iChat AV is fantastic in a lot of ways. But there are a few basic but important things that really annoy me about its interface. The first thing I hate about iChat is that it can't remember window positions across restarts for any windows other than the buddy lists (and you know how I am about my window positions). This, combined with the fact that iChat AV employs numerous windows (Video Preview, Connection Doctor, and Text Chat are all windows I routinely have open in any given session), and the fact that the default placement of said numerous windows is entirely unusable (i.e. every window opens opens smack dab in the middle of the screen, except Text Chat, which opens in the upper right-hand corner, I believe), means that every time I open iChat, the first few minutes are spent positioning windows in some sort of functional arrangement. It's a freakin' pain.
The other major interface screw up is how iChat deals with active windows. If you use video, for instance, you'll sometimes be presented with what looks like two active windows. In the picture below, note that the close/minimize buttons are active for both the Video Preview window and the Connection Doctor window. This is very, very, very bad and happens in iChat AV with a variety of important windows open. And why is this so bad? Pretend the Video Connection window is the Video Chat window, and you're chatting with a friend. If you want to close the Connection Doctor window in this case, you might just be fooled into thinking it's the active window. You'd hit command-w to close it. But guess what: It's the VIdeo Chat window that's active, and is the one you just closed. Ooops!
Which brings me to my third major gripe about iChat AV: Closing the Video Chat window ends the session. Immediately. No discussion. No popup. No confirmation dialog. There are so many other places in Mac OS where confirmation dialogs exist. Sometimes to the point of absurdity. But when it comes to something as important as interpersonal communication, Apple has decided it's not such a big deal to make sure we want to disconnect with a simple, "Are you sure you want to disconnect?..." confirmation dialog.
So, let's look at what we've got here:
1) An application that forces you to touch most of your windows at every launch.
2) Active window confusion in which two windows appear to be active.
3) The ability to completely end a session by closing one of said apparently active windows.
This is a usability mess. Yes, Apple has done a great job simplifying the often confusing process of video conferencing. But these are few really serious UI flaws -- the types of flaws that you rarely see in Apple application -- and they should be addressed. Like, now, please... Hello?...