Google Chat is Great, But It Can Be Better
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
My team has transitioned from using Google Hangouts to Google Chat and here are the
7 things I would add or fix if I were to work for Google:
1. Ability to Pin Important Messages
Problem: Hard to locate and take note of important chat messages
How I would fix it: I would add a Pin icon together with the existing react and forward option when you hover messages in the group chat to pin messages so it wouldn’t be lost through the chatbox on an important week!
Let's just say we can pin multiple messages and have them consolidated in the Pinned tab. And the most recent pinned message stays at the top of the chat box so it's something that you have to see every time.
2. Ability to Mark Up Images Received
I always need to annotate screenshots to get closer to the final design and send it back to the team. If the annotation is integrated, it would save us a lot of time.
I always had to download the screenshot and make some markups through a photo editing app and send it back over.
3. Video/Meet Call Placement
Problem: Call Option is confusing to locate and access
How I would fix it: Since Google removed the Voice Call option and we are opted to use Google Meet... I would move the Video Call Button to the upper right corner to establish priority and familiarity to the user.
It’s overwhelming to see 5 icons in the chat box with different functions. It’s handy to have all together there but I just can’t help but look for the call option at the upper right-hand part of the screen, which most apps have it place there. I do understand that its placed up high because it mimics the real-world experience of “reaching the phone” if you know what I mean!
Just click on that video call icon and send the link automatically to the chat to save you that extra click.
4. Meet + Calendar Meetings Mash up
Problem: Meet features in the left side window is not being utilized.
How I would fix it: Consolidate the Meet features with the Calendar side panel for easy access.
I never bothered to click or even look at the lower part of that screen since the chat and group chat list is already overwhelming for me to look at. I think it works well together with the side panel group. The calendar view there looks sweet but I wished there was a quick join button so you can just quickly jump into those meetings!
5. Universal Search Feature To Include Contacts as Top Entry
Problem: The search bar is such a pain to use because it just gives you a universal keyword search instead.
The purpose of Google Chat for us is to look up people and groups to drop them a quick message IMO. And it’s a bad habit of mine to click on that giant search bar and start looking for people.
See how I tried to search up for my buddy, Jam, and it doesn't even pop up as a result in the contact section at the top. It just seems unnatural for me to click the + icon for both Chat and Rooms panels.
How I would fix it: I would put a suggested drop down search whenever the user will type something on the main search bar for easy access.
6. Side Panel and Settings
Problem: Too much icons going on
How I would fix it: Utilize the collapsable side panel and chuck all icons there
That holy trinity that I barely use. I wish I just could throw it at the side panel that I can hide anytime. Or maybe drag and drop features from the bento menu that would be nice to use. I mean, it’s much cleaner this way… right?
Here's a vision where I tried to rearrange stuff to balance it out. Please excuse the conversation! LOL
7. Closing and minimizing the app for MAC
Problem: The app version completely shuts off when you close it and you won’t get that red notification dot, when you just want to “minimize” the app. You will receive incoming notifications on your Gmail browser window instead.
How I would fix it: Instead of making this a Google Chrome extension app... make this a full standalone application instead.
There you have it!
Effective team communication is key and it's one of the challenges we are facing right now. Wouldn't it be nice if we don't have to jump in to another app for means of communication?
If your app needs some loving, feel free to contact me at email@example.com