UI suggestions

Sean Egan seanegan at gmail.com
Sun Jun 17 19:46:22 EDT 2007

On 6/17/07, Aleve Sicofante <asicofante at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm new to this Pidgin list. I've been using Pidgin in Windows for a few
> weeks and I'd like to point out a few UI issues I've found:

Welcome, and thanks for the well-thought-out e-mail.

> Show a tooltip in the system tray showing the friend's name and a little
> text ("Fred has just logged in" or "Martha has just logged out").

I've read the rest of the points in this thread, and I agree with you.
Guifications-like-behavior should be part of Pidgin, proper---not as a
plugin. I've asked Gary (the Guifications maintainer) about this a few
times. I've had Hylke mock up a few good default themes for it, which
he's done (They're on my other computer; if the thread is still alive
tomorrow, I'll post them).

That said, saying it should be done is much different than actually doing it. :)

Guifications, itself, is far too complex to fit well as part of
Pidgin, proper (although it works well in its own light, as a plugin).
Ideally, I would want to have a single "on/off" switch (or perhaps
some other small number to configure what you want notifications for),
and maybe a single drop-down for a theme.

> 3- Friends' pictures are shown to the right of the window, while names are
> on the left. Unless the window is stretched to a very narrow width, it's
> hard to see who the picture belongs too.
> Put friends' pictures right in between the friend's status icon and the
> friend's name.

The better solution is to turn on the "rules" hint, which tells the
GTK+ engine that this very situation may arise: that it may be very
hard to see whom each picture belongs to. The engine will typically
draw the rows in alternating colors, or perhaps draw subtle lines to
separate the rows.

This looks like: http://pidgin.im/~seanegan/screenshot6.png

When I did this before 2.0.0, everyone yelled at me, and argued the
opposite... that unless the window is stretched to a very wide width,
it's hard *not* to see whom the picture belongs to. It was removed by
other developers; perhaps more than once.

> 3- Friends' pictures are far too small.
>  Allow picture size to be customizable in Preferences.

If anything, I thought people would think they're far too large. How
large would you like them to be?

>  4- Turning pictures into B&W when friend is disconnected is a nice way to
> tell so, but it should be optional. Some pictures look just too bad in B&W.
> Allow "B&W when friend is away" to be an option in Preferences.

What do you mean by "bad"? Un-pretty? Or un-recognizable? I'm not too
concerned about the former.

> 5- "Friend is typing" animated icon: It took me a few days to notice it was
> there. It's annoying to look up-right to see if your friend is typing. While
> in a conversation, we tend to look at the last line our friend has written
> or to our own writing area.
> Put the "friend is typing" animated icon right between the writing area and
> the last line of the current conversation.

An alternate (or perhaps the same) suggestion is the Finch approach,
which is to put "so-and-so is typing" as the last line in the message
backlog. I think we took that from Google Talk.

> 6- I think "Expand" is not quite that useful. Most friends use just one IM
> protocol, making expanding a bit absurd.
> Put protocol icons to the right of the friend's name.
> Use protocol icons to show friend's status. For instance, by putting that
> icon in B&W (Instead of the friend's picture).
> Allow grouping by protocol (which is nice) to be an option in preferences.

"Expand" is incredibly useful, when applicable, and when it's not
applicable, it can be safely ignored. Your suggestions seem unrelated,
and seem to a re-hashing of the now-infamous, ticket 414. The protocol
your buddies are using are *not* that important. In the case you're
describing, where you don't have people who use more than one
protocol, the knowledge of what protocol they're using is completely


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