There's 100% no hatin' going on
I 100% respect trying to reinvigorate the project, and trying new UI concepts (UI is one of the first and most important aspects in a program in my not so humble opinion)
I applaud and encourage you to continue zforrester.
Thanks man, I appreciate that.
Now, onto the criticism
The cognitive load of finding the user to reply to is much higher when you have to scan a list of 50-200 people rather than 8.
If you'll notice in the first round of screenshots, the contact list has a Smart Group called New Messages, which will automatically collect contracts you are currently conversing with, so you only see the ones that are important to you.
File transfer accept dialog is too intrusive, msn users like to throw about 6 files at you one after another because of the in line file transfer meters. And the transfer panel takes up too much room for the same reasons.
Thats a good point, and something I hadn't thought of. Personally, I usually have my IM set to auto-accept files from contacts, so this wouldn't be a problem for me. Someone on manual-accept, however, is still going to have to click accept for every transfer they receive, so I don't really see how this is that much worse than having a window pop every time.
As for the transfer panel, I agree. It is too large. I'm thinking of removing transfers from the conversation window entirely, and giving them there own separate area in Proteus... I'll bang out a mock up to illustrate this later.
People can recognise a shape and then the colour of something 100s of times faster than they can even read a word. Icons are just plain better than buttons for history/send file etc. With the stlye you have gone for there is a nice opportunity for 3 small white icons where the history button is instead.
Well, I already touched on this subject, over on the Proteus forum (which is part of the reason I wanted folks to post over there), so I'll just copy and paste my response here, for convenience
We're talking four, very basic words here. I think localization shouldn't be too tricky. Yes, it's an extra step, but I've always felt that stylized tool buttons never match seamlessly with Apple's iconography. Take a look at Process, Coda, the current Proteus even, and you'll see what I mean. All beautiful apps, but their icons present different aesthetics, deviating from Apple's. Sure this helps to distinguish them visually, and make them unique, but is that worth striving for? Don't we want a OSX and Proteus to be seamless?
You make some great points though, and I'll play around with implementing some of them.
I think the best way to defend a single window layout is to say fire up proteus, and double click on all, or a bunch of your contacts, then close the contact window. Your message centre, with the drawer, should now be the only Proteus window up, and is more or less operating the same way I expect these mockups to run.