Website revamp - comments on main page phrasing

Matt Harris at
Sat Apr 27 23:39:13 UTC 2019

On 27-Apr-19 8:58 AM, Eyal Rozenberg wrote:

I have replied inline.  I agree with some of your comments,  but I most 
certainly do not agree with others.
> While I did chime in much earlier in the website redesign process, I
> haven't been following the work so far. Now I'm having a look again.
> I have some comments, but they are not about the design itself. On the
> design front it looks like Alex and others are doing fine work; I'm
> finding some of the main page's phrasing problematic:
> 1. "Software to make email easier" <- Easier than what? This implies
> there's some default, difficult way to work with email, which
> Thunderbird replaces.
Easier that what most people are struggling with.  Multiple providers is 
the most obvious that strings to mind.  If the product is not going to 
make the email task easier,  why are you downloading and installing it.  
Generally I, and I assume others,  are looking for a better way, and 
easier way to complete a task.
> 2. "Software to make email easier" <- I wouldn't characterize
> Thunderbird's goal as "ease". Perhaps "effectiveness", or getting your
> email and messaging in order, something like that. It could be described
> as powerful-yet-easy, I suppose, but not just "easy".
Then perhaps we need to refocus.  Easy of use is paramount.  Most users 
never change anything.  They use automatic account setup and "defaults"  
so getting those right is a very serious obligation.  An interface that 
the user does not have to "learn" being the next most essential item.
> 3. Another emphasis on being "easy to set up and customize", which
> re-emphasizes the assumption that email and email clients are scary and
> difficult.
They are.  I remember spending a lot of time with my email clients back 
in the day.  Trying to determine what IMAP and POP were for a start.  
All I wanted was to set up my "email"  but I was being asked about 
protocols and ports.  Unless your background is in Unix, ports are 
parallel, serial or even USB. For a new user to Thunderbird unless they 
have some technical knowledge they have no idea what is going on.  What 
is startTLS? how about oAuth?  is that the same as auth0?  Email setting 
are scary.  Loosing your mail is scary. Admitting you have no idea is 
Very scary to some.  When you don't know what you are doing, everything 
is scary because you have no idea what a change might do.
> 4. "Tailored to all your needs" - Thunderbird is not tailored to all
> your needs. It _can_ be tailored to _some_ of your needs - but that's
> customizability. It meets the needs of many people - but that's
> versatility, not tailoring.
> 5. "Forget about complexity" - again, not sure what complexity fears
> we're assuaging here. I would try saying that Thunderbird caters both to
> simple use of email and to demanding, complex use cases.
We got a significant share of the windows mail users when Microsoft 
deprecated it, despite us having no import process. Compared to that 
client, Thunderbird is rocket science.  Regularly folk need to use 
userchrome and hidden preferences to "fix" Thunderbird.  Blast from the 
old command line past that horrifies most users.  Most of them struggle 
to create a userchrome folder, or to copy and paste text into notepad.  
Even after they are told use notepad they will use word.  Then try and 
get the command line process across to start the profile manager 
happening.  Sorry,  but it is scary and it is way out of touch with 
community expectations.  a GUI item to click or drag is the community 
> 6. "If you like Thunderbird, please consider making a donation" - while
> this is true, it is no less true, and perhaps even more relevant, to say
> "If you want Thunderbird to improve, please make a funding contribution."
> 7. "Fully customizable" - Thunderbird is not fully customizable; it is
> highly customizable. Now, you could say "Why be so nitpicky?" - it's
> because all this slick marketing is off-putting. Maybe not to all
> people, but for some. When I look at all of the text on the main page,
> combined, it makes me think "Yeah, I can't trust what this page says and
You understand email, and the processes.  We are selling a product to 
people that don't know what a command line is and all problems can be 
fixed by uninstalling and reinstalling before you move to a different 
program.  Most people are intimidated by pulling to cover off.  Using 
Thunderbird must be as simple as web mail, unfortunately such simplicity 
is often disrupted by third party products.

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