UI mock-up - Account Setup Rev.3

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at beonex.com
Fri May 10 23:50:45 UTC 2019

Alessandro Castellani wrote on 11.05.19 01:15:
> Tanstaafl raises some great points that make me think about the 
> difference between /manual config/ and /advanced config/...what's the 
> difference?e

I've explained the difference between Manual Config and Advanced Config:

In the manual configuration mode of the dialog, there needs to be the 
"Advanced Config" button. I know it's odd, but it's needed for really 
fringe edge cases.

The manual configuration is not for end advanced end users. It's for 
those users where we failed to find a working configuration 
automatically, but these are still normal non-techy users. They will 
need to gather the server name from some configuration page of their 
company somewhere. And we help them making this

  * as comfortable as possible (by prefilling the correct ports,
    authentication method etc.)
  * helping them getting it right (by validating the input and checking
    that it works), and
  * making it as secure as possible (by using SSL when possible, and
    making it easy to enable and test whether SSL works).

The "Advanced Config" button is needed for really fringe edge cases, 
like obscure required options, rare cases where our validation fails due 
to a strange mail server, and people wanting to set up the account while 
being offline. It doesn't make much sense, but there have been multiple 
very angry requests for that. This one button is the escape route for 
all those edge cases. If we do not have this escape route, these people 
will demand options for their specific case all over the place, and each 
will have a good legitimate (even though rare) reason for why they need 
it, and we'll have to discuss how to accommodate them, one by one. If we 
were to remove "Advanced Config", we would have endless discussions how 
to fulfill all the different odd needs, and consequently destroy the 
normal path. That would make nobody really happy, and waste time in 
discussions (you have no idea how much time). By allowing this simple 
escape route for advanced users, where we make absolutely no checks, and 
the user can just mis-configure whatever he wants, we make the power 
users and IT admins happy, without compromising the normal path for 
normal end users.

I hope you see the idea behind the current dialog: Make as much 
automatic as possible. Allow override where it fails. Do show things 
that we absolutely need to get a working configuration, and help as much 
as possible. Do not show things that are not normally needed for most 
users, but allow this to be available for those who do need it.

> Also, what's so drastically important inside the /Account Settins > 
> Server Settings/ that it's not available inside the /manual config/?

There are tons of little settings that we definitely do *not* want in 
the normal setup flow. There is an endless flow of edge cases, special 
circumstances, need this or that, all with reasonable justifications for 
their specific case, but it applies only to 0.01% of the users. We 
should not clutter the normal flow with them. Nor build special 
exceptions for them

Like "what happens when you're offline", "what happens when your SMTP 
password is different from your IMAP password", which are extremely 
rare, but valid cases. If we try to accomodate them, 2 things will 
happen: we will spend endless time discussing how to do it, and 2) we 
will clutter the dialog and flow and make it worse for normal users.

Instead of discussing those one by one, just make an escape route which 
covers those rare cases, and leave the normal flow alone.

> I think having 2 options, simple (guided) and advanced (manual), could 
> solve a lot of complexity

Right, that's exactly what I'm suggesting. The "Advanced Config" button 
effectively does that.

But it would also make sense to add a little option in the first screen. 
Inside the "..." menu button, where you currently have put movemail, add 
"Advanced config". In this mode, there are no checks, and you drop into 
the Account Settings dialog as quickly as technically possible.

I think that would make both camps happy: a) we keep the normal user 
flow streamlines and helpful and free of clutter and confusing options, 
and b) we allow advanced users to configure everything they want, 
without checks, and both are happy.



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