New account dialog

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at
Fri Mar 24 12:01:11 UTC 2017

Wayne Mery wrote on 22.03.2017 02:47:
> On 3/21/2017 8:26 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>> Blake Winton wrote on 21.03.2017 16:34:
>>> I see a few people making the claim that everyone already has an 
>>> account, and expects Thunderbird to just download their existing 
>>> email, but the user research that Mozilla Messaging did found 
>>> exactly the opposite, which was what lead to the development of the 
>>> Get An Account feature in the first place.
>> Yes. I don't doubt that you found that people expected that. But 
>> that's explained easily in a different way:
>> Onno wrote:
>>  > This is especially necessary, since people don't always realize 
>> what an email client is or does
>>  > and they don't understand the difference between the program and 
>> the mail address.
>> I think Onno is spot-on. That also matches my personal experience 
>> with non-geeks. They just don't know what an email client is, and 
>> they cannot even imagine that it's possible to use Thunderbird with 
>> Hotmail. That's where their confusion and expectation comes from.
>> Once they saw that it's possible to use their existing email 
>> addresses, and easy to set up, and much more convenient than logging 
>> to Hotmail, they were overjoyed and loved it. So, the conclusion is 
>> that we need to tell people that they can do this, and that this 
>> makes sense.
>> That experience completely matches the market research you cite, just 
>> with a different reason (people misunderstood) and a different 
>> conclusion (we can do better than they expect).
>>> As I remember it, we would have loved to add more account types, but 
>>> none of the providers we contacted were interested (with the obvious 
>>> exception of Gandi).
>> Well, that's just the most obvious and practical reason: The dialog 
>> makes no sense with only Gandi there. But even if we had Hotmail and 
>> Gmail in there, I'd still think the patch is right.
>> Why should we let people create a new email address? Who doesn't have 
>> one already?
> I can tell you in support we definitely see cases where the user 
> thinks Thunderbird will provide an email address. (Whether they 
> already have one is a different matter.)  Or a server. (As others have 
> said)

That's what I said above, no? I concur that it's a preconception many 
have based on other commercial offers, but that's not necessarily what 
they really want. From what I saw, they are positively surprised when 
they learn they can keep using their old address, but get the user 
interface and comfort of Thunderbird.

> A corollary, I've seen cases where the user has an email but they are 
> not happy with it/not happy with the provider, and looking for 
> something better.

I don't doubt that some users will really, actually want a new address 
and provider, even after they understand that they could continue to use 
the old address. I think they are the minority, though.

Even in that case where they want a new address, I think in most cases 
they will want to continue to also check their old address using 
Thunderbird. Setting things up this way will also help them refer to 
populate their address book, refer back to old emails, etc. It's a 
natural migration.


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