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.
That said...I must confess that irssi uses a non-trivial amount of margin space as well!
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.
not being able to snap the window seems to be a conscious choice on their part
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.
We’ve also made usability improvements pretty much across the board, including making the left and right panels resizable [...]
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.
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.
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/.