For us as a company, 2017 has been a very interesting year so far, with big improvements to our development team and nice progress on our product improvements. As we mentioned in our March forum update there were changes to our development team and our product focus. We realize that until now, apart from releasing two-factor authentication, a new frontpage design and bitcoin payment support, our product development has not been very visible to you as a user. We understand the frustrations that some of you have expressed about this and want to be more transparent about what we are working on and what you can expect, because behind the scenes a lot of exciting progress is being made!
The current webmail version of StartMail is functional, secure and private, but hasn’t been entirely up to par with all web usability standards and conventions of 2017. This is reflected in the feedback that we received from our users and has been a great influence in getting our product development priorities realigned. We agree with many of you when you say that besides the state-of-the-art security and privacy features, StartMail needs to have more “standard features” like mobile support and bulk actions. We acknowledge this and readily admit that because we use StartMail for our day-to-day internal communications.
The only way to fix this is by getting our webmail environment ready for the future. This is why we started the New Front End (NFE) project. Building a modern webmail client on older infrastructure is risky and undesirable though, so keeping our core values of privacy, security and product quality in mind, we decided to take the time to include our infrastructure in this major overhaul as well. Our development team persuaded us that although rebuilding the infrastructure with minimal impact on users was complicated and time-consuming, the long-term benefits of making these improvements now outweigh the unfavorable effects of building the new front end on the existing infrastructure.
Improving StartMail is not about fixing or adding features: It is about getting the whole private emailing experience to the next level. We are committed to delivering the most secure and user-friendly email client. That is why in Project NFE, we are completely redesigning the webmail environment from scratch using agile development cycles instead of adding fixes to the existing system here and there. This will make us considerably more flexible and capable of iterating quickly in the future.
Leaking slides is popular nowadays, so here is one of our internal slides showing the three core focuses that we keep in mind for Project NFE:
So what will this mean for you as a user? Looking forward, we are excited that we can now confirm that the following issues (and many more!) will be resolved in Project NFE:
- Mobile support: NFE will be fully usable on any modern mobile device.
- Bulk actions: Actions like “flag”, “mark as read” or “delete” can be applied to multiple messages at once.
- Apply actions to messages before opening them: Messages can be moved, deleted, flagged or marked as read without having to open them first.
- Drag & drop messages to different folders: Want to move a message to a different folder? Just drag & drop them!
- Contact management & auto-completion: Managing your contacts will be modernized and streamlined.
- Improved look & feel: NFE will look fresh & modern, which a strong focus on readability and usability.
- Filter messages by unread status: We will add several filtering & sorting features to NFE, including the popular feature request of being able to “sort and filter messages by unread status”.
Screenshot or it didn’t happen: Here’s a picture of a team member’s hand showing Project NFE running on an iPhone!
Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to launch Project NFE as soon as possible. Having said that, we don’t currently have a release date yet, however we will give regular updates and insights as we get closer to the release date. In our next update we will show you some actual screenshots of Project NFE!
Thank you for your patience and please join the discussion on our forum!
~ The StartMail Team