UX Priorities

Eric Moore tanstaafl at emoore.ftml.net
Thu Mar 29 10:29:15 UTC 2012


* Make tabs a first class citizen. There is an option to reuse an 
existing window (rather than opening a new one) when reading new 
messages, but not one for tabs. Provide an option to automatically close 
all message tabs when exiting. Many users like to read messages in tabs 
but don't want to have to clean up after themselves.

* The message reader in both Postbox and the Thunderbird Conversations 
add-on (its looks better) uses a curved two color background. Do 
something similar. This is a strictly cosmetic change that makes things 
look better. (I'm not talking about the extra features or different layout.)

* Add Help -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Don't make the user search the KB 
articles for this.

(above the middle)
Getting assigned a email address by Thunderbird (File -> New -> Get a 
New Mail Account in the beta) is not very pro-consumer as it does not 
give you any information other than the cost until you've chosen an 
email address.

Add a POP and IMAP radio button to the search filter and provide a link 
in the search results (for the selected email address) that a user can 
click on to get more information about what they’re buying. That would 
make it easier to support additional use cases. I’m talking about a web 
page in a tab that provides an overview of what the email provider 
offers, similar to what is probably on their web site, but without any 
“sign up now” buttons that might confuse the user.

When I tried using it I only got the email address and price in the 
search results. Pressing the $20 button I got a screen with sixteen 
fields (credit card info, password etc.) to fill out and a continue 
button at the bottom. I still don't know what I would get (mailbox size, 
POP or IMAP) and there is no back button to go back to the search 
results to consider a different email address.

(somewhere in the middle)
An experimental add-on to allow users to add multiple email addresses 
(not just two, or tie them to a hardcoded label like work or home) in a 
contact, indicate which one auto-complete should prioritize, and the 
ability to edit contacts stored on a LDAP server would provide useful 
functionality and feedback while waiting for the address book to be 

(somewhere towards the end)
There were a number of new features added in the 3.0 time frame that 
seem to be only half way done and not on anybodies radar. This gives a 
bad impression. For example:

* The phishing detector can't be trained and doesn't support white 
lists. The typical advice in the support forums is to disable it as its 

* The toolbar in the new message reader was supposed to make users more 
productive by placing controls closer to what you were looking at. 
However, support for customizing that toolbar with buttons from existing 
unmodified add-ons never occurred. This might not matter much to 
somebody who reads messages in a tab or window, but it is a big deal if 
you read them using the preview pane.

* Tools -> Account Settings -> Synchronization & Storage was added but 
File -> Offline -> Download/Sync Now wasn't removed. Remove the old 
style support for IMAP offline folders which has a different view of 
what synchronization means.

* (Not in the 3.0 time frame). Hardly anybody seems to use Help -> 
Troubleshooting Information in the support forums. I suspect this is 
because there was too much focus on leveraging the code from Firefox. 
Its needs a redesign. Ideally that redesign should do more than just 
regurgitate information better. It should provide a way to check if your 
profile is healthy and (optionally) fix it. For example, do you have 
corrupt folders. Or get rid of bogus folders such as abook.mab showing 
up in the folder pane due to somebody breaking the layout of the profile.

(near the end)
Two line message summaries in a vertical view layout like Outlook has is 
a persistent request. Postbox seems to have implemented it. Postbox 
3.0.3 uses Gecko 7.0.1. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=213945

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