As a regular volunteer on SUMO, we regularly see the fallout from well-intentioned decisions that confuse persons who have used Thunderbird for years. My proposal is what Thunderbird needs is a webpage for initial setup. The page should be simple, not filled with overblown graphics and gee-whiz wording on how great Supernova is; what people require are some guidelines on how to set up Thunderbird to avoid future frustration. There are other webpages that delve into the many options, but this page should be simple, mostly just text.
First, ‘HOW TO SHUT OFF THREADING’ - users hate this default and complain/curse regularly on SUMO. Let’s show them how to unset it before they set up accounts. That, alone, will eliminate many posts for help. People who want threading will willingly set it themselves.
Second, ‘HOW TO REVERT TO TABLE VIEW’ - the help forum was immediately hit after this default was changed. Again, many people don’t like it and are confused in how to find how to undo it.
Third, ‘WHERE ARE ALL THE MENUS?’ - with 115, one must know where a multitude of menus exist to be able to set Thunderbird for one’s preferences. Unfortunately, the menus are hidden or difficult to locate. Since version 78, it seems the developers have been moving to hide user-controlled options. Menus that come to mind are these:
- menu bar vs hamburger and the differences between them
- folder pane header
- message list header
- folder pane options
- folder mode options
For the menus, a graphic showing their location would be a big help.
My proposed setup page link should precede presentation of the current page that offers to set up an account. The user needs to be able to address basic setup prior to becoming embroiled in setting up accounts, or be presented immediately on viewing the main screen for the first time. Thunderbird has existed for two decades without this setup page, but for years, Thunderbird was intuitive and made no unpredictable defaults. With 102, and now 115, Thunderbird needs to provide more assistance on setup. This is also an opportunity to briefly mention new features that may be of interest.