UI mock-up - Account Setup

Alessandro Castellani alessandro at thunderbird.net
Tue Apr 30 17:23:40 UTC 2019

Thank you all for the great feedback and suggestions, this is a great start.

Below you can find my answers and clarifications to your questions.

*Remove 'Get a new Email Address'*

I implemented that secondary button as Ryan told me there are potential 
partnerships happening with various email providers. Offering a 
"spotlight" placement in TB is pretty important in order to close 
profitable deals with email providers, opposed to something like "We're 
gonna put a link on one of our web pages". We need a stronger selling point.

The idea is to offer the ability to create a new email account directly 
inside Thunderbird without leaving the client. Furthermore, once the 
email has been created, TB would complete the setup automatically. A 
seamless implementation for that tiny % of users that need a new email 

I think we can all agree that, other than offering a stable and fully 
featured software, we want to also on-board new users and grow our 
audience. I don't think completely removing that feature would be a good 
idea as the low % of usage can be attributed to many factors, like a 
disconnected and confusing UI, unavailability of multiple providers, and 
lacking of a properly guided experience.

That implementation might have been a failure, but that doesn't mean we 
need to react with a "never again" approach. We should identify road 
blocks, pain points, and iterate upon that.

*Why do we need a completely new dialog?

I'm not sure if what Ben Bucksch is referring to is my dialog or the 
current TB dialog

    /"This dialog was created by a UX designer, and highly optimized to
    provide exactly the right clues, and leave out everything unnecessary."/

If this is related to the current dialog in TB, I'm sorry but I strongly 
disagree. The current dialog is not optimized at all, on the contrary, 
all the information and steps are lazily aligned and misplaced.
The input's helpers text are inline, which makes the dialog longer that 
it needs. If there's an error, the message with a misaligned icon 
appears to the right of the helper text, making the dialog grow, causing 
elements and focus points to shift.
The configuration steps are not styled at all, it's just a text after 
another printed at the bottom, not properly aligned and poorly utilized 
to actually show the user what's happening and the steps to take.
Buttons are in the wrong order for a cohesive navigation.

I hope we can all agree that the current dialog is not a great "First 
Experience" to offer to new users. That dialog sells TB short, making it 
look unpolished, non-curated, and kind of like an amateur old software.

*Tooltips and error messages*

To guide the user in typing proper information, we can use a combination 
of placeholder text and tooltips. Showing all the text at all times is 
not a good solution as it clutters the dialog and distracts the user.

Tooltips can also be triggered dynamically without changing the size of 
the dialog, which we should avoid as it disrupts the experience.

If the user types "bob", we can have a check in place for lowercase 
single words in order to trigger a timed tooltip to state "This is the 
name your recipients will see", or something like that.
If the email is incorrect, the field can shake and a timed tooltip can 
Tooltip messages can be shown on mouseover as well.

All these solutions create visual cues that catch the user's eye, 
without moving elements around or changing the location of fields and 
buttons, like it happens in the current field.

*Cancel the dialog

This is something I'd like to hear your thoughts about it. Since any 
dialog can be closed through the window controls, do we want to 
highlight this option with a dedicated button?

The idea here is to somewhat prevent this if the user access TB for the 
first time and no accounts is set up. Is TB usable in any way without an 

Anyway, a "Set Up Later" button or link can be added on the first 
screen, but I wouldn't add it or keep it once the user is in the funnel, 
to prevent accidental clicks or confusion with the back button.

Thanks again everyone for taking the time to review these mock-ups.
Taking design decisions is always hard as everyone has its own taste and 
expectations, but I'm sure we can all work together to improve the 
experience of using TB, and create an interface that it's modern and 
appealing, and can help us solve problems, gain new users, and solidify 
the trust with our current audience.


*Alessandro Castellani*
Lead UX Architect
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