? "Set Up an Existing Account" ? -- Re: UI mock-up - Account Setup Rev.2

Alessandro Castellani alessandro at thunderbird.net
Fri May 3 17:38:22 UTC 2019

Wow, this thread got a lot of answers.

Thank you so much for your suggestions and involvements. I'll take a 
couple of days to collect your feedback, evaluate them, and improve the 

I'm glad to see that the majority of changes suggested are related to 
content and not UI. I guess that means we all feel we're on the right path.

Here are some initial thoughts and general suggestions regarding your 

    /*WELCOME -- Configuring Thunderbird
    *What do you want to do now?
    1.Configure Thunderbird to work with an _existing_ email account?
    2.Have Thunderbird create a _new_ email account and work with it?
    3.Manually configure Thunderbird for more specialized uses?*
    NOTE:*  You can return here later to configure Thunderbird to work
    with _multiple_ new or existing email accounts./

I understand the need of being as clear as possible, but we should be 
careful in not turning every single button into a paragraph. A good UI 
is understandable without over explaining every single button.

Labels, titles, info tooltips, and descriptions, should be short and on 
point, without being verbose and too long. Other than looking terrible 
in the end result, too much copy will distract and overwhelm the user.

Also, asking questions is not recommended in general. If you open a 
window with 3 buttons, you know you have to click on one of those. 
Buttons already have labels to indicate what they do, therefor is not 
necessary to ask "Which button do you want to click?". This is not a 
questionnaire, but a guided setup dialog. We should present clear 
solutions not open questions.

We should avoid designing for edge cases. Majority of users will write 
their email and password and that's it. If tech savvy users need to 
configure something manually, the "Set Up later" link to close the 
dialog will give them the chance to do what they need to do.

Adding a "Manual configuration" button on first screen, or "Import 
certificate", or something of this genre, will only increase complexity 
and clutter the dialog for an option that is not commonly used. Once 
again, we shouldn't design for edge cases.

The "Return here later..." is also unnecessary since the ability to 
create new accounts will be easily accessible in TB, and this dialog 
will always be used. We could play with the idea of having a final 
screen where we offer 2 funnels "Done/Close" and "Set Up another 
Account". The "Set Up later" link is explanatory enough to communicate 
to the user that this is not a one time screen and they can access it at 
a later time.

    /Sorry if this was already answered, will only the account setup see
    an UI refreshment or whole of Thunderbird?/

This is a first step of an ongoing work that doesn't currently have a 
release or end date. We will implement these changes slowly and 
carefully, section by section, in order to make it right and not rush it.

    Option to use same credentials for outgoing as incoming
    bug 543827 - https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=543827

    I just threw together a mock-up adding two options and uploaded it to
    the bug above but essentially, it just adds two lines below the
    'Remember password' option, like this:

    [ ] Remember password
    [x] Use only secure settings
    [x] Use same settings for sending mail

    As pictured, i also think they (the two new options I am proposing)
    should be enabled by default.

I wouldn't recommend this. TB should try to do all this in the 
background (which I think it already does), and not offer users extra 
options which are already checked by default so why we even put them there.

The manual configuration appears only if TB can't connect by trying all 
the possible settings, and all the fields in the manual config will be 
prepopulated with what TB finds on the server and what the user wrote.

*Closing thoughts*

I understand the feeling of "we should add *this* also because users 
will use it", but we should be really careful about the amount of 
buttons, labels, links, descriptions, checkboxes, etc. we want to add to 
this dialog.

We need to offer a few and simple options, and guide the users where 
they need to go, not try to put everything on the same screen. No matter 
how slick and curated a UI can be, if it's cluttered with dozens of 
options it will only overwhelm and confuse the user. We need to avoid that.

Not everything is a priority. Specific sections must be revealed only 
when is necessary for the user to interact with them. Verbose and 
descriptive messages should be optimized or replaced by intuitive 
actions and icons.

Let's stay focus and not get sucked into the rabbit hole of adding every 
possible option ever. Iterations and A/B testing will help us improve 
everything we do.

Thank you again for your great work.

*Alessandro Castellani*
Lead UX Architect
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