Hi folks. Before getting down to business, I should introduce the members of the Domino Designer User Experience Team. My name is Kathy Howard and I've been at Lotus/IBM for almost 20 years. I've worked on the user experience of various products over the years, including 1-2-3, K-station, and Notes Access for SAP Solutions, and now I'm the lead designer for the upcoming release of Domino Designer. I've been doing basic Notes application development since "the beginning" so it's exciting to be working on this!
Let me also introduce my colleague Chris Kergaravat. Chris is the user researcher on the project, which means she gathers all sorts of information by interviewing people, running surveys, and conducting usability tests using builds or prototypes. Chris also has close to 20 years here at Lotus/IBM, with tons of experience in Notes/Domino application development from her 10 years as a consulting architect in the Lotus Services group.
As you may have heard from Maureen Leland and Bob Balaban, we are busy working on improvements to the Notes/Domino application development environment for a future release. Chris and I are working with the aforementioned icons of the Notes/Domino community with the specific goal of improving the user experience for building Web applications.
So without further ado, please meet Raj, our first application developer persona. Raj is a composite profile, created after having met and talked with many, many Lotus Notes application developers! If you see yourself in Raj, we'd love to hear from you. How is your experience similar to Raj's? Do you have the same successes and challenges as Raj?
Raj Kalluri, Notes Application Developer
Raj works in the IT Department at Renovations, a chain of home improvement stores. As a Notes application developer, Raj is responsible for creating and maintaining collaborative applications. He is a resident Notes expert and acts as a mentor for the new people in the group. He prides himself on his ability to stretch Notes to its limits and get custom applications working quickly and flawlessly before deployment.
Roles and ResponsibilitiesA senior member of the team, Raj has been dubbed the “NTF Guy” by his colleagues. It’s his job to design, code, and integrate large, complex systems. He absolutely thrives on making Notes do things that no one else thought possible! He has a tried and true method of coding events and hidden fields and he has developed some coding and naming standards, as well as a method for creating Notes objects that allows easy modification by the business users.
Depending on the day, Raj may spend all day in Domino Designer building an application on his own, or he may work with other people in the department to plan a project or troubleshoot issues. He also meets with his internal clients to gather requirements or to present the plan for an application. And he tries to be available when the Help desk people need help answering a question about a Notes application. It’s a good day when he can figure out an elegant way to solve a problem and not quite so good when he has to use a "hack".
Raj never intended to become a programmer. He graduated with a Liberal Arts degree, taking a few CS courses to satisfy the math requirements. He took a non-technical job after college, and found himself creating discussion databases by making simple Notes template modifications for his first work group. Never afraid to dive into something to find out how it works, Raj soon was reverse-engineering more advanced templates. He learned LotusScript by trial and error. Before he knew it, Raj was creating new agents by “borrowing” sections of code from proven agents, example files, documentation, Lotus forums – anywhere he could find working code snippets and ideas. Over the years he has taken Notes programming courses to sharpen his skills. He is now considered an expert, and posts answers as well as questions to the forums. Raj has worked hard to develop and promote the Notes Best Practices database for the company.
He took a course in Java, and so he understands the concepts behind J2EE tools and technologies, but he has neither the desire nor the experience necessary to work competently with such low level languages. He is much more comfortable working visually with higher level objects, like forms, views, and lists, and does not want to be bothered with learning how they are managed and made to work behind the scenes. He wants to learn more about AJAX and mashups.
Raj has a “love/hate” relationship with the Domino Designer client. On one hand, it allows him to take programming shortcuts and piece together solutions in a rapid development cycle, but on the other hand, he’s found it impossible to make it work with his company’s approved code management system or the programming methodology that the Senior Architects have recommended.
He loves that with one interface, he can design an application that will run in a rich client and in a browser - but at the same time, he is exasperated by having to make so many modifications to his forms and views to make them render correctly in the browser.
He has learned to accept some of the idiosyncrasies of Designer - like waiting for his whole script library to compile after each edit, and struggling with table sizes - because there are so very many coding options available to him. He says that Designer gives him complete flexibility when he is creating an application.
Raj is originally from India. When he graduated from the University of Chicago, he took a job and decided to stay in the US. Now he lives outside Chicago with his wife and 2 children. In his spare time, he loves to cook, experimenting with spices and techniques from different cuisines. He also likes to read about world history.[Read More]