it, it doesn't really matter (just aesthetics).  I can see how a common 
size would be nice for when you're going through your open conversations 
and the window dimensions are not fluctuating.

But users, myself included, /like/ seeing their buddy's icon.  Many 
users spend time customizing their icon, and expect other users to see 
them how they were created.  I use the mouse-over tool-tips on the 
buddy-list for this purpose very often.  But I only use the buddy list 
to glance at who is online, and to select buddies to talk to.  When I 
have a conversation window open with a buddy, i usually leave it open 
for the rest of the program's lifecycle, and hide the buddy list until i 
need to find another buddy.

Luke Schierer wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 01, 2007 at 07:05:06PM -0700, Sean Egan wrote:
>> On 8/1/07, Andrew Roeder <correnthean at> wrote:
>>> I do not demand a "full-sized" Icon Sean, I have not complained of the icons
>>> on the buddy list, because -I don't use them and if they were larger then
>>> they would create tremendous clutter for the buddy list- I'm also aware that
>>> my icon is displayed at 32x32 on my buddy list, but I really don't mind that
>>> since it is my icon, and I have no need at all to see it.  I'm merely trying
>>> to convey that the current icon is just too small, and the old icons were at
>>> times too large yes.
> <snip> 
>> Let me share the idea as it existed in my head:
>> The tabs' job to let you quickly choose a buddy out of a list of open
>> conversations. This is why I preferred it without status icons; I
>> don't think they're appropriate there. The buddy icons might be more
>> useful even, but I think status icons get in the way of the tabs' job.
>> The buddy list's job is to provide as much important, at-a-glance
>> information about your buddies' status as possible, without offering
>> too much, distracting information. If it achieves that goal, it should
>> also be useful anywhere else important, at-a-glance information might
>> be useful: e.g. the conversation window. That is why the infopane is
>> rendered exactly like the buddy list.
> Even with the small view, my buddy list is long enough that I sometimes
> cannot see the entire list at once.  Beyond that though, many users
> either because of multiple desktops or because of the way they use the
> docklet, cannot see both the conversation window and the buddy list.  In
> any of the three cases, the tabs provide a quick view of status for the
> people you are most likely to try to reach: those you already have
> conversations open with.

Agreed.  Mentioned in reply to Hylke.

> This rationale for having status on the tabs will hold significantly
> less persuasive for those who have many tabs with people not on their
> buddy list (and thus for whom the status information is less reliable or
> not at all available).

An icon, like the status icon with a red line through it, or simply 
"N/A" could be substituted to tell the user that the person is not on 
their list.


>> I *do* think it's getting much, much better, and that introducing and
>> testing different interface approaches is the only way to find out
>> what works the best for the most people. While I sound antagonistic
>> and defensive, I welcome all the criticism (except for the
>> protocol-icon-in-buddy-list people. They got annoying).
> I agree whole heartedly here.  In fact, my most common reply to the
> protocol icons in the buddy list crowd was "Please wait a release or two
> and if you still do not like this, complain *then.*"  I know that
> people, myself certainly included, tend to have a knee-jerk reaction
> against change, and the longer *we* (I don't care about other IM
> clients) have done something, the stronger that reaction is.  Waiting to
> complain generally ensures that your (or my) reaction is reasoned and
> legitimate, and thus is more likely to influence us. 

Things are getting better and it takes time.  Also agree.  Also, rough 
spots due to change are expected, of course.  :)


> We *must* target *some* window size.  Anything smaller than that size
> will fail to display everything (notice that at very narrow widths, the
> buddy list ends up with horizontal scroll bars and the menus get cut
> off),  and anything larger than that size will have empty space
> proportional to the amount the window has grown.  This is unavoidable.

Agreed.  Target a minimum size.  Prevent the window from scaling too 
small if you must.  Perhaps that's a good idea.  Many applications in 
GNOME do this.  Look at Gedit.  Try resizing it.  It prevents the user 
from accidentally resizing it to a 4pixel square of window boarders and 
wondering where it went.  When UI elements are cut off, an arrow button 
is displayed that both tells the user that some elements are not 
displayed AND allows them to access them.


> The long and short of it is that the GUI *cannot* be endlessly
> configurable.  At the same point, it is also useful to too few people if
> it has *no* options.  Finding the right balance between too many and too
> few options is VERY HARD, and is something we have been struggling with
> for years.

Totally agree.  Sane defaults are the goal, but what's sane can be 
difficult to pinpoint.  Especially when you're combining so many 
different protocols.  Nobody said it would be easy.  :)

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