Why was the account overview screen useful?

I like this positive approach and I realize that the developers are surprised by the reaction of users. Here’s my use case:

  1. I use only SMTP and POP3, no IMAP. So only one folder per account. This is probably not very common.

  2. I have many email accounts: personal, my own work account, accounts on customers domains, Italian PEC (kind of state stamped) and probably others. I monitor only 3 of them with K9: personal, work and PEC. The others can wait.

  3. I configure K9 to leave mail on the servers. I download it with my PC (Thurnderbird) and that deletes the messages in the POP3 mailbox. I can leave mail there for 1 month when I’m on vacation. I delete useless messages and

  4. I don’t want a unified inbox. Two reasons: a) each account has a very different purpose and messages should not mix, not even visually, b) they are separated accounts and folders in Thunderbird too.

  5. When I’ll open K9 5.6 tomorrow morning I’ll touch the reload button in the bottom bar (which by the way is easier to do one handed than with a button at the top) and see how many messages are left to read per account. I’ll open my personal account and go through the list. I’ll delete the messages that are not worth to make it to the PC and possibly reply to some of them. K9 will BCC me with the replies so I’ll get them later on the PC. Probably I’ll also check the work messages or I’ll wait a little. I’ll for sure read immediately any message in the PEC folder but I didn’t configure K9 to send any PEC. I do that only with Thunderbird on the PC.

With 5.6 all of that is very fast, with 5.8 it’s slow, so I downgraded from an APK I saved months ago (APK Extractor, no root required). After all version 5.6 has all the few features I need and many more that I don’t need.

And again, sincere thanks for all the work, even the one I don’t use and the one I didn’t appreciate :slight_smile:

Edit: I don’t have notifications enabled for email. I fetch messages manually, both on the phone and on the PC. I have Telegram, WhatsApp and Slack for push notifications, when friends and customers are in a hurry. Email is a slower medium and must not distract me.

Edit #2: I attempt to answer your questions

How often did you open which screen?

I open K9 a few times per day. I refresh the summary screen, check if there are any new messages, open the account and read them. I always do this before downloading mail on the PC.

What information and/or features does the account overview screen provide to you exactly?

The number of messages, unread and total.

Do you aim to have zero unread messages in all accounts;

No, I don’t. I check the titles first. Some titles identify messages as notifications or not important or the message is the title. I don’t read them, not any soon.

so when the unread count is non-zero you know there’s new messages in an account? Do you remember the previous unread count of all accounts and when that number changes you know there’s new messages?

Yes, I notice that the number increased.

Do you prefer the account overview over notifications? Do you use both notifications and the overview?

I don’t use notifications for the reason in the first edit: they distract and interrupt, if the senders wanted that they would IM me, not mail me.

By the way, I’m not using IMAP because I don’t want that my email providers store all my mail forever. I download it and backup it. POP3 is enough for that.

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Hi there, just a brief addition to all that was said here already. I second all these appreciations and uses of the accounts overview screen, and I think what I miss most of all next to the obvious (overview+mail count, and yes I did remember the numbers): I could check whether there were incoming mails without having to see the inside of an inbox. I dearly, dearly miss this!

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I appreciate the developers time and openness to ask for feedback. I manage 9 mailboxs (6 business and 3 personal). When I open the app, I have 2 questions.
1-how many stared emails in each mailbox, And how many new emails in each box.
Accounts overview did that without any taps or clicks. For me this was the one feature that did exactly what it meant to do without any fuss.

The stared email overview was a way for us to manage the workload of multiple shared mailboxs effectively. Without it K9 becomes just another android email client with the same feature sets as everyone else.

There are use cases were productivity is a key component.

I hope that feature could be brought back. Otherwise I have to look elsewhere and thank you for all the fish.

Best of luck

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Pretty much the same here. Plus easy access to just the starred/unread messages per account with a single tap.

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I was also was missing the overview and thus want to help you understand my way of using your otherwise excellent email reader.

I am managing 5 accounts, 3 work and 2 private. One of the private is mostly used as a spam catcher and a sign-up email address for various services that I do not want to spend much attention on. Thus I do not want to see all those emails in a common inbox as they then will drown out more important mail. I also try to keep all inboxes to zero unread mail, and use to account overview to see where there are mail that I need to attend to. (For the “spam”-account I often just do a “mark all as read” after browsing “from” and “subjects” of those mail). Thus with a quick look at the overview, as it was before, it told me immediately on which account I had new mails, and I could then directly navigate to those accounts that I want to address at that particular time.
I have turned off notifications as it is very distracting (the benefit with email, compared to various chat tools is that it is much more asynchronous, and I can attend to them when I choose and not when they arrive). But then, when I want to attend to the new email, I want to have a quick overview of the accounts and email inboxes, allowing me to decide what I now need to address and in what order.
A discrete small red dot above the K-9 icon to indicate that some new email exists, would be sufficient as an indication/notification for me.

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Account overview was a productivity feature.

I have 30 mailboxes, with decades of ISP experience.

When I checked email, multiple times per day,
I could see at a glance which mailboxes were active, and respond appropriately to the more urgent boxes. These have zero unread.

Less urgent boxes have advertising or notification email etc. and can be left for a cleanup at a later time.

Notifications demand the same amount of attention regardless of which box they’re from

My original explanation was here K-9 5.800 List of email accounts after startup - #90 by k9mailuser

Thanks

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The account overview was what brought me to use K-9 mail. Over the years I have looked at other android mail programs but the account overview is what keeps me using K-9.

I manage 7 mail accounts with various degrees of importance. The overview screen lets me see that state of the inboxes without having to check them individually. The less important accounts can be postponed for later checking.

I probably depend on the overview screen more than any other screen in K-9 to manage email. Having the widget open to the overview is a HUGE plus for me.

When I found the newest K-9 version forced me into a single inbox upon opening the app and then I had to go hunt for the accounts I was seriously disappointed

I HATE unified inboxes.

The size of the inboxes is a nice prompt for “cleaning up” accounts as I rarely have empty inboxes. The unread message count is a fast way to know which accounts have new messages.

I dislike push notifications so disable them as much as I can. The overview screen is my preferred way of checking for new email.

I can force a check of all the accounts from the overview screen if I want to check mail outside the separate polling intervals I have set for the accounts.

Navigating between the accounts by using the back arrow from the message index list of a particular account is quick.

I appreciate you asking for feed back on how people use the program.

devnullak

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I use IMAP on my phone and POP3 on my desktop. The account overview lets me see new messages in 8 accounts very quickly. When I POP them later the IMAP folders are cleared and the account overview in K-9 only shows new messages which is exactly what I want.

The unified mailbox is useless because it doesn’t separate business from personal and all the mailing list c**p from my important email. The account overview worked perfectly for me (and apparently many others) and now it’s gone. I’ve reverted to 5.6.

I do try to have an empty mailbox but I do it by liberal use of “mark all as read” so that each time I open K-9 I’m only drawn to the new messages and then, like I said before, the mailbox is flushed by POPing the email on my desktop.

One thing the 5.8 update offers that I really don’t need or want is an upfront, in-your-face view of all my folders for each mailbox. I nearly never need to look at “Drafts, Spam, Archive, Sent Items, etc.”. I can dig down to find them if I need them but I sure don’t need to see them every time I use K-9.

I’m just looking for an email client that supports my work flow and have no interest in changing my methods to accommodate someone else’s idea of how I should use email.

Call me an old coot, a grump, a curmudgeon but I’m not impressed by UI’s that are “fresh, modern, etc.” just for the sake of being those things. I just don’t care if it looks old, just as long as it works.

After reading all the comments I’m still not seeing anyone singing the praises of the new UI and that is significant. All I see is a long recitation of cogent arguments in favor of the “account overview”.

A good UI is one no one talks about because it just doesn’t attract attention by getting in the way of doing your job, whatever that may be.

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A long time user here and as others have said, I certainly appreciate the hard work put into the app. While initially pleased to see that the development of K-9 continues, I’ve downgraded to 5.600 due to the removal of the account overview screen. It’s good that you’re seeking feedback so I’ll try and articulate why.

I rarely need to view folders other than the inbox. I receive far more emails than I write (which I suspect is true for most people) so the inbox is the hub of my interaction with any email client and where I spend most of my time. This is doubly true for a mobile client as I tend to do more writing and account admin on a desktop. K-9’s account overview screen provides quick access to the inbox of each account. This is a bit like Thunderbird’s “Unified” folder view where folders are grouped by name: the inboxes from all accounts are close together so I can move between them easily. In K-9 the small folder icon still gives quick access to the other folders on the rare occasion I do need to access them, and I can get to that list immediately from the account overview screen. The ethos of the account overview seems to be “primarily inbox, but just one tap away from other folders”, and making the inbox special by giving it priority in this way exactly matches the way I interact with folders.

The new UI is more like Thunderbird’s “All” folder view where folders are grouped by account. Except in Thunderbird you can instantly see all the folders without clicking in a menu and selecting each account separately. If you have several accounts it’s cumbersome to use because the inboxes are all separated from each other. In K-9’s new UI this means inboxes are no longer given special priority and instead sit alongside all other folders, even though I mostly want to view just the inbox. In the new UI it’s slightly easier to view another folder in the currently visible account (2 taps vs. 3 or 4), but I rarely do this. In contrast it’s more difficult to perform an action I do more often which is switch to the inbox of a different account, this now requires 4 taps (menu, account dropdown, choose the account, choose the folder) instead of just 2 (back then tap on the account). In summary the new UI no longer gives special priority to the inbox which is what really makes the account overview screen useful, and therefore it no longer matches how I primarily use an email client.

Also, for a right handed user, it’s not only more taps, but also less comfortable: it’s more difficult to get my right thumb up to the top left hand corner of the screen to press then menu button to choose another account than it was to press the back button at the bottom and press on an account on the overview screen that was both lower down and spanned almost all the way to the right edge. This is also true for the new placement of the toolbar at the top when viewing an email.

The alternative approach you mention seems to be the unified inbox, but I do not find it a useful alternative to having easy access to individual inboxes. I have separate email accounts for a reason: to keep different email streams separate. Combining them again largely defeats the point of keeping them separate to begin with. I try to keep work and personal life separate by not viewing business accounts out of hours, but it’s hard if all emails appear side by side. Other accounts are specifically for things like mailing lists or security camera alerts which can sometimes receive dozens or hundreds of emails a day and I usually want to attend to them at different times, so I don’t want them mixed in with general emails. I know I can remove these folders from the unified inbox, but at that point it’s no longer an alternative approach because I’d need to view the individual inbox anyway which is harder in the new UI.

It was only when I downgraded to 5.600 that I even noticed there was also a unified inbox in the old version, I just never used it because I did not find it useful. I can understand that for some users it is useful, but it should not be deemed an alternative to easy access to individual inboxes.

A more general comment about how I use and feel about K-9: I see the account overview screen as the “main” page, it’s the view I see every time I start the app and it’s the foundation or core from which I navigate to all other parts of the app. There’s an important psychological comfort in having this base, it’s like a home you can always go back to, and there’s additional comfort in it showing an overview, which provides a sense of control. In the new UI this core has been ripped out and the replacement does not offer the same psychological comfort: you’re dumped directly into an inbox and there’s nowhere that I can see all accounts at once. Even if you argue that the account overview is redundant or unnecessary (and I don’t think that’s true), I’m a human, and the comfort and sense of control that a feature provides is just as important as its outright utility.

I’m sad to say that I haven’t learned a lot.

I’d also like to make a blunt response to this comment. The fact that hundreds of people have taken the time to comment in favour of the account overview screen with very few in support of its removal means you should have learned that it’s a feature that users like, want, use, find useful and are passionate about, even if they’re not good at explaining WHY they find it useful. Most of us are not UI experts (me included) and would struggle to explain how we use an app, but it doesn’t mean we don’t know what we like. Ultimately many users will have chosen K-9 after trying different apps and deciding we like how K-9 works, even if we didn’t quite know why. Hopefully I’ve persuaded you that there are good reasons why the account overview is preferable and worth keeping, but even if not, don’t dismiss a feature as useless just because users can’t describe objective reasons for keeping it.

Finally I think it would be useful for you to provide some answers to users about the reasons for the removal of the account overview. What do you think was wrong with the account overview? Why did you decide to remove it? Why not keep it as an alternative view? What do you think is improved with the new UI and how are those improvements better for the user? What do you think are suitable “alternative approaches” to the account overview?

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Just registered for finding a solution to bring the account overview screen back. Found no solution but this thread. So, here we go.

I have 8 e-mail accounts, several private stuff, several work stuff, notification stuff from bots, administration stuff, …

Every single account has its own priority. The overview screen just gave me the possibility to see what’s going on with one tap and to react with one tap. New mail for an important account? Instant tap on the account. 42 new mails for the bot account? Just ignoring it…

Now everything is put into this popup menu, and constantly clicking around there is just a pain. Just used it for 10 minutes and I know it for sure right now that I will never be a friend of it.

Please please please put links to the configuration screens in the menu but not the accounts themselves. The menu brings a great loss of usability and intuition. Folders everywhere, formerly the accouns where represented as folders too, but now they went into the popup menu. This looks modern but its usability is a great leap backwards. One has to click more to get less while losing the complete overview.

Yes, on can tap on the small triangle inside the big block on top of the menu to get the list of accouns. But to get there I have to do two more taps. This is awful.

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Hello.

Just subscribed, only to post a “me too” here.
I was suprised to see a new UI yesterday and immediately started hating it. Nice look, but a pain to use for several reasons.

I have 5 mailboxes and I want to keep the messages totally separated, so I immediately deactivated the unified inbox (this is also typical of my customers, as I work in IT).
The overview screen was very helpful: I could see how many unread messages were there in each mailbox, download everything, and see which numbers increased.
Also, I’m not able to find a command to synchronize all mailboxes at once, as there was before: as this can require several minutes, the previous button allowed me to start the job and leave it to complete. Now, instead, unless I’m missing something, I have to sync the first, wait minutes, sync the second, wait minutes, etc…

Sorry, but for me the new UI is a no-go, really.
It’s sad to see the developers worked on something no one seemed to need when there could have been some real improvements to what was already a good client.
Either the new UI is fixed, or we get the old one back, or I’ll have to migrate to some different client.

P.S.
Now I’m waiting for all the customers I suggested K9 to (or installed it myself on their phones) to call me because they are confused by the change and cannot complete their tasks :frowning:

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I have to agree with what has already been said.

The main reason I use K9 (and have done for years) is because I want to be able to do the following, simple thing that no other mobile email client seems to provide (even paid for ones):

  1. I need to have more than one email account but keep them completely separate (personal and work) so no unified inbox
  2. My work email account has many IMAP folders and I need to check them all at the same time
  3. I don’t want emails pushed to my phone - it would be constantly going off and besides if I check my work emails after office hours that has to be my choice
  4. I do however want to be able to open an email client and tap an icon to instantly check all folders in all accounts. This is the feature that was previously unique to k9 but has now gone

I do like the new look but please bring back an option to check all folders of all accounts from a single tap and to see at a glance how many unread and starred messages there are in each account.

Besides, I now have to nominate a preferred account which is the one that the app opens into. I don’t have a preference, my accounts are just for different things and both are important to me.

Thanks for all the hard work and listening to the users!

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Reason:
In the old version a can use the back button from every level back to the top, very fast without wiping or clicking on any other place of the screen
the old was very much better - sorry, i liked the old, but not the new.

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I have more than 3 boxes, so fast switching is little difficult. Integrated inbox is not usable for me because I have few mailboxes for special purpose like spamtrash, one is for logs. In integrated mailbox i see hundreds of unimportant emails.

Second whay integrated mailbox is wrong for me is that when I have office time I need check two mailboxes, when I have personal time, i need to check other two mailboxes…

Please, re-add account overview screen as option - Everyone who need it can use it, others (especially ppl with single/two maiboxes) stay on current layout.

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First off, I want to say thanks for the work you do and I do like the cleaner/modern looking interface, the old one was practical but looked a bit old now.

Like most here I have multiple mailboxes so the with the overview it was very easy to check over all my accounts.

I like to keep my inboxes as empty as I can so I will move any emails I want to keep into subfolders and star it for quick access if required, but with the new design I can no longer see how many emails in my mailbox that are stared or quickly access them with a single touch. I would have to go into each subfolder and sort by stared to find them.

A couple of other features that were handy but not always used were the mail box size, it was good to know if I needed a clear out, and the delete/recreate options as sometimes things would get stuck trying to update the mailbox and the only way to sort it was to clear it out and redownload.

I also agree that moving the toolbar to the top of the screen makes one handed use a lot harder.

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Great to see someone (@pmontra) who uses K9 exactly as I do (POP3, leave messages on server, thunderbird as main client on Desktop). All the same reasons for using this setup.

I introduced non-techie family members to K9 & they loved it for the simple layout & ease of integrating multiple accounts, but at the same time keeping the separation (i.e. not wanting unified inbox). Now I’ll probably have to remotely talk them through side-loading a copy of 5.6.

All round allows more efficient use of time: can easily select which accounts to deal with. My favorite action from the ‘overview screen’ is to clear all local messages with the ‘Clear Messages’ action after a long-press on an account. Cleans everything up once home & downloaded all my emails with Thunderbird.

V5.6 safely installed & auto-update turned off. Happy again!

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Also a thank you from me for the time I was able to use K9 so far.

Good points made from all of the above writers.
Thanks @andrewb for his post - you saved me (english is not my native language) from having to type an elaborate post. All you said is true for me.

I wanted to delete all not important mails this morning on the train only to discover, that (if I didn´t miss something) I have to go into each account, into the “Papierkorb” folder, mark the mails and then I can permanently delete them so that I don´t have to do it again at my desktop PC in the evening.
Before, I would just tap on the account, choose “Papierkorb löschen” and the deed was done.

For the time being I´ll have to see how I can downgrade to the older version.
At this stage the current K9 is too time-devouring for me.

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Well, at first I want to thank you for your time and passion to “revive” K9.
Unfortunately - and understandably annoying after having invested that much time and passion in this app - one or two key features for the users here are gone and they protest.
As I would estimate, for everyone here, about 8 - 10 “angry” K9 users will not make an account and tell here, they will switch to another program or they downgrade after having read the instruction you kindly wrote.

Reasons…well, the overview of all my accounts at one glance was the key feature for me to stick to K9.
I check my mails the first time at about 6 in the morning, work related of course. Having my 12 accounts at hand is simply great and make this a fast look.
Having to tip around is simply what you don´t want. Of course it works, too, but using (or having to use) a smartphone for business reasons make the smartphone and also K9 simply a much needed tool… less enjoyable but very essential; you want to get work quickly done right.

Most users complaining use the overview screen multiple times a day - that multiplies the time you need.
For them - and the ones who don´t make an account - this simple overview was the reason to use K9.
For me too. The simple stripe on the bottom did really everything you need. And, as said before, you check (=read) many times more mail than you write.

There are many Mail clients available in app stores, K9 was chosen for the features that make the difference to others.
Now there is an update - in my case overnight - which crushes the routine, that´s like taking away the tool you need without permission or without warning.

The best way would have been IMHO to make - as someone also said before - “K10”, so users could try parallel to K9 still running. At least, some warning before changing…

Of course, the feelings are like something is taken away from us that we want, need, explicitely chosen to use.

Implementing - if possible - the overview in the new version - or as a skin, something like that, would be great, as every user appreciated that someone cared again for K9, despite that “lost-overview-thing”.

Greetings from Munich

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This answer (first one) perfectly explains how I used the old start screen, too. I don’t want a unified inbox because each account has different purposes and I want to check different combinations of accounts at different times, e.g., work1 (job 1, check often), work 2 (job 2 check often), personal1 (close friends and relatives, no spam, check often) personal 2 (personal business some spam check occasionally), personal 3(mostly spam check infrequently), etc… This makes me click far too many times to accomplish the same activity. Notifications aren’t good enough because they really disappear under a variety of circumstances. Maybe a better question would be why would anyone want the program to open into just one arbitrary account?

Also, the old screen meant I could refresh all accounts with 1 click instead of three clicks and a swipe down, which really adds up when I check 20 times per day during work.

Would it be easier to bring back the screen as an option instead of reading so many responses? Lol. Anyway, thank you for your hard work on the update. Of course we all first discuss the changes we don’t like, e.g, this issue, the buttons were moved to the top and are now hard to reach, the changes were made without warning, etc… but we do appreciate you taking the time to update the program. Just a handful of fixes, and beloved k9 could once again be the hands down best mail app for Android. This fix is the most critical of the bunch.

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Unified email accounts is great, tried to use it, but have some accounts (mainly email accounts for server-reports etc), that will fill/clog the unified email account.

I could install a separate email app for these email accounts, but K-9 has solved it as a single solution email app for all my needs.

The easy filtering for unread, starred messages as many have pointed out before med, but also the ability to quickly navigate to a specific folder of an email account is frequently used, directly from the start screen of K-9. I sort a lot of incoming mails directly to sub-folders at the server level; I haven’t found an email app for Android that let med navigate to a specific folder so quickly.

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