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Old 10 Mar 2020, 12:24 PM   #1
chickadee
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Changes to FastMail

I'm not too fond of the new font. On the other hand, FastMail has gotten noticeably faster. What say you?

I forgot to add that I'm accessing FastMail on an Android phone. I'm not using the FastMail app.

Last edited by chickadee : 10 Mar 2020 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 01:38 PM   #2
hans2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickadee View Post
I'm not too fond of the new font. On the other hand, FastMail has gotten noticeably faster. What say you?

I forgot to add that I'm accessing FastMail on an Android phone. I'm not using the FastMail app.
I say it's a functional degradation (as we'd call it in the software industry). I access FastMail on Windows 7 with Firefox.

I came here today because I noticed this adverse change in the UI, particularly regarding the font. Since you reported a change, I guess it's not just my imagination.

I call it "adverse" because, not only does it not look as nice (it gives the text a "bulkier" appearance), the folders list pane now displays fewer folders. And this is after they made other changes that reduce the folder list capacity (like adding those silly "[+][Edit][Find]" buttons that don't scroll... those should go into the "Mail" menu... I'd also like them to put the "Compose" button in the "Mail" menu... but can't have everything... or sometimes anything...).

I'm also seeing that "Preferences" no longer allows selection of the font. I had been using the theme called "Large Font" along with the font called "System". Maybe the removal of fonts is causing the UI change we're seeing (maybe they got rid of all but one font, and now we're all defaulted to that)? I don't understand why they would take away the font selection. The code for that was already written, why not just leave it alone?

I keep noticing that many websites are "dumbing down" their UIs (larger fonts, reduction in the amount of useful stuff on the screen, etc.). Is FastMail succumbing to that trend? And what does that trend mean? Software developers want us to become stupider?

Background: I commented on this topic a few years ago (while lamenting the loss of "Concise" theme), excerpt here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by hans2010 View Post
Hmm, I didn't know until now that Firefox has a browser zoom. So, I tried it. It looks like the closest approximation we can get to the classic "Concise" theme is to select "Large Font" theme along with "System font", and set browser zoom to 90%. Now, if there were a way to select colors, that would just about do it. (But having to set browser zoom every time I login to email is a bit annoying.)
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 02:09 PM   #3
Lockwood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickadee View Post
I'm not too fond of the new font.
I'm glad I'm not going mad - I was thinking it was a setting I had in my browser.

The new fonts that are there today are awful. They look blurry (I even checked my screen resolution, thinking I'd done something there).

Can they revert to what they were?
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 03:05 PM   #4
ellentk
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I agree with both of you and find the changes to be annoying. Users should have control over the font.

Do the developers read this forum or should we send feedback to them directly?

"Functional Degradation," huh? That phrase has so many possibilities.

Ellen
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 05:13 PM   #5
jtmusson
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I came to this forum to check exactly this! I thought I had mistakenly changed something.

I'm sure there used be an option to select system font - is this now gone?
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 05:48 PM   #6
misc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtmusson View Post
I'm sure there used be an option to select system font - is this now gone?

Yep, before you could choose between their former "corporate font", Source Sans Pro, and your device’s system font. This option is now gone, they switched their interface to their new font Proxima Nova.


Personally, I have to admit that I really like the new look. For me, the new font performs far better when it comes to legibility. Also, I like the new clean UI of the iOS app.
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 08:41 PM   #7
M4rk4y
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I agree

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lockwood View Post
I'm glad I'm not going mad - I was thinking it was a setting I had in my browser.

The new fonts that are there today are awful. They look blurry (I even checked my screen resolution, thinking I'd done something there).

Can they revert to what they were?
Yes, I agree, very blurry. Also far too black (I suppose I mean the letter occupies too much of its rectangular area... strokes too thick?) and squished (vertical-to-horizontal ratio is too small).

Edit: really it's just the bold font that's too black and squishy (and the letters are really too close together consequently which contributes to the blurry impression... this stuff ought to be really easy to get right: surely FM have a dedicated person or team who are experts in font legibility? And they ought not to roll out such drastic changes without beta testing. When I think of the hoops that I have to jump through to change one little label...). The normal font is just a bit plain. But I still mourn the loss of decent display options like font choice.

Also did the folder list always have the icons? I don't remember them but maybe that's just the new font making them look far too much in your face. I don't need icons to tell me that I'm looking at a list of folders, so an option to turn them off would be nice (don't tell me, there was one but they removed that too?)

The general dumbing down of interfaces seems (IMHO) to be an effort to make the interface look much the same on all device types (phone/tablet/computer) which is just lazy and wasteful of the extra capabilities of different input devices. It's not just Fastmail doing this of course; Microsoft is a major offender with Windows 10.

Last edited by M4rk4y : 10 Mar 2020 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 08:58 PM   #8
misc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M4rk4y View Post
And they ought not to roll out such drastic changes without beta testing.

They did. Everyone had the chance to test it on beta.fastmail.com and provide feedback.
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 09:42 PM   #9
Elero
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I agree with most criticism above.

The iOS app now seems to have slightly more white-space, reducing the amount of information that can be presented on the screen, which I find wasteful, but on the other hand some people might find it easier to read and use as a result. And the reduction of coloured accents has made the interface too monotonous, too generic.

The exaggerated compose button in the bottom corner is unnecessary.

Most annoyingly, the trend of removing useful operations and features continues. User font selection has already been mentioned above, here are two more examples of features which seem removed from iOS app with latest change:

1) You can no longer press and hold a message, or selected messages, and drag them into a folder. Previously you could, as an alternative to selecting and using the 'Move To' menu.

2) Within a message, you can no longer change the Red/Unread state with one press of the grey/blue dot in the message header. Previously you could, as an alternative to using the 'More' menu. For now, you can still use this dot in the desktop browser app. [UPDATE Wed 11 Mar 0900 UTC - this feature has been restored to the iOS app]

The trend is annoying because it costs you an extra press here or slide there, which adds up over time so it is less and less 'Fast'mail.

Last edited by Elero : 11 Mar 2020 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Update event
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Old 10 Mar 2020, 11:31 PM   #10
sflorack
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I am also not a fan of the new font. Looks blurry to bold letters appear squished.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 12:00 AM   #11
Junkle
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I'm new here, and I'm going to add my vote to the "New Font is an Abomination" pile. Worse is the attitude of fastmail staff - suck it up. That's what I was told:
"Thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback! I'm sorry to hear you don't like our latest update to the UI.

I have passed your feedback along to the department concerned. Unfortunately, it is not possible to revert to the old font, sorry

If you have any further questions or problems, please feel free to contact me. "
I reminded them that it absolutely IS possible to revert; all they need to do is re-enable that option. What does it cost them to keep the option to retain the old font? Nothing. I suddenly feel stupid for paying for a service that doesn't let me pick my fonts. That really should be a basic minimum option.

It's possible to set your browser to deny websites the ability to select fonts; that helps a little, though may mess up other sites. In firefox, there's also the add-on "Font Blocker" which allows you the ability to right click on a font you don't like, and set the add-on to deny the website access to use the font. It's imperfect, but a start. These are the work-arounds that we're stuck with thanks to the attitude of fastmail. They must be rolling in users and cash that they can take such an inconsiderate, "our way or the highway" attitude to their users.

Interface changes will be plagued with issues of differing user tastes. Deal with it, fastmail. Your users are what make you. Don't tell them to suck it up. Give us options.

I've been looking at protonmail for some time for numerous reasons; this regression may be the thing that forces the migration.

Thanks for enduring my rant.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 12:18 AM   #12
TenFour
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What email providers let you select the font in the browser interface?
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 12:22 AM   #13
snsh
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It's odd to prioritize "Proxima Nova" font over "Segoe UI". Segoe UI is the default Windows OS font. It's well supported, renders well on LCD, and probably most importantly, Segoe supports a ton of Unicode characters. You can tell how many characters are in a font by the size of its .ttf or .otf file.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 12:27 AM   #14
Junkle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
What email providers let you select the font in the browser interface?
Well, if the implication here is "none", I could bounce that back by asking, how many that you pay for OUGHT to allow for this selection? I'd suggest it should be a bare-minimum option. The issue for providers who provide a paid-for service in a field filled with "free" options is that expectations ought to be MUCH higher for them.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 12:28 AM   #15
chickadee
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Question

In my opinion, the new font is, without question, aesthetically less pleasing. Is there any good "programming" reason why the software engineers at FastMail might have felt the need to change the font? I ask this question of the forum members who are programmers.
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