Why do people still use Proteus?

An instant messenger which can connect to AIM, GTalk, Jabber, ICQ, and more.
Sean
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Postby Sean » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:06 am

When I first switched to OSX back in 2003, I was recommended Proteus. I really loved the user interface in that application, but decided to switch to Adium for its features. When I first switched over to Adium I was confused - there were so many options and such and it took me a long time to customize it. I think the one thing lacking in Adium compared to Proteus is the UI. Here are my suggestions:

Better Defaults
The main problem with Adium is that it has to be customized. The default settings are not that great:

- The duck sound set is annoying. Perhaps the iChat soundset can be default, or something a bit nicer then constant duck quacking.
- Better emoticons. I think the IPB ones are nicer, but the default smilies are not all that bad.
- Default message view isn't that bad either, but it doesn't really have a modern feel to it. I think Stockholm (blue and grey variant) is a great choice as a default message view - it is great looking and easy on the eyes.
- Redo "Events" defaults: visual (growl) notifications are not enabled by default. And when you do switch to them, the defaults there are pretty poor too. 'Contact signs on' for example should have a growl notification by default (and stuff like file transfer requested), but it doesn't.

Maybe for the 1.0 release there can be some kind of poll to ask what users favorite xtras are and perhaps include the best ones in the app, or to have people vote on better defaults.

More Polish
- The icons can be nicer and more professional looking. No offense to the person(s) who designed them, but the "appearance" and "messages" icons in the preferences for example seem sloppy and thrown together. It seems like different people have designed the icons when there should be one main UI guy. Perhaps we can all donate a few bucks and get a professional icon designer to make a few?

- The advanced preferences seem to be a place where stuff is put just because you guys don't know of a place to put them. The MSN pane especially - why not put that one option into the options tab of the account sheet if it's an MSN account.

- Better wording. There are some dialogs that are confusing and can be worded nicer - the update found one, creating a meta contact, etc.
- The file transfer "clear" button is cut off on the bottom.
- Setup assistant ("wizard") on first launch, Help Viewer, etc
Last edited by Sean on Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: iChat

Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:08 am

Travis wrote:I, in general, value GUI design over application features, and that is why I would say a lot of people use Proteus over Adium.


What we're looking for in this thread is, specifically, why folks think that Adium is a more valuable gui design than Proteus or Fire, or why not, with specifics

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The_Tick
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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:12 am

Sean wrote:- The advanced preferences seem to be a place where stuff is put just because you guys don't know of a place to put them.


haha, you got that exactly right, at least for some things.

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Postby The_Tick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:14 am

Sean wrote:- Better wording. There are some dialogs that are confusing and can be worded nicer - the update found one, creating a meta contact, etc.


Specific instances with suggested changes would be great

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Postby Kosjer D » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:19 am

hm now i gotta add my two cents to the discussion. :) well in most parts i am comform with bouba ;) but anway. at first i have to admit that i am pretty discontent with the actual situation at proteus. its lacking like bouba already told a few features and overhauls in the fields of groupchat, selective invisibility, history and so on. technicwise adium has advanced pretty well also due to the fact that there are working much more people on it ;) but anyway imho i still prefere proteus over adium even though adium feature set is superior and more up to date in most of the fields. but well lets start the list in no particular order. (linernote: some points may not pretty rational and i might be unable to found with good arguments. but well i am proteus user since 2002 and got used to some things. ;))) so sorry in advance )

- message center: well one of the main advantages of proteus. i just dislike the tabbed chat windows. if you've started many conversation like 6 to 10 in a relative small chat window its hard to keep track in which tab which conversation is situated. the names get abriviated. instead in drawers it just cant happen. the only thing that might happen is that a scroller appears. and i guess adding drawers to e.g. adium wouldnt be such a bad idea. cuz at the moment the group chat window is also kind of suboptimal imho. if you would work with drawers you could mix normal conversations and groupchat in just one message center. groupchat could be handled like in colloquy. so the ui would get more consistent . no more different windows for chats ;).

- ui design, ui logic & customizability: well where to start. in german there is a phrase which means more or less in english: less is sometimes more. which describes the main difference between adium and proteus in regards of customizability. its nice to have many option to customize the ui and behaviour of an app as you like it. but imho it isnt necessary. proteus doesnt provide that many possibilities. but the few possibilites to change the outfit to the users likes are all nice, goodlooking, thoughtfull and hig conform. the user shouldnt be overextended. so i like the way proteus does. basic behaviours of cl and mc in the preferences and the actual outfit is adjusted over the menue respectively shortcuts. in adium you have to fight through many menues and dialogues to fit the ui to your needs. which leads to the next point the ui logic . the options are scattered over the menues and preferences and not clustered together. in proteus that is done pretty nicely. you always know where to go. i just would call it more intuitive. which adium is not ui logic wise. well most of the basic things you are able to adjust in adium also . but well more exhausting to get to the same results. but i guess the organisation of menues and preferences would need another thread . herein it would just go beyond the scope. and the last point is the interface and icons. in proteus everything looks just clean an nice. especially thanks to medicineUKs icons in message center. clean, bright and nice. if you open both message centers in adium and proteus its just a difference. just brighter cleaner and more yummy. :))

- dockicon: one thing that really nags me about adium is the jumping, waving and blinking duck. maybe there is an option somewhere to switch that behaviour off to get a still dock icon. but to this point i havent found it yet. on proteus its just the bubble and thats it ;) gives a good contrast to the badges with the number of new messages. clean solution ;)

- remote login: another nice feature which is accomplished through the seperation of ui and core is the remote login feature. pretty cool if my computer is running at home i am able to login from university and be able to go on chatting and stuff ;) not necessary but sometimes pretty usefull :) well in the case of proteus the seperation also had another reason due to gpl licence thing as far as i remember ;) but well not a place to discuss that one ;)

- status menue:two things. on proteus side i prefere having the options do not disturb, occupied and not available as status also . no idea why those arent available in adium. is that a limitation due to the service i've using in adium? (at the moment only aim for testing purposes) or is it a limitation of adium itself? i just got used to those other 3 status types ;) and the other point i dislike is that you are able to change the status of a contact on a per account basis. the basic idea behind multi instant messengers justin supported and i go conform with is that the basic idea should be that the user shouldnt see a difference over what kind of service he or she is talking. so the messenger should do that work under the hood . so options like those i dislike to see in a messenger. just bloats it up. maybe nice to have but unnecessary imho ;)

well thats it for now. not many points but still a few pretty essential ones. but i have to confess that the list was much longer one or two years ago . but the steady progress in adium development has shorten it down ;) well those are my thoughts about why i am still using proteus . hope it wasnt that confusing ;) cheers k:d

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Postby Damienoneill » Thu Feb 23, 2006 10:37 am

Another thing is not to lose sight of what Adium is good at. Adium I am sure is properly the most used IM client outside of the offical ones (iChat, MSN,. Yahoo etc).

The feature roll out and the ability to customise are important reasons for this.

-Surely the easy way to slove this is a new prefrances panel

-Ship Adium with a new OSX gui. hold a contest to find one :D

[/list]

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Postby Diatribe » Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:22 pm

I hear everyone saying to cut down on customizability. Please don't. I think the majority uses Adium just for this. I agree that the standards have to look better (contact list, emoticons, etc.) but it should still be as customizable for the people who want that.

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Postby gsnedders » Thu Feb 23, 2006 1:37 pm

The UI:

  • Why should I spend hours making Adium looking good, when I already have an application that looks better?
  • Isn't there some irony that I'm spending that time to get Adium to look like Proteus?
  • The status drop down menu in the contact list seems very, very, very un-OS X like, and can't be changed at all.
  • Tabs on the chat window. IMO drawers work better
  • The dock icon going all flashy and showing the name of the person is just pure annoying
  • Having to hold down the command key to create a meta-contact (a simple thing like that shouldn't require people to read the documentation…)
  • Every smallest detail of Proteus time was spent on, and it's obvious. From the service icons, to the fading in and out of the contact list. Time was spent on it, tweaked, and tweaked again.

    The end result is something that's very hard to create when mixing and mashing things together.
  • Why the hell do the messages start coming in at the bottom of the message view, not the top?
  • Why do I only get HH:MM for the time in the message view?
  • The preferences… Very, very confusing. Organisation could be way better.


Well, that's all I have time to list for now. Maybe I'll add more later.
Last edited by gsnedders on Thu Feb 23, 2006 9:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Damienoneill » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:23 pm

I agree, Adium needs a good, complete OSX skin.

But if people like another look then dont say you know better and remove customisation. Surely it is possible to make a few changes to Adium is make prefs easyier and changing status easier. Then ship Adium which a defalut theme but allow people to change it.

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Postby Damienoneill » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:52 pm

Features Adium could have:

Dragable contacts
Closer link with address book
New GUI

Does adium have meta contacts?

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Postby Ders » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:58 pm

In response to the default message view ... what happened to smooth operator 1.0? Last I remember it was in beta and I still use that beta sometimes becasue it looks great, and I think it would be an awesome addition to 1.0.

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Postby medicine » Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:54 pm

Because its free

(hoping to catch someone out when they say its not)

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John Don
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Postby John Don » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:37 pm

Damienoneill wrote:I agree, Adium needs a good, complete OSX skin.

But if people like another look then dont say you know better and remove customisation. Surely it is possible to make a few changes to Adium is make prefs easyier and changing status easier. Then ship Adium which a defalut theme but allow people to change it.


I agree with this. I've turned my roommate on to Adium, and he isn't much out of the default theme (except for changing a few colors here and there). Quite honestly, the default skin is plain. Now, I know that this is honestly because it is the default; Its not supposed to be customized by the devs, that is what the user is supposed to do. However, I feel that this default theme can be made more OSX looking. It can look more slick/ polished at default than it does now, and still keep the "this is the default, but you can change it if you wish" mentality. Now how to accomplish this, I am not sure, but I'm sure some others can chime in in regards to that! Another idea that has popped into my head to solve this is that perhaps the developers can include several "default" theme sets, when one first runs Adium. On the setup assistant you could provide a page that says something to the effect of "Which theme would most suit your fancy to begin with?", and from there you could provide thumbnails of bare-bones Adium theme mods (pre-configured by the devs, etc). These bare-bones themes could illustrate the things that can be done with Adium, and if a user decides to not customize any further than beyond this initial selection screen (ie: they are happy that they were able to have a choice in their look, but glad they didn't have to dive into customization), then so be it.

Examples of these default theme selections could be:

    *One that illustrates and displays the translucent capabilities of Adium

    *One that shows the color customization capabilities

and perhaps the most outrageous yet...

    *One that can be declared the "Adium Xtras Theme"- This theme would incorporate a sampling of "Xtras" from the website, making the user aware that they can go to the web to obtain more customization that has already been created. Dare I say it, this tab can randomly download a new theme set from AdiumXtras to showcase the site, and then apply it, if say the user wants to go this route. The theme page of the Adium setup assistant would display a random AdiumXtras theme every time it was called upon on first-run.



Secondly, this has already been established (with a solution)- the default soundset. Personally I think the default Adium soundset is a bit creepy, and this was one of the things I changed right away when I downloaded it for the first time.
Last edited by John Don on Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:30 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby John Don » Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:20 pm

Funky Fortis wrote:I've only skimmed the thread, but I'm 99% sure that what I'm going to say hasn't already been said.

This way, a few theme sets can be included, which show the range of customization adium offers but simultaneously offers a variety of options for people who don't want to fuddle around with a bunch of preferences.

And then? Advanced theme prefs; exactly what we have now. The themes would install their component xtras/prefs (or users could roll their own, in the case of prefs) and if you're really, really into it, you can mix n' match them, and save your own themes by cannibalizing the elements of other themes.


Haha, you were 1 post behind. That was the same thought I had when I posted directly above you, lol. But yes, I agree. :)
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Postby Funky Fortis » Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:21 pm

John Don wrote:Haha, you were 1 post behind. That was the same thought I had when I posted directly above you, lol. But yes, I agree.


Frizz, yeah. I saw that and then deleted my post, realized I raised a couple new points (i think), and so I'll just leave my thoughts in, heh.

Expanding on the themes idea:

Themes could be linked sets of xtras and settings; contact list layout, colors, style, sound set, events prefs, dock icon, status icons, message view. The whole shebang can be selected all at once from a themes menu.

This way, a few theme sets can be included, which show the range of customization adium offers but simultaneously offers a variety of options for people who don't want to fuddle around with a bunch of preferences.

And then? Advanced theme prefs; exactly what we have now. The themes would install their component xtras/prefs (or users could roll their own, in the case of prefs) and if you're really, really into it, you can mix n' match them, and save your own themes by cannibalizing the elements of other themes.

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Postby Simba Cub » Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:09 pm

evands wrote:
Simba Cub wrote:
Paul wrote:So what exactly is it about the Adium GUI that you dislike?


There is no easy answer to this question without inadvertenly causing the developers some upset - so I won't. ;)

Being polite and being honest don't have to be at odds. This thread was started because we want honest answers from people who don't currently see Adium as being better, not because we need an ego boost or anything like that. We're asking user opinions and impressions, and that means that not only is there no wrong answer, but this is one of those rare instances where the only nonhelpful thing is to say, "I like it exactly the way it is."


Well, in that case I shall post here what I posted in the Proteus forums on their thread; I hope it's constructive!


I still use Proteus for a number of reaons:

1. Much more polished and presentable GUI
2. Easier to use - a lot easier. With Adium I had to customise the heck out of it to look anything but hideous. The Adium 1.x has re,oved my main gripe, the status selector, but it's still far behind.
3. Better extras by far; Adium has more but Proteus' are far more original, quirky and high class.
4. Looks fantastic out the box so I don't feel like a twerp when I clue in frinds on it; the initial response t the design is, in other words, more favourable.
5. Brand loyalty.
6. 4.13 feels faster than Adium, despite the fact that uses a daemon.
7. IMServices - it can be left running even after you quit Proteus.
8. Stock features are generally more professional and pretty - I'm thinking of the default sound set, the emoticons and the dock icon.
9. Drag and drop functionality.
10. Your dock doesn't flash like a chistmas tree every time you get a message. The animation is cool, but the flashing names obliterating the icon is not.


I also use Adium for a number of reasons:

1. Far better response times to technical questions.
2. Far better PR (the product is freeware (guess that one's null and void now!), the product is frequently updated, before updates a series of betas are released etc).
3. Features, namely blocking, group chat and custom emoticons.
4. You can set the status globally or for just one service.
5. It's unified.
6. Whilst it's not easy to customise well (most screengrabs are hideous, IMO (especially when they use my extras ;) although I'm sure people think the same of my grabs!), it can be customised far more than Adium. Especially the contact list. Group Bubbles and Borderless Window are the settings I use most often I guess - I often set up transparent lists too, which intergrates the app into the GUI of the entire computer.
7. Bigger community.


As far as the drawer/tabs debate go, I can live with them both. Tabs are more efficient but the drawer is easier to use and more aqua-like. Ideally I'd love Proteus to adopt a message center like Mail 2, encorporating in a unified window all open chats and perhaps the contact list. Man, that would be sweet as an option! Rambling on, I can see how that would be seen as bulky, so it would have to be an option.

I use both in an alternating style - one day it's Proteus, the other it's Adium. Depends how I've themed my GUI.


Cool stuff I want in both:

1. Core image goodies as an option - eye candy, in other words!
2. A flippable contact list å la Dashboard, where simple options are on the reverse.
3. Maybe a flippabe message center with block/add to list/ignore/alias settings etc.
4. iChat style new conversation alerting.
5. IRC support!
6. Kitchen sink


Both Adium and Proteus are fine apps in their own right and now they are both free, there's no excuse to try them both. If Proteus 5 gets released soon enough, it will trump Adium 1.x once again, resuming the leapfrog development that the two clients used to have.

I have tried Fire, aMSN, Gush, Skype and dMSN (Mercury Messenger) as well as the official clients for each of the four major networks. All good products; aMSN and Mercury come to mind, both sporting every feature under the sun for MSN. However, the interface in each felt underdeveloped, too speciaised and often too bulky.

Oh, and one more thing - I get the impression that Proteus is better for n00bs and that Adium is better for more confident users.



Rich::

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Postby Damienoneill » Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:18 pm

Is it just me who cant seem to get into the defaultware for the last hour or so :?

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Postby Ethion » Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:19 pm

Damienoneill wrote:Does adium have meta contacts?


Yes, and we have had it for a while now :)




gsnedders wrote:Every smallest detail of Proteus time was spent on, and it's obvious. From the service icons, to the fading in and out of the contact list. Time was spent on it, tweaked, and tweaked again.


The thing I think it's weird about Proteus is, that they use a free open-source engine to run their application.
They have also had alot of peoeple contributing to the application. Like small patches and icons and what not.
And they still had the app as shareware, which can be to some extent agreeable, he(the original developer) was a student and needed some kind of income.
So I have to say, I don't feel that Proteus is that tweaked. And I have to say, Adium devs take their time to make features looks nice. But they also need prioritize some features that isn't really in a need.
For example, would you rather have a really an OS X like interface using coreimage through almost every UI process, or more features that takes benifit from the different protocols that are being used?

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Postby Ethion » Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:21 pm

Damienoneill wrote:Is it just me who cant seem to get into the defaultware for the last hour or so :?


From what I got from their feedburner it seems like they are moving servers.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/defaultblog

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Postby MacMom » Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:22 pm

Damienoneill wrote:Is it just me who cant seem to get into the defaultware for the last hour or so :?


No. It's loading very slowly and sometimes timing out for me.
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