I will take an example. Stack Overflow.
There are a lot of times when users and moderators tell us to resolve certain unsupported issues (i.e. topics which are unaccepted as questions in the site's expected format) in the chatrooms. There are a lot of times when an extended comment discussion ends with one of the users agrees to go to the chatroom when the Stack Exchange site tells them the discussion went too long (or perhaps a moderator moves the whole conversation to a new channel).
I know, and can guess, how to enter the chat room by typing the URL. It is hard to forget, specially if the Stack Exchange system tells you to do that and provides a link.
However, in the UI I cannot find any reference to the chat. No button. No link. No menu item.
I think it will be useful if among the buttons:
Questions | Jobs | Tags | Users | Badges | Ask Question
One more button was added being Chat (perhaps next to Questions). Additionally, a brief list of newest or hottest chat rooms would be useful on the main site page (this is: the main questions listing of the respective site) so the chat is encouraged.
Take an example: a user wants to discuss about which WebSocket library is better among many possibilities. Such a question is disallowed unless specific criteria are given, in the Q&A. However, the user thinks, somehow, answering the question will bring him value, somehow.
The following occurs:
- The user posts the question to Stack Overflow Q&A.
- The question is closed, since it is not constructive (assume the case no specific criteria was given, but just comparing for a better library).
- The user wants to ask about this kind of questions and close reasons.
- Experienced users and moderators tell him that Chat is available for those questions (the third place).
- The user asks himself: "Chat? WTF? Is that stuff visited by people willing to answer questions and address problems?"
And perhaps, by connecting the chat with more than one link (e.g. as I said: by notifications or telling what new channels do exist), no doubt will exist that it is a more useful place than just a pile of migrated comments.
What do you think? Could the chat be improved, promoted, and more accessible to users so they recognize it as an existing part of the site?