Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
As many of you know, we are improving the roaming user experience so that it's supported in the standard client.
We are creating some user policies so that Fred the Domino admin can specify that Ted Amado (our roaming user) sees NO roaming user upgrade dialog boxes at all-- it just happens.
Fred can also specify that Ted does see dialogs, and we want to improve on the existing dialogs.
Here are some draft dialogs. I am on the fence about how much to tellTed in these dialogs. On the one hand, I know that people don't readdialogs so I want them to be pretty short. On the other hand, if Fredhas decided that Ted gets to see what is going on, then maybe Tedreally does want the details. So here goes.
DIALOG 1: More info
IBM Lotus Notes
Your Lotus Notes administrator had made you a "roaming user"
so that you can get your Notes data on different computers.
To complete the roaming process, information needs to be
replicated with a server now. This might take some time.
Do you want to replicate that information now?
[ Yes ]
[ No, ask me the next time I start Notes ]
DIALOG 2: Less info
IBM Lotus Notes
Your Lotus Notes administrator had made you a "roaming user" so that
you can get your Notes data on different computers.
It might take a few minutes to set you up as a roaming user.
Do you want to finish the setup now?
[ Yes ]
[ No, ask me the next time I start Notes ]
Questions: Do we need to supply MORE info, like that it isContacts, Personal Journal, and Workspace that are getting replicated?
or does Ted not really care about that? At the moment, I am inclined togo with more info because if Ted doe snot care, then FREd can just setthe "Do it without any dialogs" option and the people who get thedialogs might be the savvy kind that want to know?
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!
Thanks for all of your commens about the new view icons, painful as they were to read :( ... and I read them ALL and I read Nathan's (LOL! "another clock face, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"??? )
That's exactly why I posted them here, so this has been a great affirmation of the blog. The Development team has NOT checked the new icons in.
I can't say exactly what we'll do because some of the people I need to coordinate with are on vacation for the rest of the year, so it might be a few weeks before I can give you a full update on the new plan for view icons. I'll do my best to give you some red icons back (among other things), especially since many of you probably got all red and the face and your blood pressure went up looking at the icons.
The unexpected gift was that many of you said that such a change would BREAK the applications. Hooray! -- not hooray that the icon change would break the application, but that so many of you feel that UI bugs are REAL BUGS! Thank you for your support!
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]
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]
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]
I'll be doing a series of postings about various menus and menu items, and then move on to other topics. The design team is working on menus right now, so they are fresh in our minds, and I like a "top-down" approach anyway-- start with menus, then maybe move to toolbars, tabs, action bars etc until we get to status bar issues :)
Thanks for the more than 50 comments from my first posting, in which I asked how you felt about the "View - Quote Selection" menu item.
Based on the responses, it appears that we have a cultural split, and our Asian users use the Quote Selection and many others don't. So, I will try to follow up with some of our Asian users. In the mean time, I'll not remove it, although I'm going to try to simply HIDE it in a view (since it is never enabled in a view), and that's about it.
Today's question: the Properties menu items.
On the File menu, there is a "Document Properties..." menu item, and then on the Edit menu there is also a "Properties..." menu item that is context-sensitive and gives you the properties for the current "thing" (e.g. Table, Document, Database, etc.).
I was thinking of just having one "Properties..." menu item, making it context-sensitive, and putting it near the bottom of the File menu. Opinions?