Example: Why I believe we need a new HTML editor

Matt Harris unicorn.consulting at gmail.com
Wed Feb 24 02:27:32 UTC 2016

On 22/02/2016 12:15 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> Matt Harris wrote on 20.02.2016 15:47:
>> coloured quote levels, I like them, almost as much as I like 
>> Thunderbird's block quoting with lines.  But we offer no 
>> customization at all,  after all it is up to the user if they want to 
>> do something stupid with the customization like white text on a white 
>> background, or try and retrieve mail very minute.
> I think we'd make a lot of users happy, if we optionally allowed all 
> quotes to appear in colors - in the reader, not the composer.
> In preferences, or even directly in the reader somewhere ("direct 
> manipulation" mantra of UI), show quotes in colors. Different color 
> for a different level.
> Advantage: All messages would appear like this for that end user.
> This would be a really nice feature. And it would be trivial to 
> implement - it's merely a CSS stylesheet. We wanted to add this 15 
> years ago, but just never got around to it. There must be a bugzilla 
> feature bug about it somewhere, too.
> Relevant extensions:
> https://addons.mozilla.org/de/thunderbird/addon/quote-colors/
> https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/smarttemplate4/
> It can't be the default, because some people have difficulty reading 
> text in certain colors. For the same reason, senders should not set that.

This is more an accessibility option..  We should be offering to convert 
color that fall within certain ranges to others.  in Particular Red 
/Green (some simply do not see it at all).  But again make is part of 
the user options.

> This illustrates my main point: Messages should be style-formatted by 
> the reader, not the sender. I understand that this point eludes most 
> users, but it's nonetheless valid. It only becomes evident when you 
> think yourself into the reader.
I agree,  but our users do not.  let them have their minute of glory,  
there is display formatting  to fix their excesses.  If Outlook or 
others lack that optiob,  that is a feature request for them.

> Font sizes (standard size for base text and quotes) are another good 
> example. Elderly people like to make big fonts when writing messages - 
> because they find it easier to read for themselves - understandable. 
> What they will be saying is that they want to make fonts bigger when 
> composing. What they really want is to make fonts bigger for 
> themselves - and for all messages: composer and reader alike, even 
> while writing a message, but also while reading. At the same time, 
> readers should not get their big fonts. It would make my eyes fall out.
Our current UI for setting these things is poor, and not understood by 
the people it is aimed to help.  The Theme Font & Size Changer add-on is 
a clear indication Mozilla have issues with the user interface..  That 
it has almost 100,000 users is also relevant,  but which are Firefox and 
which Thunderbird I do not know.

I see an argument for display fonts to work in compose as well as read. 
Perhaps user interface design could actually improve our existing 
option's to please more people. Simply by explaining what each setting 
does or even showing it.

Change the font size in send and you see some text that reflects that, 
same with display... all in the same pane,  so the difference between 
your send font and your display font is clearly demonstrated.

> Ergonomics dictate that all messages that I read should have the same 
> base font and size and color, no matter who wrote it.
I though that was why we had display formatting.  So the you the reader 
could, if you wished enforce that.


“Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” /― Friedrich 
von Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans /
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