Les grandes pensées viennent du coeur.
Yes … following the well delayed release of BBM and the silly “line up”, I finally got to personally try this long awaited revamped messaging platform only to confirm that this highly anticipated application was definitely not worth the wait.
Here are my reasons why:
( ** WARNING ** Proceeding UI design rant )
The generic typeface chosen for the app
After I put my BBM days behind me, one of the reasons why it was so hard to adjust to other messaging platforms was because of its personality; the PIN/barcodes, cute signature BBM emoticons, customizable nicknames, read receipts, and more graphic aspects such as the typeface for one. While many of these attributes still remain in the new interface, I think the design is visually disappointing, one dimensional and I’m really missing the old typeface (compared to the current one at least). The quality of hierarchy is low since only one font type is used; it is especially hard to differentiate when only one font weight is used (see screenshot of ‘Chat’ window below) and this comes off as being messy and cluttered.
Text size issues
Currently, the restricted width of the BBM chat is the main source of all readability issues. It makes the font size look too big/unproportional even though realistically, the font size is acceptable. When a line of text is too short, there’s too much traveling back and forth for the human eye. Naturally, this tends to break the rhythm of the reader – making users begin the next line before finishing the current and causing a higher chance of skipping/missing important words.
Imbalance of chat to keyboard input ratio
I think its silly how the area of the keyboard/input options take up more space than the chat itself. This design (oddly) makes the iPhone 5 screen feel insufficient although I’ve always been happy with the dimensions of my Apple device. This pretty much means that a single exchange of messages already fill up the whole window so users are required to scroll more often than average. It’s bad enough chatting with one person in that format, now imagine having a group conversation.
Insignificant information disclosed when sending/receiving files
I don’t think its necessary for the name and size of the image to be uncovered every time users send a picture considering how majority of us don’t name/rename our image files anyways. At the end of the day, this is only contributing to unwanted junk information and clutter. Logically, each message users send are compiled into one speech bubble – so why does BBM separate each individual file you send into a new one? While this could make sense, its just another way of taking up your whole chat window.
Lack of feedback
This is not an issue to those who keep their phone on silent 99% of the time but for regular users like me, I like the sense of transmitting a message after I press ‘Send’ or getting notified that I’m receiving messages
even if especially when the chat window is opened so I don’t have to constantly check back at my phone to see if my friend has responded or not.
Inability to multitask in group chats causing consistency issues
Not a huge issue but its useful to note that unsent messages get erased if you tap away from any group chats unlike one-on-one chats … which I don’t understand … if they applied the ‘draft’ feature to the individual chats, why didn’t they incorporate the same feature to the group chats?
Features of the interface are way too repetitive
Verdict: One big disappointment. You’re better off waiting for Whatsapp to be optimized for iOS7.
How are you liking BBM? Leave a comment below & let me know if you agree or disagree with me.