is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
There are some pretty intriguing riffs on the basic premise of chat-based user interface design collected on this page by Muzli (which was apparently acquired by InVision today, congrats!). It’s definitely worth a scroll if you want to take the temperature of designers who are thinking about how to expand the form of chat in visually appealing ways. A few examples:
It’s interesting that even though chat interfaces would in theory obviate a lot of UI design, there’s tons of playful UI design going on these examples. There’s many, many different formal tweaks to the basic building blocks of chat—avatars, speech balloons, threads, embedded content, and animations. What you see aggregated on this page is a kind of meta conversation, if you’ll forgive the pun, between dozens of different, independently operating designers about the best ways to present a fairly standard interface paradigm.
Another thing that strikes me is that in the long run users will probably only have so much patience for an endless number of variations on these basic paradigms. There are certain innovations, like automatically expanded inline content and being able to @reply people, that will soon become expected features of any chat interface, regardless of what color or shape its speech balloons take. In spite of the wide range of visual expression on display here, it seems likely that before too long the most successful chat interfaces will all start to look more and more like one another.+