Thunderbird For Android Preview: Modern Message Redesign
The road to bringing you a great Thunderbird email experience on Android devices begins with K-9 Mail, which joined our family earlier this year. And we’ve been busy improving K-9 Mail as we prepare its transition to Thunderbird for Android in Summer 2023. (Check out our roadmap for updates!)
Last week we showed you the new Swipe actions in K-9 Mail 6.400. Today, it’s something even more exciting: a completely redesigned message view!
Preview: K-9 Mail’s Redesigned Message View
First, a short disclaimer: the redesigned message view is a work-in-progress. That means the mock-ups you’ll see in this post will inform the final design, and they’ll improve as development progresses. But if you have feedback, we’d love to see it! You can always join our Android Planning mailing list and contribute to the discussion.
OK, here is K-9 Mail’s current message view:
It’s clean and readable, but we can do more to help you stay organized and to highlight key information at a glance.
Here is our direction for the updated message design:
There are several new UI elements to point out in the screenshots above. Let’s do a list outlining the new look, and then we’ll summarize everything with two annotated screenshots below.
Left Screenshot (Message View)
- We recently introduced swiping gestures to navigate through next and previous messages, so the arrows in this screenshot were removed.
- The name of the account this message was sent to is indicated by the oval blue “Thunderbird Ryan” chip. (You choose whatever color you like for this account indicator.) It will only be displayed if you have more than one account, and you’re in a view where the contents of multiple accounts have been aggregated (such as the Unified Inbox).
- A reply action button, with an overflow (three vertical dots) menu containing additional actions.
- “Important / To-Do / Work” text: These are examples of organizational labels that can be added to the message. (This feature will be implemented after IMAP Label Support is implemented.)
Right Screenshot (Bottom Sheet / Detail Overlay)
- Tapping any part of the grey area (the box that has the message’s labels, To/From names, etc) that isn’t the reply button or overflow menu will open a bottom sheet containing additional message details. You’ll see each recipient’s name, address and photo, alongside various action buttons for each contact.
- You can drag up the bottom sheet to cover the entire screen; especially useful if there are many recipients. We intend to provide a way to search or filter the recipient list for situations like that.
Those Screenshots Again, With Notes:
Let’s bring it all together with another look at these two screenshots of the redesigned message view, but annotated to call out some of the new features and UI elements:
As cketti and the team continue to improve and polish K-9 Mail on the road to Thunderbird for Android, we’ll keep you posted with key updates.
Join The Beta, Experience Thunderbird on Android First
If you want to experience the newest features and visual improvements first, and help us test it all in the process, consider joining the ongoing K-9 Mail beta. You’ll see Thunderbird for Android taking shape!
Here’s where you can get the releases:
GitHub releases → We publish all of our releases there. Look for the “Pre-release label” that identifies a beta version.
Play Store → You should be able to join the beta program using the Google Play Store app on the device. Look out for the “Join the beta” section in K-9 Mail’s detail page.
F-Droid → Unlike stable versions, beta versions on F-Droid are not marked with a “Suggested” label. You have to manually select such a version to install it. To get update notification for non-suggested versions you need to check ‘Settings > Expert mode > Unstable updates’ in the F-Droid app.