Feedback on the compact layout

Hey guys, we’d like to know what you guys expect from the compact view.
Here is a mock design of what we think the compact view may look like.

Things to note:
All markdown headings will be converted to normal “bold” text.
We won’t have the thumbnail previews for images, files and images attached will both look pretty similar and compact. A person can still click on them to open the previewer.

Looks good. Maybe we could keep the avatars before the names by reducing their size to the font height:


Agreed. They make it very easy to identify someone.

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Adding an updated design on how that might look.

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I like it :slight_smile:

Maybe it is a good idea to not show the username for consecutive posts as it is done currently in the normal theme.

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Cool, that’s certainly a significant improvement.

Could you please post a mockup screenshot of two/three users having a simple conversation without replying to each other or doing attachments?

I’d like to compare that with how it looks in Slack’s compact theme (see below). Thanks!

Sure, here you go.

Thanks. That confirms my hunch that the vertical padding is a bit greater in the mockup than in Slack. I think it would both look nicer and be more useful (ie. permit more conversation to be viewed at the same time) if it was a bit more compact in that regard.

It doesn’t look to me like the cause of the extra vertical padding is the display of the avatars, but if that is the cause, perhaps showing avatars should be optional. Actually, that should probably be optional in any case. I expect some people will prefer the avatars, while others will not.

Thanks much!

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This is probably a separate issue, but one thing that stands out to me when comparing these Slack and Mattermost screenshots is how the users’ names are much more distinguishable due to color in Slack than in Mattermost. I don’t know why that is, or if it’s easily configurable in Mattermost, but increased color variation in the names could be quite nice on the eyes.

I suppose this is at least somewhat related to the compactness feature, because as more conversation is displayed at the same time, it becomes more important to be able to quickly distinguish who is saying what.

The color stuff would be hard to pull off, Slack doesn’t have styling for the center channel. Users in Mattermost can set different background styles for the center channel and if we generate some random colors, there are chances that they may clash with the center channel.

The extra vertical spacing allows to differentiate one message from another. We’ve got a bit of extra stuff going on, replies, multiple images, etc. If it was just messages having minimal space in between messages would be fine, but with replies and also the color restriction, the extra vertical space is there to help to differentiate between messages.

Also I think having avatars is a good idea, we have restrictions going on with the colors for different users, so avatars can help us with that restriction and allow people to differentiate between messages a bit more easily.

We might just think about not having the colors and the images in for the first version. Then we can add the color function in and an option to toggle images.

IRCCloud (seen below) has another perspective on compactness in a web chat client. I’ve been using IRC for many years, so I find myself immediately favoring this degree of compactness. Even in this half-height (567 pixels tall) window, 16 lines of messages can be viewed, and that’s with a tall header for the channel topic, a line used by the “New messages” indicator, and 2 additional lines used by my long in-progress input.

Maybe what I should do is write up a request for a new feature: a “Terminal” theme (or “IRC”?) that could look something like this. The Terminal theme could also feature no userpics, emoji glyphs rendered in ASCII by default, and multimedia previews closed by default. (Or maybe those should be options separate from the theme?)

I predict IRC old-timers would love it. We’re used to being able to see a lot of the past conversation at once, without having to use a large window.

Just food for thought… thanks for your consideration and effort! :slight_smile:

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I agree 100% with fjarlq. An irc-like view would be great for the compact layout, or maybe as yet another layout. I find it way more efficient to have less vertical padding and hide avatars to see more info at once. Lots of xmpp and irc clients have this sort of layout and it works pretty great, but I understand they might not have the replies, images and all to deal with.

The issue here is that we have images, markdown, replies, comments and a lot of other stuff. If it was just messages the reduced vertical height wouldn’t effect readability that much.
Also if you have a look at irc and slack, they both have colored usernames which helps them differentiate between members, since we haven’t done that right now or may even not do in the future, the profile pics allow users to differentiate messages from different users.

Any news on this front? I really second the opinions on being able to switch to an extremely compact chat with colored names. This could be useful if you have an IDE integration as a console stream/channel widget[1], but also want to have a normal desktop/web app running for the full experience.

[1] E.g. filtered jenkins and/or gerrit events for earlier submitted patches

Hi, @asaad do you have any news about this? I find the compact mode a lot more practical that the normal mode, but not having avatar or any way to differenciate users at first glance is kind of a no go. We rely heavily on avatars since one of the main input in our chat is monitoring events. Is there a way to have compact mode with avatars?