How to improve Google+ Hangouts UI design

I got thinking after reading a conversation thread on Bradley Horowitz‘s page  and inspired by a post by Chee on Google+. Following is the outcome:


1. Too Much noise.

2. Not clear who is in control

3. Confusion about when to speak and whom to speak

4. Needs a leader/moderator instead of a seamless over the coffee conversation


1.Provide visible cues for : Speaking (user understands that  its his/her turn to speak and others understand that its time to listen); Engagement (user makes sure that others understand that the user has something worthwhile to say Now); Urgency (user makes sure that others understand that  he/she wants to intervene)

How to do it?

1.Develop a queue system i.e. a set of arrangement where its clear who is going to speak first and in which order others will speak. However, this system holds good only till the first speaker has spoken.
2.Users can follow the queue as in a formal conference like situation and speak in the arrangement that’s decided.


3.Once the first speaker is done,  just like in casual conversation the stage is wide open. So everyone presses a queue button to queue once again. The next user in this queue speaks now while others listen.
4.The whole process gets repeated i.e. either they follow the queue arrangement as decided earlier or queue in once again everytime the speaker finishes.
5.This helps in case someone wants to give quick rebuttal.
6.Not everyone needs to press queue button all the time i.e. once the person who has the rebuttal queues in the rest of the queue falls after it.
7.We can have different default arrangements for what is the acceptable levels of re- queuing i.e. the spoilsports do not keep jumping upfront in the queue and pushing others back. The default queue can be arranged depednign on the nature of conversation e.g. as Casual (users can queue many times but same user can’t jump the  queue more than 4 times); Formal (users queue limited time but same user can’t jump the queue more than twice); Conference (no jumping the queue till the initial conference queue is over say after 20mins)

Visualisation of How to improve Google+ Hangouts



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