Instead of checkerboard modules, can we have the chatrooms displayed as banners across the screen (SO style)?
I was asked to explain why I'd prefer this UI.
This whole question of UI design is one of aesthetics which is naturally very subjective and difficult to justify rigorously. I mostly made this post to hear if others agree or disagree with the suggestion. Nevertheless, I will venture an explanation.
- Depending on the tab selected, the StackChat homepage shows a list of available chat rooms. If the list is intended to be in some order (recent, active, hot, etc), stacked banners are a much more intuitive representation than an ordered double array of boxes. A vertical stack is logically consistent with our intuitive notion of order and precedence a grid is not.
- When the room order changes, this change is more clearly represented in a list than in the rearrangement of a two-dimensional chart.
- From a sensory perspective, scanning a horizontal banner that extends across a page is consistent with the mechanics of reading and the English language.
- Stacked banners give a sense of rigidity and structure which is attractive to look at.
- Horizontal banners demand our focus in a sequential order, a grid demands our focus from all over the page at once which makes the UI feel busy and less focused.
- The chat-room modules seem like they are supplanted on top of a background. I have an intuition that I can drag them around the page as if they were like the icons on my desktop.
- The design is not internally consistent with the rest of the SO - SE UI.
In summary, I don't think the way data and functionality are currently being presented reflects the nature of the data and type of functionality made available in the UI.
Another reason I would like to see this changed:
With the current UI I have to hover over each room title to find the specific discussion room I'm looking for...very annoying.