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Junk Mail UI Redesign

By Scott MacGregor

The existing junk mail controls dialog contains a lot of information and is in need of some UI attention. Complicating matters is the Thunderbird proposal for adding real time black lists. Junk mail support in Mozilla Thunderbird is hopefully going to be a major benefit, hence this spec for talking about how we want to improve the UI.

You should be familiar with:

Currently every setting in the junk mail dialog is PER account. You select the account and then adjust the settings for that account.

These proposals don't currently address the way the "what do do with junk mail" settings are presented to the user. We still use checkboxes with nested radio buttons and other nested checkboxes. I'd like to come up with a better way to present these settings and am open to suggestions.

You can also ignore the funky borders drawn around group box captions (such as 'Action' and 'White List'), I'm trying to get rid of those =)

Proposal #1

Pull out each junk mail plugin into it's own tab panel. Use a basic 'Settings' panel to allow the user to customize settings such as what to do with mail that is marked as junk.

Here's a screen shot showing this proposal:

The white list panel:

The adaptive filter (aka Bayesian filters) panel:

Issues with Proposal 1

  • Currently all of the junk mail settings are per account. This includes the white list selection and junk mail logging. That changes with this UI. Junk mail logging is global.
  • The white list panel is global, it applies to all accounts. That's not consistent with the current behavior. If we believe our current behavior is correct then we need to either move the white list selection back into the settings panel under the same group box as the account picker or we need to look at proposal #2. Or we could add another account picker widget into the white list panel.
  • The adaptive filter panel is pretty wordy, but that may be necessary in order to get the idea across
  • Need a name for the Settings / 'action' caption title.
  • This UI requires new back end implementation for how we manage our junk mail control settings since several of the prefs are now global and not per account.
  • Once could optionally remove the group box around the junk mail log button along with the descriptive text, leaving just the button.

Proposal #2

The second proposal is similar to the first one; however it aims to maintain the status quo with respect to all the junk mail settings being on a per account basis. So the white list option is moved back into the settings panel. The settings panel is re-organized.

Issues with Proposal 2

  • Easier to integrate this design into the current implementation of junk mail controls. White list and logging are back to per account settings.
  • The settings panel starts to look cluttered again with the addition of the whitelist groupbox.
  • Why is White List placed inside of the settings tab when there is a separate tab for Black lists? Seems inconsistent.