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Old 12 Sep 2003, 05:52 PM   #1
robmueller
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,102

Representative of:
Fastmail.FM
New compose screen trial

FastMail is currently trialing a new compose screen on our beta server. If you've never used the beta server before, you can access it by going to:

http://www.fastmail.fm/beta/

You can login as your normally would, and you will see your regular folders and email as you would logging in through the normal server. Some features do not work correctly on the beta server however, for instance, you should not try and update your mail filtering rules (Options -> Define Rules) on the beta server at the moment.

The main aim of the new compose screen update is to:
1. Make the compose screen less "cluttered" looking, and to scale better with screen sizes
2. Provide easier access to common features with buttons (eg Spell Check, Save Draft, etc)
2. Introduce a 'Quick List' to allow easy addressing of emails
3. Allow insertion of notes into a message being composed

The new update does NOT address HTML or Rich Text composing, which will occur in the future, but is not ready yet.

One important feature of the new screen is to try and make it less confusing for new users and to introduce them to features as they need them. To this end, we are now hiding a number of options if you only have 1 'personality' (which new users start with by default). However by clicking the 'Change' button, you'll be taken to the 'Personalities' screen, with description of what they are and how to set them up. After this, going back to the compose screen will show the more advanced version of the screen.

I am keen to get some feedback from users (feel free to post to this thread) on what they think of this method, and whether it provides a suitable balance between the more novice email user, and the power email user.

I've also included some documentation about the quick list below. This will be integrated into the FAQ when the new screen is fully released.

If you wish to read more about the development of the new screen, you can see some of the stages and feedback it went through in this long thread here:

http://www.emaildiscussions.com/...threadid=15583

Enjoy.

Rob

PS. Since we don't control the forum and it is run completely independent of us, please don't contact support asking how to post. Use the 'Register' link at the top of each page to register a new forum account if you don't have one.

------

What is the 'Quick List'? How do I use it? How do I show or hide it?

The Quick List allows you to quickly address an email to a number of often used addresses. When the Quick List is displayed, simply double click the address to move it to the To field, or use the '<<' buttons to move an address to the apprioriate To/Cc/Bcc field.
You can hide the quick list at any time by clicking the [ X ] link to the top left of the Quick List area. You can show it again by clicking the 'Show Quick List' link that appears when it is hidden.

How do I change the number of addresses in the Quick List?

On the Options screen, select the Account Preferences link. Use the Quick Items section to change the number of displayed items in the Quick List.

How do I add addresses to the Quick List?

Addresses are added to the Quick List in two ways:
1. By going to the Addresses screen and explicitly checking the 'In Quick List?' checkbox
2. By sending emails to addresses in your address book. As you send emails to addresses in your address book, those addresses are weighted more highly. Your more highly weighted addresses appear at the top of the Quick List. Initially, all addresses are weighted evenly, so it may take a few emails for your commonly used addresses to rise to the top

Addresses marked as 'In Quick List', are always shown first, and are always sorted by nick name, or if empty, full name, or if empty, email address. After that, other email addresses are shown, ordered by their weight.
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 06:08 PM   #2
injinuity
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Posts: 803
Excellent work Rob.. tho I was not fond of the first beta version of the new compose screen.. I have to admit that this one is just perfect for me.... it has more or less fixed all the bugs I reported..

- Just one note tho.... before the quick list was just the right size, all of a sudden its become tiny to read with Naturals style sheet... what caused the change?


Jinu Johnson
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 06:19 PM   #3
bitequator
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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I was wondering, would it be too difficult to offer an option in Account Preferences whether you want links/buttons to pop up in a new window?

I'm thinking of the Compose link in the top bar. And in the compose window, the Address Book link. And in any particular email, external hyperlinks...
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 06:22 PM   #4
henrico
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Join Date: Jun 2003
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Rob, I hope you will react on this question ( I asked it before, sorry...):

The new "simple" compose screen is very very nice, but I don't like the add signature box....I would set one signature as default and I don't like to select every time 'add signature' Is it possible to change this?
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 06:25 PM   #5
Terry
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Rob............Address book

Can you install a button so that I can click on an address then it will take me to the compose screen.
Thanks Terry
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 06:46 PM   #6
Sherry
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With the Change button going to the Personalities page, can you make the From address editable for the few times you want a from used without having to setup a whole personality for it?

Sherry
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 07:13 PM   #7
henrico
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry
With the Change button going to the Personalities page, can you make the From address editable for the few times you want a from used without having to setup a whole personality for it?

Sherry
I have the same question and what about people who are guests?
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 07:31 PM   #8
fmfan
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Join Date: Jul 2002
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Still, suggest upper right be: Cancel | Send

1a. Same layout as at bottom.

1b. Just feels more right - roll in from edge of screen/page to more/most-used
Send upper right of screen/page (if changed).

2. If above would make it 'too easy' to Send when meant to Cancel, again,
have bottom same layout as top.

3. For appearance purposes, in either case, Send button same width as
adjoining Cancel button.
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 07:33 PM   #9
m-t
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Re: New compose screen trial

Quote:
Originally posted by robmueller
... To this end, we are now hiding a number of options if you only have 1 'personality' (which new users start with by default). ... You can hide the quick list at any time by clicking the [ X ] link to the top left of the Quick List area. You can show it again by clicking the 'Show Quick List' link that appears when it is hidden. ...
In all probability, I suspect, the people who set up more than one personality also are the ones who would be most likely to make regular use of the advanced buttons, and vice versa. Therefore I think the criterion is sound and the plan excellent. Beyond those 80% or so, those few users who want a very simple interface simply for its own sake also will have by this means a way to have what they want. The [ X ] on the quick list will provide yet another step for these people. By this point, it seems the compose page would become simple enough short of going back to chisels and stone tablets.

I do think it would be good though if somewhere in the Help pages a note were included naming the display differences between the single personality and multiple personality modes, such as has been set forth in this forum. Indeed were it not for me having been made aware of these compose-page display differences here at the forum, I frankly do not know that I would be smart enough to notice the presence or non-presence of the "format" button, for example. On the other hand, those other things still are available in the "Do Action" menu, and so it isn't like they actually are no longer there, and so maybe that isn't a necessary concern.

By the way the automatic floating "mechanism" for setting the order of the quick list is another ideal method, as far as I'm concerned.
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 08:58 PM   #10
psalzer
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Well, the quick list and the insert note capabilities are pretty nice enhancements to some. This is the first chance I've had to really try those and I think they're great.
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 09:11 PM   #11
kander
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Just wondering... does this mean Guests won't be able to see the Advanced Features? They only have one personality... am I missing something here?

--K
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 10:38 PM   #12
Terry
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The new update does NOT address HTML or Rich Text composing, which will occur in the future, but is not ready yet.

This bit is very disappointing.......

Last edited by Terry : 12 Sep 2003 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 10:51 PM   #13
oysterquartz
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Location: Athens
Posts: 2,402
Notes ....

Very nice Rob,

One thing that could be improved is the position of the Notes ... Append ... drop down menu and button.

Doesn't it make sense to group it next to the Signatures and Personalities buttons/menus. After all, one would choose which note or signature to append to an email, and it would to good to do so prior to working through the block or text.

Please make the change at your earliest convenience

(assuming others agree with my unassailable logic ...)
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 10:57 PM   #14
ajw
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Posts: 13
Help notes need correcting

Looks good. I notice the help text which pops up when you hold your mouse over the question marks still needs some work - the wording for format, spell check and save draft is the same as for check names
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Old 12 Sep 2003, 11:08 PM   #15
imho
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Re: New compose screen trial

Quote:
Originally posted by robmueller
One important feature of the new screen is to try and make it less confusing for new users and to introduce them to features as they need them. To this end, we are now hiding a number of options if you only have 1 'personality' (which new users start with by default). However by clicking the 'Change' button, you'll be taken to the 'Personalities' screen, with description of what they are and how to set them up. After this, going back to the compose screen will show the more advanced version of the screen.
I don't think this kind of indirect setting is any good, (even though your intention is). It isn't logical and will probably scare the hell of an unexpecting novice user. A good GUI should be logical and not contain unexpected side effects. Please consider using an "Advanced mode" check box on the Settings and/or Compose page instead. Otherwise thumbs up (wouldn't mind a way of adding signatures while editing though, and yes I know I can save them as memos as well)
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