I am working on a project to create a few extremely stripped down interfaces for common Web/Internet tasks in order to make computers accessible to my visually impaired grandmother. Currently she uses Mac OS X Mail.app, but I had the idea that I could re-skin a webmail interface running on my own server to make it easier for her to use.

The ideal webmail interface to use as a starting point would be without frames or AJAX and written in Python, Perl, or PHP5+, though any setup could work as long as the template and stylesheet files were separate from the application itself.

This frontend must also connect to a remote IMAP server, since her email account is with her ISP and not on my server.

Can anyone recommend a bare-bones, no-nonsense webmail interface that would work for this?


http://roundcube.net/ looks pretty good and I've heard good things about it.

Personally, haven't used it in any huge capacity.

The other commonly used one is horde/imp which is used in a lot of various places, relatively simple from an end users point of view not so much so from a sysadmin point of view.

Hope that helps.

  • 2
    I can second roundcube, as I have used it for many years. From their site: About the Roundcube webmail project This project is a free and open source webmail solution with a desktop-like user interface which is easy to install/configure and that runs on a standard LAMPP server. The skins use the latest web standards such as XHTML and CSS 2. Roundcube includes other sophisitcated open-source libraries such as PEAR, an IMAP library derrived from IlohaMail the TinyMCE rich text editor, Googiespell library for spell checking or the WasHTML sanitizer by Frederic Motte. Jun 6 '10 at 5:01
  • RoundCube looks like it has a lot of rich interaction implemented with JavaScript. Does it degrade well in situations where JavaScript is disabled? Jun 6 '10 at 5:17
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    @yes, if javascript is disabled it fails quite horribly. If this is the case use Squirrelmail as it is all in basic HTML for page layout. Jun 6 '10 at 10:39

Squirrelmail is probably the simplest, but that doesn't necessarily equate to ease of use. I does support IMAP though, and customizing should be do-able, it is built in php.


  • I vaguely remember squirrelmail using frames, but I'll check it out again. Jun 6 '10 at 4:46
  • It seems to be written like an old-style PHP application. That is, with presentation markup interspersed with the code. I'd rather have something slightly flashier that used an actual template system instead of a dead-simple application that has table markup mixed in with the code to list folders from the server. Jun 6 '10 at 4:50


it's a good webmail client


Atmail - http://www.atmail.com



It's pretty simple.

Maybe HastyMail? (http://www.hastymail.org/) It does use AJAX however.


Give a look at this one:


It think it's the best for you.
Or this one:



Wouldn't Thunderbird, or Firefox + Stylish extension be enough to customize the interface for visually impaired person?

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