I'm trying to use instant messaging with Gnome Shell with the current Ubuntu 11.10 but up to now this is a total disaster. I have these problems:
When I want to write someone a message I have to manually start empathy with a right click and selecting "New window" because otherwise it only focuses an already open chat window instead of opening the roster. Alternative is searching for the name in the just-type search, clicking the found user and then clicking the chat button. This is all to complicated. In previous gnome versions I could simply click the IM icon in the tray to open the roster. What is the supposed way to do this now in gnome shell?
When someone writes me a message then this message is shortly displayed at the bottom of the screen. That's nice when I'm in front of the screen and notice it. But when I don't notice this notification then it is minimized into this notification area which isn't visible by default. So I have to check manually if a new message has arrived. In previous gnome versions I had a blinking IM icon in the tray which CONSTANTLY notified me about a new message. How is that supposed to work in gnome shell now?
Unity has a message indicator which displays a colored icon when a unread message is waiting. This isn't ideal but better than nothing. It also allows me to open the roster window in the context menu. How can I achieve something similar with Gnome shell?