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I wish chat/widgets weren’t a thing on the web. It’s not that it’s bad but I think it’s annoying how they just pop up from everywhere (mostly bottom right). It’s mostly an interface/UI problem. I wish they do it like Apple, where Apple Support has options like “Call” and “Chat” and when you click on it, that’s the only time the widget appears.

The problem is they're not getting used properly.

On the end user's end, I'd expect that most visitors don't want a chat widget following them around -- until they actually do want to chat, and they look for some kind of chat option. (I've no data to support this but anecdotes like the fact that this browser extension got released suggests me that my hunch might not be too far off.)

On the company's end, you definitely do not want the chat widget visible at all times. It's costly to man the thing so users get a quick reply. On the website it's usually worthless sales contacts with trivial questions; inside the app it's often support-related stuff whose answer is a search away.

The only time the pop-up should be around is when:

- The site visitor or app user is actively looking for some kind of "Contact/Chat" button.

- The site visitor or app user just did something you hypothesized was worth investigating. And in this case the chat should open with a question -- albeit only if a competent operator is actually around.

OT aside: Intercom et al gets too expensive way too fast when you don't purge visitors that didn't sign-up and users that engaged without paying and eventually left without buying.

Maybe I’m too old, but I’d never use a chat popup. I’m also the person who, when calling tech support, mashes on the 0 button right away and repeatedly until a human answers. I simply don’t want to waste time communicating with a machine unless I’m programming. Nothing about the usual chat pop up interfaces assures me that I’d be chatting with an actual human.

“Hi, how can I help?” Pop up at every random time I might be browsing? No way these guys are staffed 24/7. Probably not human.

Stock photo showing pretty telephone operator? Definitely not human.

If I want to type something for help, I’d honestly prefer a good, working search box.


I think I've used an unsolicited chat widget maybe once. What stood out to me was that the entire experience is setup to be a poor one for the user by default. Click a link on the page and the session is lost. Links sent through the chat don't add target=_blank, either; I'd imagine that the percentage of chat sessions terminated by accident is awfully high. In which case, in trying to help, the support rep is merely adding to the user's frustration.

And that's ignoring the users who get frustrated with the giant, in-your-face pop up. At least they don't have sound. Yet.

Every chat widget that's popped up has been accompanied by a sound for me, which is incredibly irritating.

This is one of the reasons I keep my speakers muted by default. Poorly behaved websites and software will be poorly behaved regardless of your wishes. Having your speakers off prevents in-page scripts and ads from annoying you. If you can't keep your computer/speakers muted, then you can still mute the browser itself, at least on desktop.

I usually listen to music via the browser, so that's not a great option for me :/

Pulse audio let's you have one browser process playing, and then mute other processes. I make a special profile to just play Spotify and other media. Open a new profile for work (well, per project)

Isn't it terrible that one has to explicitly do all these while the normal experience for people who don't know about such options is bad?

Man, that's kind of a hassle - I would have to create one profile just for music and videos, one profile for random personal browsing, and a third one for work. (And possibly a fourth one for work, if I explicitly wanted to watch work-related sound content without switching to a personal profile.) I don't think I need that at this time, but it's good to know.

Really! Honestly, I’ve only ever used the chat widget once, a few days ago when trying to book a rental car in Israel (a foreign country for me). My session persisted across tabs and refreshes. It was actually amazing.

So clearly, it does not need to be this way (and isn’t for all cases).

Seems like poor design - we used drift and it definitely persisted chat sessions. Agreed on sounds and face being extremely annoying.

they should be on the left hand side, away from the vertical scrollbar, but they're not

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