Inbox Design Poll

  • Even though ProtonMail 2.0 has not yet launched, we are already looking towards version 3.0. As part of our 3.0 redesign, we are considering two major styles.

    The following diagrams are for illustration purposes only. Design and aesthetic details such as colors, icons, button locations, etc should be ignored. Our focus is on the layout.

    Earlier polls sent out to ProtonMail Lifetime, and then Visionary supporters were both inconclusive so we are now polling our entire user community. Let us know what you prefer!

  • This style shows the sidebar menu, message list, and also message content all in one view. Apple Mail, Outlook, are some examples which use this style.
  • This is the existing ProtonMail style with most of the space used for the message list. Yahoo Mail, and Gmail are examples which use this style.


About the Author


We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. Ensuring online privacy and security are core values for the ProtonMail team, and we strive daily to protect your rights online.

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107 comments on “Inbox Design Poll

  • It’s a sad fact, but the brains of many people are dying, including mine. People get used to the way things are and don’t like being forced to change. If you offer both views, it will help people choose to switch to protonmail, because they can stay with the style they are used too.

    Also another sad fact, is that the vision of many people is slowly fading, including mine. Different fonts in different sizes will also be optimal, with an easy and quick way to switch.

  • It would be great if this could be a setting so that each user could select a layout to match their preferences.

  • Allow me to take this opportunity to say:
    Wish you would work on mobile iPhone App already as I cannot use my Protonmail if I have to refer to my laptop/desktop to read it. or. go into a browser on my phone/iPad and keep signing in.
    Thank you!

  • I’m a Lifetime supporter and you did not send this poll to us. It’s unfortunate that you are not committed to fulfill the perks you promised during the crowdfunding campaign.

    • Actually, we did send this to all lifetime supporters first. It is possible we don’t have the correct email address on file for you. Could you email so we can make sure we have you on the lifetime list?

  • I agree with the comment above about having the choice between the two. But, if it comes down to columns vs rows, here is what I wrote after voting:

    Columns is a much more productive layout. Please for the love of all things good and beautiful, use the columns layout.

    Rows reminds me of gmail, which I cannot stand.
    I hate the rows.
    I hate the popup compose box.
    I hate the way email conversations are displayed — it is absolutely terrible and completely unproductive.
    I hate how forwarding works and anytime recipients become added or removed from a conversation — it is a mess.
    I hate that I cannot see peoples’ email addresses without some convoluted process. (Especially frustrating when you are on a business call while reading an email and you need to give the person on the other line an email address from the conversation; it is ridiculous.)
    I hate that I cannot see headers without going through some convoluted process (for each and every email).
    I hate pretty much everything about gmail.
    (The gmail app is halfway decent though.)

    The further you stay away from anything gmail, I think the more successful you will be. Please, do not try to make ProtonMail like gmail thinking it will make people want to switch (because it is a familiar environment/easy switch). That would be a huge mistake. Besides the obvious advantage of having encryption, you have the chance to make something really great.

    The people that will be using your email, at least in the beginning, are typically going to be more advanced computer users and probably all-around more intelligent than the masses that might sign up later. Please do not cater to the lowest common denominator. So many companies go down that route and end up with half-rate products in the end.

    Thank you for ProtonMail. I plan to sign up for a premium account once things get more stable. You are doing a great job!


  • While reading messages, I prefer a Columns view.
    But when I write (or reply), I like to be able to read all the other messages.

    It could be awesome if you could mix the two!

  • Hi there!

    I considered as I have to vote so, I voted for number 2. On the other hand, I agree with people who think there should be an option to choose themes and styles etc. and I believe there will be and will be more option in time))

    Guys, give them time. This is a new project and it will be excited to see it’s development.

    Have a nice day!

  • Please offer tabs so we can have multiple messages open at once! I really dislike the floating message box in the rows example.

  • I’m really looking forward to the release of the iOS app. I signed up for an account, but since I do 99.99% of my email on the iPhone, this would go a long way for me to actually use ProtonMail as my primary email account.

    I’d volunteer to test it if you need beta testers, just email me.

  • As Joel says, it would be great to make the layout a personal setting.

    I know it’s out of topic but how is the development of imap/pop3 support going?

  • I really appreciate Proton mail service.

    one thing I want to suggest is device limiting feature. I know Proton mail is really really secure ( far more secure than most other private e-mails… ))


    if the user’s computer itself is hacked… the security doesn’t mean much.

    so to best solve the issue,

    one approach would be device limiting feature…
    which is resticting the device that can log in to the account

    in that way I can only access my proton mail with only my device…

    ( even if the password is exposed the outside attacker can’t login to it
    due to device limiting feaure)

  • Another feature I think Proton mail can have relates to anti-logger technology.

    Key logger is probably one of the annoying and damaging attack..

    There can be several different ways one of it’d be adding virtual keyboard

    as part of (proton mail)

    People can always download it for themselves but if it’s coming as option for proton mail

    it’d also be great. It’d be great it comes with shuffle keyboard or even with hover option..

    Thank you.

  • As a user primarily on a desktop computer with high resolution display (1600 x 1200), I do NOT like either format. The existing Proton Mail 1.X layout format is preferrable to both of these formats proposed. What would be better is to have a 3 pane classic e-mail layout – left pane is folders, top right pane is e-mail headers and bottom right pane is e-mail body. PM currently doesn’t even offer this classic 3-pane layout, but the 2 new proposed layouts would make PM web mail more difficult and unpleasant for me to use and PM should offer the above mentioned classic 3-pane format as an additional format option, or the option to turn off these 2 newly proposed layout formats.

  • How is a Windows Phone 10 version coming? I believe that MS making it easier for developers to work from desktop to phone will increase Windows Phone usage dramatically.

  • How about a Windows Phone 10 app? In keeping with a belief in freedom. MS is much less intrusive than Do Evil Google and All over you Apple.

  • Hi Team –

    Really into your technology and excited for the new enhancements. You have alluded to an imminent release of your mobile app for iOS. The mobile app release integral to me fully converting to your email service. Can you provide [users] with a dedicated post RE: the app and an est. release date?

    great post for the new blog ๐Ÿ™‚


  • I would like to see a lightweight layout, which would have no columns or rows (not as default of course).

    I browse without using the mouse (Vimperator plugin for Firefox), and all multicolumn email websites are impossible to navigate.

  • Congratulations for all your hard work, guys! ProtonMail has become an essential tool for everyday life, offering much-needed end-to-end encryption to all our emails.

    Will version 2.0 be the next one to arrive and will its launch signal the end of the beta period? Can you give us a
    more specific timeframe for upcoming releases and the iOS app launch?

    Thanks a million for taking the time and effort to create this incredible service!!!

  • Hello, love the new column layout, not so much the row layout as it reminds me of GMail with the popup for the composing new messages. It’s nice to have something different.
    Quick question, I know I’ve read in previous comments on the blog, but just curious is there a set date yet for the Android app. I can’t wait to start using it, and as I am opening a new store for Computer Security and Mobile Privacy and Cell phone repair, I would love to tell everyone of my customers about your great service.
    WHEN do you think it will be ready?

  • Here’s my input:

    Provide a simple way to change between the official themes, maybe some kind of drop-down selection box in the options. Also, be sure to keep the custom CSS feature around, some people like that.

    So be sure to keep what you already have as an option, regardless of what the default is.

    Also, in order not to upset the current users, instead of automatically changing them without their consent to the new default, prompt them the next time they log-in asking if they want to change or not. It’s fine to change the default for new people, but existing users should get a heads-up. They may also be using custom CSS that would be invalidated by the new layout, assuming the new layout uses different elements etc.

    For new members, on first login have them choose which theme they want.

    It’s the best way to appeal to all people – Show them your selection of official themes and have them choose what they like best.


    While I’m at it, I guess I’ll voice some other opinions of mine:

    – Very much looking forward to the iOS app. Be sure to consider Android users too, gotta make sure to reach out into as many markets as possible. It’s too bad that Apple’s Mail app doesn’t provide Protonmail as an option, I wonder if they’d consider it if you contact them, but I’m guessing the Mailbox encryption is the issue and other security concerns of using your Mail in another company’s App.

    – Try putting up a forum. Seriously, so many people are just replying your blog posts to communicate with you. Providing a forum will give them a place to communicate with the ProtonMail staff as well as other ProtonMail users. You can put the navlink to it in your homepage, to the left of the “Blog” link is probably best. You could also really use a “Contact Us” page for people that want to contact you directly and privately. For forums, you can make your own, but if you want to fast-track it, you can try things like PhpBB, vBulletin, punBB, or MyBB to set one up pretty quick.

    – A Windows Program probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. You can get rid of mainstream browser vulnerabilities by having a mail browser of your own, your own program for people to access their mail directly. It can be a program much like Outlook that is just for your service, doesn’t need to be a full blown browser.

    – Of course, opening up your registration without a waiting list will help greatly, but I know you’d have done that by now if it were in your resources to. I got an e-mail just a little while back though saying that you’re opening ProtonMail to everyone – what happened to that? Started getting more people signing up than you were expecting? Hahaha.

    Basically, just advising flexibility and reaching out to as many markets as possible – but while never compromising on your vision and security. I’d really like to see ProtonMail succeed in the long run, I really do hope things are going well for you all and that ProtonMail won’t be going anywhere anytime soon and will stick to the vision it’s had so far. So many companies lose that when they get big, heck Reddit has become just yet another example of that lately it seems.

    Thanks for the great service you’ve been providing us ProtonMail.

    – Alex

    • Hi Alex, thanks for your suggestions, we are actually already thinking about many of the proposals that you mentioned. Our long term goal is to be as flexible as possible with what we support, but with limited time and resources, it becomes necessary to do some prioritization.

  • This is a bit off topic, but I just learned of ProtonMail lifetime and visionary accounts via this post. It would be great if there were still a way to purchase lifetime ProtonMail accounts, and to further support your development by doing so.

    Thanks for making ProtonMail!

  • Congratulations for all the hard work, guys! ProtonMail has become an essential everyday tool, offering much-needed end-to-end encryption to all our emails.

    Will version 2.0 be the next release and will its launch mark the end of the beta period? Can you give us a more specific timeframe for future releases and the iOS app launch?

    Thanks a million for taking the time and effort to build this amazing service! Keep it up!

    • Version 2.0 will still be beta, the first non-beta version will be 3.0. iOS app is in a small beta test right now and Android beta will also start soon. The launch of apps and 3.0 is scheduled for this fall.

  • I think the column interface looks fresh and clean – definitely a preference.

    I am one of those people who do not use Apple products (at all!) so whilst the iOS app is far into development, I hope Android isn’t too far behind

  • I vote for a different style than the ones listed. I like how there is a message content window in style 1, but I prefer the rows in style 2. There should be a style 3 where there is a message content window BELOW the message list (preferably one that you can scale by dragging the top “bar” of the window) instead of beside it and instead of using a “popup” reply window. If my only option was to pick one of those two styles I would pick style 1 because I hate those stupid popups.

    I also vote for the option of people being able to choose what view they want to use; because everyone has different personal preferences.

  • I prefer the Columns style, The style Rows can be a problem when to much windowns are moving on the sceen….

  • Whereas the redesign is nice, I think that you should focus on something that will allow people to fully switch to ProtonMail – aliases, e-mail import/export and IMAP support. Since you can’t create aliases, you have to maintain multiple accounts and if you need a new one, you have to wait for an invitation. Lack of the import/export forces us to either have to log into a previous e-mail account or search an exported e-mail file to look for the old e-mails. Without IMAP support we can only use ProtonMail in a browser (mobile apps will fix that to some extent, but some people like their previous e-mail clients). While ProtonMail is already nice and looks like it’s only going to get better, the lack of the said features is making switching to ProtonMail pretty hard and annoying. I hope that you will get them soon, but in the meantime, keep up the good work.

  • Hello !

    I just want to thank you guys, at Protonmail, for caring about us, the users. It’s this kind of attitude we want to see more on the web. Giving us choice, empowering us, asking : “would you like this or that ?”, giving us nothing but the best.

    I just wanted to say thank you for the great and unique service you’re offering (for free ๐Ÿ˜€ !)

  • I’m hoping the same for both styles to be honest. What will really help me to choose Protonmail as my daily driver is an Android app.

    … then I’m all in.

  • I agree with Gary and Joel regarding having the ability to choose different fonts and different sizes. I am able to read Arial most comfortably and sometimes I increase the font size to 14. It would also be helpful for me to be able to choose a light / white background.

  • The next version of Safari (currently in beta) will allow for pinned tabs. Sadly, ProtonMail does not support Appleโ€™s recommended method for defining a โ€˜faviconโ€™ and thus Safari shows a generic icon for this site. Apple recommends using a SVG icon, but I noticed that a PNG also works, provided the and tags are defined accordingly (see e.g. or

    Apple explains the requirements here in the documentation below, it should be a relatively easy fix, but a fix I hope you will implement nonetheless. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Both of the styles are pretty good.
    I would like to draw the attention back to the android app which is attractive to many users.
    When will it release, as least in beta version?

  • The iOS app has become beyond a critical requirement now that I have switched all my accounts over to protonmail. Also please ensure it supports MULTIPLE accounts as I use different ones for work and home.

  • What about email desktop clients? I guess that it can be complicated to make ProtonMail available to these applications, but it would be a nice feature ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Both of the designs are bad.
    I like the current 2.0 design and want it to stay like this forever. Otherwise I’ll look into just setting up my own server for mail.
    It is really sad to see that these days everyone, be it software or web designers, instead of making their own awesome designs are trying to copy existing ones. Such as flat windows UI design, in this case. Which is overhyped, but pretty ugly otherwise.

    • We have iterated quite a bit since the designs shown in these polls and the new design will preserve the ProtonMail identity while also being more easy to use.

  • I can have the violet color design (as shown in the pictures) with the latest version of ProtonMail?

    It can be applied by a CSS customization or maybe you can incorporate it in future as a template?

    Thank you,