Mail/News Spec Online
Monday May 10th, 1999
Arielb wrote in to say that the specs for the addressbook and mail compose are now online. They attempt to address a number of issues in the current 4.5 designs. We encourage all of you to take a look at these specs, and contribute suggestions in the mail-news newsgroup.
#1 ROM site updated...
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 5:49 AM
Added a preview build of NavigatorX... a Communicator style wrapper for Adam Locks' Mozilla ActiveX Control.
#2 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 6:54 AM
Is it just me or do those screenshots of the mail editor make it look too complicated and busy?
I hope it doesn't turn out like that in the end...
#3 It's not just you...
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 7:26 AM
No Anthrax... you're not alone. I don't care for the new look either.
I happen to like the current Netscape Messenger 4.X quite a bit, and I wasn't too thrilled by what I just saw.
If it ain't broke... don't fix it!
#4 Cluttered Toolbars
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 7:52 AM
I would agree that the new design does not look as clear as NS4.5. I agree that the tabs are rarely used in messenger, but to devote a large area of the screen to an attachment list seems unnecessary, could this not be a collapsible toolbar which is activated when you add an attachment. Ditto for he new FROM Toolbar, I would argue that many users who have only one account would find this unnecesary. If increased use is to be made of the bottom toolbar, why not move return receipt there?. Other than that, I like the simplified top bar and the ability to attach web pages from bookmarks. I would be nice if pages attached in this way could be edited before sending allowing comments to be added and advertisements deleted.
#5 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 10:58 AM
I for one doesn't care so much how it looks but rather how it works. Navigator 4.5 is not especially good for mail because you can't filter things and generally a lot of functionality found in other applications are missing. All I hope for is that we get lots and lots of new features in a slim and fast design but the tecnical functionality is most important, then speed and last the look
#6 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 11:18 AM
yeah that's why I use Pegasus because it's free and does a ton of stuff. It also has the worse UI in the universe-heh it doesn't even scroll properly. I want Messenger to do everything pegasus can but I also believe in good UI design. So there's alot of work to be done. At least it's not as hard as designing a layout engine with full standards compliance. I will post this document with my comments on a website soon
#7 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 11:56 AM
Is the Mail client being rendered through XUL as well? If so, the actual layout is not as improtant. A nice default layout is preferable, but we can produce "Power Skins" suited to different types of users....
#8 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 12:16 PM
Maybe those of us who are not satisfied with the current "default" layout can send in samples in GIF/jpeg format or XUL format (better!)
#9 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 12:19 PM
I think every mini app in Mozilla has XUL as an interface.
#10 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 1:50 PM
The only thing I hope they fix is that god-awful "edit html-source" java window that 4.51 has now. I'd rather preform self-dentistry than use that thing (even Notepad or vi is easier to use)
#11 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 2:04 PM
I think there are two reasons the interface may look "cluttered", and neither has to do with the amount of information on the screen. The first involves the white/gray borders that may be popular in Unix environments but it makes the buttons less distinguishable. Making the bottom and right border black instead of gray would help greatly. Second is the single-color nature of the buttons (which are also of a blue-grey shade, which makes them blend in to the background color). From what I've been told, these are just placeholder images, and that they will eventually be replaced.
If there is a serious problem with users unable to find the attachments area and the "options" area, this should be dealt with. However, there is one major issue with the current possibilities - they invert the "natural flow" of the document. Attachments always appear at the end of the file, but the "add attachments" area is at the top. Security and encryption information are more equivalent to header information than to content, yet they are at the bottom of the dialog in the current examples.
A space below the content area for adding attachments (freeing up space on the top pane for security and encryption information) would help to integrate what beginners see in email they receive with the process they use to add attachments.
#12 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
by Aleks Zawisza
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 3:07 PM
Personally I really like the new Messenger interface window, I think getting rid of the tabs is an excellent idea. For the amount of functionality in there, I think it's surprisingly uncluttered.
I also don't mind the blue/gray images, and I realize that we will be able to customize them if we wish.
#13 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 3:13 PM
It doesn't make sense to me to have attachments held in a special UI area. They should work more like the 4.5 "View Attachments Inline"; in fact, they should just be special objects that you can insert into the body of the message. They can then be copied and deleted using standard edit behaviours.
It might be good to have a status area that displays the total size of the current attachments. This would give people a quick way to check whether there are currently any attachments or not.
#14 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Tuesday May 11th, 1999 4:37 PM
Maybe a bit off-topic, but does such a documentation exist for the 'navigator'/browser part? It would be great to have such one. I am wondering whether the UI of the current builds is just a test for the functionality of XUL or whether it is a prototype for the final UI.
#15 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
Wednesday May 12th, 1999 11:02 PM
Will there be any plans to allow users to insert or paste v-cards from the address book, in an email message, like what is done for Outlook express?
#16 Re:Mail/News Spec Online
by Daniel Hill
Thursday May 13th, 1999 8:10 PM
I like the new look (the first one)! It doesn't seem cluttered, actually it's very clear and easy to find things. I just hope it is responsive on my wonderfully fast (ha ha ha) Cyrix 120.
Oh, another point, did anyone notice "AOL Inbox" seemed to be added into the screenshots at the last moment? As if someone at management decided they had to start butt-kissing ...