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Mozilla Thunderbird And UI Design

I recently installed Mozilla Thunderbird as a replacement for Outlook Express. While I think Thunderbird probably is a better program, it is evident that some things have not been totally thought through - for me, mostly in the area of UI design and visual feedback.

One design mistake is to make the caption for the email account bold. In email programs, bold text always signify that you have new mail. Making all captions bold makes the view puzzling ... in the view to the right, it's not immediately clear which email accounts have new mail, and which have not.

I also find it a bit distressing that there is very little visual feedback about what is going on. I never quite know when Thunderbird is finished checking for email (and blogs), for instance. Some kind of visual indicator would be nice. Some sort of moving progress bar would suffice, and which would let you know by disappearing that all actions have been completed.

I'm a little bit afraid to find that it's all possible to add already by some clever hack, because I've seen the configuration file for Thunderbird. It's in Javascript!!!


At 6:55 PM, Anonymous Albis said...

Is it good or bad that it's in Javascript ;)?

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Mats Gefvert said...

It's absolutely terrible. The snot-faced imbeciles that implemented that scheme of configuration ought to be strangled in their beds.

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Albis said...

Tar and feathers would be sufficient IMO ;). They could repent and start coding right.

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Camilla said...

Where is the love of God in this, Mats? :)

Also, there is an indication of progress at the bottom right. At least with Thunderbird 1.0.6.

At 11:33 PM, Blogger Mats Gefvert said...


I use 1.0.7 and there is a little indicator, but it only works with one mailbox, specifically. There is practically no visual feedback at all during the process of checking every email box; neither for RSS feeds. So I never know when the program is done.


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