Default theme's tool-bar button and thread-pane header icons lack color

RESOLVED WONTFIX

Status

Thunderbird
Theme
RESOLVED WONTFIX
6 years ago
3 years ago

People

(Reporter: Markus Fischer, Unassigned)

Tracking

x86
Windows 7
Dependency tree / graph

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(Whiteboard: [gs], URL)

Attachments

(3 attachments)

(Reporter)

Description

6 years ago
Created attachment 542926 [details]
tb_icons_lack_color.png

User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:5.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/5.0
Build ID: 20110615151330

Steps to reproduce:

TBs default theme icons color really lack color, they look very monotone. Some of the used icons are already available in colored version (e.g. the "junk icon" used in the "Folders view").
(Reporter)

Updated

6 years ago
Severity: normal → enhancement
We can't really act on a bug like that, can you specify which one you don't like and how we should change them ?
even better propose icons :-)
(Reporter)

Comment 3

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #1)
> We can't really act on a bug like that, can you specify which one you don't
> like and how we should change them ?

All icons inside buttons are gray/very dark, they do not stand out/invite me to use them. Unfortunately I upgraded all my TB installations already, so I can't provide my own screenshots and will link to a few I found on the web:

http://screenshots.winfuture.de/Mozilla-Thunderbird-3.0-RC-1-1259098980.jpg
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_G3XfPX114Ks/S2dIXK956pI/AAAAAAAAJDQ/qWdzbSeCDuc/screenshot_028.png
http://cache.lifehacker.com/assets/resources/2008/05/tbird_landing.jpg

I'm sorry I can't give anything else for this bug, it's just I'm looking at them and they look sad to me back because they don't have color, compared to TB 3 which had a "friendly look back at me" :)

Comment 4

6 years ago
That was bug 545557 redesigning the toolbars for the aero theme on Vista and Windows 7. In agreement with Markus' arguments, I've noticed that I found the buttons much faster in the old or XP-qute themes, given that they had some color aiding the user. Even though the order of buttons didn't change for me, color apparently is an important visual cue to quickly identify which button is which, and apparently more than just the shape of the now all-gray icons.

Updated

6 years ago
OS: Other → Windows 7
Hardware: All → x86
I'm hesitant to move back to the full color icons because it looks more professional and nice now. There is certainly a trend in interfaces these days to go for more single colored interfaces (look at OS X lion or Android for example) and I haven't seen much data that these interfaces are harder to operate.
I think one thing that we could consider is using some color for the reply/reply all/reply list button, as that one tend to change depending on the message and it might be good to further stress what kind of reply action that will happen.

Comment 6

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #5)
> I'm hesitant to move back to the full color icons because it looks more
> professional and nice now.

That's certainly subjective (personally I think that Thunderbird 2.0 had the "most professional look" on Windows, not as colorful as the Tango icons and not as indistinguishable as the current aero icons). SeaMonkey's redesigned default theme has mostly monochrome icons in the Mail & News window, but those have little colored spots in those icons which makes them easier identifiable.

Some user feedback in the forums suggested/requested to also make "the other" theme available. Given that both qute and aero themes are coming with the same installer, what prevents introduction of an alternate manifest for a "reverse" theme which reverses the osversion operations in the current manifest? Thus, it would start up with the intended theme for the respective platform but allows the Windows 7 user to switch to the Windows XP theme in the add-ons manager if so desired (that may be a separate bug report). This approach has been employed for SeaMonkey since it was still the Mozilla Suite, so the underlying mechanics should be in place.
(Reporter)

Comment 7

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #5)
> I'm hesitant to move back to the full color icons because it looks more
> professional and nice now.

That's very sad to hear and unfortunately I lack the skills to contribute hands on to the issue. IMHO there has been made quite a sacrifice between visual aesthetics and usability.

I guess my solution is only to wait for someone to make theme with the colored icons or something like rsx11m proposed in comment #6 .

Updated

6 years ago

Comment 8

6 years ago
Totally agree with rxs11m.

Comment 9

6 years ago
Confirming based on the number of requests coming in on this topic. Even if the default theme stays monochrome, maybe it is possible to add alternative toolbar icons which are colorized, thus for the user to decide and pick without the need of selecting and installing a completely different 3rd-party custom theme.

> (comment #5) I think one thing that we could consider is using some color for
> the reply/reply all/reply list button

An important argument stated in http://gsfn.us/t/2c1os is the use of "alarm" colors like orange and red for the Junk and Delete buttons, intuitively showing that something "bad" may happen if you click those.
Blocks: 545557
Status: UNCONFIRMED → NEW
Ever confirmed: true

Comment 10

6 years ago
Created attachment 544097 [details]
Mockup with colorized aero icons

Just to give some idea what colorized icons following the current design /may/ look like, this is a crude mockup using GIMP for color manipulation of the aero main toolbar icons. The selected colors follow roughly the 3.1 color scheme and show the toolbar against the Windows 7 Aero and Windows 7 Basic desktop themes.
(Reporter)

Comment 11

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #10)
> Created attachment 544097 [details]
> Mockup with colorized aero icons
> 
> Just to give some idea what colorized icons following the current design
> /may/ look like, this is a crude mockup using GIMP for color manipulation of
> the aero main toolbar icons. The selected colors follow roughly the 3.1
> color scheme and show the toolbar against the Windows 7 Aero and Windows 7
> Basic desktop themes.

Wow, that looks just so awesome. Thanks for your contribution, really.
(In reply to comment #10)
> Created attachment 544097 [details]
> Mockup with colorized aero icons

What do they look like beside Firefox, IE9/10, Windows Explorer, and the latest Outlook?

What do they look like with a more colourful Persona?

(I'm on vacation now with no access to a Windows 7 computer, or I'ld check myself.)

Thanks,
Blake.

Comment 13

6 years ago
I don't know, and this was merely a proof of concept with a few colorized icons. As said in comment #9, I'd consider this a configuration option. In the other themes (and aero before the redesign), both 24x24 and 16x16 icons are offered, whereas the current aero theme employs an odd 18x18 format. The "Customize..." dialog still has a checkbox for "Use Small Icons" which won't do much any more (or anything at all). I don't know if its label can be changed on the fly to show something like "Use Color Icons" as it's a toolkit dialog, but it would provide an easy mechanism for switching the icon set depending on your desktop settings. Personas can be caught in CSS rules as necessary and done already elsewhere.

Comment 14

6 years ago
So, right now the site shows 623 downloads, that's a week after the 5.0 release and despite the "experimental" banner which likely scares off "normal" users. Which number has to be reached in your opinion to justify implementing such an option in the regular release? Also, many users won't make it to the forums to know about the add-on, thus they just live with what they have.

Comment 15

6 years ago
(oops - it's dangerous to look at multiple bugs at the same time, the previous comment was supposed to go into bug 647036, sorry about that...)  :-[

Comment 16

6 years ago
For a restore of something closer to the TB v3.1 icons using a modified file (omni.jar) after installing v5 there is a thread on forums located at http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2244233
There's also a new lightweight theme at https://addons.mozilla.org/en/firefox/addon/noglass/ that people might like.
(Reporter)

Comment 18

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #17)
> There's also a new lightweight theme at
> https://addons.mozilla.org/en/firefox/addon/noglass/ that people might like.

Thanks, that's really way better then the default.

Comment 19

6 years ago
Richard, thanks for providing that add-on, that really helps for users with desktop themes where the glass effect doesn't go well and also employs my suggestion in comment #13 on the "Use Small Icons" doubling for colored icons.

In http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2244233#p11003675 I've posted some instructions for experienced user on how to colorize the icons themselves if they want specific colors (and not all buttons in your add-on are colorized either, but it's definitely a good starting point).

I've also added some posts to respective GS and MZ threads to inform users about the existence of that add-on, also as a workaround for bug 667248 (but it won't solve the high-contrast theme issues in bug 608792, so that's yet to do).

Comment 20

6 years ago
Professional look vs. colors? I don't see this trade-off.

Why should monochrome buttons look more professional than buttons with colors?

And even if there is a trade-off: 
Usability is imho one billion times more important than a "professional" look.

Please add the possibility to switch between "professional" monochrome look and the old look with colors.

I need colors. I know, there is a trend to remove colors, but please don't follow this trend. Thunderbird had colors for many many years with good reason.

Comment 21

6 years ago
I forgot to say:

The Mockup with colorized aero icons by rsx11m looks awesome. It looks very professional and usable in my opinion.

(sorry for double posting, there is no edit function)

Comment 22

6 years ago
I just had to chime in here, because I am pretty **** off.  It's bad enough having an almost unusable toolbar now due to the omitted colours...guess what?  People have different screen and window settings!  Like mine, which are partially transparent and make viewing the default toolbar a bitch!  That's aggravating enough.  But to hear the reason behind it is to "make it more professional" by following Apple's "restrict users' choices because they like shiny things and are too dumb to figure out how to change anything anyway" mentality is infuriating.

The whole point of these products is customization (which you do permit, thankfully), but how did this new "colour scheme" (or lack thereof) get greenlit?  It's terrible; at least add some sort of easy-to-find built-in function to allow SOME sort of solid colour choices... Anything so people can change the "professional" (but inefficient and unusable) color scheme to something which may not be as "professional", but at least it's _visible_.  

I love Mozilla, don't get me wrong.  It was the whole "well, Apple's OS is shiny and smooth and single-coloured, and lots of people have that, so we should do the same!" line of thinking which needs to be stopped ASAP.  The reason Apple products are so popular is because you can't really change anything; fewer options make dumb people happy.  It's not necessarily better, it's "easier", if you don't care that much about efficiency and tweaking stuff.  So please, if you want to keep going toward the shiny-smooth appearances, at least allow people to make SOME sort of changes, especially if they're practically needed for functionality (like in my case).  And make the ability built-in, meaning not necessarily an add-on or theme, because some people don't know about those things, and are likely to get frustrated and just stop using the product.  I've already talked with three people who abandoned Thunderbird because of this issue.  One person refuses to upgrade.

Sorry to rant, I just don't want Apple's North Korean style of product design to spread any more than it has to.
(In reply to comment #22)
> I just had to chime in here, because I am pretty **** off.

Mangraa,

I can understand your anger, and you certainly have a right to disagree with the direction the UI is going, but expressing your anger in this forum is inappropriate and counter-productive.

In the future, if you feel you need to vent like this, please send it to me via email instead, so that we don't disturb the people who are trying to do constructive work here.

Thank you,
Blake.

Comment 24

6 years ago
The default icons are really difficult to use.
I agree the colorized aero icons by rsx11m look "awesome".  
The NoGlass theme is also much appreciated.

Updated

6 years ago
Blocks: 588007

Comment 25

6 years ago
Per bug 588007, Thunderbird 8.0 will come will also the color removed from the header icons in the message list. It's disappointing that such patches are going through while there is discussion if the overall concept the right thing to do.
Summary: Default theme's button icons lack color → Default theme's tool-bar button and thread-pane header icons lack color

Comment 26

6 years ago
Even less colors in the future? The opposite would be right. 

I thought Mozilla is close to the users/community. This is disappointing. Just look at getsatisfaction.com. There are so many users getting no satisfaction right now. Please listen to the users/community.

Nobody uses a monochrome monitor, so please keep the colors. There is absolutely no need to remove colors everywhere. I really don't get it.
(In reply to comment #25)
> Per bug 588007, Thunderbird 8.0 will come will also the color removed from
> the header icons in the message list. It's disappointing that such patches
> are going through while there is discussion if the overall concept the right
> thing to do.

In the headers case specifically I think single colored icons makes more sense, as it puts them more on pair with the text labels in the other tree headers and makes those stand out less. In most software, icons in tree headers is a rare thing, but in the cases I've found them they tend to use a single color. This also moves back a bit from the colorful tree headers we introduced in 3.0 [1].

For the general case, there are a couple of things that speaks in favor of icons with less color:
* Firefox is doing this, and we want to match Firefox where it makes sense.
* If we do less color we can use it where it makes sense and also use it as indicators in some cases https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=671236#c12
* My impression is that Windows in general is moving towards simpler, clearer icons [2], especially with Windows Phone 7 [3] and Windows 8 [4].

1. http://img.brothersoft.com/top/screenshots/t/Thunderbird-2.0.0.6_1.png
2. http://img.informer.com/screenshots/10/10135_1.png
3. http://www.pocket-lint.com/images/dynamic/NEWS-32157-7fb7c9d8e38ec6cb63c04315f8599fba.jpg
4. http://www.mediasmartserver.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Windows-8-start-menu.png

Comment 28

6 years ago
5. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/StatusMeetings/2011-07-19/SupportAppendix

My objection in comment #25 was mostly directed towards pushing forward a patch following a previously defined paradigm (i.e., all icons are monochrome) at a time where this paradigm is substantially questioned. As you can see from the top-5 GS list this week [5] (last week is missing as there was no TB meeting but would demonstrate similar results), theme-related issues are leading the field, with #1 being a catch-all topic and #3 specific to the monochrome icons.

Nevertheless, and certainly acknowledging attempts like bug 667248 to resolve at least the most burning issues, the direction established in bug 545557 is continued as if nobody would complain. I'm still waiting for a reply for my comment on bug 665873, which aims for similar changes in the Linux theme.

Thus, I sure can understand sentiments presented in comment #22 and comment #26 on any perceived or actual ignorance of user feedback that is not in compliance with the intended direction of theme development.

Comment 29

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #27)
> For the general case, there are a couple of things that speaks in favor of
> icons with less color:
> * Firefox is doing this, and we want to match Firefox where it makes sense.
> * If we do less color we can use it where it makes sense and also use it as
> indicators in some cases

@"we want to match Firefox":
- Firefox has colorized buttons by default: "go" button is green, "stop" button is red. There are colors, because they are needed.
- Back/forward buttons are different to the other buttons, because they stick together and the back button is big and round.
- There are only two other monochrome buttons (for me): bookmarks and home, and that's remarkably less buttons than in Thunderbird. Less buttons means less problems with removed colors, because there are less buttons I need to distinguish.

Please give the users an option to switch to the old theme or an option to turn colors on. 

Let the users decide and everybody would be happy.

A lot of useres aren't happy at this moment. Please acknowledge that. Thank you.
(In reply to comment #29)

> @"we want to match Firefox":
> - Firefox has colorized buttons by default: "go" button is green, "stop"
> button is red. There are colors, because they are needed.

This is what I meant by indicators. The go/stop/reload area changes color depending on what is currently going on in that area to get your attention.
(In reply to comment #6)
> Some user feedback in the forums suggested/requested to also make "the
> other" theme available. Given that both qute and aero themes are coming with
> the same installer, what prevents introduction of an alternate manifest for
> a "reverse" theme which reverses the osversion operations in the current
> manifest? Thus, it would start up with the intended theme for the respective
> platform but allows the Windows 7 user to switch to the Windows XP theme in
> the add-ons manager if so desired (that may be a separate bug report). This
> approach has been employed for SeaMonkey since it was still the Mozilla
> Suite, so the underlying mechanics should be in place.

If someone does a patch for this and provided it don't break anything else I think this might work.
(In reply to comment #29)
> Please give the users an option to switch to the old theme or an option to
> turn colors on. 
> Let the users decide and everybody would be happy.

They can.  That's precisely what themes are for.

> A lot of users aren't happy at this moment. Please acknowledge that. Thank
> you.

You're right, a number of users aren't happy with the new style.  But that's not entirely useful information, since a number of users won't be happy with any change we make.  I strongly suspect that the number of users who dislike the new theme is far fewer than the number who like it plus the number who don't care one way or the other.  (Admittedly I don't have any data supporting my assumption either.)

(In reply to comment #28)
> My objection in comment #25 was mostly directed towards pushing forward a
> patch following a previously defined paradigm (i.e., all icons are
> monochrome) at a time where this paradigm is substantially questioned.

There are certainly some questions, but I don't know how you're defining "substantially".  And I don't think work should stop even if there are questions about the direction.  If we decide that the direction isn't where we want to go, we can always back out the patches.  If we decide that it is, then we'll be further ahead.  (Also, someone will always question anything we decide to do.  If we stopped every time that happened, we would get nothing done.)

> Nevertheless, and certainly acknowledging attempts like bug 667248 to
> resolve at least the most burning issues, the direction established in bug
> 545557 is continued as if nobody would complain.

Not as if nobody would complain, rather as if the complaints would be tolerable to move the product forward in a direction considered positive by most.

> Thus, I sure can understand sentiments presented in comment #22 and comment
> #26 on any perceived or actual ignorance of user feedback that is not in
> compliance with the intended direction of theme development.

I certainly understand them as well.  Bugzilla isn't the place for them, but I totally understand them.

And to hopefully help with that, let me say "I hear, loud and clear, those of you who are saying that you don't like the monochrome icons and glass.  We are working towards making the glass much less intrusive in coming versions, but as UX Lead, I feel that the monochrome icons are an improvement, so we it is very likely that we will continue with those.  Please use the noglass theme at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/noglass/ if you feel you can't live without the colours, since extensions are a large part of what makes Thunderbird great."

If anyone has a response to my statement, I recommend emailing me <bwinton@mozilla.com>, and I'll be happy to discuss it further with you.

Thank you all for your comments,
Blake.

Comment 33

6 years ago
Just one more last general statement for the record:

I don't think, that there was such a massive negative feedback in the past about a Thunderbird UI change (lack of colors and Aero Glass). And you're talking like it's just a little thing and this happens all the time. But that's not true. This is afaik an unique situation. 

As UX Lead (USER experience), you should look what the users want. This maybe sound offensively, but if go on and you win 20 UI developers who love monochrome buttons and you lose 100000 ordinary users, you maybe should rethink the direction you're going. Getsatisfaction, Mozillazine and other sites/forums: The feedback is loud and clear. So I don't know why you still think you're going the right direction by removing colors. The user opinion counts, because the user uses your product (yes, it's that simple).

Very last point:
Your argument, that you're following other UIs isn't convincing, because there are always many alternative UIs (or UI elements) you can follow. But you just pick out the UI elements you personally like and say "We should follow this one and this one. I like the monochrome buttons of Firefox and Mac OS, I like the new simplicity of Windows. Now we put it all together, this should be fine." No, this is not fine, because Thunderbird is not Windows, not Firefox and not MacOS and especially Thunderbird is not an obscure Windows/Firefox/MacOS-UI-mixture. 

This is my personal opinion and my last comment here. 
But the overwhelming negative feedback for weeks is a fact:
http://getsatisfaction.com/mozilla_messaging/tags/bug_668336

Comment 34

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #17)
> There's also a new lightweight theme at
> https://addons.mozilla.org/en/firefox/addon/noglass/ that people might like.

THAT is more like it!!!!! I unthinkingly upgraded to Thunderbird v5.0 without realizing that the Thunderbird developers were going to screw everything up. I could NOT STAND the gray monochrome buttons as I could barely read the text on the buttons. I even added a theme from the library that I thought was going to help. It did help a little bit (marginally) but there was still a gray cast to the buttons that I simply could not tolerate. I even entertained the option of reverting back to v3.6 and I could have done it but then I ran across this theme and it produced the results I was looking for. WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment 35

6 years ago
The add-on is a workaround [and these days also a measure how desperately a feature is missed, sorry for a trace of sarcasm here... ;-) ], currently counting 1,462 official downloads, so that's not bad for an experimental add-on.

Blake, I'm still waiting for your reply on my e-mail. Is offering a colorized set of icons in the default theme (e.g., by the small-icon mechanism as demonstrated in the add-on or as alternate theme) a viable option from your point of view?
I know, it's been a stupidly busy few weeks.  (Check out my review queue sometime, and be happy you're not waiting in it. :P )  I will reply to the email when I can.

I don't think having small icons mean colourized is really the right thing to do, nor do I think we should have the icons be coloured by default.  On the other hand, shipping more than one theme seems like something we could do, and might be a good idea to highlight the Personas feature, when we pull it into core.

Later,
Blake.

Comment 37

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #36)
> I don't think having small icons mean colourized is really the right thing
> to do, nor do I think we should have the icons be coloured by default.  On
> the other hand, shipping more than one theme seems like something we could
> do, and might be a good idea to highlight the Personas feature, when we pull
> it into core.

Technically speaking, it would probably be possible to overlay the customize dialog to add a "colored icons" checkbox; after all, we already modify it to add "icons beside text". I'm not totally sure that's the route we want to take, but I bet we could do it.

Comment 38

6 years ago
Yes, the proposal certainly included to somehow change the label in the process. Given that there are no longer regular-size icons, that box is currently useless anyway, thus could be reused to switch between monochrome and colored toolbar icons, as long as the label can be overlaid as Jim suggests.

Comment 39

6 years ago
"Technically speaking, it would probably be possible to overlay the customize dialog to add a "colored icons" checkbox; after all, we already modify it to add "icons beside text"."

Exactly.

"I'm not totally sure that's the route we want to take"

This is the part that gets me ! With so many users complaining about the default ? Not to mention those who may not have complained to you about it, but have gone back to a previous version, or to a different email software altogether. What's the matter with you guys ? I don't want to sound rude, but the whole "we-know-better-than-you-what's-good-for-you" attitude is one that could lead me to abandon the Mozilla products altogether. And advertize my whole tribe about it too !
The very reason I chose Mozilla rather than the Microsoft tools was because I was fed up with them not having a care for their users, and I was recommended Thunderbird and Firefox by a friend who told me "these are people who respect the users". If this is going to go down the drain now, what reason do I have to keep using Mozilla softs ?
I'm not saying my preference should be the default, but like you said, it is possible to leave the user a choice : so why not do that ?
After upgrading to 5.0, I joined a couple of online discussion about this very subject, and I was glad to find, thanks to some other posters, the No Glass add-on that allowed me to add color to my TB toolbar icons. It's better, but not perfect as it only works if you pick small icons. Today I found out that the Classic Reloaded add-on https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/classic-reloaded/ will respect my prefered language (it's presented in German, but if you install it, it will be in the same language you have installed TB).
and as far as tool bar icons are concerned, it's better than the No Glass add on (sorry, whoever developped that, and thanks anyway, it did help for a while) BUT it changes the whole TB appearance back to an older version's one, which I'm not too happy about. Yes, I did like the general look of 5.0, except for that frigging lack of colors in the tool bar. 
So making the colored icons an option, a box to check - or not, depending on the USER's preference - would be the perfect solution. Everybody would be happy. I don't even get why there are still hesitations about something as simple and obvious as that. 
Sorry for the long post, but I had to say all this. And English isn't even my first language. I hope you appreciate the performance, all y'all. ;)

Comment 40

6 years ago
At no point did I say we shouldn't fix this bug. I merely said I wasn't sure we should fix it in that particular way. Note that the text I was quoting said:

> On the other hand, shipping more than one theme seems like something we could
> do...

Which is what I responding to. Both options would fix this bug, but the end results would be very different.

While I appreciate that this bug is an important issue to you, every comment that isn't discussing possible implementation strategies just makes it more difficult for contributors to sift through the comments to find the technical parts. If you'd like to advocate for this bug, Bugzilla isn't the place. A better spot for this would be the mozilla.dev.apps.thunderbird newsgroup.

Comment 41

6 years ago
(In reply to comment #28)
> theme-related issues are leading the field, with #1 being a catch-all topic
> and #3 specific to the monochrome icons.

FYI: The #1 of that week has now made it into the permanent top-3 problem list on the "Highlights" community page at GS. While a lot of those currently 147 reports deal with the overuse of aero as such (bug 667241), various posts emphasize the lack of color in the icons.

Thus, if an alternate default theme with slightly different parameters is to be offered, the obvious choice would be aero-glass/monochrome and solid/colored versions. This could be accommodated by either suggested mechanism. The label for replacing "Use Small Icons" could read "Use Own Colors" or something, to make it clear that not the underlying desktop items determine the appearance.

Comment 42

6 years ago
(In reply to Blake Winton (:bwinton - Thunderbird UX) from comment #32)
> 
> You're right, a number of users aren't happy with the new style.  But that's
> not entirely useful information, since a number of users won't be happy with
> any change we make.  I strongly suspect that the number of users who dislike
> the new theme is far fewer than the number who like it plus the number who
> don't care one way or the other.  (Admittedly I don't have any data
> supporting my assumption either.)

The Get Satisfaction site lists this issue as 2nd in the most common problems. If that's not an indication to you of user dissatisfaction, I don't know what is! If you extrapolate that to include the number of people who aren't savy enough to know how or where to complain or the people (like my parents) who just went back to the old version, then you get an even larger number!
 
> There are certainly some questions, but I don't know how you're defining
> "substantially".

See above, it IS substantial!
  
> Not as if nobody would complain, rather as if the complaints would be
> tolerable to move the product forward in a direction considered positive by
> most.

Positive by most? What evidence do you have to support that? Is it that UI designers think it looks "cool and modern" and screw the functionality?

> I certainly understand them as well.  Bugzilla isn't the place for them, but
> I totally understand them.

I did use the Get Satisfaction forums, I didn't get any. I was pointed here, so I'm posting here. Don't like it? Simple, fix the problems!

> And to hopefully help with that, let me say "I hear, loud and clear, those
> of you who are saying that you don't like the monochrome icons and glass. 
> We are working towards making the glass much less intrusive in coming
> versions, but as UX Lead, I feel that the monochrome icons are an
> improvement, so we it is very likely that we will continue with those. 

I've seen your attempts to make aero-glass "less intrusive", it's pathetic and doesn't fix anything! As UX lead what you feel is irrelevant, it's what your USERS feel that' s important, without them you are the UX Lead of nothing!

If you do continue, I will stop using Thunderbird, it's as simple as that. It won't just be me either, I'll take everyone I give PC support to with me. Maybe not many, 20 or so installations perhaps. But multiply that by the other people out there who feel like me and suddenly you're losing users by the thousands!

> If anyone has a response to my statement, I recommend emailing me
> <bwinton@mozilla.com>, and I'll be happy to discuss it further with you.

Let me add finally, I have a colour monitor, I expect to see colour! Who wants to live in a world of grey? Buy a monochrome screen if that makes you happy!

Stop being so ignorant, accept that colour IS important to a UI and put it back.

Comment 43

6 years ago
(In reply to Lufferov from comment #42)
> (In reply to Blake Winton (:bwinton - Thunderbird UX) from comment #32)
(snip)

+1 
ONE person apparently believes that anything HE thinks is correct, and is totally unwilling to listen to anyone else.
(In reply to Cal Tinson from comment #43)
> > (In reply to Blake Winton (:bwinton - Thunderbird UX) from comment #32)
> ONE person apparently believes that anything HE thinks is correct, and is
> totally unwilling to listen to anyone else.

I'm sorry you feel that way.  If that were true, however, I would have immediately resolved this bug "WONTFIX", and we could have all skipped this conversation.

As mentioned before, if you would like to discuss this, please email me at bwinton@mozilla.com, and I will do my best to listen to your concerns and discuss possible resolutions.

Thank you,
Blake.

Comment 45

6 years ago
The resolution is simple and doesn't need to be discussed. You just put the coloured icons back! It's not just an aesthetic thing, I've put up with loads of changes like that in the past which I've just let go or ignored. But this has a huge and fundamental impact on the usability.

Can I ask, in all seriousness what usability studies you conducted with the new theme before it was deployed? What procedures did you adopt, how did you ratify them against accessibility requirements?

While you're at it you can change the "delete" icon too, what the hell does a no-entry sign have to do with deleting stuff?

Comment 46

6 years ago
I'm new to this thread, but I would like to add my agreement that the toolbar is not easily usable on my machine.  It is a matter of bad eyesight for me.  The toolbar is too dark, lacks contrast, and isn't readable.  Toning down adherence in TB 5.x to the Aero glass thing would be most helpful, and some color would also help.  Perhaps a red 'X' on the delete button would go a long way.  Good contrast between the background and the foreground would help tremendously.  Changing the color scheme on Win 7 is no answer, especially for just one program.  I already turned the glass effect off, it did not help at all.  

Please

Comment 47

6 years ago
(In reply to Lufferov from comment #45)
> Can I ask, in all seriousness what usability studies you conducted with the
> new theme before it was deployed? What procedures did you adopt, how did you
> ratify them against accessibility requirements?

Based on the discussion in bug 545557 and bug 569400, the main (only?) motivation apparently was to follow whatever Firefox does (which gives some hope that the changes proposed in bug 645426 to revert the glass effect for menu and toolbars would also make it into Thunderbird if implemented for Firefox).

Accessibility definitely wasn't a consideration for either Firefox or Thunderbird default-theme designs. Evidently it wasn't tested against High Contrast desktop themes, see bug 608792 comment #4 and attachment 495206 [details].

The loss of the 24x24 regular-size icons (for undocumented reasons) along with the removal of color makes the icons difficult to distinguish even without an aero-glass supporting desktop theme, not just but specifically for users with eye problems and issues identifying shapes. Thus, from the accessibility point of view the aero default theme remains clearly unacceptable even after bug 667248.

Comment 48

6 years ago
I disagree strongly with Blake Winton's assertion that monochrome icons are somehow better. Winton may have some friends and colleagues who find them aesthetically pleasing, but that is not the criterion that should be used for design of functional elements in Thunderbird. Moreover, I suspect that a proper survey of users would show most people don't think they look better than the previous colored icons. For my own purposes, I used the compatibility option in Thuderbird.exe properties to go back to the XP version to get clean, clear icons. I recommend this for any TB users who are waiting for the developers to hear our concerns and fix this broken update.

Andreas Nilsson says "For the general case, there are a couple of things that speaks in favor of icons with less color:
* Firefox is doing this, and we want to match Firefox where it makes sense.
* If we do less color we can use it where it makes sense and also use it as indicators in some cases https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=671236#c12
* My impression is that Windows in general is moving towards simpler, clearer icons [2], especially with Windows Phone 7 [3] and Windows 8 [4]." 

None of these things actually speak in favor of b/w icons. They are merely follow-the-leader notions, and basically irrelevant to questions of good design or usability. Where color "indicators" make sense is in the normally used icons where they do some good. 

But to the more important point. I am an experimental psychologist with a special interest in ergonomics and functional design. It is completely clear from decades of research (this is basic stuff, nothing complicated or new) that color in such icons makes them more distinguishable and much easier/quicker to use. 

You really must either listen to a broader range of inputs from ordinary users or you must read the relevant research before making decisions about interface design. Talking with fellow programmers or watching what Windows does is no substitute.
(Reporter)

Comment 49

6 years ago
(In reply to Roger Nelson from comment #48)
> * Firefox is doing this, and we want to match Firefox where it makes sense.

Note: I'm the original reporter.

If I'm not mistaken, they're exactly one or two visible icons in the default Firefox installation today.

OTOH, in TB, you have, from a quick glance, 8 icons usually visible: get mail, write, ddress book, reply, forward, archive, junk, delete ; and I think some more, depending on context but may be wrong here.

I never realized how important colors on icons where to me until TB released the new Aero-theme without them. But not because I find them more pleasing, but because my brain has more work to do to locate the proper icons (and that, even there is still text on them). I can only describe what problems I'm facing, can't tell why it is actually harder.

With two chrome icons in FF it never bothered me.

With at least 8 icons in TB, it's definitely a barrier for me.

Comment 50

6 years ago
I'd like to add my two cents' worth by stating that I was appalled when I first saw the way the default buttons are designed now. Against my wallpaper they're really not even legible. I tried to live with them for a while but got progressively more annoyed, and ended up using the Orthodox appearance add-on to make them ergonomic and functionally useful again. 

Please stop making change for its own sake, and fixing things that aren't broken.

Comment 51

6 years ago
Just to add, with this crazy fast release cycle not only has the issue still not been resolved and basically just ignored as we thought. Now the plugins that were developed as a fix are breaking as they don't support new versions.

Basically everything I feared has been confirmed, the noglass add-on doesn't colour the toolbar icons, the aeroDefault plug-in is incompatiable with TB8. The delete icon is STILL a totally illogical "no entry" sign.

Plug-in developers who do this stuff in their spare time aren't able to keep up any more!

I asked what usability studies or testing was undertaken before the new look was deployed. No responce to that from the developers. I've yet to see any evidence of usability studies that show the new look was wanted or is better. On the contrary I've seen hundreds, if not thousands of threads, blog posts, comments all complaining about the new look.

I've not seen anyone post to say they think it's an improvment! Why can't you just swallow your pride and admit you got it wrong? Or course you won't do that because you're still deluding yourself that this is a good thing!

Comment 52

6 years ago
(In reply to Lufferov from comment #51)
> Just to add, with this crazy fast release cycle not only has the issue still
> not been resolved and basically just ignored as we thought. Now the plugins
> that were developed as a fix are breaking as they don't support new versions.
> 
> Basically everything I feared has been confirmed, the noglass add-on doesn't
> colour the toolbar icons, the aeroDefault plug-in is incompatiable with TB8.
> The delete icon is STILL a totally illogical "no entry" sign.
> 
> Plug-in developers who do this stuff in their spare time aren't able to keep
> up any more!
> 
> I asked what usability studies or testing was undertaken before the new look
> was deployed. No responce to that from the developers. I've yet to see any
> evidence of usability studies that show the new look was wanted or is
> better. On the contrary I've seen hundreds, if not thousands of threads,
> blog posts, comments all complaining about the new look.
> 
> I've not seen anyone post to say they think it's an improvment! Why can't
> you just swallow your pride and admit you got it wrong? Or course you won't
> do that because you're still deluding yourself that this is a good thing!

I just wanted to say that I use Ignore Aero 1.0.0.3 that still works with TB 8.0 : https://addons.mozilla.org/fr/thunderbird/addon/ignore-aero/?src=ss

I still think TB developpers choice is total nonsense as it doesn't bring anything new, it doesn't make the soft better or more usable, and it could end up sending longtime TB users hunt for another soft in the end.
But maybe that's TB developpers goal ?
(In reply to Lufferov from comment #51)
> Basically everything I feared has been confirmed, the noglass add-on doesn't
> colour the toolbar icons, the aeroDefault plug-in is incompatiable with TB8.
> The delete icon is STILL a totally illogical "no entry" sign.

NoGlas hasn't colored icons as default. Right click on the tool bar and select customize. Now you can tick "Colored Icons".
Ignore aero and classic reloaded both have the same problem with TB8. The message haeader toolbar is flushed left, so the "from" appear to it's right. Adding a "clear:right" to #expandedHeadersTopBox in MessageHeader.css seems to solve it (not as good as I expect, as the From is bellow the buttons baseline), but works for me.

Comment 55

6 years ago
For what its worth "Classic TB2" theme also suffers with the "from" part of message header being miss aligned, especially if you remove the button from message header (reply delete etc.)

Whilst the theme "Classic toolbar icons" does not break the message header, the icons in the mail toolbar are broken(text beside icons, text below icons), at least this theme retains the shape of TB8 icons so you get more usable screen for e-mails / previews.

Comment 56

6 years ago
Thanks for the hints on problems with themes that can be used to replace the default theme, but those are to that extent workarounds only for the issue discussed here.

I'd like to see some progress towards adding color/no-glass support to Thunderbird's aero default theme, given that the "Small Icons" box apparently can be relabeled and utilized for such a feature (as demonstrated in Richard's extension, though there is probably a more elegant solution than the CSS override of the string, which also may not be localizable). I don't know if the [iconsize="small"] selector could similarly be applied to switch the glass effect on and off in the same way, but that should be a secondary consideration for this bug.

Comment 57

6 years ago
@Arnaldo Viegas de Lima
Interesting, i've managed to get Ignore aero working (for now at least) with TB8 & restored the blue background on the mail toolbar

try adding this to userChrome.css
toolbox {background: #d3daed !important;}

Comment 58

6 years ago
Please talk to the add-on authors if their themes do no longer work, they may already be aware of the need to take action on their end. FWIW, the Ignore Aero author has posted an updated version stated to be 8.0-compatible on November 9.

Comment 59

6 years ago
(In reply to rsx11m from comment #58)
> Please talk to the add-on authors if their themes do no longer work, they
> may already be aware of the need to take action on their end. FWIW, the
> Ignore Aero author has posted an updated version stated to be 8.0-compatible
> on November 9.

For 8.0, there is no theme in the add-ons other than the default.

The default theme monochrome icons are a very bad choice: a red Delete is far easier to locate and use/avoid than the artsy grey/grey. In fact, with the default theme, I use text with no icons at all, which is a regression compared to earlier versions of TB.

There is no need to follow a bad trend. Preseve Thunderbird's personality.

Updated

6 years ago
Blocks: 726414

Comment 60

6 years ago
The colored big/small icons are still preserved for non-aero environments. Thus, simply run thunderbird in compatibility mode for Win XP in Vista/7 and all will be fine, and in the knowledge that nothing will be broken.

Comment 61

6 years ago
Thanks, yes - there are a couple of known workarounds, but the aim here is to get to a colored version of the icons for use with non-aero desktop themes in the default theme, with or without the ability to explicitly pick between qute/aero.

Comment 62

5 years ago
Created attachment 720871 [details]
OS X default theme

Comment 63

5 years ago
As an OS X user who prefers coloured toolbar icons I find it frustrating that my 'more' default theme button illustrates the attached coloured icons which are nowhere to be found. Can anybody explain this inconsistency?

Comment 64

5 years ago
The preview images are simply obsolete and nobody got around to change it. http://mxr.mozilla.org/comm-central/source/mail/themes/pinstripe/mail/preview.png (for Mac OSX) was last touched in October 2009, whereas the actual toolbar in http://mxr.mozilla.org/comm-central/source/mail/themes/pinstripe/mail/icons/mail-toolbar.png was introduced with bug 709799 in May 2012.

The same applies to the Windows default theme, by the way, at least for the Aero theme. The preview image doesn't match the current (monochrome) design.

Comment 65

5 years ago
Thanks rsx11m.

I wonder how many person hours have been lost simply because of a misleading image which could have been removed.

Perhaps I can hack the application and reintroduce my original icons.

Comment 66

5 years ago
The hand-colorized toolbar icons shown in attachment 544097 [details] still work fine for me with current versions. As long as new buttons are only added to the right it should continue to do so.

See http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=2244233#p11003675 for instructions, the same may work in a similar way on Mac OSX.

Comment 67

5 years ago
(In reply to rsx11m from comment #66)

Thanks - better than grey but I and many OS X users would prefer to retain the very popular Kevin Gerich and Stephen Horlander icons described at: http://kmgerich.com/2004/12/09/thunderbirds-extreme-mac-over/

I can understand the desire to reduce clutter and keep as much space as possible for messages but I do this in ways other than destroying the primary icons.

There is another thread here: http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=2672093

Comment 68

5 years ago
Whilst I have several computers with various versions of Ubuntu and OS X my main concern here was the loss of Mac compatible toolbar icons. I use http://en.sourceforge.jp/projects/tenfourbird on my G4s but this derivative normally faithfully follows the Thunderbird equivalent.

I tried several simple hacks and progressed from editing css files and replacing images with older versions to replacing the whole of classic.jar with older versions. All partially worked but would have required at least a new Chat icon to maintain the correct icon sequence particularly for Preferences.

Eventually I downgraded Tenfourbird from 17.0.3 to 10.0.11 and now have all my coloured toolbar icons back. I may be happy to live with this November 2012 release for several years.

Thanks, particularly to rsx11m and Lee for their prompt assistance with this issue.

Updated

3 years ago
Duplicate of this bug: 1030847

Comment 70

3 years ago
With the same version of Thunderbird and its default theme, this is NOT a problem under Windows XP.  Thus, there is a work-around.  Run Thunderbird in Windows XP compatibility mode.  This is NOT a solution, only a stopgap measure.  A Windows 7 installation that otherwise functions appropriately should not have to be run in the mode of an obsolete operating system in order to get all features.  

Default themes are delivered with the product (Firefox, SeaMonkey, Thunderbird, etc).  Above all other themes, default themes should be complete and provide all functionality for the product.  In this case, functionality has been lost.  Whether it is because of changes to Thunderbird's Default theme or elsewhere (perhaps in its Toolbars & Tabs component), this is a discrepancy.   This is a regression, not an enhancement.
Severity: enhancement → normal

Comment 71

3 years ago
I stopped using Thunderbird quite some time ago since I didn't like the direction it had taken. I got an email about this bug today and decided to install it to look. Still no change in the last two years! Unbelievable!

I tried the XP compatibility suggested above and Thunderbird suddendly looks good again. It seems someone at some point actually cared about the GUI, this is sadly no longer the case. Looks like Mozilla need to find someone new to lead this department!

Comment 72

3 years ago
I don't understand why it can not be consistent with Firefox. Firefox has colorful icons on Windows 7 machine with Classic theme. Why not Thunderbird ? There is also enhancement request to add preference parameter for it bug 928703.

Comment 73

3 years ago
Classic Toolbar Buttons 1.4.1 addon by Aris brings back color to TB icons (31.0)

Comment 74

3 years ago
That is not solution, just workaround. The solution is to have it *consistent* with Firefox on the same machine and *disable* the selection of grey icons on Windows 7+. No addons needed. The issue is also present on Windows 8 and 8.1 systems.

Comment 75

3 years ago
Surely this is not THE solution, but in view of the lack of reaction from TB team (this was on the old TB Forem long ago), this gives users access to colored icons instead of the "snobbish" and user-unfriendly grey-on-grey buttons.
I don't know where you are seeing colored icons in Firefox under Win7, this must be a really old version or a 3rd party theme. Firefox is using on all platforms monochrome icons now (not like TB using colored icons on XP and Linux).

Because of this similarity and also unfortunately the lack of a talented icon designer I'm closing this as WONTFIX.
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 3 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX

Comment 77

3 years ago
(In reply to Richard Marti (:Paenglab) from comment #76)

Whilst it does not affect me (see my earlier posts) I think your decision is unfortunate. In view of the interest shown here I request that you reconsider.

Comment 78

3 years ago
The lack of a talented icon designer did not prevent publishing the current set of icons which seem quite artless. What is wrong with 3rd parties contributing themes or icons to TB? NIH syndrome?
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