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I'm wondering if it'd be better to place tabs on the top or bottom of the chat window to navigate between chat instances in a video game. Any thoughts on which would be better? On one hand, placing them at the top splits focus between the input and tabs. On the other hand, it seems logical to have tabs at the top so that when you switch to an instance with unread messages, your eye can naturally read them top-to-bottom and then reach the reply box when you're finished reading.

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Depends on the game functions. Both work just fine, though the game itself is the priority, not the chat; placing things on the top of any screen makes them the priority, so inherently the chat window tabs should be on the bottom.

That said, it also depends on how much space they take, whether they overlay above the entire screen or just a portion, etc. Can you give some more detail on the behavior of the chat, especially in regard to how it connects to the game visually?

  • Really no design yet, so nothing there. It's for an MMO, so chat is pretty important. It won't be fullscreen. It'll be a window. – Ivan Jetnikov Jan 6 '15 at 3:30
  • Then it's totally fine to have the chat fit in a corner or on the bottom (wide), but definitely not on top. On top gives the belief of priority, so that point hasn't changed. – Jamezrp Jan 6 '15 at 3:34
  • I don't think you understand. I'm just wondering if, in general, it makes more sense to have tabs on top of a chat window (or anything in general) rather than on the bottom of the window. – Ivan Jetnikov Jan 6 '15 at 5:11
  • In general at the top. The reasoning is because with each new received message you need to see that it was received in some way, and normally that involves highlighting, an icon pop up, or something else, and that's at the top so it's most noticeable. That may be used for bottom-bar tabs too, but it's not as effective because it's not best for line of sight. – Jamezrp Jan 6 '15 at 5:34
  • Well, I keep hearing from other people on the team (not UX guys) that tabs at the bottom are better because of more focus on one "area" of the screen rather than top and bottom (because the input as at the bottom). Assertedly, this is distracting in a game. It just got me thinking, because every MMO/game chat window I have ever seen uses tabs at the top. – Ivan Jetnikov Jan 6 '15 at 14:50

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