User icons

Another very visible change between Instantbird 0.2 and 0.3 is the possibility to set a user icon and a display name.

screenshot of the contact list with a place holder icon

You will see a place holder icon at the top of the buddy list, just click it (this will open a file picker) to set an icon. The icon will be automatically resized and converted to fit the various size and format requirements of the IM networks you use.

Similarly, click the “Display name” place holder to edit it. This name will be visible in your contacts’ buddy lists (unfortunately this currently works only for MSN).

Here you go, your friends will now easily recognize you:

screenshot of the contact list with an icon and a display name

Conversation windows have also been changed to display your contacts’ icons and some more information (display name, status message, …):

conversation with an info bar showing the user icon

I can already hear some comments about how much space this new information bar takes (or wastes) in all conversation windows. Yes, this takes a lot of space, we know. People tend to use big or very big windows for chatting (sometimes even full screen!) but if you like the ability to chat in small windows, don’t worry, we love you too! Just resize the window and this information bar will shrink to ensure you still see the actual content of the conversation:

conversation with a smaller info bar

And for very small conversation windows, the bar will completely disappear, leaving only the strictly necessary user interface:

small conversation without the info bar

12 thoughts on “User icons

  1. What is the point with repeating the online status (green dot) to the left of the tab? Looks odd.

  2. @José: it makes sense when there’s more than one tab. When there’s only one tab, or when the first tab is selected it looks odd like you pointed out. We have a bug filed on this already, though I don’t know what a good solution would be. Thanks for the feedback anyway :).

  3. please add a possibility to turn that off! i liked the very minimalistic interface in the previous version without any unnecessary information. please dont do the same mistakes as all the other instant messengers

  4. @commander keen: Everything is customizable in Instantbird :). If you want to change it just for you, the fastest way is probably to add a line or two in a userChrome.css file in your profile folder. If you believe a significant number of people would, like you, want to turn it off, maybe you can write an add-on for it? If you don’t know how to get started, I’m sure you’ll find help in our IRC chat room. :)

  5. Another thing that is repeated in the UI is the name of the person you are chatting with. It is repeated 3 times. Surely this could be improved?

  6. @José: the reasoning behind the duplication on the tab and in the user info area is no different from the repeated status icon.

    I can’t see how the user name on the window title could possibly hurt, in contrary it would lose us the way to differentiate different conversation windows if we’d just put a “Conversations” there on every window. And it wouldn’t even save any space to do so.
    What’s the way of improving/removing the duplication that you were thinking of, José?

    Best regards, Bendikt P.

  7. I see how the the “information bar” makes sense when there it is maximized, but not when it is minimized. It should shrink to how it looks on the last screenshot in my opinion.

    Anyway. To be honest, I didn’t give insatntbird a try yet. I will when the new version is out.

  8. Please just make this an option :(. I don’t like how much space is used to display a contact’s name 3 times, and it becomes almost entirely useless whitespace as the window is grown horizontally.

  9. I LIKE the user icons. The two green dots don’t look so odd if your window is large enough to display the user icon. I do wish we had the option to see user icons in the Contacts list.

  10. I can’t see my contact’s display pictures nor can they see mine. Am I missing something here?