Wonderful to see that you are working on this, listening to feedback. :) I love slim, efficient, wokflow-optimized interfaces and I don't think I'm alone. Don't we all want things to be hidden while we dont need it and visible when we want them? You are closing in on the clean contact list some of us love with this Slim Mode. For a simple solution, I'd say make the top and left bar optinally hideable, and voilà... a lot of customers happy. Perhaps a setting that says "Hide all bars automatically in Slim Mode" and when enabled the bars only show when ALT is pressed and released? Other thoughts regarding "immediate access but still hidden until we want it" : Integrate the instant connect function into the search field. If we type an ID that is not in our contact list or recent connections, allow us to instantly connect to it. Integrate the "recent connections" into the search bar instead? When the search bar is selected but empty pushing down arrow on the keyboard (or clicking a small icon only visible inside the search field when it's selected but empty?) we get the recent connections. Might be worth testing to see if it's intuitive.
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