Open Bug 1665511 Opened 11 months ago Updated 5 months ago

Implement a "Spaces" toolbar to group all toolbar buttons that open a dedicated Tab

Categories

(Thunderbird :: Mail Window Front End, enhancement)

enhancement

Tracking

(Not tracked)

ASSIGNED

People

(Reporter: aleca, Assigned: aleca)

Details

(Keywords: ux-efficiency)

Attachments

(2 files)

Implement a new vertical toolbar, which we could call "Spaces", in order to better organize all the toolbar buttons that open a different View/Tab, like Calendar, Tasks, Chat, Address Book, etc.

This toolbar will be collapsible in case users don't want to see it, turning into a overflow popup panel container to list all the toolbar buttons available.

We might also consider offering an API for add-on developers in order to automatically add their "generig" add-on button in case they need to open another view or tab.

In this first screenshot, I'm listing all the actions inconsistencies of our current main toolbar organization.

Attached image spaces-toolbar.png

Here's a mock-up of the potential implementation.

I like the concept and you should definitively implement this.

Things you might consider which I find not optimal from your mock-ups:

  1. The buttons in the main toolbar are moving with the state of the spaces toolbar.
  2. You collapse the toolbar at the bottom of the window but expand it at the top.

What about making the spaces toolbar a little bit higher up to the level of the main toolbar? Always keep the expand/collapse button in the first position of the main toolbar, but have an optical separation from the other buttons of the spaces toolbar since it doesn't open a tab but influences the toolbar itself.

The buttons in the main toolbar are moving with the state of the spaces toolbar.

Sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you mean.
If you're referring to the Chat and Calendar buttons, those would not be there anymore but only in the Spaces toolbar (unless a user customizes the main toolbar to put them back).

What about making the spaces toolbar a little bit higher up to the level of the main toolbar?

Ah yes, I had a note about this but I forgot to update the mock-up. Good point.

Always keep the expand/collapse button in the first position of the main toolbar, but have an optical separation from the other buttons of the spaces toolbar since it doesn't open a tab but influences the toolbar itself.

I'll consider that, thanks.
The "expand" button is not really an expand, but it opens a popup panel with the menu list of button + label, and then a menu item to "Expand" again the toolbar.

(In reply to Alessandro Castellani (:aleca) from comment #3)

Sorry, I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

In your mock-up, the Get Mail button is the first button in the main toolbar when the spaces toolbar is expanded, but only the second button when it is collapsed.

Ah yeah, I see.
Well, yes, that's because the overflow button for that bar gets revealed once the bar is collapsed.
I don't see it as a big deal as the collapsing of a toolbar is an action that shifts the UI and it's triggered by a user.
Anyway, is definitely something to consider once we see it in action.

There are (at least) two issues here: The spaces bar itself, and the tabs.

I don't have a strong opinion on the spaces bar as such; though I don't like the use of icons-only rather than icons+text. They're a bit too vague, and require too much mental effort to figure out. This is especially true due to their monochromaticity (sp?) . The lack of visible text ("Calendar", "Tasks") is perhaps a benefit of the current two buttons for Tasks and Calendar - but only in that it makes it easy to ignore them... if you do want to be aware of them, then the text is missing.

Of course, if one does go with Icons+Text, then the spaces bar becomes pretty large, and may no longer make sense. A couple of other possibilities:

  1. Change the menu layout, so that one of the menus has these navigation commands prominently at the top. Perhaps like the "Window" menu in other applications.
  2. Have spaces be a toolbar which can be placed either to the right of the main toolbar, or at the left, right or bottom edge of the window; and like other toolbars, allow the choice of icons, icons+text or text only.

The other point is that I really don't want the address book in a tab! It's important that it be in its own window. I am also kind of skeptical about Tasks in its own tab, because it seems like too much real-estate for tasks rather than combining them somehow with some other content. But - I don't have any intuition about what I would do with Tasks exactly.

There is also the 'Home' tab. I don't see how that's a good idea. That seems redundant.

Have spaces be a toolbar which can be placed either to the right of the main toolbar, or at the left, right or bottom edge of the window; and like other toolbars, allow the choice of icons, icons+text or text only.

Good suggestion. We will consider this.

It is a good start indeed... thank for tackling it...

I would suggest:

  • Make each icon bigger + less space between the icons (a bit like a taskbar/dock OS style) to ease identification, access and therefore navigation
  • A mouse over the icon could expand the column to the right to show text in addition of icon - so icon only when not moused over - icon+text when mouse over... some may not like it so you could have an option to disable this feature possibly... don't know...
  • Allow end-users to expand the column towards the right to show more icon maybe up to four on one line? A bit like Gimp tool panel...
  • Add horizontal line separation from top icons (belonging to TB core features) and others icons that may come from add-on, favorites, etc... possibly (long term)

Some additional suggestions following open discussion here https://thunderbird.topicbox.com/groups/ux/T6f0a27ad65e1fac5/proposal-implement-a-spaces-toolbar

  • Allow access to Settings - My suggestion: add one Settings button to access all Settings in TB - Settings Tab (or else way) as per separate discussion https://thunderbird.topicbox.com/groups/ux/Tf01ae86e0bf67311/merging-all-tb-options-account-settings-add-on-settings-customise-settings-view-settings-into-one-settings-tab-view
  • Ability to Pin/Unpin the Space Bar - Making it available as a menu icon
  • Hamburger menu and Space Bar both allow navigation into TB so in fine could be merged into one (if you think about it) :-)
  • API for add-on developers which they can use to add their add-on icon/button to the Space Bar - So it need to be consider as part of the layout/theme and mock-up... to show more icons and see how it would look like...
  • Create consistency - open a new tab vs new window
  • Find a good balanced between default showed icons (most used) and those less used by end-users but still allowing them to access - Email, Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Chat, etc... but in the future possibly Notes, Feeds, etc...
  • Allow collapse - manual and automatic (aka auto-hide) with a visual aide to easily show it back via click on a visible icon or mouse-over to the edge where panel is hidden...
  • Allow customisation - hide non-used icon - re-arrange order etc... a bit like toolbar icon customisation in Firefox
  • Allow relocation - left (by default? Probably make the most sense in a left-to-write reading mode), bottom, right, top
  • Integrate "Search" Button/View? - This may be rediscussed in a separate topic/bug on how to improve search and bring consistency to it all over TB

I am conscious that all will not be dealt with in this bug (probably follow up ones) but still worth mentioning to see the big picture from the start...

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