Pidgin usability look on the web

Richard Laager rlaager at
Mon Aug 25 12:25:14 EDT 2008

> As with contact info, Pidgin’s “Buddies” > “View User Log…” menu item
> showed me not the log of the person I had selected,

What else in the Buddies (note plural) menu acts on the selected buddy?
The right-click context menu's "View Log" option acts on that buddy.

> nor a list of contacts for whom any conversations had been logged

The dialog text entry box will autocomplete names based on the logs that
exist. Perhaps this would be more obvious if you actually had logs.

What sort of UI were you looking for here?

        A) Some giant list of names? If so, how is that superior to
        using the buddy list and using the context menu?
        B) Some giant list of conversations? This is pretty expensive to
        generate, as you'd have to walk a large directory tree. It only
        seems useful if you said, "I remember talking about this with
        someone yesterday, but I don't remember who..." I don't know how
        common that use case is, but it's never happened to me.

> Once I’d entered someone’s name, Pidgin would then unfailingly report
> that “No logs were found”, because “Instant messages will only be
> logged if the "Log all instant messages" preference is enabled”, and
> that preference was disabled by default.

The preference is disabled by default for privacy reasons.

> Pidgin could have detected within a few hundredths of a second that it
> did not have any logs stored, but it presented the “View User Log”
> scavenger hunt as an available menu item anyway ().

What would you have Pidgin do in this case? It sounds like you want it
to grey out the menu item. Then you'd say, "The View User Log... option
was greyed out and I couldn't figure out how to turn it on." ;) This
way, it'll tell you why it doesn't work.

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