I had about 5 hours on the train today. There wasn’t a ton to do while going along the east coast on a snowy winter day so I had some time to work on Monal again. Version 4.3 is in development. The first order of business was to fix an old bug with paging through MAM messages. Things work a lot better now and the user experience, network and battery use should be greatly improved.

After that I thought about the UI a little bit. When I originally made Monal, it was the early days of iOS. I was making an app for iOS 2 and I assumed most users were coming form Gim (Pidgin) and Adium. The UI and the terms I used reflected that. Contacts were called buddies. There was a sense of going offline/online etc. Today most new users come from iMessage or WhatsApp. The Monal UI however has not changed in 10 years this means having to regularly explain the UI to others or say, ‘Thats not a bug, it’s a feature’. So I am adjusting the UI to make it closer to other modern apps. This should seem familiar not only to people who use iMessage and WhatsApp but Conversations users too. I am also updating all of the icons in the app. The icon line thickness and spacing have been changed to match iOS 12 and 13 which will be the targeted os version going forward. The new icons should be 3x for modern displays and match other icons in iOS. The input bar should interactively dismiss with the keyboard and reduce a lot of flickering and jumping in the chat. The most notable change is the loss of the tab bar at the bottom. Don’t worry though, all existing screens will still be in the app. They are just moved around I am focusing attention on the two screens that matter the most. The Chat and the messages. Part of this is also an effort to fix the group chat UI, which I tacked on but even I admit doesn’t make a ton of sense.

One thought on “Mam and Rethinking the UI”

  1. What my users love about the UI is it’s similarity to Apple’s Messages.app. Though it may not be intended, common appearance and behaviors are less daunting from the outset. Even simple changes are ‘earth shakers’ for some users. Monal helped them move-on from Messages less painfully.

    Now if I could only get HTTP file transfer to function properly over our OpenFire server. I’m paying for someone to help me with that task. If that person is you, please contact me.


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