Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
Hi, my name is Alex Song. I'm the product designer for the search component in "Hannover". I'm here to show you some of the changes and additions we're making to Notes search.
The most noticeable change is that we have added a global search toolbar in the upper-right. If you are looking for that e-mail sent to you two weeks ago or that meeting that is scheduled two months from now, you can simply type your search in the global search bar and get your results back in a tab. Speaking of typing your search in, you can enter your search keywords in Hannover like a typical web search. This means that a search for "rock band" will yield results with both words and rank those results higher than other results with either "rock" or "band" by itself.
Another thing you might notice about the global search bar is that you can click on the icon to the left of the search field. A menu of different search engines will pop up when you click on the icon, allowing you to search your mail, calendar, contacts, and even your favorite web search engine. This menu will be somewhat customizable so you can add third-party search plug-ins. I'd also like to point out that there is an option to search "All Mail" which looks beyond just your inbox. This is equivalent to searching the "All Documents" view in Mail. In addition, you'll still have the option to search your current view (not displayed in the image above) so you can search just the inbox if that's all you need.
So what do I see when I get back my results? When you perform a search in "All Mail", "All Contacts", or "All Calendar", your search results will appear in a new tab. Your results page will contain the familiar search bar that exists in Notes 7 so you can still perform advanced searches (you can even get to advanced search from the global search menu). You'll also notice the "Recent Searches" bar on the left. This is your search history. It shows a list of your previous searches, and it remembers which search engine you used. Clicking on any of the search keywords in the list will run the search for you. You can hide your "Recent Searches" or disable them completely from the preferences as well.
How do you feel about the changes to search? What do you think is the top issue with searching in Notes today? Let me know by posting your comments.
Today we have a guest blog from Noy Wanderski, the User experience designers for the Address book (Contacts).
The Hannover Address Book/Contacts experience will be quite a change from previous versions of the Notes Address Book.
One of the major changes is to the contact forms. Both contact forms and group forms have been updated with a new visual design. For example, there’s now a header area for the contact name and picture.
One of the big changes is read mode versus edit mode for the forms. Read mode will show only the information that you’ve entered for a contact. This means there will be no more blank fields of information when you’re looking at a contact record.
Figure: Contact form in Read Mode
Figure: Contact form in Edit mode:
Figure: Group form in read mode:
Figure: Group form in Edit Mode
Another big improvement is the option to enter several e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and mailing addresses per contact. Users will be able to enter up to five e-mail addresses, ten phone numbers, and three mailing addresses. The label for each of these fields is also quickly editable and customizable.
Since users have the option to enter so many fields of information per contact, we’re also providing the ability to set a "primary" e-mail address and phone number for each contact. The primary e-mail and phone number appear in the header area of the read mode form. The primary e-mail address will also be the default address for that contact when you’re addressing mail.
I’m currently investigating methods of displaying the primary fields within the form and I’m interested in hearing which style you think is the most usable.
I posted some images below of both read and edit modes of each of the forms as well as a couple of images with different primary indicators.Please keep in mind the icons aren't final. Which of the threemethods of displaying the "primary" fields below do you prefer?
Figure: Primary Bold Color
Figure: Primary Bold Stars
Figure: Primary Stars
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]
Notes 7 shipped with 5 toolbars on by default, I think. (Universal, editing, address, navigation and the context-senstive one). We're focusing on the "PIM" (personal information management, e.g. mail calendar and contacts) experience in Hannover, and for that experience, I think shipping with 4 toolbars turned on is too much.
Now, ideally, I'd like to give you the ability to totally customize the toolbars and govern that through policy, so that you could give the lawyers in your company a different set of toolbars than the accountants, and that kind of thing. That total customization is the direction we plan to go, and using an Eclipse rich client platform takes us in that direction. But we won't be able to give that to you yet in Hannover.
So, here are 2 proposals, which do you prefer, and of course, you can suggest other things.
1. Four toolbars on 2 rows: Editing, Universal, and the new search one on the first row, and the context-sensitive one on the second row. (and of course, if you have created a custom toolbar, we'll turn that on also, and try to fit it on the first row, and if it won't fit, then we'll put it in a third row)
2. 2 toolbars on 1 row: The context-sensitive ones (with a few important items added, such as new, print, and in the case of edit mode, cut, copy, paste and copy as link), and the new search one (and same caveat about the custom toolbars).
Now, one issue with just 1 row is that in our new IBM Productivity Tools (they are a word prcessor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool, and are shipping as part of Hannover), there will be 2 rows of toolbars. That means that the row of tabs will move up and down as Samantha switches between a tab that is for, say Mail, and a tab for the IBM Spreadsheet. If it weren't for this "moving" problem, I'd go with this choice, because it displays fewer icons (e.g. I don't want to make Samantha look at a "paste" icon in a view if it will never be enabled)
Here is a sample of what they might look like in Mail and in the Spreadsheet. Yes, in the squished picture below, it looks like we could fit the second row into the first in a mail view. But then in a document (message) the editing context-sensitive toolbar is a lot longer, so it seemed to make more sense to put it on the second row consistently. The IBM Productivity Tool design lead (Jodi Rexford) and I have coordinated so that the items in the first row (in option 1) are in a consistent order across Notes and the IBM productivity tools, e.g. always starting with cut, copy, paste. If we did the "context-sensitive only" route of option 2, we'd lose that consistency.
Thanks in advance for your comments.[Read More]
Many thanks for all of your observations and comments abotu the Lock ID/Lock Screen feature. We're reading them and discussing them. Here are some more ideas based on a conversation I had with two developers yesterday.
First, you you know, the Hannover release introduces 2 new window management models. The admin can control which window management theme a user gets vis user policy. That, is, you can choose 1 of the following:
The developers think that can actually do the screen lock (Obscure the screen and lock the ID) of any and all tabs (even the ones for the IBM Productivity tools like the spreadsheet) when all the tabs are in the one window. It's the "individual window" case that really gums up the works. So, how about is we support the Lock Screen experience ONLY in the first 2 window management modes, and if your organization really needs/wants the Lock Screen, then you do NOT deploy the Individual Windows window management style?
Also, since a fair number of you have registered concerns with the fact that F5 is also refresh in a browser, we are considering giving Screen Lock a different shortcut key (or even no shortcut key at all, since you WILL have mnemonics and a menu item.). I cannot propose what the new key is yet because I'm going through a big trading exercise, comparing the shortcuts we get from Eclipse, Notes, and all three of the IBM Productivity tools.
I do admit that I am also considering mapping BOTH F5 and F9 to refresh. But having 2 keys do the same thing when I have so many applications vying for F keys will be a hard sell. Thoughts?[Read More]
So far, readers like you simply get little glimpses of the new Hannover user interface from blogs like mine, and from press coverage (and Ed Brill and Alan Lepofsky of course). For the past several months, we've had a pre-beta of Hannover out to several Design partner customers, and several hundred people have deployed it internally at IBM.
Our user studies team did a round of usability testing on new mail, calendar and contacts features, and on the three IBM productivity tools (word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool) as well. (We tried using participants who signed up in the participant database, but it was tough-- we are looking for business end users who use Outlook, Eudora or some OTHER mail besides Notes, to come participate in our testing. If you know such people, have them register! https://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/usentry.nsf/register?openform )
We've gone over the test results with the user studies team, and have begun making some modifications to our designs.
We plan to have a public beta sometime later this year. During that time, we'll have many more external users, and I'll be at liberty to post many more screenshots. The user studies team plans to do several more rounds of testing, and we may try some new ways to gather feedback (typically, beta testers report bugs, but do not often report on design and usability issues).
And by the time our yearly Lotusphere conference rolls around in January, we'll all be using the public beta, I hope, and you-all can give me one last round of suggestions.
So, just a quick process overview tonight.