Cubed Mail

Lately I’ve been working a lot on the Thunderbird add-ons developers user experience.  Often times designers don’t get to work on developer experiences because developers tend to do those pieces themselves without much design.  With a lot of others I’ve spent a good amount of time working on the whole experience of development, docs, and extension types so hopefully the Thunderbird 3 add-on developer experience will be significantly better.

To get into the user experience of an add-on developer I recently made a Jetpack, Bugzilla Air Traffic Control, to examine what it is like to develop inside Jetpack.  I’ve also been creating a number of example extensions that take advantage of the new code that has landed in Thunderbird recently and learn the pitfalls of extension development.

So in honor of the hacks.mozilla.org recent article called 3D transforms in Firefox 3.5 – the isocube I added a similar hack to my tabbed message example extension.  I give you…

Cubed Email Messages

messages-in-a-cube

To demonstrate the awesome interactiveness that I didn’t add to my email extension I also have a pure HTML demo available.   Try out the email cube test demo for yourself.  This demo requires Firefox 3.5, go get it if you don’t have it.

If you’re asking “why email in a cube,?” then I’ll ask you why not?  This demo reminds me that Thunderbird has all the same Firefox goodness that’s coming out in 3.5 but we have yet to take advantage of much of it.  Hopefully as we make more progress in the coming months we’ll do just that.

And if you’re asking yourself… Is this what Bryan gets paid to do?  Well then we’re asking ourselves the same question; though I don’t think I’m referring to myself in the third person.

7 responses to “Cubed Mail

  1. You could show threads as piles of cubes. Big threads would be tall with follow-ups on top of each other. Also you could animate them as you delete them wholesale so that they wouldn’t just vanish, they would fall into an abyss.

    Now that would be sweet.

  2. Orrin

    I was hoping that you were meaning \cube\ as in dimensional data-model cube. THAT I would be excited about. If Thunderbird stored (maybe it does already?) all email and attachment data in a structured, query-able database, across all messages in the data store, and in a dimensional model such that you could do slice-and-dice style analysis and representation of the data.. that would be nice.

  3. Mark

    I don’t know if it’s a bug in Firefox or some other quirk of code, but FYI double clicking on any of the walls of the box resizes the wall (larger) and displaces it in 3d space.

  4. Wow, that’s really cool!

    How about the possibility of being able to scale/zoom in (within Thunderbird)?

    What would that take?

  5. @Mark That’s purposefully done. I’m not a coder (by nature), but I can see it in the coding.

    That would actually make the email cube useful and usable if it could be implemented into your extension.

  6. Restless Native

    Stop messing about and make NNTP and RSS work better!

  7. Not very practical but still clever none the less lol.

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This is the blog personality of Bryan Clark. I'm a designer in a world of open source. This blog reflects mostly writing about Design, Open Source, Economics, Beer, Wine, and Dogs. There's more information about me on this site or you can contact me directly at clarkbw@gmail.com.

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