I have to confess, i’m kind of a fan of very simple Jabber clients that do not overwhelm you with menuitems, toolbars, and options. This is why i like clients such as Google Talk and iChat so much. I always hoped Psi could one day be such a simple client, but the fact is that we have a very broad userbase, of which many are power-users that do not want to give up any option or feature whatsoever. I never really understood why people needed to send plain messages (instead of chats) in IM, why there is such a thing as ‘Extended Away’ and ‘Free for chat’ in a chat system where you have status messages, why someone would want to hide contacts that are ‘Away’, and the list goes on. However, we’ve had many discussions about this before, and the conclusion is always that someone on this planet wants this, so we never touched these (IMO) silly features. Until now …
Thanks to the new options system, many of these ‘advanced’ aspects can now be hidden from the Psi UI. My status menu is now limited to ‘Online’, ‘Away’, ‘DND’ (to disable popups), and ‘Offline’, and other crud I never use (‘Admin’, ‘Change profile’, ‘Show away’, ‘Send message’, ‘Assign OpenPGP key’, ‘Assign picture’, ‘Active chats’) has also been completely removed from my menus. What’s more, all identity-related comboboxes and labels are hidden from all dialogs whenever you only have one account enabled, simplifying the dialogs even more for non-power-users. As a result, i have a nice and compact Psi version, without any unused menuitems filling up my screen.
However, our job isn’t finished yet. We still need to work on parts of the UI that are not really intuitive, and options do not solve bad UIs. However, these new options do allow us to hide features that only 1% of the population finds useful, without having to let these users (who typically use Psi because of those features) down.