Investigate Designing a Home Tab

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Thunderbird Home Tab
Stage Feature Inbox
Status `
Release target `
Health OK
Status note Developers and sponsor needed. Components posted. Duplicate of Home Tab " ." The data from that page will be merged into this one. Updated specs. Better design posted.


Product manager `
Directly Responsible Individual Blake Winton
Lead engineer `
Security lead `
Privacy lead `
Localization lead `
Accessibility lead `
QA lead `
UX lead `
Product marketing lead `
Operations lead `
Additional members Nate Watson

Open issues/risks


Stage 1: Definition

1. Feature overview

The idea behind a Thunderbird home tab is to provide a convenient start-point/ dashboard for Thunderbird users. When users start Thunderbird, they usually want to do 1 or more of the following: check what unread E-mails have been received, check the calender for events that day, compose a message, start the chat feature, or use some function from an add-on. Right now, the user has to check through all of their inboxes for new messages, switch to the calendar, check that, etc. The current start process for Thunderbird is inefficient. Thunderbird hometab would provide a streamlined workflow. The goal of this feature is to reduce the workload a user has to deal with when they start Thunderbird, come back to it after a while, wake up their computer, etc. This is important because one of the goals of Thunderbird's development is to provide faster software, and reducing required user interaction time is a way this can be implemented.

2. Users & use cases

The target users are users who use Thunderbird for more than just one inbox, "be it multiple inboxes or multiple features." The planned supported users are users who, when starting Thunderbird in one way or another, want to know what has come up, such as unread E-mail, events which occur that day, or launch a Thunderbird component.

3. Dependencies

Maybe the inclusion of app tabs in Thunderbird, but this can be bypassed. The Launchers are dependent on their related features.

4. Requirements

Thunderbird home tab should provide the following:

A consolidated display of unread E-mails from all inboxes. REQUIRED

A list of all events scheduled for that day. OPTIONAL "Depends on use of Lightning"

A framework for launchers. REQUIRED

A new message launcher. REQUIRED

chat and twitter launchers OPTIONAL based on add-ons and the release of the chat feature.

An Add-On Manager launcher. OPTIONAL "not a frequent use case."

A to-do list. OPTIONAL

A common framework for Thunderbird to tell the user about relevant information, such as updates or crashes. REQUIRED


  • Re-doing the core inbox page.
  • Adding browsing features to Thunderbird.
  • Sharing a home tab with Firefox "but this is a neat idea."
  • major changes to the tab infrastructure.

Stage 2: Design

5. Functional specification

This feature will provide a tab which is open by default, and has a convenient internal means of performing all of the common tasks Thunderbird Users usually perform when starting Thunderbird; thus optimizing the workflow.

6. User experience design

old prototype
current prototype

The current prototype includes a central unread messages panel, list of upcoming Calendar events, launchers, a tabbed notepad, and an internal notification system which Thunderbird components are able to call. All of the requirements have a counterpart. The finalized version will have better iconography, and will be less "retina burning colorful."

The Central inbox component will show all unread messages, but that piece hasn't been designed yet.

The notepad is simply some text areas with a tab system.

The calendar component will be greyed out if the user doesn't have lightning. It will be more detailed and much like the calendar notifications presently in Thunderbird.

The launchers include starters for: the address book,, calendar, Add-on manager, chat features "assuming these are implemented before this", new event editors in 2 forms, an about:about launcher, a settings launcher, and a new message editor.

The internal notification system is a list of things various Thunderbird pieces will want to convey, from updates to reminders. Every notification has 3 components: a delete button, the actual text, and a 3rd button with the text and 3rd button being defined by the function caller.

Stage 3: Planning

7. Implementation plan


8. Reviews

Security review


Privacy review


Localization review




Quality Assurance review


Operations review


Stage 4: Development

9. Implementation


Stage 5: Release

10. Landing criteria


Feature details

Priority Unprioritized
Rank 999
Theme / Goal Experience,
Roadmap Thunderbird
Secondary roadmap User Experience
Feature list Thunderbird
Project `
Engineering team Unassigned

Team status notes

  status notes
Products ` `
Engineering ` `
Security ` `
Privacy ` `
Localization ` `
Accessibility ` `
Quality assurance ` `
User experience ` `
Product marketing ` `
Operations ` `

Aside from some designs, this feature's development hasn't started yet, nor is there any indication of when or if it will. The target release is not yet defined, but the currently assumed version is Thunderbird 18. Development is blocked, due of the lack of developers.