Mozilla Thunderbird, the free and open-source email client, is undergoing major changes with its upcoming Release 115 called Supernova. While some users have expressed criticism of the new design, Alessandro Castellani, Product Design Manager at Mozilla Thunderbird, has explained the need for the three fundamental changes underway. These changes include putting the code base on a new footing, ensuring monthly releases, and establishing a new user interface (UI).
According to Castellani, while Thunderbird users love the current UI, many potential users are dissatisfied with it. Thus, feedback from social media posts, support forums, and online communities around the world was used for assessing the satisfaction level of users. Based on this feedback, the Thunderbird team asked themselves who was right – existing users or new users who expect fonts and more intuitive interfaces? The answer was that everyone is right. Therefore, Thunderbird wants to make the UI flexible and intuitive enough to make all users happy.
Castellani also talked about Thunderbird’s competitors, such as Outlook, Spark, Superhuman, Hey, and ProtonMail, which offer features that make them more appealing to users. While Thunderbird often loses users to these competitors, Castellani believes that Thunderbird should be the dominant email client. This belief stems from the fact that email is a very personal and sensitive mode of communication. Thunderbird upholds ethical data handling principles and guarantees the privacy of users’ data.
In addition to improving the UI, Thunderbird is also focusing on adding new features that make it more than an email client. Thunderbird already supports open chat protocols like IRC and Matrix, and a more intuitive redesign of the address book was made in Thunderbird 102. Thunderbird is also working on offering a better vertical layout of the message list, a new unified toolbar, centralized and intuitive configuration of the whole application, as well as accessibility improvements for typing and screen readers. A more customizable calendar interface is also in the works, which will give users more control over the layout when dealing with a large number of appointments.
In conclusion, Thunderbird is determined to make its email client more intuitive, user-friendly, and feature-rich. With the new redesign and features, Thunderbird hopes to win over new users while retaining its existing user base.