Regarding the protocol/status icons...
email_this_guy at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 20 19:30:34 EDT 2007
I just realized today that GAIM has become PIDGIN, and although I have had no complaints with GAIM, I immediately downloaded and installed PIDGIN just to insure that my chat program would be more stable than ever before with the latest release.
I see a lot of new features and changes as well. However, the fact that I can no longer see the protocol icons of my buddies on the buddy list is a bit disappointing. I have read about others' opinions on this at the links below, and I do understand both sides' views.
Yet, I do agree that for the next release, including an option to allow users to see only the status icons, or only the protocal icons, or see both (superimposed or not) on the buddy list would be a better idea.
If you notice on the buddy list, an average buddy's screenname is not very long. It will not take up the whole width of the window. In the attachment I've included, take the longest name on there "accordguyintake" for example. You can easily display 2 or 3 icons before or after the name without requiring a wider window. So regarding my suggestion, you can allow the user to display just the protocol icon, or just the status icon, or both next the name.
I, too, like to see which buddy uses which protocol with just one glance at the buddy list instead of having to mouse over or right click their screenname. The reason why I would want to know which protocol my buddy is using is similar to what most other users said. A lot of my buddies have both AIM and MSN accounts, and both their icons either appear at the same time when they are online, or not appear at all when they are not online. I also tend to use short aliases for their names as well, such as their first name. So now when I see both "John" status icons on the screen, I can't tell right away which one to click on to start a new conversation with. In my case, the File Transfer function doesnt work well with AIM people, but it does work reliably with MSN. So I would alway send files to my buddies' MSN accounts and never to their AIM if they have one. Also, I don't group my buddies by protocol. I group them in my own custom groupings so being able to
distinguish between the protocols quickly is a plus for me. Also, being able to distinguish between the protocols quickly saves me the need to give my buddies longer, distguishable names.
After reading the "uniformity" design guidelines at http://developer.pidgin.im/wiki/DesignGuidelines , my question to you is why are you removing something that no user has complained about? Why are you fixing something that is not broken? The concept of uniformity is great, but like all other concepts involving going from more complexity to simplicity, you lose information, specifically the "What IM is he/she using?" in common chat terms. Furthermore, displaying both status AND protocol information with one icon (as in previous GAIM versions) takes up the same amount of real estate as displaying just a green or gray-out button. Obviously, you would want to make software that is more friendly and simple for the end-user, and in this case, what is more friendly is seeing the familiar AIM, MSN, ICQ, Jabber, etc icon next to their buddy name. Seeing a bunch of green buttons just leaves people more confused until they get used to it. In this case, uniformity obviously
causes confusion and frustration.
On the other hand, uniformity would be a great concept when applied to group/conference chat across different protocols. Cross Conferencing is one feature that I believe you guys should look into implementing for Pidgen. See here http://www.mundu.com/wireless/interhowitworks.php?top=1&leftIndex=2?top=1&leftIndex=2. In this case, your concept of uniformity would be fulfilled by the fact that any buddy of any protocol can communicate with one another in a group chat. Functional abstraction is what you want. Not visual uniformity.
I hope you don't take these comments in a negative way. I wanted to give you a truthful opinion and offer suggestions on how Pidgin could be made better for everyone as a whole. GAIM has been the only IM program that I use, and I honestly like it very much. With this, I hope you will reopen ticket 414 and push it through into the next version. Thanks!
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