Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
Last week I had a terrific opportunity to conduct some end-userinterviews at a ministry of the Canadian Government. I was ableto speak to real users who ranged from Administrative assistants to aDirector General. This was my first set of interviews with a governmentagency in my capacity as Lotus Notes designer. Plus is was a "non-US"government agency where bi-liguaglism is de rigeur.
(The last time I got to do any kind of interviews with employees of theCanadian Government, I was employed at a different company, but I gotto do contextual interviews right on Parliament Hill of how people wereusing their new voicemail and phone system. that, too was awesome and aload of fun.... OK, I am a geek... and I am lucky that I have had somuch fun at work over the years.)
To be honest, I had a blast. It was really great talking to non-techiepeople about Lotus Notes. I know that little decisions wemake has a great deal of impact on the dialy lives of people who livein mail. And these interviews reinforced that. Many thanks to theMinisry that invited me to conduct the inerviews, I think we bothbenefitted!
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 1,066 Visits
Despair not if you see no blog entries this coming week from the Notesdesign team. I am on vacation in Virginia with my spouse, his mom, andour 2 kids. trying to educate them about history at ColonialWilliamsburg. John Lance (you may know him from such postings as "Mapping Imported Contacts"and "My Favorite Party Animals" (tip: monkeys are overrated, bulls are expensive, and goliath bird eating spidersget you a clear path to the buffet every time (of vital importance forthose of us that wear extra large Lotusphere shirts)) and Carrie Tracyare doing a "Design Directions in Notes and Sametime' talk this comingweek at the Admin 2008 conference on Boston while I am off galivantingabout Colonial America in my minivan.
The rest of the team is hard at work. Sheri Branco will begin testingsome usability improvements in Live Text. the design partenrshave "pre-beta 8" to play with. in all, it is a busy spring.
Talk to you next week,
The last session of "Lotusphere Vient a Vous" Montreal just finished. (Well, there is a 2 hour cocktail/reception in the product showcase, so it's not completely done yet).
I heard some interesting new bits of info and received good questions-- in all, it was really good to get out in front of customers after almost 3 months of not doing that (except for one or two special customer visits and the weekly Design partner meeting).
It was also wonderful to continue to be thanked by customers for doing this blog. Several expressed appreciation and mentioned that the Notes development process and decisions and ideas are no longer a "block box" of mystery. And others asked me and the design team to please continue with the blog-- and we will!!!
A while ago a blogged that we're in a stage of bug triage, and I go tothe triage meetings. Sometimes I lobby hard to fix certain bugs, andother times I do not. I do try to balance business value with the costto IBM to fix a bug. Now in my case, most of these bugs are usabilitybugs.
Andlet me assure you, I and the Design team are constantly educating thedevelopers and advocating that "usability bugs are real bugs." And by and large, the Notes development and QE team has got the messageand usability bugs are treated as real bugs.
When a bug ismarked as NPTF it means "no plans to fix in this codestream". And thedefinition of "this codestream" is a bit fizzy (At least to me). Itmight mean, say, not going to be fixed in 8.5. OR it might mean it willnto get fixed in any 8.x or 8.x.x release. However, if enough customersenter PMRs, we will re-open any bug, definitely.
Here's onethat is not going to get fixed in Notes 8.5. When you do a Googlesearch and hit enter the focus is on the address bar and not the view
Since no customer (that I am aware of) has reported this as aproblem in 8.0 or 8.0.1, I got overruled for fixing it in 8.5.
Ce soir, je me trouve dans la ville de Montreal. Et, tout l'equipe des "Boston Bruins" et aussi en ville. Alors, un match d'hockey entre les Boston Bruisn et les Montreal Canadiens vient de finir. Et Les Canadiens ont gagne. Felicitation au Montreal Canadiens! L'hotel est l'autre cote de la stade ou joue les Bruins et Canadiens. Alors, les rues sont replis des voitures, des gens, avec les drapeaux "Canadiens", et qui chant. C'est tres interessant. Apres tout, la raison pourqui je suis venue d'Montreal est d'apprendre plus des choses culturelle parmi les clients de Lotus Notes.
It's not John Lance here. But I'm posting something he wrote.Here in the Design Studio, today was "one of those days"... thekind when bugs that we've been lobbying for end up getting marked as"NPTF." (Officially that stands for "no plans to fix ever"... and Idon't think I can publish some of the other phrases we've made upfor that acronym....). John lightened our day with his scale of bugstupidity, so I thought I'd share it here. It would be almost funny...if it's weren't true...
We have had several requests from customers to interview users of DWA-- Domino Web Access, (aka iNotes)-- and create a persona. We also had requests forus to ensure that we take into account various age groups in ourpersonas, including younger (university-age or just entering the workforce) users. To that end, our own intern, Drew Condon, hasconducted several interviews of such users and created the followingdraft persona.
Please feel free to comment if you are a member of this target usergroup-- or get your friends/siblings/children to read it (if they aremembers of this target group) and provide us with feedback.
Mary Beth on behalf of Drew
DWA is for: Paul Clemmons, Intern
User ID: pclemmons | Telephone Number: 1-416-555-1104 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Employee Number: 11130
Here's a photo of Paul:
Paul is a 23 year old graduate student getting his MBA with ane-business concentration at a Chicago area business school. Heworks part time as an intern three days a week in the PR department ofRenovations, a home improvement store, when he’s not at school. He is working on a project with two other interns focused on optimizingand monitoring the image of Renovations on the Web.
Paul has an apartment in Logan Square on the outside of downtownChicago with two other roommates he met on Craig’s List. He’splayed bass guitar in a local band for the past 3 years, and hetypically rides his bike around Chicago instead of driving.
Here's a photo of his beloved Bass:
- Able to multitask, but understands his limits, and sets them.
- Expects to be able to “connect” to people and information virtually all the time.
- Knows technology plays a big role in day to day life, but recognizes the importance of real contact.
- Focused on what technology can to for him, rather than how or why.
- Intakes a huge amount of information on a daily basis, at his discretion.
Goals and Motivations:
- Custom skinned FireFox at home/class.
- Gmail for mail, chat, & calendar and Facebook and LinkdIn for social and professional networking.
- Digg and del.icio.us for social bookmarks.
- Apple MacBook and old Dell Desktop at home.
- Google Docs for most things or MS Word for more substantial documents like resumes.
- iGoogle homepage with RSS feeds from his favorite blogs (TechCrunch, Engadget)
Technological & Computing Skills:
Paul is “connected” virtually all the time; he can be reached or reachout via mobile/smart phone through voice, data, or textmessaging. When at home, Paul is wirelessly connected to ahigh-speed, always-on network connection. Paul has a both a desktopcomputer (music and photos networked to his TV), and a newer laptop forschool and general use that he keeps in the living room at hisapartment. He usually leaves his work laptop at work.
Paul uses gmail for personal email and chat, although he has an old AIMaccount too, and sees them as part of broader services offered byGoogle (youTube, google maps, search, and the iGoogle homepage). Paul also keeps another email address active as well; its not uncommonfor him to have a couple of email addresses at any given time.
Paul relies on email and chat for more immediate communications, butuses Facebook as way to casually keep in contact with friends, or checkout what others are up to. Voice is seen as on par with personalemail, and just another method of communicating, however, Paulrecognizes that it is preferred for professional or formalsituations. Paul, not deliberately, uses different channels tocreate a layered communication style that allows him to filter andtarget how he contacts people based on relationships or the type ofmessage. Paul’s good friends talk to him on the phone, others mayonly receive text messages.
At work, Paul uses DWA instead of the Notes client because most of hisresponsibilities are limited in scope. Reading and responding toemail is his primary mode of communication in the office, although hesometimes has to log into the client to access and add data to areporting database. For the most, part DWA meets all hisprofessional needs.
Paul usually adopts technology based on buzz, recommendations fromfriends, availability, impact, and mandate, but rarely on research orin depth feature comparison. He is quick to switch betweencompetitors or sites if he feels the switch is a net benefit. Hisrich client applications were preloaded with his original computer(iTunes, Photoshop Elements, Microsoft Office etc), or are highlyspecific to some of his interests, but most of his interaction is donevia free Web applications (monster.com, google maps,weather.com). Paul has his “sites” that he checks daily for newsand entertainment to help pass the time or stay up to date; he more orless creates a diverse patchwork of free unrelated sites to satisfy allhis information and communication needs.
In Notes 8.0 and 8.0.1 we allow Samantha to close the Home page. Thiswas an intentional departure from previous versions, where she couldnot close the Home page.
Some of the reasons were that we'd heard a few customers who wantedusers to be able to do that in order to free up more screen real estateacross the top for other tabs.
Having a non-closeable home page was not a feature that Xpeditorsupported, and the Symphony standalone did not use such a thing,either. So, that's why Samantha can close the Home page in Notes 8 and801. She can re-open it by choosing it from Open list (It's nearthe bottom, but she might not know that.)
The Home page ALWAYS still opens when you restart the client.
What do you think? Should we change the behavior in Notes 8.5 so that the home page is not closeable? Why or why not?
There are two ways to import png data into an Notes 8.x document. One is to directly import a png, and the other is to import png images as part of an HTML. Importing pngs as an HTML is currently not supported. So this is not an issue here.
Importing a png directly is partially supported on the current Notes 801 clients by converting it to jpeg. But animation and transparency of png are lost because jpeg doesn't have the features. We can fully support png images on an HTML on 8.5, but then we will lose backward compatibility.
Development is giving me 2 options. Which do you prefer:
1. Always convert png to jpeg. This has maximum backwards compatibility.
2. On Notes 8.5 clients, Render as a png data. Animation and transparency are supported.
The image is saved/loaded as a png data.
However, on older clients, A png image in a document becomes complete blank with a small red x, because the old clients don't know the image format.
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 768 Visits
I used Notes 3.something at "FTP Software" back in 1995. They used it for entering Trouble Tickets.
I hated it. Of course, since it was for trouble tickets, I was already always in a foul mood when I saw it.
And I remember that the first thing it always seemed to do was ask mewhat server I wanted to connect to.... and of course I could neverremember.
Fast forward 2 years... to 1997, my job interview at IrisAssociates, with Paul Haverstock, about the Sametimeproject. So I took the job. My first day on the job wasAugust, 25 1997, the same day that Iris moved into its new builds-- theone we're in now, but moving out of next year.
I was the second person on the team, surrounded by Notes peopletalking Notes Notes Notes all the time. They were working on (or maybejust shipped) 4.6. Sametime 1.0 had a "web home page" that Ibuilt (I had some help) using Domino Designer 4.6. (Please nobody golook for it, it was pretty dull...)
I watched the development of several versions from "the sidelinesof Sametime." Then, after working on Workplace for a bit, one dayKevin Cavanaugh (director of Notes development at the time) called meinto his office and talked about the Outlook competitive threat andhow maybe we should really invest in Notes and spiff up theUI. Then he ask who I thought would want to be the leaddesigner. I jumped at the chance!. When this job is notexcrutiating (like when we have to cut features) , it's the most funI've ever had at work.
For you Workspace users out there, open up your Workspace to any tab, and then go up to the View menu-- see that menu item called"Arrange Icons"?
It will move all your icons to the upper left-- so that there are noextra spaces between the "Chicklets" (tiles). (So if thearrangement of your icons is important, DO NOT PICK THIS MENU ITEMNOW!!! :)
How often you you pick this menu item for "Arrange Icons"?
One a day
Once a week
Once a month
Less than once a month?
How would you feel if this option is not available in the new workspace in Notes 8.5?
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "Mapping Imported Contacts"and "My Favorite Party Animals" (tip: monkeys are overrated, bulls are expensive, and goliath bird eating spiders get you a clear path to the buffet every time (of vital importance for those of us that wear extra large Lotusphere shirts)).
Moving right along...
We're hard at work here in Lotusville making it so that Samantha can subscribe to other calendars from her Notes calendar (i.e. she can see entries from other calendars in her Notes calendar). One particularly interesting side effect involves All Day Events.
Currently when Samantha creates an All Day event in her Notes calendar the event appears in the nontimed event area (that area at the top of the calendar) and the column has a light fill of the same color. When Samantha adds her personal google calendar (or Ted's calendar) she gets to pick a color for those calendars. Right now, any all day events on those calendars also colors the day. And, if you happen to have multiple all day events from multiple sources you wind up with a blend in the column.
So, should All Day Events from other calendars actually color the column, or should they just appear at the top in the nontimed event area?
Pink (on left) is from another calendar - Yellow (on right) is an All Day event on Samantha's calendar.
Thanks in advance.
After some hard questions, it is felt by the author of this blog thatit is only fair that I finally reveal myself to you, the Lotuscommunity. You know me as Samantha, and until now I have perpetuatedthe illusion that I am not a real person. However, circumstances havechanged and I think it is only fair that I come forward and tell youwhat is really going on.
I am real. The "design team" that you have all come to know and loveare, in actuality, the imaginary figments. Mary Beth Raven, my finestcreation, is really an elaborate facade. Paying for that fine actresswho stands up at all the conferences has cost me a pretty penny, I'lladmit, but it has been worth it. The fact so many of you believe in herand will swear to seeing her and even speaking with her attests to thestrength and power of your willingness to believe.
I am fond of all my creations. Basing John Lance on Troy McCLurewas a stroke of genius, in my opinion. In revealing thatJohn-the-Calendar-designer is not real, you must understand by now thatCalendarOverlays in Notes 8.5. are also not real, either.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess that the witty, intelligentMargo, the ribald Kathy, my recent creation Michelle, are all imaginarydesigners, created to help me learn Notes 8.
But times change and hard realities must be faced. The "design team"has served their purpose, and given that I have heard rumors that somebloggers were intent on revealing my secret I have chosen to beat themto the punch.
So there you have it. At this point the best I can do is retire "thecrew" as I've come to think of them. I am not entirely certain whatwill become of this blog, but perhaps I will turn it over to my goodfriend Ted (although, between you and me I strongly suspect that ifthat happens it will be Betty writing in Ted's name).
Anyway, it has been fun.
April 1, 2008
also often called "April Fool's Day"[Read More]