Concept design for a new instant messaging app?

Messaging_app_medium

The Problem?

I've been using Whatsapp for a while now on my Android device, and needless to say it's been lagging behind on design as well as some features I'd love to see introduced.

As well as this the app has felt a bit clunky, or one press of a button too much at times, especially when we're seeing apps introduce the use of gestures a lot more.

Throughout this post I'll be using Whatsapp as an example, as being a widely used option I feel it is best to use this as a comparison.

The Concept.

Hopefully somebody out there agrees with the following, so here goes.

Typography & Layout.

Taking away the old outdated bubble format of messaging makes room for a larger cleaner typography (In this case Roboto) allowing easier reading.

Moving on to a few layout changes, the current Whatsapp layout, places attachments and emoticons way out your way at the top of the conversation. This has been moved down into the corner next to they typing box area which should make it a lot more comfortable to access whilst typing.

The attachments icon then tie in slightly with gestures whereby a simple press and slide vertically to select what type of attachment you'd like to send.

Gestures.

Apps like Whatsapp are brilliant in their core functionality (bar the odd incident), which is to make sure their users can communicate with one another seamlessly. But as time has gone by the app's UX/UI has never really been looked at again.

The first gesture being the row you see along the bottom. This is a neat list of all your recent contacts, the only other information displayed in this area is the notification icon, displaying the amount of unread notifications. A simple swipe up from the bottom of the screen pulls up the page to reveal this area, and pulling down would conceal it. You would also be able to swipe along the area to see more contacts, maybe a swipe in the opposite direction as a refresh if needs be.

The second gesture is a pinch anywhere on the conversation to be taken to a "media gallery". Users familiar with Whatsapp may know that a menu at the bottom of a conversation reveal s a gallery of media you have sent and received in that conversation, making it very easy to find anything you may be looking for.

The third gesture ties in with the funny looking icon next to the star or favourite icon. A new feature or sort of old one like a poke, the gesture would be a hold down in one spot on the screen for say maybe 3-5 seconds which would send an instant notification to the other user. This can be annoying for some people so there would be an option to disable altogether or per conversation. For people looking for a little more Instant or a better way of calling someones attention rather than sending over 10's of messages.

The fourth and final gesture would be an easy way to create a group conversation, during a conversation. Holding down on a friend from the bottom bar and pulling them up into the conversation above would create a new group conversation with the 3 of you, allowing you then to drag in any other friend you wanted in the group.

The Rest.

It's only a concept and only one screenshot, with enough interest and feedback there could be more design work and work to an actual application. The main objective of a new messaging app was to attack key areas that almost all the apps are failing to put together, some have design down but functionality way out, some the other way round others bold in innovation rather than focusing on what users really want. This is my concept. Let me know what you think down below.

Update

Messaging_app_second_medium

Changes Made.

Taking into account some feedback, a line of chat was removed to space out the messaging area giving a cleaner look. Experimental shaped profile pictures have been introduced after negative feedback over the circle profile pictures. Also the background has been made a solid white instead of an awkward shade, and the name and time stamp have been lightened further as i feel its a distraction whilst communicating. You only need to see the time stamp if you're looking for it.

Thanks for all your feedback.

Update 2

Messaging_app_thirdl_medium

Third Iteration.

Background has been made slightly darker again, as pure white would be to bright on a phones screen. Time stamp has been made darker but kept vertical, name has been removed as you know who you are talking with in a one on one conversation, this layout will be changed slightly for a group conversation. After some feedback the profile pictures along the bottom have gone back to circles, but the profile picture at the top has stayed as a hexagon.

Thanks for all the feedback, I will be pursuing this concept and the next update will be of the Main Screen.