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I don't want to knock the hard work the Riot developers have put into their application, but I just don't understand: why does 'modern' web design seem to require wasting so much white space? Looking at the screenshot on that blog post, the actual chat transcript is somewhere in the middle of the screen (sandwiched between giant sidebars on either side).

Compare to irssi (or any other console IRC program), which uses just about the entire width of the terminal to print chat messages.

Is this really just a side-effect of developers all having large, high-DPI monitors, making the white space look smaller to them? Because on my tiny little Chromebook, no more than 50% of the screen width is actually used to display chat messages.

Why would you want messages to span the entire screen?


Because: window managers!


That said...I must confess that irssi uses a non-trivial amount of margin space as well!

I think some developers either only have one window open at a time, or always use fullscreen/maximized windows. There are so many things that are just difficult to use when windows are tiled to fit ~4 things on one monitor.

I use Wire which has a similar problem to Riot. That is now 2 different workspaces just for "chatting" (they take up an entire workspace to be usable, because it wastes space, not good, IMO), then there is another for IRC on which I can also have a browser anyway because the terminal is only 80x24. I stopped using Riot because of it, and I might stop using Wire, too. :/ I hope they will fix it in Wire though, for example, by making the friend list collapsible or something.

The user list on the right can be closed, and the channel list on the left can be collapsed.

What if your window doesn't span the entire screen? It's a frustrating and common flaw in so many modern websites and apps that they simply do not work unless the app is fullscreen on a widescreen monitor.

For example Discord is borderline unusable if it is one of two windows side-by-side on my laptop, and completely unusable if you have three. This can't even be an unusual case for people on UNIX derivatives using tiling window managers - Windows has had functionality to tile windows like this since 7. Whatever happened to responsive design? See Telegram desktop client for an example of how it should work - the layout actually changes as you resize the window.

Discord isn't meant to be used side by side,it's default usecase is joining a channel and continuously talking while doing something else(mostly gaming).

not being able to snap the window seems to be a conscious choice on their part

I assure you there are lots of people who don't use it that way. It probably depends on what circle you end up in on it. There are text-based communities on there related to all sorts of topics. The Rust community was even considering using it as a default communication channel at one point I believe.

> So keep your paragraph width between 50 and 70 characters.

Yes, I have a terminal (xterm) with irssi running, that terminal is 80x24, and give or take the timestamps, it is indeed between 50 and 70 characters.

Whereas Wire and Riot takes up the entire screen as a single window.

Too late to edit, but I confess that TFA refutes what I wrote!

We’ve also made usability improvements pretty much across the board, including making the left and right panels resizable [...]

Only Riot Web though :(

Riot (both web and mobile) desperately needs to make room and user search more obvious. Everyone I give Riot to has issues finding me and my channels. I get around this by asking their usernames and sending invites to the right channels.

Have you checked recently? The mobile version has gone blue for me.

Yes, I in fact just installed it. They changed the text in the "search bar" present in the homescreen, which is a great improvement (it now says "filter rooms"). However this feature is only useful for really heavy users with tons of rooms, yet it's displayed front and center while the global search option which is fundamental for onboarding is still hidden.

The full redesign has been postponed because they are rewriting the whole program: https://github.com/vector-im/riotX-android But this issue I'm complaining about is also present on the redesigned Riot Web.

Edit: sorry, I think I'm wrong. The current mobile version seems to already be the redesign though it looks mostly the same to me: https://medium.com/@RiotChat/riot-mobile-update-brand-new-ri... I think it still needs a lot of work.

the recent mobile update is just a cosmetic redesign (getting rid of all the green!)

You're completely right that RiotX is where the overall usability fixes are happening, including ones which would solve your problem here. Good news is that RiotX is evolving fast though - we're putting all our resources into it rather than Riot/Android, and then the same UX will be ported over to Riot/iOS. We're aiming to get a daily-usable RiotX into the app stores in the next 1-2 months. N.B. that the UX will change substantially from the current prototype at https://matrix.org/jenkins/job/RiotXAndroidDevelop/.

Right now is it generally recommended to use Riot or is RiotX stable/good enough? Also is RiotX like a beta channel, so when it's considered complete/stable will an update effectively replace Riot with RiotX for all current users?

RiotX is alpha right now, but should be usable day-to-day in a month or so. Once it has parity with Riot we'll replace Riot with it.

Thanks for the clarification. Those are great news!

Oh awesome, thanks man.

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