IM, Contacts & Social hackfest: Conversation: Design: brainstorming around a possible Conversation app

  • Owner: GuillaumeDesmottes

  • Do we want a Conversation app?
  • Current conversation, contacts most used
  • Integrated chat (one window)



Cassidy introduces: Conversation app where you can see your current chat, a people you chat most with.

Mockup done by Allan

  • A messaging application that's more conversation focus.
  • Complements the contacts application which is contact focused.
  • Once instant messaging is in the shell, this application becomes focused on viewing logs and messaging, rather than initiating conversations.
  • In a buddy list focused application you often only talk to one person at a time.
    • In this case adding people to a conversation is a prominent part of the UI.
    • Pushing group conversations.
  • You can see where you left off pretty easily an jump back into the thread. Don't have to manually do lookup work.
  • Haven't thought about all of the goals and scope, this is a concept, not really a design yet.
    • IRC and stuff might not belong here. Needs to be looked at later.
  • Similar to some other apps that are out there.
    • WebOS has something similar.
  • Fixes problems that empathy has with tabs, and scaling the number of conversations.
  • Can pop out any conversations into another window.
  • Both conversations from the logger and active conversations.
    • History becomes the way of getting at conversations.
    • You get status of people in the list, so that you can see if the person is still available for chatting.
    • Distinction is made between conversations that have available participants.
  • Danni says that the concept of "being in a chat" is different from "having history of that chat". For example chat rooms have this concept, XMPP channels get bound to a JID/resource, and other examples.

Will and Cassidy show new telepathy logger design

  • By MPT.
  • Some critique of stuff in telepathy logger.
  • One thing this has is the concept of a conversation starting and ending based on inactivity.
  • Alan: "What is a conversation?" is a really important question.
  • In google talk people have to accept being added into a MUC. So there are some technical issues with having stuff being both the history and the active conversation.
  • What happens when you add people to a conversation in progress? Needs to be figured out. Naming of conversations is easy.
    • If the left bar of the conversations app always shows active conversations, then it makes sense that you can display who's in each group or chat right now.
  • Danni explains how chat rooms work in different protocols. Some bump you out on disconnect, others when you actually leave.
  • Alex: Can we link various chats, even if not the same?
    • If someone leaves a multi user chat, one person leaves, tries to come back. For others in the chat room may create two different conversations.
  • Can we send email to people who aren't in the conversation at the time?
    • The problem is (like multi user SMS) is that replies to that email (or SMS) don't go to all participants of the conversation.
  • Discussion about whether we should support IRC and how much.
    • IRC is difficult from a design point of view because you lurk in many channels.
    • Doesn't really follow the model of instant messaging.
  • Most people don't use mailing lists, or named multi user chats.
  • Most people just create little transient groups of people.
  • On the new Windows Phone 7 you can hold a message via multiple different protocols.
  • It should be possible to tell whether you can send a message to people when they're offline.
  • Possible to show recent email in the conversation with person, and then reply by chat.
  • Bastian says: In this conversation app design, you lose muscle memory of where conversations would be if they're moving all around all the time. Since they're sorted by date.
  • Use case: Close window on a conversation without actually leaving it. Difficult on how to get it back. Design is hard.
  • Danni shows new skype UI design for ideas.
  • Perhaps have active conversations separate from history in the sidebar?
    • Poorly defined for one-to-one chats.
    • Group chats have concept of being in or out of a group chat.
    • Shows themself just as others.
  • Skype: A lot of people add themselves to the contact list, so they can see how other people see them. The thing at the top of empathy, for example doesn't look like how they're presented to other people.
  • Would be nice if you can see yourself in the contact list, next to others.
    • Special operations you can do on your own contact, like send it to others etc.
    • Easy to setup your own contact information based on the accounts you have setup.
  • Danni suggests: Clicking on an avatar can do various things (menu). So when you want to break out of a group conversation.
  • Have to be careful not to have the same name/avatar/status-icon for the same people, over and over again in the same window.
  • In empathy you can do a lot of things with a contact, more than you can do in this conversation design.
  • Conversation window is showing you the particular contact on a particular protocol.
  • Empathy and chat is partially integrated into the shell.
    • In 3.2 have contacts nicely integrated, chat and integration in the shell.
    • Probably not conversations by 3.2.
    • Reviews will complain about partial integration, but in reality this is because there isn't enough time before 3.2.
  • Conversations by 3.4
    • But good to keep in mind when doing work in stuff in this area.
  • Rishi seems to be working on an IRC telepathy client to cover that story. Then we have to worry less about it in conversations.

Discussion about prototyping stuff, and having people test it, not making big changes for users later.

Discussion about build process, and building live cds of development versions of GNOME.

Hackfests/IMContacts Social2011/Tasks/ConversationDesignBrainstorming (last edited 2011-06-17 10:31:37 by StefWalter)