Remove the back and forward buttons
The existing back and forward buttons don't seem to provide a lot of value. I suggest they be removed.
They can actually remove state from the client app! For example, clicking the back button a bunch of times will remove recently added contacts from the Chat pane.
Adding hotkey popups when you press Ctrl or Alt would expose that you can in fact quickly move from pane to pane, without having to click Back/Forward a bunch of times.
Another option might be enabling Ctrl-Tab to switch between the last two active panes.
I totally disagree, I use them all the time to quickly jump back to what I was doing before I clicked away to respond to a message or navigate to another section. What I would like to see is actually improve on it like you click and hold to get a list of recent apps; that way you have the option to jump straight into the app you were in a while ago.