HTML by default in KMail

Aurélien Gâteau aurelien.gateau at
Fri Aug 13 11:18:30 BST 2010

On 12/08/2010 02:09, Yuval Levy wrote:
> On August 10, 2010 03:39:58 am Aurélien Gâteau wrote:
>> That's the whole point of choosing good defaults. Trying to provide the
>> best setup out of the box for as much people as possible.
> "as much people as possible":  text is usable for everybody that likes html,
> but not the other way around.  So if the objective is "as much people as
> possible", the default should be text, not html.

No I am not. When you receive messages with only HTML content, or when 
the text content is:

If you can't read this email, click here:

Then text is not usable for everybody.

>> Since we do
>> not have hundred of people running KDE in usability labs, we can only
>> guess what the best defaults are, based on our personal experience, on
>> how we see users use our products and on our intuition of what would be
>> best for them (and not necessarily for us, that's the hard part).
> Yes, the hard part is to see others' preferences and limitations.  And to see
> the consequences of such seemingly small decisions.
> Displaying HTML by default triggers a feedback loop:  the user will (wrongly)
> assume that HTML mail is readable by every recipient.  Worse:  the user will
> inevitably engage in bad practices.  Have you ever received a mail with "my
> replies in green between your blue lines"?  It makes you long for top-posting.

I never received that. But that would not be a problem: my mail client 
can display HTML (actually my mail client uses a different color for 
quoted text).
That's off-topic anyway, we are talking about displaying messages, not 
composing them.
>>>> If this option is not on then KMail
>>>> is perceived as less powerful than their previous email client.
>>> Unknowledgeable consumers perceive digital cameras with higher megapixel
>>> count to be more powerful than models with lesser megapixel count.
>>> Experts know better.  Commercial interests cater to this misconception
>>> because it's easy and more profitable than educating consumers and
>>> offering them real value.
>> We are not comparing a numeric value here.
> You were talking *user perception* here.  The analogy stands:  You claim that
> users *perceive* a mail client w/o HTML enabled by default as less powerful.
> I claim that users *perceive* digital cameras with less pixel count as less
> powerful.  The analogy is that both perceptions are wrong.

See my previous example. "With mail client A I can read this message, 
with mail client B I can't and must go to a website". Which client is 
going to be perceived as "just working"?

> The difference between the two cases is that a user buying lesser goods and
> believing they just got the best digital camera does not affect the general
> public.  A user who has the impression that HTML is the way to do mail will
> quote wrongly and mess up communication in many other ways.
> Having them click, at least once, to see the HTML, will make them aware that
> maybe not everybody can or want to read HTML.

I am afraid this will just make them feel they are using an inferior 

>> We are discussing whether we
>> should keep a one-click barrier between the user and the content he
>> wants to access.
> You should not put barriers between the user and the content they want to
> access.  This applies equally to users who want to access the plain text
> content.  A simple solution is to complement the "click here to display the
> HTML" button with a "make this a permanent preference" checkbox.

The users who want to access the plain text can do so by unchecking the 
option to display HTML content. I claim (without any numbers to back me 
up, that's how bold I am) that more users want to see HTML content than 
users who prefers text. I also claim (still without numbers, call this 
intuition) users who prefer text are more likely to know how to disable 
HTML than the other way.


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