Thunderbird Conversations & font issues

Jonathan Protzenko jonathan.protzenko at
Fri Jul 1 03:06:43 UTC 2011


Thanks for chiming in and sharing your thoughts. After careful 
consideration, I've decided to add an option to disable the scaling for 
the message bodies only, and this is tracked as 
<>. Making 
it appear in the setup assistant is a good idea, I'll make sure users 
can disable the scaling there.

> The problem ultimately stems from wanting replicate exactly how G-Mail 
> works in Thunderbird down to the pixel. It would be better if you 
> replicated the *feel* of G-Mail's thread system, while using exactly the 
> font sizes that Thunderbird itself uses. It makes no sense to ignore the 
> user's choices of font sizes, and it makes Conversations really feel 
> like a foreign part of Thunderbird rather than a well-integrated add-on 
> that would one day hopefully become integrated in a later version.
I'd like to remind you that I'm the only person working on this, on my 
spare time, and I'm no graphic designer. Not one little bit. I'm 
swamped with other issues, and I'd rather move the code forward than 
fight design issues that I know I won't be able to solve in an elegant 
manner. The designer helped me out last summer with a graphical mockup, 
period. I've asked repeatedly for help 
no one came up.

So yes, this does not integrate at all in Thunderbird. I agree. The 
design is mac-centric, and 12px was hardcoded everywhere in the 
original design! I had to re-work the entire CSS stylesheet to make 
sure it uses a fraction of the default font size, so that if your font 
size is 20px, then the conversation font size is 15px. Many wrong 
assumptions are made (i.e. the user has a light theme). I talk about 
them all in the blog post I mentioned above.

> One of the biggest lessons in UI design is the principle of least 
> surprise. It is very surprising when font options aren't actually being 
> followed. As is the use of the "Minimum font size" option to mean "this 
> is how big message text should be"; it took me a while to figure out why 
> increasing the size of the proportional font didn't seem to have an effect.
So this is a problem : increasing the size of the "Default font" in 
Preferences > Display > Formatting should increase proportionally the 
size of the conversation view. I've made sure users still have the 
option of bumping the font size. Does this not work with you? (Please 
continue by private email if you do have a specific bug.)
> Maybe the installer should ask if you want your fonts reduced down to 
> 12px, and if they say no, then make the fonts what they want them to be. 
> This should be one of the switches the user can see at install time and 
> choose to avoid if they so desire.
Yes, I do plan on implementing this.

Thanks for bringing this up.


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