Reducing tab size

Lukas Barth tinloaf at
Thu Aug 2 23:00:24 EDT 2007

Sean Egan schrieb:
> On 8/2/07, Lukas Barth <tinloaf at> wrote:
>> If my buddy has gone offline, it makes no sense to activate that tab.
>> The problem is: If I don't see "Buddy has gone offline" from the
>> tablist, I will activate that tab to talk to that buddy (and therefor
>> start tabbing through the tablist), then see he has gone offline and
>> have wasted time changing keyboards and tabbing through the list for
>> nothing.
> Right now I have 9 tabs open and my window is currently wide enough to
> hold 3 tabs without scrolling. If I'm interested in talking on any
> particular conversation, there's a 2⁄3 chance I'll need to switch to
> that tab anyway.

Not if you would use a vertical layout. ;) If you have the status icons 
in the tablist, it is possible to see all open conversations and their 
status at once: users with many open conversations have to use a 
vertical layout. If you remove the status icon from the tablist, this is 
no longer possible. So with status icons, everyone has an option he or 
she could be fine with (users with few conversations choose horizontal 
layout, users with many choose vertical layout) - without status icons 
users wanting to see the status of their conversations (these strange 
people like me ;)) are lost. ;)

> Then, if we do something less space-filled to indicate an offline user
>  – italicize the title, perhaps – then your use case is filled much
> better.

That's right. The most important info is "online / offline" - so one 
could change the meaning of "italic" from "status changed" to "user 
offline". An idea worth considering is expanding this to three states: 
"online / offline / away" where "away" is anything of "away", 
"unavailable", "extended away" etc. In this case one would need a third 
text decoration - as is said, colors could be an option. Otherwise: 
normal, italic, underlined?

> That's true, but the buddy list node is our canonical representation
> of a status. The status message may actually be just as important as
> the status icon: it can be the difference between "Away - Gone for two
> weeks" and "Away - Due to auto-idle because I'm doing some homework at
> my desk but will definitely hear the Ding if you IM me."

True, but knowing that the user is away is a start. ;)


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