Low-vision theme for Thunderbird?

I’m getting several requests for a theme for Thunderbird which is designed for low-vision users. In particular, with an aging population, a theme which has large, high contrast fonts would be really welcome.

Does anyone know of such a thing?

I’ve seen various attempts at hacking userChrome.css, but doesn’t count as a good answer for this market either, although it’s a start.

As an aside, the over-60? crowd is a market that Thunderbird could be a good match for, given some work in the product, packaging, support & distribution.


  1. A low-vision theme for Thunderbird is a good idea, but it shouldn’t get more priority than a new, modern theme for the general population.

    There is probably a market for this kind of theme, but it’s definitely not big, and it’s part of the elder generation. They’re not exactly well known for being early adopters, and even Firefox had to convince early adopters first, which later “converted” their friends & family.

    Create a good theme, hire a company to do that, because theme design is a complicated topic.


  2. One step Mozilla Foundation should take on behalf of all Mozilla products is acquisition of screen fonts which can be distributed with the products. The Netherlands Royal Institute for the Blind commissioned two font families, one for print media and the other for Screen media. For several years they were freely available on their web site. Ultimately the designs were licensed to Bitstream, IIRC, who now handle distribution. I believe having the right fonts is a key element. The distro could have an installer option to install the fonts as a hedge against the Users system not having optimized fonts that meet the challenge of e-mail text media.

    Another aspect is one for Clark, to distill the UI/UX to the essentials to facilitate the basic commands of our MailNews reader. This goal has similarity to the limits of mobiles, like the Nokia N810 test case. This is a class of Users that fall between the fully sighted and the blind where a text-to-voice reader may be rejected by vanity. These are people who place high value on preserving there independance.


  3. I don’t think there is a need for a separate poor-vision theme for Thunderbird. Operating systems already have poor-vision high-contrast modes that use specialized color schemes and fonts that improve visibility. If Mozilla products can respect these OS appearance settings properly, then you can accommodate these users without making a special theme. This is the more desirable course of action because users should not have to set a poor-vision mode for each of their apps–they should just set it in the system and expect all of their software to follow.

    There was some work to get Fx to work properly with the system’s poor-vision modes for 3.0, but there is more that needs to be done. I have tried TB with poor-vision modes, so I don’t know how much work needs to be done for it.


  4. Doesn’t the default Thunderbird UI already inherit system font settings? At least on Windows, if you set the system font size to 120 DPI, for instance, that change is reflected throughout Tb in the menus, folder tree, attachment pane, dialogs, etc.


  5. I have periodically tried using a high-contrast white-on-black desktop theme. I’ve always switched back because of annoyances (like web pages whose images assume white backgrounds), but I don’t recall Thunderbird having particular problems with the theme. If I remember correctly, the theme was properly applied to it.


  6. I am a low vision specialist for 30 years now and many of my thousands of patients with severe vision loss use text enlargement software such a Zoomtext. There are of course text enlargement and contrast options within the control panel accessibility options. Basically if you need enlarged ptint for tbird why not for everything else too!


  7. First of all, I found this conversation because I was searching for a Thunderbird Theme with larger fonts in its user interface. And I was performing such a search because the Thunderbird FAQ told me that the best way to change fonts in the user interface was through a theme. Am I that unusual?

    Obviously there is a need to be able to easily adjust font size in the user interface. To me they look tiny. The CSS fix didn’t work and I really don’t want to learn CSS. And I guess I’m old enough to want bigger font sizes, and I’m sitting here with my Vibram Fivefingers on my feet… I’d say I’m an early adapter. Would somebody just get it done?


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