Feature request:

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.

  1. 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.
  2. When the room order changes, this change is more clearly represented in a list than in the rearrangement of a two-dimensional chart.
  3. From a sensory perspective, scanning a horizontal banner that extends across a page is consistent with the mechanics of reading and the English language.
  4. Stacked banners give a sense of rigidity and structure which is attractive to look at.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Edit #2:

Another reason I would like to see this changed:

enter image description here

With the current UI I have to hover over each room title to find the specific discussion room I'm looking for...very annoying.

  • Can you explain a little bit why you'd like that better?
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 6:02
  • @balpha: I ventured my explanation.
    – Ami
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 8:02
  • The current layout is totally unclear. For starters, the room titles are all cut and one has to hover over each one to see the entire title. So scanning the list to find an appropriate room takes minutes instead of seconds like it would with a regular tabular (one item per line) format. Commented Feb 27, 2020 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


Per balpha's suggestion, reposting a dupe question I made as an answer here to hopefully illustrate what I think is a problem with the square card layout, which @Ami addressed in points #3 and #5

It's "hard" for me to read the list of chat rooms. here's the typical path my eyes takes when I am seeing what chat rooms are active

existing chat

how about something like this instead? (not pixel perfect obviously - but y'all should get the idea i think)

better maybe


After a few months, we're very happy with the "card" metaphor, and it seems to me that this is general agreement.

A big advantage of the current format is the amount of rooms you can have visible at once, to get a sense of "what's happening" at one glance.

  • I don't think it's true that the square card metaphor allows you go show more rooms. It's the same amount of information, just presented in a long rectangular card.
    – kenwarner
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 18:32
  • Also, I think @Ami has some valid points, particularly #3 and #5. What benefits does the square card metaphor have that outweigh these?
    – kenwarner
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 18:34
  • @qntmfred: What benefits does the square card metaphor have that outweigh these? That question implies that I agree with those points, which I don't. Btw, you should post your mockup from the dupe as an answer here.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jun 14, 2011 at 18:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .