AOL has just exposed the new AIM Chat Experience on their front page. The new chatrooms ditches Userplane’s flash based interface and attempts to ease the migration for AOL users into a web based format. This will also be the first time AIM users can enter an AOL member created chatroom.
On the left column lists all the users in the chatroom. Each user has their own icon which you can upload at profiles.aim.com. If you hover over the screen names, you can either view a profile, IM, ignore, or report a user. In the center is the complete chatroom, it places every text in it’s own little speech bubble. If someone types more than one line, the chat bubble expands downwards. On the right side is the media panel. Users can paste links to videos, photos, or just a plain old link.
Yes, even after the invention of MP3s, the WAV chatrooms still exist.
From the names of the chatrooms that are appearing in the user created area, it seems AOL has finally migrated the old “FDO Chats” to the internet. FDO Chats were previously exclusive only to those with @aol.com screen names under AOL client software. Now that AIM users can also chat in AOL chatrooms, expect a clash.
The Design Flaws
The designers chose to have each line of chat appear in a speech bubble. The basic design and colors used for the chat bubbles are very distracting and clash against the main background. Some themes, as noted in the screenshot above, make the situation even worse. I also didn’t quite understand why the screen names are placed on the right side of the speech bubble.
If the designers could try to follow in iChat’s footsteps by creating smoother speech bubbles and placing names on the left side, it might make these chatrooms more visually appealing.
The chat widget runs under yourminis.com platform which AOL acquired recently. At least it is being put to use unlike Bebo, as we have yet to hear any news on how AIM Profiles will utilize it.
[via the daily chatter]
During the week of November 11, 2007, the first case of this issue popped up where there were numerous complaints of users unable to join AIM Chatrooms. Now in 2009, this issue has not been completely fixed. It affects a small amount of screen names and may pop up for time to time similar to the connection failed error message. Unfortunately after two years of waiting for a solution, we will have to place this issue: “Invite or Request Timed Out” as unsolved. Our observations over the past 2 years of this issue occurs when:
- Joining a chatroom using a non official AIM client.
- Joining a chatroom using an official AIM client.
As these two issues contradict each other, the point here is that if one client doesn’t work you use another client. If you can’t join through Aim 7, use Meebo. If you can’t join through Meebo, use Aim 7. If no matter what you do and you still receive this error message, you will have to test out creating a new screen name.
Meebo.com has AIM chatroom capabilities. In order to use chats follow these steps
- Login to Meebo With Your AIM Screen Name
- Click on Start A Group Chat At the Top Right of Buddy List
- Type a Name for the Chat
- Click Join Chat Room
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