I am not too much of a chat user, I must say. However, whenever I do use one, the aesthetic appeal is simply not there. There is barely any user interface, and it just generally does not look great. Also, Latex does not seem to be supported, which makes typing math equations extremely difficult to read. I think that with the new toolbar update going live, Stack Exchange is trying to make all of their sites look more appealing, but the chat rooms have never seemed to be updated for appeal. Are we going to see a change soon? Or is it because the chat rooms are not very popular?

Here is a picture of a chat room in Math Stack Exchange: https://imgur.com/I6Pw39E

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    LaTeX is only supported on a very limited number of actual sites because it is (from what I understand) very expensive. I don't think that it's going to be allowed in chat.... probably ever. I use Chat constantly, though and I don't generally have any problems with the layout, though for sites with a site design, the aesthetic is per-site, not network wide. Other than LaTeX, what user interface are you missing, what specifically don't you like? Stack Exchange does really well with specific requests and, other than LaTeX support I don't see one here. – Catija Oct 19 '17 at 0:13
  • You can use LaTeX in chat by using a ChatJax extension. It's much simpler and (computationally) cheaper to do this, because only a small fraction of users actually need it. As for the rest of your question . . . I'm not sure I understand your specific complaint(s). – HDE 226868 Oct 19 '17 at 0:19
  • @Catija The button font is quite ugly, and the right sidebar for active users seems to be a tight squeeze. – Gerard L. Oct 19 '17 at 0:20
  • @HDE22686 But would a Latex engine for several sites cost too much? I am not very familiar with the budgeting, but I think Math StackExchange definitely needs it. And your link is quite hard to navigate to find a straightforward download. – Gerard L. Oct 19 '17 at 0:22
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    If you have specific concerns, include an image and edit your answer to explain. Don't use comments. :) – Catija Oct 19 '17 at 0:24
  • A lot of users combined use all the sites that have MathJax (Math, Physics, Math Overflow, etc.). A much smaller group use chat, and even they don't use MathJax all the time. I don't have numbers for you, but qualitatively, it feels like a lot of resources for only a small number of people. – HDE 226868 Oct 19 '17 at 0:25
  • @HDE226868 Can you help me install the MathJax files that are linked? – Gerard L. Oct 19 '17 at 0:33
  • To be honest, what makes Stack Exchange so good is their focus on content instead on bells and whistles. The change to the top bar is horrible. Better keep "non appealing" design and focus on contents instead, IMO. Also, this question is way too broad. You don't really ask any specific question. – Shadow Wizard is Ear For You Oct 19 '17 at 6:14
  • FYI, MathJax isn't "expensive" in terms of money (IIRC it's free); it's "expensive" in terms of page load time. – NobodyNada - Reinstate Monica Oct 20 '17 at 18:33

Chat rooms work very well for chatting. I'd consider myself a power user (#3 chattiest user on chat.se, and #2 is a bot. #1 probably has 3 times the heads?) and the fact that there's 'barely enough user interface' means things stay out of my way.

It's worth remembering LaTex MathJax support is only active on a subset of sites, and markdown works for most sites/people. The chat servers for most sites (MSE and SO have their own) are shared. Even where something isn't directly supported, copy/paste is an option (and I've done that a few times with languages I can't type in, and emoji). It would need rich text controls, which many folk can do without (tho I suppose it could be toggled).

"Barely any user interface" kinda reflects the philosophy of SE as a whole - we don't really need a ton of noise, and the somewhat minimalist design works. It's basically a lot like the average IRC client with a few modern niceties. I even heavily use the even simpler mobile chat extensively in certain situations.

And as someone on... let's see, Slack and Matrix - the UI is oddly similar since there's not that many ways to do chat. Text box so you know where to chat, transcript so you know what's being typed. I suppose you can throw in rich text controls à la the main sites, but that just gets in the way after a while.

I'm not sure there's much to be done to chat. Sure you can polish it and make it pretty, but I'd rather have chat fast and simple, than some pretty, slow monstrosity that tries to tick off all the latest hipster features.

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