I originally posted this in Discord Testers, but I was told to post it here, so here I am. It's a moderately sized review of the new redesign of the chat.
Coming into this with an open mind is, obviously, difficult to do, however I do feel like the new redesign could be classified under "fixing something that didn't need to be fixed." I don't want to discredit anyone's work, because obviously lots of work was put into this and I can see how a lot of people would like it, but is there a certain point where we're just redesigning things because we want to, or because we need to?
I have mixed feelings about the hovering and the little popup on the right. Could the user not simply right click on the message? I assume in a browser they couldn't, but what exactly is it's purpose? As little as it may seem, the effort it takes to move the mouse over to the right to click those buttons is completely overruled by the effort it takes to right click.
On one hand, I really like when I hover over a message, I can see the exact box that that message is contained in. It helps me know why I might otherwise not be able to delete that one image, or why one message was deleted instead of another. On the other hand, I see it serving little to no purpose other than some visual feedback that, ultimately, wasn't needed. Though, I can see how some people would enjoy it.
The #1 thing I can see this entire update working very well towards is accessibility. Knowing what message you're hovering over, being able to access the buttons without visual feedback, all of these things are extremely helpful to people who can't otherwise navigate Discord the way it currently is.
Overall, though, I don't know. The entire thing feels like a mix between compact mode and comfort mode. Maybe it would be better being a mode in-between. I don't know what I'd call it. Obviously having everything be an option is not always a reality, and for sure if I was forced to get used to it I could. When I am not hovering or trying to interact with a message, I notice no difference whatsoever, so ultimately it wouldn't be that difficult to get used to. But in the end, it's like I said in the beginning, are we just redesigning it because it needs to be redesigned, or because we want it to be redesigned? From my knowledge, I've never heard anyone complain about how the chat itself looks in both compact and comfort mode.