The Origin Of The iChat UI [...]

Drawn in ClarisWorks, April 21, 1997. This was based on my experiences with MUDs and IRC, having a really hard time keeping track of many-way chats. I think the only IM app available then was ICQ, which I hadn’t heard of. (IIRC, AIM came out later that year, at least for non-AOL users.) This also predates Microsoft Comic Chat, which used speech balloons too, although in a very different UI: theirs was for novelty, mine was for usability. (Source)

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