Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
Several of you have noticed the lack of Double right click in the public beta, and Nathan Freeman pointed out how to turn it on via some magic setting.
After conferring with development, I entered a bug report to re-add the preference.
It will not work in all windows. It will not work for the spreadsheet, presentation or document tabs, or the embedded browser.
This means that it is inconsistent, and the inconsistency pained me greatly. However, here's the rationale: Only the advanced users know about it, and several of you have said you'd rather have it for some tabs rather than no tabs. Most (un, ALL??) business users are unaware of this preference and most likely will not be perturbed by this inconsistency. This is exactly the kind of compromise I wanted to avoid. I feel soiled, dirty, a bit like a politician....
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "Hybrid Selection Model - Keyboarding" and "How to Tell if Your Boss has a Sense of Humor" (Note: This requires access to your company's public blog, a thesaurus, and (ideally) a secondary source of income...)
Moving right along...
This posting is a bit of a fishing expedition. We're looking to collect some scenarios on how you and your business users might want to share calendar information between themselves, get information from external calendars, etc. We're trying to specifically avoid referring to technology (e.g. iCal) and instead capture what it is that Samantha, Ted, and Betty want to do. That's where you come in, because we really want the examples to be as real world as possible.
Some quick scenarios that jump to mind:
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 5,773 Visits
It's the eve of DNUG (Deutsche Notes User Group) and ILUG (Irish Lotus User Group). Maureen Leland and I have been corresponding on our various talks-- she's going to DNUG, I am at ILUG. I hope she's having as much fun as I am. (Is it safe to let your boss know you love your job and your user community?)
I'm sitting in the conference hotle lobby with 11 over attendees, mainly business partners. I've met a few new faces-- ok, the faces are not new because I have seen them on their own blogs or on twitter... but it is nice to meet them in person.
Theo Hesslemans just arrived with a bagful of fabulous buttons that say " Read my blog" with the Notes logo. Our very own Denise Shaw of the Notes 8 design team designed the buttons. and many thanks to Theo for having them made up![Read More]
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "8.01 Screenshots" and "If I were an animal, what type of animal would I be?" (Misc trivia 1: Once upon a time a potential employer actually asked me this in an interview (not IBM, thank goodness) Misc trivia 2: The follow up questions was "and if you were a plant....")
Moving right along.
As part of 8.01 we are refreshing the look of the To Dos. So I figured I'd pass along a few screens shots of the works that is going on.
An updated view: <Mary Beth resized the picture on Sept. 17, so now it does not look as good. >
The Updated create form:
And for the wise-acre in the back, the reason my To Do list is so short is I'm just that on top of things (and if you buy that, I've got this wonderful bridge I'd like to sell you. Hardly used...)
Several of the beta testers have mentioned that the sametime icon in the system tray is bothering them because it does not do the exact same things as the "stand-alone" Sametime in the system tray.
I can understand that it is bothersome. But removing it would be shooting ourselves in the foot, I think. I don 't know how many of you are using Notes 8 "in production" -- meaning that is what you use all day. Those of us who DO really REALLY missed the ability to see our "Sametime status" (for example, I set myself to "Do not disturb" and then forget and leave myself that way for 2 days because I don't see the icon in the system tray that reminds me.)
And for folks who might spent much of their day in another tool (say, powerpoint, in front of a customer), it's still really handy to change your status.
We DID discuss having it work exactly like the "standalone" one, and we pretty much universally despised the idea that when you click it, the whole big screen then gets taken up by the Notes window that has the sidebar, etc. That removes her from her work context in a way that other system tray things do not.
So we need some other ideas. IF we automatically floated the Sametime panel, well, then it's floating and she didn't really want that. So we should either ask her, or "automagically" restore it. when she opend the main window. At the moment, I'm thinking, maybe post-8.0, if she double clicks, a cool thing might just be to put up the "type to find a name" search box, right near the system tray.
Nathan Freeman of OpenNTF.org commented on his blog that he doesn't think I'm asking the right questions. http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf
If I may summarize, he doesn't want to have to answer questions about each little menu item. He just wants complete control over all menu items. And preferences. I can understand that, and given Lotus Notes' role as an integration platform, it is a reasonable request.
So, we hear ya. If we were to embark on such an endeavor, we might not be able to provide you with the ability to customize all of everything all at once.
Which is most important to you:
If we had to deliver policy-controlled preferences in chunks across various releases, which ones are the most important?
If controlling the menus is more important, do you want to control each menu item via Domino policy?Or would it be wiser to have "menu sets" where you turn on "the mail menus" or things like that?
Let me know. Cause if we can make it happen, we want to start with the things that matter most to you.[Read More]
We've heard a lot of negative feedback on the new recipient icons:
Here is the explanation of these icons:
The feedback is of 2 types:
However, we're also concerned that we're only hearing from people unhappy with the icons, and not from others who either like them (and actually prefer them to the Notes 7 circles) or are ambivalent and fine with the new icons.
So, please cast your vote:
Thanks for your honest input,
Hello. This request is not about UI, but about another important part of the UX, and in many cases, the very first experience people have with our products. Please give us your opinions about the Notes and ST product information pages on the IBM Web site.
The IBM/Lotus Web Team is now redesigning the content and layout of all the product information pages. They are trying to address the difficulty customers said they have with 1) finding information and 2) getting information that helps them make decisions. We want to make sure they get ongoing customer input as they revamp these pages.
So, here are links to three current Lotus product pages. Please take a look at one or all of them and then tell us what you think by answering the questions that follow.
Lotus Sametime page
Lotus Notes page
Lotus Domino page
1. When you come to a product information page, what information are you looking for?
2. Do you find what you want on these pages? What's missing?
3. If there's too much info, what would you remove?
4. Anything else that would help improve the usefulness of these pages?
Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Lotus Notes users have several (perhaps too many) choices to make when they reply to a mail message. One of those choices is "Reply with Internet-Style History."
Do you users know what it does and/or why they would want to use it? In our usability tests, the participants have been puzzled by the term, and we'd like to improve the term.
Choosing this menu item creates a reply in plain text and puts a > in front of each line (hence the "Internet-Style" part). However, since the users in our tests didn't seem to think that phrase meant anything, we're considering changing it to one of the following:
Any other thoughts or ideas?
(And no, I didn't finish the Squirrel costume... sewing machine broke... need to go to a friend's to borrow one... but at least I have the big furry tail cut out and pinned together... Halloween party Friday night... the pressure is on! :) )[Read More]
Hello, Notes Users. I have a few questions for those of you saving Sametime chat histories in Notes 8. Notes 8 allows you to automatically save Sametime chat histories to either your mail file or locally.
Thank You for your input.
Sametime Product Design[Read More]
OVERVIEW of Locations (and I'm vacation all next week, so no posting)
In Hannover, Samantha Daryn (a design persona) will be able to:
OLD TERM New Term/mapping
Office (network) Online
Island (disconnected) Offline
Travel (notes direct dialup) Travel (should we remove?)
Home (notes direct dialup) Home (should we remove?)
Home (network dialup) <remove>
Samantha will still see a "picklist" of locations in her status bar, and be abe to "Edit Current..." from there. (however, choosing Edit Current will bring up a dialog now).
We're simplifying the menus by changing "Mobile" to "Locations" and having fewer choices:
Choosing "Switch to Location..." brings up the same dialog as "Choose Current Location" used to.
Choosing "Manage Locations" brings up the following dialog:
And Choosing "New" or "Edit" brings up basically the following dialog (remember, we're now hiding the internet browser and the instant messaging tabs because they have preferences elsewhere):
Advanced users can still go to the Personal Name and Address book, and under "Advanced", get to the locations stuff.
(We really wanted to find a way to hide it for basic users, but our plates are getting full with all the other stuff we're doing, so we're hoping that these changes above will at least get Samantha off to a better start.)
A few questions:
1. Should we pare down to just 2 locations by default (online and offline) or go with the 4 listed above?
2. What should we do about the "Edit Current Time/Date..." dialog, which used to be on the menus? It's this one:
We could keep the menu item, Make it a tab in the "Edit Location" dialog, or invoke it from a button in the "Locations" preferences dialog. How many of your users still use that?
3. How important is it that we hide the Advanced stuff in the personal nab? Would having it still be there ruin any simplified experience? (of course, there are still things in the Advanced pernab that are not on this Locations redesign.)
Let's save the discussion of whether to keep the term "Locations" for another day. Thanks. I look forward to having LOTS of responses and opinions when I return from my week of vacation!
I'd like to introduce you to:
Samantha's Work goals
As promotions coordinator, Samantha's main job is to create and manage promotion programs that boost sales and customer loyalty for the Renovations stores. She also has to increase brand awareness of a line of power tools called "Power Renovations". Promotions programs include Web site content, newspaper inserts, catalogs, exhibits, in-store displays, and special events, and may feature purchase incentives such as discounts, rebates, and contests.
Her interpersonal work goals include:
• Staying in touch with her team and customers, staying organized and having good relationships with the people on her team and with customers.
Samantha is responsible for:
• Designing promotions programs and producing promotional material. Samantha works closely with a visual designer; a copywriter, and the web master and outside consultants.
• Coordinating promotional activities with goals of the advertising and marketing departments
• Collaborating with Renovations store managers on the display and administration of in-store promotions.
• Evaluating promotions by ROI (Return on investment) and brand recognition
• Budgeting and financial reporting
Samantha's Work Day
Samantha's day is frequently full of meetings. She and her colleagues meet regularly to discuss the status of their projects, and she attends planning and status meetings with Marketing management. She also meets with Renovations store managers to collaborate on promotion plans, placement, and execution.
Samantha uses an
• Lotus Notes 6.5 client with mail, calendar, and contacts applications. She's a bit frustrated with mail and contacts compared to Outlook, which she used at her last job. She uses seven other Lotus Notes databases (She has local replicas of the first two). The IS dept created the local replicas and the replication schedules for her; she has no idea how to make a local replica of any of the others or how to change the schedule)
• IE 6.0, to keep tabs on competitors' web sites as well as the Renovations site. She uses Google Maps when she needs directions for visits to store locations, and is also a veteran online shopper.
• Microsoft Word 2002 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2002. She is a real power user of Powerpoint.
• Lotus Sametime 2.5
The IS department put Lotus Notes and several Adobe products (Illustrator, Photoshop) in the Mac so that she could work closely with the visual designers in her department.
In addition to her laptop, Samantha has her own computer at home, on which she uses Hotmail,
Ted’s Work Goals
As VP of Merchandising and Marketing, Ted’s main goal is to increase profitability and generate new revenue streams through delivering excellent promotional activities, both inside the Renovations stores and in outside media and special events. He sees his role as setting longer-term strategy and doing whatever is needed to keep his direct reports successful implementing projects such as improving store atmosphere, developing and delivering advertising, promotions, special point of sale displays, etc.
Ted manages by motivating and leading his employees. He seems to know everyone, and uses his relationships to accomplish business goals. He is often the “face of the company” to outsiders, and enjoys the spotlight.
Ted’s Work Day
Ted arrives at work around . He first scans email to “check the pulse” of his responsibilities. Ted gets over 100 email messages a day and many include large attachments. Ted attends to as many as he can and sorts them into folders for Betty to handle, projects he’s working on, and people he needs to meet with. Often there are phone calls, voice messages, or Sametime chats about urgent items. Ted keeps track of his work by making sure everything is on his calendar. He checks to make sure he’s ready for today’s meetings, checks an email folder named “Urgent” and occasionally prints out information he’ll need. He also looks ahead at the meetings for the rest of the week.
Ted spends at least 80% of his usual work days in meetings. Betty schedules the meetings, taking care to allow time for Ted to get from one to the next. She understands his work and priorities well, and therefore knows which meetings and people to squeeze into his schedule. In any day, Ted may have 10 or more meetings scheduled, but that may change drastically during the day as new issues arise that require Ted’s attention.
When Ted travels, Betty takes a more active role in scheduling, monitoring Ted’s email for important issues, routing or handling any she can, and alerting Ted to anything he might need to know about immediately.
Ted hates surprises and makes sure he’s up to date on business and consumer trends. At free moments during the day, he peruses newspapers, trade publications, analyst reports, websites, etc., and forwards interesting items to his staff, often with a request for an individual to follow up or get more information.
Ted uses an
Ted also uses PowerPoint and Excel. He has a cell phone and Palm Pilot.
Betty’s Work Goals
Betty supports Ted Amado in whatever capacity he needs, managing his calendar and inbox, providing support information for meetings, making travel arrangements, etc. She supports Ted and his senior managers by helping to create spreadsheet reports and presentations. Betty also leads the team of administrative assistants, and makes sure their hardware, software, and training needs are met.
Betty really wants everyone to be well taken care of. She is highly efficient, trusted, and knowledgeable about Renovations’ business and Ted’s responsibilities and priorities.
Betty’s Work Day
Betty arrives in the office around . Her low-walled cubicle is right outside Ted’s office. She has a large paper calendar on her desk and yellow stickies on and around her monitor. Betty checks her voicemail, scans Ted’s mail and calendar, and then her own. She makes sure there are no changes to Ted’s calendar since last night and updates it if needed. Meeting changes come via the phone, email, or Sametime rather than as Notes calendar invitations since Ted has little free time and other entries must shift to accommodate changes.
When something urgent comes up, Betty contacts Ted right away. If he’s offsite or not in the office yet, she calls his cell phone. If he’s in a meeting, she uses Sametime or walks to the meeting and speaks to him directly when the meeting ends. When Ted’s schedule changes for later that day, Betty makes the change in Notes and also contacts Ted if she thinks he might not see it there in time.
Aside from all the calendar work she does, Betty helps make sure that Ted has everything he needs for his meetings, such as information from email, lists of attendees, and directions if he’s offsite. She prepares monthly report spreadsheets and transforms Ted’s draft PowerPoint slides into more polished presentations. She sets up meetings with other management team execs, suppliers, analysts, and other people inside and outside Renovations and she organizes larger meetings by doing everything from managing materials to ordering lunch. Betty also sometimes routes email or replies to it on Ted’s behalf (cc-ing Ted), especially when he's traveling. She sorts email he needs to take care of into folders: “Urgent”, “Read”, and “Personal.” She also deals with email Ted has sorted into folders for her: “Edit” or “Print.”
Betty is Notes savvy in both mail and calendar but hates repeating meetings. She wishes she could use the group calendar but needs something that would allow her to see what everyone is doing all at once. Her own mail isn’t as organized as Ted’s. She uses her inbox as a to-do list and only files items when they are finished.
Betty's Work Tools
Betty’s primary computer is an IBM ThinkCentre desktop workstation running Windows XP. She also has an IBM T30 Thinkpad that she uses when she is out of the office to keep all of Ted’s information current.
Lotus Notes 6.5 is her email and calendar tool. Betty loves Sametime Instant Messaging and could not live with out it.
She uses MS Word, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer 6.0.
Betty also has to use “Reserve” an internal room scheduling application (web-based).
Well hello there! John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "Week Numbers In Calendar" and "String Theory, Temporal Physics, and the Notes Calendar" (Teaser: in an alternate universe you've already read this/will never read this/your boss is a Borg)
Moving right along...
In an effort to better conserve the real estate in the side calendar we are looking at introducing a few changes, which you can see in the screen shot below:
1. We are looking to relocate the time range to the first line and indent the subject etc. below the time range. This will allow more of the subject to show by default. A possible downside is that Reminders will require two rows (1a).
2. We will remove the Time/Subject header since it no longer applies, which will help offset some of the vertical real estate loss.
3. We will indent the awareness icon under the left hand margin of the subject.
4. We will maintain the current wrapping/scroll bar behavior, however since the subject will be further to the left this behavior will be more palatable. Still, once we move the subject we may tweak the wrapping algorithm (i.e. we don't want the horizontal scrollbar to appear by default if it can be avoided).
Thanks in advance, and remember to keep your eye out for my next entry: "Blogs: Does anyone actually read the text below the screen capture?"
For the Hannover project, we're employing a design technique called "Using Personae." (Personae = Latin plural of Persona, a voice or character representing the user) My summary of the technique is that we create one or more believable fictional characters based on a bunch of interviews with real users, and then try to keep those characters in mind throughout the design of the product.
This idea was first popularized by Alan Cooper in his book The Inmates are Running the Asylum. (1999). We have used this technique before for the design of Sametime 2.0 and 2.5. We started by holding a reading group of the book.
(Conducting the reading group was in itself an interesting exploration of geographically dispersed collaboration, since the development teams were in Kentucky, Israel, and Massachusetts. We'd pick a person to summarize a chapter each week, make a few slides, and put them on the whiteboard of our Sametime meeting room. We'd also ONLY use the IP Audio available as part of the Sametime product. I think one of those reading group meetings was also the first time I had a Sametime video meeting. At any rate, by the time we finished the book, we felt like we should give this "persona" idea a shot.)
Using personae appears to be a popular technique right now. At the annual ACM CHI (Computer-Human Interaction)(http://www.chi2006.org/ )conference taking place this week, there's a panel discussing the use of this technique.
Since a focus for Hannover is improving the end-user experience, we focused on creating several business end-user personae. Yes, the Domino administrator and App dev Designer users are very important to us. But we get to hear from you a lot-- at Lotusphere every year, at the Notes user group meetings, and so on. I have never met a real, live business end user at Lotusphere. So we decided we needed to concentrate on those business end users. (You know, the ones who look at you funny when you say the word "replicate".)
We (Betsy Comstock, Sheri Branco, Deb Maurer, Jennifer Smith) set about to conduct a series of interviews with real business end users. Based on the Hannover goals, we knew we wanted to interview several executives and their AA's so that we could create an "executive/AA pair." We know that this type of "work dyad" has special Notes usage and needs. We also wanted to create an individual contributor.
Thus, three personae - "Ted Amado, VP", "Betty Zechman, AA" and "Samantha Daryn" were created. Now, we know that it's virtually impossible to boil down 125 million users into 3 fictional characters. But keeping 3 specific people in mind is sometimes a LOT easier than keeping the "mass of 125 million faceless users across the globe" in mind.
And we also know that these characters are very "Western-culture centric". We've worked with some of our user research colleagues in IBM Japan to have them conduct interviews of Japanese end users and share that information with us.
In my next posting, I'll introduce you to my "three imaginary friends" (as some of the developers have called them). In the mean time, feel free to read more about this technique at the following web sites:Read More]
Back in June, I asked how many of you used the Lock display feature, and I proposed a new way to deal with it in Hannover. I got over 70 responses to that posting (one of the record-breaking ones). The responses to our Hannover Plan (which was to lock the entire Operating system on Windows) was mixed. Thus, we've had a great deal more discussion of this feature since then.
Here is a revised plan on which we'd like your feedback.
When Samantha chooses a Lock Notes ID menu item, we will Lock the user credentials and break any connections to any servers. We will NOT put up any new blocked screen thingy over the display (this is because we cannot "block" the display of absolutely anything and everything that might show up in the new Hannover shell, like the IBM Productivity Tools). We do not want to block just Notes windows and have Samantha think that everything is blocked.
Thus, we'll allow a "Lock Louts Notes ID" function that locks her Lotus Notes ID and severs the Domino server connections. This means that whatever was on her screen at the time is still visible. She just needs to re-authenticate to continue using a Notes Database. ( And she can probably continue to use any of the IBM Productivity Tools, like the Spreadsheet, because it does not require authentication.) This is more like the Notes user experience in release 5.
Let the commentary begin.[Read More]