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I'm looking to communicate, to a chat user, that their chat partner is available in the meaning of "has installed a chat application on their smartphone".

Marking the chat partner as "online" or "available" doesn't seem quite right - since they might be busy at the moment. Marking them as "offline" or "unavailable" is also not quite right - since they most likely will respond to messages, though probably with some delay.

Any thoughts? I know facebook uses a phone icon to mark this status.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

They're "Mobile".

It's as simple as that, it denotes their current "Maybe I'm here, maybe I'm not, but I am online" state. When IMs don't have this state it's common for people to think you're just plain online, which can result in people IMing you thinking you're right there, so make sure you do communicate this.

If you have icons, a phone icon is a great way to denote this as you mentioned. AIM does this as you can see in this sample screenshot:

enter image description here

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A common trend for marking a user status appears to be color centric. Facebook, Microsoft Lync and many other clients use green to show that a user is available/actively online. Other colors like yellow/orange are being used to indicate that the user is Busy/Away but still online. Red seems to be common method to indicate that a use is online but unable is currently unavailable or does not want to be disturbed. Lastly if a chat client shows when a user is offline the common color is a gray icon or username being grayed out as if it is disabled. Image below from Microsoft Lync

enter image description here

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I know facebook uses a phone icon to mark this status.

So how about using a phone icon to mark that status? :) It sounds like a very effective solution, and this way you don't need to look for the most appropriate term for this.

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