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Old 11 Mar 2020, 09:16 PM   #46
TenFour
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There's nothing more effective at making people dig in on their bad decisions than being swiftly and justifiably called out on them.
Nobody knows how many people have complained. I suspect they have much more sophisticated user testing and focus group information that lead them to make the change in the first place. In all types of businesses where you interact with the public you generally mostly only hear from the tiny minority of grumblers when you make any changes, while the vast silent majority just moves on and either likes the changes or doesn't feel strongly one way or another. I work in an organization where we send out regular emails to our constituents and without fail almost every time we do so someone complains about something, but it is only maybe .06% that grumble about something. I suspect it is the same for FM. This thread may only be a tiny echo chamber of those who don't like the change.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 09:33 PM   #47
Junkle
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Nobody knows how many people have complained. I suspect they have much more sophisticated user testing and focus group information that lead them to make the change in the first place. In all types of businesses where you interact with the public you generally mostly only hear from the tiny minority of grumblers when you make any changes, while the vast silent majority just moves on and either likes the changes or doesn't feel strongly one way or another. I work in an organization where we send out regular emails to our constituents and without fail almost every time we do so someone complains about something, but it is only maybe .06% that grumble about something. I suspect it is the same for FM. This thread may only be a tiny echo chamber of those who don't like the change.
It was the chair of Home Depot Canada who once commented that Canadians, as an example, just take their dollars elsewhere when they're unhappy with you. They can't be bothered to let you know in any way; they just seethe. I'm sure it's not just Canadians. They don't let you know they're unhappy, they don't write, they just commence telling everyone they know, amassing a huge pile of negative word-of-mouth feedback that torpedos your bottom line. Of course, you never know what your bottom line might have been had that not happened, so this effect defines quantification. There's a high degree of risk here for the business.

It's much more dangerous to assume that those who don't complain will simply grin and bear it. Just because they don't complain doesn't mean they won't go searching for alternatives, ultimately settling in. Complaining often has a low potency --- I believe your comment speaks to that --- while simply finding a more robust alternative has a high return on investment, virtually guaranteed. Regardless, the bottom line of the business which dismissed the grumblers --- the true window into overall consumer feelings --- gets "pruned".

I doubt fastmail, with its 10k twitter followers, can afford to lose heaps of customers. One doesn't spin-off a money-maker one has just purchased:

https://fastmail.blog/2013/09/25/exc...ss-from-opera/

... unless there's good reason. That's costly. Remember: It's an exception to find a person who'd pay for email in a world of "free". As a provider, you'd better be stellar at your game. I still get odd looks when I tell people I pay for email.

What this has shown me is that I need to find a more robust means of doing email, pronto. All fastmail users are vulnerable not only to fastmail's whims, but also their organizational stability overall. Are you comfortable knowing your email is possibly in peril? I'm not. Be anti-fragile; you've been shown. It's fastmail that's in the echo chamber.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 09:45 PM   #48
TenFour
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It's much more dangerous to assume that those who don't complain will simply grin and bear it.
What I am saying is how do you know how many have complained, and/or how many have sent kudos? Plus, as I stated, I'm sure FM tested this on a variety of users prior to even mentioning the beta version via Twitter. You are correct in that people will vote with their dollars, eventually, but that will take awhile to show up, and again who knows what they are seeing in terms of sales. Again, I have seen this in action directly when I worked for a SAAS company. We would change one little thing on our website after thoroughly testing it internally and with a variety of stakeholders. Inevitably, once it went live we would hear from a tiny minority of grumblers while the vast majority was silent. Yet, we could also see via site statistics exactly who was doing what where and how to determine if the change was working well. Sometimes that indicated we needed to fix something with the new change, but more often than not it was just tweaking to make the new change even better. Not saying I know what Fastmail is seeing here, but I don't believe you do either!
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 09:51 PM   #49
Junkle
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Not saying I know what Fastmail is seeing here, but I don't believe you do either!
No, you're right, I don't, but I wouldn't risk it if I was running close to the line, especially if mitigating risk (by, for example, re-enabling font selection) is effectively costless.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 09:57 PM   #50
pjwalsh
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Ugh.
[Android app]

According to the blog, this was an all-thumbs design.

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Originally Posted by M4rk4y View Post
Incidentally, going back to the lack of notifications, has anyone else given up following the blog since it stopped being simple and chronological? I find it unusable now. I don't want big friendly pictures, I want informative text. It is supposed to be a technical blog after all, not (profanity redacted) Facebook.
More of a marketing channel now.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 10:03 PM   #51
TenFour
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No, you're right, I don't, but I wouldn't risk it if I was running close to the line, especially if mitigating risk (by, for example, re-enabling font selection) is effectively costless.
Every software feature adds to complexity and support issues. Fonts create a surprising number of problems. I was just talking with a high-end developer about this the other day. He was saying how what looks like simple font selection for style reasons creates all sorts of different issues behind the scenes. For example, different fonts support different languages better.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 10:06 PM   #52
Junkle
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Every software feature adds to complexity and support issues. Fonts create a surprising number of problems. I was just talking with a high-end developer about this the other day. He was saying how what looks like simple font selection for style reasons creates all sorts of different issues behind the scenes. For example, different fonts support different languages better.
It was working. They screwed with it. THAT adds complexity.
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Old 11 Mar 2020, 10:11 PM   #53
TenFour
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According to the blog, this was an all-thumbs design.
I suspect they are seeing that 75% or more of their emails are opened on phones. And, here's what it says about the new font:

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Fonts are larger, and we’re using an extremely readable typeface so that you process what you’re looking at right away.
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 12:08 AM   #54
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I suspect they are seeing that 75% or more of their emails are opened on phones.
Unfortunately we've seen this Fisher-Price approach with Runbox's current product and now with Fastmail.
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 12:14 AM   #55
TenFour
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So, if you really don't like the new web and mobile interface can't you just use something else? There are tons of smartphone apps and many different web interfaces that could be used to view your emails.
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 12:25 AM   #56
pjwalsh
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So, if you really don't like the new web and mobile interface can't you just use something else? There are tons of smartphone apps and many different web interfaces that could be used to view your emails.
And lose out on the vaunted JMAP advantages?
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 07:15 AM   #57
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Changes but Desktop UX with new font is still bad

I placed a ticket complaining about the font delivering a degraded UX.
I got what is most likely a boiler plate response:
Thank you for reaching out and sharing your feedback. I'm really sorry to hear that you don't like our recent update!

We've seen some other reports of blurry/fuzzy text due to the font change, so developers have made some changes to the font face so that it presents less boldly. This should have improved a bit on the blurriness you were seeing.

If you're still seeing any major issues, please do let me know.

While we don't support an option to revert to the old font and UI, I have gladly passed your feedback along to our design and development teams.
The less bold version of bold is better, but the standard text on screen still looks blurry or lighter/grey in colour.

To me it's simple.
Previously UX on desktop browser & phone was good
Now UX on desktop browser is poor & phone is still good
Given the browser is what I use - volumes of email on a phone is no joy - this is a bad outcome.
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 07:22 AM   #58
Junkle
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To me it's simple.
Previously UX on desktop browser & phone was good
Now UX on desktop browser is poor & phone is still good
Given the browser is what I use - volumes of email on a phone is no joy - this is a bad outcome.
This is precisely my assessment.
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 08:20 AM   #59
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It was working. They screwed with it. THAT adds complexity.
Exactly.

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Originally Posted by Lockwood View Post
To me it's simple.
Previously UX on desktop browser & phone was good
Now UX on desktop browser is poor & phone is still good
Given the browser is what I use - volumes of email on a phone is no joy - this is a bad outcome.
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Originally Posted by Junkle View Post
This is precisely my assessment.
Me too (no hashtag).

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Originally Posted by TenFour View Post
I suspect they have much more sophisticated user testing and focus group information that lead them to make the change in the first place.
There was a time when the software industry operated that way, although it tended to be large companies with deep pockets (like IBM). The trend in the 21st century is, "do more with less." Yahoo Mail had far more users than FM ever did (and I was a paying Yahoo Mail Plus customer), and their process went downhill rapidly, the effect being functional degradations (planned) that made the service less valuable to users, and technical glitches (not planned) that made email unreliable. My early posts on this forum were mostly about that. I left Yahoo for those reasons, and so did a lot of people. Result: you don't see many people with Yahoo email addresses anymore.

I'm not saying focus groups are the thing that would save the day. It's just one available tool in a larger process. What matters more is having a strong vision of what to offer, a deep insight into what would work well for real customers, and a solid commitment to quality (with an understanding of how to make that happen and the ability to do it). These aren't variables you can throw money at; it depends on the character of the people doing the work, and these are rare qualities. Successful companies usually get that way because the founders had those qualities, but as the company grows, those qualities get diluted (especially after the early people are gone or are no longer the primary force behind planning and implementation). Register.com is another classic example. They had a great service, but it all went downhill after the founders left, and the people who took it over just treated it as a cash cow (which sort of worked for some years... but without me as a customer). Nowadays, this sort of thing is to be expected. (Boeing, for example.)

To me, the current FastMail service still looks far better than the nonsense I experienced elsewhere. But I don't expect that they're immune to the trend I'm describing. I'm not ready to jump ship yet again, but I do feel disappointed to see signs of that trend emerging.

Welcome to the future.

Last edited by hans2010 : 12 Mar 2020 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 12 Mar 2020, 05:24 PM   #60
M4rk4y
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I suspect they are seeing that 75% or more of their emails are opened on phones.
So they're telling the other 25% "tough, roll with it"? Short-sighted arrogance indeed.

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And, here's what it says about the new font: Fonts are larger, and we’re using an extremely readable typeface
Well that's just a bare-faced lie. It's absolutely not a larger font. It's about the same width and not as tall. And "extremely readable"? Utter marketing hype. Nothing is "extremely" anything. Who gets paid to write this drivel? Can I have their job please?
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