RockMelt: Great Sharing, Okay Chatting

NOTE: If you are a RockMelt employee/representative with little time Scroll down to Summary.

I have been using RockMelt since they first gave out beta copies. I have truly enjoyed it from the get go. Of course, they are working on making the experience better. So far, as a beta, it’s been a dream. However, there are dark areas that send me to places close to limbo. Is the top spinning? Here are some things I have beef with and would like fixed (along with some suggestions).

Chat Client
Chatting on RockMelt is pretty awesome. You don’t have to be on Facebook to receive and reply back to chats. When you receive a chat from someone it pops up in a separate window.

A window like this.

This is great when you have one chat. But when you have more than one chat going, you start getting lost. It is hard to manage. I have a MacBook so I constantly need to use expose to reply back and forth. I don’t feel this is efficient enough. It’s actually a chore. Please, RockMelt make my life easier!

Two Solutions
1. Build a solutions much like Apple’s iChat solutions. If more than 2 chat windows are running, there should be an area dedicated to managing those different users.

The Perfect Solution

If anything is done about the chat client on RockMelt, I think this is the way your team would go. The window functions (allowing you to share things with those chatters quickly, looking at their walls via the window, etc.) would be kept in tact.

2. You can create panels like those found on Facebook Chat and gchat. This is the idea that first came to me when I realized I was getting frustrated with the window management system. These panels can be ever-present chat panels a la gchat. You lose a lot of the content from your friends places, but I’m sure can find a creative way to make sharing with them easy. Maybe even stuff a wall window? Maybe not.

Feature Edges
The edges are a very integral part of the RockMelt experience. On the left you find the ‘Friends Edge’. It’s a list of your friends. The cool part is that it tells you who is online and who isn’t. You can also “favorite” friends for easy access. On the right you have the ‘Apps Edge’. From this edge you can manage other social services (i.e. like Twitter) and any RSS Feeds you’re interested in.

These edges, as helpful as they may be are an aesthetic and management nightmare. Okay, I lie. If you keep them open at all times, there is no management problems. The problem is that they are just ugly. I can’t stand browsing with them. Maybe it’s just me. I think something should be done about it.

One Solution
I think the edges should have an OSX dock-like hide feature. That is, when the cursor comes near one of the edges, they should come out of the woodwork and let you use them. Once you’re done using them and move back to regular browsing, they should leave you in peace.

Is this easy to do? Probably not. But I hope they try something.

SiftySearch
RockMelt has two search bars. One is an omnibar a la Google Chrome, the other is what I like to call a siftybar. The siftybar is nifty (yup…) because you can sift through ton’s of sites and without having to click the ‘Back’ button when you find out that it’s not the page you want. Instead, you keep scrolling or pointing through the list of search items. Pretty awesome!

Not what I'm looking for. *Scroll down*

There it is. No back button necessary.

But, it’s ugly! Like the edges, this is only a problem because of aesthetic reasons. If this could be integrated in one way or another with the omnibar, awesome. If not? It’s not going to kill me.

SUMMARY
The RockMelt team has done a great job with this browser. It is my primary browser and don’t see myself changing anytime soon. However there is a key thing I want fixed; the chat client. Managing the windows is not easy. The solution that best incorporates your social strategy is that of Apple’s iChat. If more than one chat window is open put them in one window with an area dedicated to switching between chats. Lastly, for aesthetic reasons (read: not in dire need of improvement) the edges and the siftybar should be enhanced. Edges should hide unless rolled over. Siftybar should be incorporated with the omnibar in one way or another. More details above.

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