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Mobile chat applications seem to all follow a similar pattern - chat bubbles on alternating sides with colour differentiation between you and the person you are talking to. Examples of this: google hangouts, facebook messenger, skype.

However their desktop counter parts follow patterns closer to that of email. no speech bubbles, no alternating sides, everything left aligned, etc. (and for facebook i am referring to the main mail page not the chat widget)

Can anyone shed any light on why this might be the case? what are the ux benefits of keeping the traditional plain text left to right format when on desktop?

(a related aside for anyone who is interested: Chat arrangement question: Left or right?)

  • Do you have examples of desktop counterparts? Main difference between Mail and Chat is obviously realtime pings, which I think the speech bubbles donate. – user43251 May 23 '14 at 8:06
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If you have to read the conversations later on, if it's like a log, then I think it makes sense to left align it, it would be much more difficult if it was left/right/left aligned. That's how they do it here for instance : https://botbot.me/freenode/django/

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All the desktop chat applications such as Office Communicator support having more than 2 people in the conversation. The speech bubbles don't work well for this use case.

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