I had a discussion about shoutbox'es which order the messages should have. I would say that the newest messages should be at the bottom like this:

enter image description here

but a friend of mine say's that the user would expect that the newest messages should stay at the top like this:

enter image description here

So my question is what is the common behavior for shoutboxes.

2 Answers 2


I would put the old on the top and new on the bottom.

English reading occurs in a left-to-right and top-to-bottom progression. By appending new messages at the bottom, the standard pattern of reading is also chronological.

This pattern is present in every instant messaging application I can remember using.

  • I think it depends on how "individual" the messages appears. If they all contribute to a long text where it's meant to be read like a book or messages chat, then yes let the bottom show the newest. If they are more like forum posts, news or emails (individual, seperated in boxes or similar), then it's more natural to show the newest on top
    – mowgli
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 21:34
  • @mowgli That's a good point, and I agree with you if they're dealing with items like posts or news articles, but in this case, I think OP was describing a chat feature when they described it as a "shoutbox". With a shoutbox, the users are the ones posting the messages to each other, so that's why I was recommending an instant messaging-style sort order :) but you mention a good point to keep in mind for other similar situations. Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 21:55

New messages should appear at the bottom.

I am not entirely familiar with how foreign languages are written, but i know english is read from top to bottom, japanese may be read from right to left, but it's still top to bottom as well.

Skype does it.

Discord does it.

Hipchat does it.

Every chat application i have ever seen does it. At this point in UX culture, if you were to have new messages appear at the top you would simply be confusing users for no good reason.

Any user should know how to use a chat application without having to think. Do not upset that.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.