Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog entries as "The Side Calendar Real Estate Mambo" and "Famous Shakespearean Candy References" (Fun tip: Macbeth's sweet of choice? Licorice Whips (it's all in the subtext))
Moving right along...
The Notes 8 Month view currently displays only the text of the entry without a background. The question is should we be using the background that we are using in the other views? Keep in mind that when the default calendar colors are applied the text for the different entry types appears in different colors (Note: You do have to click the Restore colors button on the Calendar>Colors preference tab to have these colors appear. We don't update the colors automatically for 8).
Visually, we're talking about this:
Thanks in advance and remember to keep your eyes open for my next blog entry "Tales from the Tub" (just gotta get the old laptop wrapped in plastic here...)
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 those of you using the beta, you'll notice that we made a few changes to the View menu as well. Specifically, we added a menu called "Advanced Menus." This item is OFF by default (although it may not have been in the beta).
You advanced users will need to know to go turn it on, so spread the word. When the "Advanced Menus" item is unchecked, we hide a bunch of menus that end-users have complained about. This de-clutters the menus a bit.
Because Notes 8 has had so many changes to the Mail and Contacts template, I plan to change the flag for
"Do not allow replace/refresh to modify" the "About this Database" and "Using this Database" documents and the template icon.
This flag has been turned ON for all Help & About documents in the templates, and also the template Icon. This has been the case since at least R4, when customers complained that every time we updated our Help/About documents (or Icon), their customizations were being overwritten.
From the IBM point of view, we would be doing a disservice to our customers if we did NOT refresh these documents to match the functionality that we are now shipping.
I do realize that you might have customizations of your own that you do NOT want overwritten-- but then YOU can go turn on the flag.
This means that in Notes 8, when Samantha replaces her mail template (by hand or automatically), we'll also replace the information on the "Using this Application" and the "About this Application' document.
Please disseminate this information to your teams and plan accordingly.
There is a preference (in the Notes Client section) for "Mark documents as read when opened in preview pane":
My question is about the default setting for this preference:
Should this preference be checked ON by default or OFF? It seems that a lot of you on the forum have gone into the Preferences to turn this ON and we're wondering whether that should be the default.
I just got the following email from Andrew Robinson (one of our developers) who says that you can already customize error messages if you want to.
The feature that you're requesting here already exists, I implemented it in 6.55 originally...
This modification allows a user to add the line "err_XXXX=<override text>" to their notes.ini file in order to override the text of Notes error 0xXXXX..
The Notes error code for "The server is not responding, please contact your administrator..." is 0x0807. With this enhancement, adding the line "err_0807=This is a test" will make the text "Custom Error 0x0807
: This is a test" appear in the error dialog when a server is down in Notes. This can be used to override the text of any Notes error text of which the hex code is known.
The hex code for "Unable to find path to server..." is 0x0803, so adding the line "err_0803=Custom Text Here" to notes.ini will customize this message.
We are revising some of the error messages, and the guideline that I'm using is to tell Samantha:
For example, one of the messages is about how the thingy is not a known TCP/IP host. So we revised as follows:
Unable to find the server. Check that your network connection is working.
If you have a working network connection, click Trace to discover where it breaks down,
and then contact your system administrator with the information.
[ Trace... ]
[ OK ]
Now, the dev team is telling me that they have had NUMEROUS customer requests to REMOVE "contact your system administrator" from any of the error messages. Because they get too many help desk calls.
So I ask you, in cases like this just what to you expect Samantha to do? Do you REALLY want us not to give her any direction so that she just sits and wastes company time?
I'm really tempted to change it to:
Whatever you do, do NOT call the help desk because they really do not want to help you. Maybe you should just take the rest of the day off.
It seems like the help desk tail is wagging the company dog here. Enlighten me if there's something I'm missing.
As you have probably noticed, the File - New pullright menu item is pretty long, and what you are seeing is not what we want in the final shipping product in terms of the order of the items in the New -> pullright.
The plan is that when you are in a Notes context, that the Notes-related choices should be at the top. (Message, Calendar Entry etc)
When you are in the context of any of the IBM Productivity Tools, the choices for Spreadhseet, Document, and Presentation should be at the top.
And the Sametime contributions should pretty much always be at the bottom.
CTRL+M should always open a new mail message, even the context of the IBM Productivity Tools, but it does not do that in the beta.
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....
Things we Hid in the Edit Menu in Views
Undo (Only available if previously haddone something that is undoable in a view)
Things we removed entirely:
Properties. We moved it to the File menu to have a consistent place for it.
Quote Selection (my very first posting was about this menu item! almost nobody knew what it was)
Things we changed:
Copy as Link - moved it into the Copy as -> pullright. This was to cognitively group it with the other Copy things.
It's only officially the first business day of the public beta and we've had over 4,000 download and about 500 comments in the public beta forum here: http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/nd8forum.nsf
Here is what we changed on the File menu and why. These changes will take a little bit of getting used to for all you experienced users. Our target user for these changes was, of course, Samantha, and new users -- all those NEW CUSTOMERS coming from other products.
We added an "Open" pullright and put "Lotus Notes Application" on it together with a few other things because Notes 8 is truly the "mother of all integration clients", it's not just about Notes databases anymore. Notes apps are just one of many things you can open. I am sure that the power users among you will quickly adapt.
We changed "Database" to "Application." because many end users have complained that Notes "exposes the plumbing" and uses "geeky" terms. This was one of them.
Also note that with the exception of "Open", the Application pull-right is the same as the old Database pull right. We did NOT put "Application" in the File - New -> pull right because we reserved the "new" pullright for things that business users do. Business users like Samantha are not ALLOWEdDto create new database applications, so we kept it on the Application pull-right.(and it's an "Advanced Menu" so Samantha should never see it. More abotu that in another post)
We added "Make Available Offline" as a choice, and you'll notice that if you already HAVE an offline (local) replica then we DISABLE the menu item. The idea here is make make it as easy as possible for those business users to take data offline (make a local replica.) Power users can still use File - Replication - New Replica to either make a local replica or a server replica.
We changed "Mobile" to "Locations" and simplified it by providing fewer options.
We consistently put "Properties" in the same place (on the file menu as compared to having Doc properties on the fiel menu and other properties on other menu items) and it was supposed to open up doc properties or view properties depending on what was open, but it looks like we have a bug in the beta where it consistently opens doc properties.
We changed "Close All Open Window tabs" to "Close All" mainly because now that we have 3 different window management models, it's easier to use the shorter term and, in general, since we say "Close" and not "Close the Window Tab" further up, it was consistent.
Exit. We did not re-implement the CTRL + Q for Exit in the Expeditor platform. I know some of you have looked for it already. Since your fingers are probably trained to do Alt - F - X for MS word and just about every other product, please try it for Notes, and if after a few weeks you REALL REALLY still want CTRL + Q we can see if we have time to add it.
I am finally getting to download my vacation pictures from Hawaii, and I thought it might be fun to give you a little glimpse into what my family and I do for fun. (these are my flickr pix of the trip)
My husband is a fanatical geocacher. (For more info see http://www.geocaching.com/ )
So while others might talk to you about Maui sunsets, weddings on beaches,or golfing, me, I got the the "cache tour" of Maui. We stayed in 3 different places (Kehei, then Wa'ianapanapa state park near Hana, and finally in Ka'anapali). This meant that we maximized our geocache-finding potential.
While Mark (the husband) found lots of geocaches, the geocaching highlight of the trip... well there were 2 highlights (hummm maybe lowpoints...:)
1. the " 4th waterfall or bust" cache
2. the "swim into the dark cave" cache
(I do not know the real names of these caches if you are looking for them on the website. I give them names based on my perspective as a 45-year-old totally-out-of-shape computer geekette mother of 2. )
The next piece of info is that my sister and her husband came to Hawaii with us. They have no kids. Just dealing with kids on vacation can be an ordeal, but no, we had to subject them to the "Hike past 4 waterfalls on the way to remote hana village with 2 kids and bugs and rocks mosquitoes and 2 downpours." This is kinda how it went:
We got up nice and early one day to drive from Kihei to Hana. The "Hana highway" is supposed to be a beautiful 3-hour incredibly scenic drive with lots of waterfalls and ocean views. Mark (remember, he's the husband) had already planned that we'd do this cache on the way. So we're supposed to hike into this rainforest and find a tupperware box hidden in the woods, based on some latitude and longitude coordinates from a web site. The "joy and reward" is simply to write your name in a log book and hide the box again. Off we go. All 6 of us. The mom, the dad, the older sister the youger sister, the aunt and the uncle.
We pass waterfall 1.
and waterfall 2
at waterfall 3 there's 20-ish foot cliff that you have to scramble up, with the help of a knotted rope. My brother-in-law took pictures but I certainly do NOT want to show you any of me-- by then filthy from the mud-- trying to haul my butt up over a mini-cliff while clinging to a muddy rope....
Once over the mini-cliff, we hop from rock to rock as we make our way up the stream bed. We get almost to the destination - but to actually GET to the cache, we need to swim across the pool of ice-cold water, climb up the rocks and walk over to yet another waterfall. So we did. All 6 of us. We left our backpacks on the shore and swam. (and yes it was raining!)
We're lucky nobody made off with the car keys and clothing. Mark found the geocache and made an entry in the log book. It took us about 2 hours to do this one hike. We originally had 6 planned for the day, but after that, we just drove the rest of the way to Wai-anapanapa state park and collapsed on our respective pools of mud.
Geocache Higligh #2
This one was actually much easier, tho a bit more scary at first. Mark was prepared. He'd bought a waterproof headlamp so that he could swim into a lava-tube cave now filled with water, and then find the cache. Of course the kids wanted to go with him. So did Unlce Mike. The water was freezing. My sister and I stayed on shore and took pictures. (OK, then I jumped in and swam into the cave to check on the kids when they did not answer me. Just a little excitement... you think maybe your husband and kids have drowned in a cave.. kinda puts the whole F5 issue into perspective....)
.. and yes, that's the top of my head as I watch Uncle Mike and the 2 kids swim off into a cave. And they found the cache and it was "really cool."
... I hope you find the upcoming public beta "really cool" and I am sure you'll let me know what we can do to improve it!
As Ed Brill has already told you, the "beta 2" (also called "public" beta) should be available early next week. Watch this website.
Once this beta is available, I'll post lots and lots of pictures to this blog, and I'll also assume that MOST of you are downloading and installing the beta (tell me if you are not!!)
We'll see how things develop. My assumption is that this blog might become LESS active as most of the conversation will move to the feedback forum (url to be posted soon.). But we'll see.
Internally today I have seen messages such as the following:
Notes 8 Beta 2 FVT Sign Off Complete - WHAHOOO!! <eom> (from our project manager)
"As of 4:05 PM today, the Hannover, Activities, Designer, and Instant Messaging FVT (functional verification test) teams have exited the Final Regression test phase for Notes 8 Beta 2.
Congratulations to all of the test teams, and those who have supported their effort, in meeting the goals of this very aggressive schedule and achieving this critical milestone." (from our test lead.)
I'm actually getting all choked up. It's exciting and scary... one thing I know for sure.. we're all in this together. This is a TERRIFIC community and I can count on you to give me both the good and the bad information that will ultimately make this a better product.
Hey Notes community,
Wow, you did a GREAT job responding to the guest bloggers! And the guest bloggers learned that it's really easy to be a guest blogger, so expect more of that to come!
I had a really wonderful 2-week vacation (holiday as many would say). And yes it is ironic that my vacation consisted of many of the things I complained about during the ice storm, 9e.g. no phone, no internet, etc. but it was indeed warm in Maui).
My husband, 2 kids, sister and her husband, spent 2 weeks on Maui, and I highly recommend it! I'm returning relaxed and full of optimism for Notes 8. I had only about a thousand mail messages. that's not bad at all considering I was gone for 2 whole weeks.
Upon my return, I discovered that my terrific boss Chris Reckling of InsideLotus fame, has been promoted to being our second-line manager in the design group. Go Chris, this is a great opportunity!
I also learned (I was assumimg this) that the daily builds are getting ready to be released as a wider beta. I am on an evaluation team. I download the daily build and help to determine if it's ready for the wider beta. It was really exciting to download a build yesterday and see how much progress was made in my two weeks of absence. I have downloaded the most recent bilild and I'm evaluating it on behalf of users such as yourself. (I'd also post hawaii pix but the blogger software tells me that i am out of space, I'll figure it out eventually).
Many thanks to the guest bloggers!
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!
My name is John Lance, yet another guest blogger (you lucky folks you). You may remember me from such short films as the "Lotusphere 2007 User Experience Lab Buzz Board" and "Home Taxidermy for Fun and Profit" (for those of you who are Simpsons fans and like me can hardly wait for the movie that was a rather humorous gag reminiscent of the golden days of Troy McClure. If you're not a Simpsons fan, well, it can only get better right?)
Moving right along....
There have been requests around displaying the week number in the Calendar views. Unfortunately this is post 8.0, but in the spirit of continousingly gathering feedback I'd like to try to get some clarification around the feature. So, the questions are....
1. There has been a request for Week numbers both in the date picker as well as in the views. The date picker might look like following. Would you and your users find this useful (assuming there is a preference for hiding the # column as well as displaying it)?
2. If the date picker has the Week number, is there still a need to display the week number in the views (for example, the one week view)?
3. Assuming you still want the Week number in the views, what format would you like? For example, is "Week 12" sufficient or do you and your users want to see "Week 12 of 52"?
4. If we support weeks, do you also want us to support the Day number and the Month number? And the same question about format applies (for example, Day 9 of 365 and Month 3 of 12)?
Thanks in advance, and remember to keep your eyes open for my straight to DVD biopic: "Legend: The Rise and Fall of Elmer Fudd" (teaser: it wasn't just rabbits he was hunt'in)
This is a feature that has been much requested, but unfortunately is slated for post 8.0. However, we wanted to get some early feedback on it. Thanks to Noy Wanderski for her design.
The design is to add a quota idicator to the top of the navigator:
The quota control can be expanded or collapsed.
So, our questions are:
Please let us know your thoughts.
Today's guest blogger is Meg Petersen, a project manager in the Lotus Information Development and Content (IDC) team. The IDC team creates training materials, technical reference guides, and online Help and is in the process of looking at what works and what doesn't. We have learned from customer visits that training is a big issue - trainers don't feel they have the time or bandwidth to create and present all the employee training that's necessary, and employees have told us they learn only the very basics in training. They want more time to learn about advanced features and tips about the best way to do things. Because they don't feel they have the time or an easy way to learn best practices, they stick to what they know, even if they think there's a better way to do something.
The Information Development team is reaching out to customers to understand more about learning styles, the use of training and documentation products, differences in use by audience, how much is enough when it comes to documentation and online help, and which types of information are most needed to be successful with Lotus products. We're having a workshop at Lotus in Cambridge, MA on March 7th to dive into these topics and create an innovative plan for training and documentation in the future. We are extending an invitation to customers and partners who can come to Cambridge that day - see details of the workshop below and let us know if you are interested in participatig. We are looking for 10 people for each group.
One topic we'll pursue is informal learning. Informal learning is what happens outside the classroom or a traditional, scripted learning experience. Examples may include web sites, books, on-line help, blogs and wikis, articles, papers, user groups, experts in your online social network, or the person sitting next to you.
We have some questios for you now, and would appreciate your input:
Here is the information about the Workshop.
Information Development Center Innovation Meeting, 2007
Date: March 7, 2007
Time: Session 1: 9:00 –12:00
Session 2: 1:30 – 4:30
Join us for either session or stay the full day.
Lunch is provided, beginning at noon, for morning and afternoon sessions.
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, IBM Executive Briefing Center
Goal: To bring Lotus and Websphere Portal customers together with key IBM thought leaders from the Information Development Center (IDC) to collaborate on ways to improve and innovate on product documentation, technical papers, and education and training materials.
Who will attend?
A limited number of customers, representing a variety of roles -- knowledge worker, administrator, application developer, training manager, and others.
Members of Lotus IDC representing technical information development, help, education development -- writers, designers, engineers, and managers.
What is planned?
An interactive and energized session filled with customer-focused activities to review current technical content use, brainstorm new and innovative ways to deliver technical content and training, and understand your information development requirements.
To influence the next generation of IBM documentation and training, so what we design and write is what you need.
To earn free exam vouchers to become a Certified Lotus Professional.
Contact Meg Petersen at Meg_Petersen@us.ibm.com or 617-693-6808 before February 28th if you or your customers are interested in learning more about this or if you think you'd like to participate in this opportunity.
Be part of the future of Lotus documentation and training!
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 Tags:  user-research customer usersfirst customer-feedback 10 Comments 2,927 Views
Hi. I'm Merry Morse. I am part of the UX team and manage the Users First customer partner program. We created Users First a year ago to fill a big gap - the UX team had not been getting out and seeing our users in their work environments. Without this first-hand exposure, we can't fully understand the "user experience." The good news is that we've seen more customers in the past year than in the past ten. Through our visits, usability sessions, and roundtable discussions, we've gotten to know people in all sorts of roles who take our software to the limit to get their jobs done and use it in ways we can't imagine on our own. Working with customers as we design our products is having a huge impact. And, the more people we talk to, the more common themes emerge. That's what we need to be able to design and build what you need.
While Mary Beth is basking in the Hawaiin sun. I'll take the opportunity as a guest blogger to share some snapshots of people we've met in our travels. All names will be fictitious, but all entries will be about real customers and partners, their goals, and the challenges they face. You'll meet non-technical business users, IT administrators, and developers.
Our first customer is Joe. He's the collaboration manager for MedCareUS, a healthcare organization with over 150,000 employees, serving several million members. Joe's goal over the next two years is to plan and implement the MedCareUS collaboration strategy (a somewhat daunting task!). A big part of that is document management, with these capabilities:
Joe described collaboration at MedCareUS. He said, "It's daily life. It's everything we do - from writing a simple email to a formal white paper to writing research notes for new medicine we develop, it's doctor-patient exchange, it's the whole process. To initiate acollaboration, someone generates an idea or comes up with a response toa request. Then they do some research, write down some thoughts,collect artifacts of data and eventually share that with others. Thenthe real collaboration kicks in. Right now, email is the hub of thatcollaboration, but it goes beyond that very quickly. If you and I aresharing ideas for something that will become a project, we need tomaintain that data, store it for future use, share it with others, andbring other people in and out of that collaborative experience. Rightnow we use several tools for that, which is very confusing for endusers. If I'm a researcher looking for cure for a disease, I'd use phone, fax,and email. I’d write a 15-page Word document of initial findings andsend it to a few others for review. Or, I’d walk the paper over tosomeone to read it. I‘d collect comments in email, expand the Worddocument until it becomes a 100-page thesis. I’d then convert it to PDFand put in a document store. Domiono.Doc used to be our standard fordoc management, but we now have no standard and are looking for one."
"For a long time, the IT division was not listening to the business. We are starting to now. End users are pushing what we want to do 2 - 3 years ahead of where we are. The medical staff wants and expects high-quality, inexpensive, audio-video available worldwide in every room they walk into. The majority of the medical staff don't carry laptops or PDAs. They use a shared machine for email, and do real-time collaboration on the other side of world or in the next room. They want to be able to show what they’re doing in surgery. If they show a knee operation, they want a camera in the operating room, but they might also have a surgeon in NY giveing instructions realtime while surgery is going on across the country. They don't want to keep the patient under sedation while they fax or email things because that’s a high risk. They want and need this to be highly reliable, high quality, and with high ease of use." Twenty % of their staff are medical professionals (their bread and butter). Eighty % iare the business staff that supports the medical staff, and many like mobility. It costs four times as much per year to keep a user at a desk than working at home. As Joes says, "There’s a huge benefit to letting people work at home and we need to support that."
Joe worries that computers are too confusing and overly complicated for end users. "The big joke is, 'Wasn't the computer supposed to make life easier so we have more time with family and friends? When do we get that? In 3.0?' There's usually so much stuff shoved in front of user that they just don't use it. People say, 'I just want to get my email, send a document, see if someone reviewed it. That's all I need.' Other than that they'll go to a web site and search for something, then leave and go do something else.”
The medical staff doesn't earn money spending time with a computer, they earn money spending time with people. They would like a tool that lets a doctor walks into a room for an exam and their badge logs them in. They type in a patient record and all the information comes up. When they go into an exam they want to do 2 or 3 mouse clicks - no more. They have 15 minutes for each patient and are often double booked. As Joe puts it, "If they have to spend 6 minutes logging into the computer and get their information, it’s the whole appointment."
Mail size and attachments are an issue. They're trying to train users not to send attachments and instead to use a teamroom and have discussion threads and send links to it. But that's too many steps for most users. You have to go to another db, create a new document, attach it, add information, save it, go to Edit Copy as doc link, go back to the email and paste that in. Doctors and nurses say, “No, I'm just going to forward the email. You fix the network and storage problems.” They want to make an Action button in email that says "Start Collaboration," so ideally you could start the collaboration in the Word document instead of having to make it an attachment. You should be able to notify people, have the document put somewhere easy to find, in-line edits, version control - and it needs to be easy for the user. Right now, technology does everything, but it doesn't do it well yet.
What changes would make the biggest difference to MedCareUS? Joe is not sure yet. He needs access to more business users. He laid out a collaboration roadmap, but it’s based on his knowledge of Lotus and IBM and collaboration in general. It’s based on a generic path, which is not necessarily the correct path. They plan to use the next few months to get real usecases. They will talk to business units to find out what they cando from the collaboration standpoint to make their lives better:whether that means to remove software, give them more software, or makethe current software work better. Joe says:
So, what about Joe's situation? Does any of it sound familiar in your line of business?
Have you solved any of the challenges he brings up?
Would anyone be interested in being interviewed for a customer snapshot?
All comments welcome.
As you read this, I am on my way to Hawaii for 2 weeks of vacation. (Well, you're reading it if the features of delayed publishing actually works, this is the first time I'm trying it.)
I'll be in a cabin in a state park near Hana, Maui for much of the time. No telephone, no internet (and barely any electricy from what I've read).
I've asked several others on the design team to be guest bloggers while I'm gone. I am certain that there will be several excrutiatingly nit-picky issues that come up while I'm away. Give my guest bloggers lots of feedback. :)
I'll be back on March 4.
There has been a lot of confusion over two new features in Hannover: Recent Contacts and Collaboration History.
Recent Contacts is a dynamic view within the Contacts application. This new view is a list of the people you have e-mailed, of people that have sent you e-mail, and of people that you have chatted with. The algorithm used to determine this view counts frequency as well as recency.
Collaboration History is accessed from the context menu. This is a window that lists all the exchanges you've had with a person. The list could contain e-mails, meetings, and chats.
Picking this menu item gives you a list like this:
We have received feedback that users are getting these two featuresconfused. So we're considering changing the term "Recent Contacts" to"Top Contacts." (Like a Myspace Top Eight)
We're also entertaining newterms for "Collaboration History" ( "Recent Collaborations" is oneyou might already seen in earlier builds).
Please let us know what you think. [Read More]
Here's an update on my question about the navigator and the folders. The hardworking developers have agreed to try to build in the ability to have a folder with a + or - sign decorator on it.
Sametime 7.5 introduced the idea to end users that they might want to install and manage plugins. Do your business end users use the following in the Sametime client, and do they understand it and if yes, great, and if not, what is confusing:
Now, the Notes 8 client will also allow Samantha to download and instlal plugins. Moreover, Samantha can add plugins that feel to her like new features to anexisting application, or she can add entire applications.
Also, Notes 8 has changed the term "Database" to "Application. " This was in response from customers who told us that their end users got "scared' or confused when they saw a term like "database" in an end-user client.
We believe that from Samantha's point of view, opening databases and installing plugins-- they are all just "things", e.g. she does not know or care if one this is a Notes dataabse or another thing is an Eclipse plugin.
We realize that we have confusing mental models here. Samantha generally only "opens'"Notes databases, while now she'll also have the ability to "install' some. Of course, she might not care about the difference. Ideally, we'd make the difference entirely transparent to her, but there might be times when we cannot.
We're looking for a common set of terms to use for "installing plug-ins" regardless of whether they are "new applicatoins" or "new features" to Samantha.
To that end, I propose to add the following to the bottom of the File - Applications menu in Notes 8.
This would mean that in Sametime, we'd have these 2 menu items on an "Applications" pull right (rather than the "Manage updates" one shown above.)
Even in this case, I think Samantha would have to be told in which case to OPEN an application and in which case to "install" an application and so on, but at least she goes to the same menu. In a future version I hope to make all these distinctions transparent by giving her an integrated application catalog where she can browser through different kinds of applicatoins regardless of how they are built, and simply "pick" them.
We are trying to make the best possible use of every pixel of screen real estate in Notes 8. To that end, we are considering removing the + and - signs from the tree control that Samantha will see in the Navigator (app devs call it the outline view).
For example, do you think it's acceptable to have the following set of nested folders without a + to indicate which folders are nested?
(Note: We have tried the idea of superimposing a + on top of a folder that has nested folders but it appears there is a technical limitation where either all folders get the superimposed + or none of them do.)
Or, for usability reasons (that is, so that Samantha knows she has nested folders), shoudl we sacrifice the pixels necessary and show the + sign, like below?
I must admit that, while we like to save the pixels, for usability reasons, and for reasons of consistency with all the other outline views that samantha might be using in the client, we're inclined to keep the + signs.
Chris Reckling and I gave a talk entitled "Designing a world-class user experience for IBM Lotus Notes" at Lotushere 2 weeks ago, and since I extolled the virtues of being able to easily export it to a pdf file in my last post, I figured I should post the actual .pdf so that those of you who did not attend can take a look at it.
While Chris and I gave the talk, it represents the efforts of a team of visual designers, interaction desginers, and usability professionals.
ID102 is our talk.
The productivity editors let me export to .pdf format, which is what we did to bring you our Lotusphere presentation
As some of you noticed, the productivity editors included for free in Notes 8 include the ability to export to the .pdf format.
So you'll be able to export and documents written in the document editor, presentations, and spreadsheets, into .pdf format.
This is exactly what Chris reckling and I did with our Lotusphere presentation, it was as simple as choosing one menu item:
Please note that in Notes 8 you will not yet be able to export Notes documents written in the Notes editor to .pdf format.
we're just beginning to plan for Notes 8.1
How important is it for you to be able to export Notes documents to .pdf files?
Don't Forget to Listen to the "Taking Notes" Podcast that Jeff Eisen and I did with Julian Robichaux and Bruce Elgort
Here are some statistics from Andy LaFleur, the co-captain of the usability lab at Lotusphere (and manager of the user studies group).
The user experience (UX) lab was extremely busy this year, conducting hands-on usability tests, interviews, administering surveys, and getting feedback on a variety of designs .
We can roughly track the amount of customer participation from the tickets we collect at the end of each session, which are then entered into a daily raffle drawing. This year, we had 326 raffle tickets, which is 42 more than last year.
If we consider that:
Many, many thanks to all the customers who came, and to the lab staff - you folks are tireless, innovative, and care about our users. Your efforts make the UX Lab one of our best investments.[Read More]
Premium Support customers! We want to talk to you about the re-design of the premium support website!
Calling all Premium Support customers. As you probably know, we are re-designing the premium support (IWCS) web site, and we'd like to talk to you about it.
You can choose to
Here are a few pictures from the lab this morning.
Here's John and a user going thru some prototypes for Calendar (post 8.0) that's Noy in teh background testing future ideas for contacts.
And here's a group (including Margo, and our Information Development lead Gayle) in the "collaboratory" with users who are actually testing Notes 8.
We appreciate your compliments about the Notes 8 UI, Steve O'Grady .
I am sitting in Chris Baltnik and Nathan Freeman's session right now, entitled "Designing the User interface: Why Your interface Matters."
Nathan has said several times that building a nice-looking user experience is hard work.
I absolutely agree, and that's why I want to publicly thank the development team who has worked very hard, and been very patient with many design iterations.
Steve O'Gady said "Nice work, Desgin team. " And I say "Thanks, dev team for making us look so good!"
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 2,055 Views
Here in the User experience lab, we just drew the name of the first winner for our daily IPOD giveaway!
The only inof you gave us, Bill was your name and that you were staying at the All-Star, so everybody who reads this, tell him to come to Oceanic 1 to pick up his prize.
We're giving away 2 more of them, so stop by and participate in order to win!
On January 12 I blogged about some of the things we'd have in the user experience lab for you to test. At the time I was not allowed to use the official names, so here they are now:
Got content? Share your thoughts on "Geneva:"--- Officially now Lotus Quickr! Tell us what you think about the new content sharing capabilities and collaborative team workspace and discuss your content collaboration needs. Be heard...We're listening!.
Thanks to YOU, Ronnie Maffa (director of the newly announced Lotus Connections product), used THIS BLOG in her talk as a great example of how blogging is important to business!
It has been extremely gratifying to finally meet so many of you in person. (and I know there are still some of you that I have note met yet --hello?? Charles Robinson, where are you?).
I want to thank you for all the "keep up the good blog comments" that I have received. Keep up the comments, too!
When my team was given the charge to design a world-class user experience, one of the things we did was meet to define and operationalize what it means to be "world-class."
We settled on a definition/operationalization that has 4 parts:
There is no such thing as "absolute" world-class user experience. It's only a world-class experience for certain sets of people doing certain tasks. As you know, the set of people for this release are the business end users like Samantha, Ted, and Betty. They are our design personas-- the business end users that we're keeping in mind during the design of this release. You can hear more about this at the talk Chris Reckling and I are giving at 3:45 today.
Lotusphere itself so far today has been a "world-class" experience. Rather than repeating what many others have already said, check out Lotusphere Live
If you like what you see today... and more importantly if you do NOT, come to the user experience lab and tell us!
For those of you at Lotusphere, you'll be seeing a lot more of the new usr interface in the next few hours. For those of you who are not, you'll get to see some here, some on other people's blogs, and some in various press coverage.
If you like what you see, please come and thank the designers and user studies team in the UX lab in Oceanic 1. And if you do NOT like wha tyou see, now is the time to give us constructive criticism.
Some of the members of the hard-working user studies team are here at Lotusphere in the User Experience lab in the Oceanic 1.
Please try to find some time to stop by and thank them for all their work. They are YOUR first line of defense-- the first set of people who find problems and issues and try to get them fixed so that you have a better experience.
Look for the following people:
Andy LaFleur, the manager of the user studies group and our co-captain of the lab.
Merry Morse, the leader of the Users First program and our other lab co-captain.
Deb Maurer, who will be running tests of Hannover in our "collaboratory"
Meng Yang, who will be testing Sametime and other things.
Betsy Comstock, who will be testing Hannover in the collaboratory
I am a typo queen, so I have been enjoying the in-line spell checking feature in the daily builds for some time.
I've already had several people ask about it, so now you know, and pass the word! They must have missed Ed Brill's blog entry about it some time ago.
I learned as early as the Manchester airport that lots of people were going to recognize me, but I wouldn't know them.
I was surprised that it happened even before I got to Orlando, but it gave me some time to think of polite ways to ask "who are you?"
One of the odd parts is that for some of you, I've been corresponding via the blog for months and feel like I SHOULD know you when I see you.
So introduce yourself. You might have to do it multiple times before I remember... I'll apologize in advance now.
I don't have any duties here in Orlando today until 5 pm, so I plan to relax a little before the start of the MOST EXCITING week!
Aw, shucks, James thanks for the kind words on your blog. We are glad you like the new user experience, and glad that you thanked me. I am sure you all know this, but I'm just the team lead.
The thanks goes to the entire design team. That includes, but is not limited to:
Denise Shaw -- Our primary visual designer! Thank you, Denise! And thank you other visual team members -- Carrie Tracy, Jason Baxter, Jason Toth, Sue Un, Jeremy Perry
Margo Ezekiel, Mail designer
Noy Wanderski, Contacts Designer
John Lance, Calendar Designer (Look for him on the Lotusphere buzz boards!)
Alex Song, search designer
Kristina Mcblain, Composite applications designer
Joe Scherpa, Sametime Instant Messaging Designer
And, certainly, to our design management, our user studies team, and to the very hard-working development team, Quality assurance team, and documentation team.
This has been a collossal collaboration effort... and we aren't done yet![Read More]
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 1,297 Views
<a href="http://www.technorati.com/claim/b7ktit5je" rel="me">Technorati Profile</a>
... life is good! and it makes me realize just how dependent we are on energy![Read More]
Take a look at the new icons for the Action Bars. We took your comments about the views to heart, and we did not change any of the metaphors.
While the rest of the world is busy getting ready for Lotusphere, I am just trying to stay warm. Here in New Hampshire (USA) I am trying to just stay warm. We are in the middle of an "ice storm"-- we had freezing rain, which weighed down all the trees and made driving very slick.
The storm is quite localized to Southern New Hampshire. We lost power Monday at about noon, and we are still without it. And according to the local electric company, we cannot expect power until tomorrow. Yesterday, I had planned to work at home because the kids had the day off due to the Martin Luther King holiday. So once I lost the internet we had fun playing a few board games. I went to work today, and of course, work had power, and lots of other folks were wondering why I hadn't answered their emails yet. ... now, at my house, when we lose power, we lose heat, water, lights (and most important) the internet connection.
I'm at a friend's house now... one daughter is in the shower while I borrow internet connection. And my Lotusphere presentation is still not finished...
This is the view when you turn RIGHT out of my driveway...
and this is the view when you turn left....
Chris Reckling and I will be giving a talk at Lotusphere next week , entitled:
Designing a World-Class User Experience for Lotus Notes 8
The promise of Lotus Notes 8, the next version of Lotus Notes, is that it will deliver a world class user experience in mail, calendar, and contact management, and new capabilities such as activity management and composite applications. But how do you turn a vision statement into designs, plans, and product? Come learn how the design team and the lead designer approached this transformation. Learn about the guiding principles we used, as we explain the decisions behind the features and style you see in the product today.
Of course, if you're attending Lotusphere, I encourage you to come to it (Monday at 3:45 in the Dolphin Northern Hemisphere ballrooms D and E), and if you are NOT attending Lotupshere, you'll be able to hear a podcast of the talk a few weeks after Lotusphere-- the Developerworks podcast planners have asked us to re-present it just for the podcast sometime in February.
During the talk, you'll learn that our design partners have played an influential role. They include, but are not limited to, the following companies:
Australian Bureau of Statistics
We have tried to get design partner representation from a variety if industries and geographies. I'm just not at libery to mention them all publically-- thanks to the companies above for letting me mention them. Of course, the design partners are not the only companies and people who have influenced the design. You'll hear more about the other methods we used, including, of course, this blog!
Read about some new usability feedback techniques we're trying in the User Experience Lab in Oceanic 1 during Lotusphere!
Merry Morse, the co-captian of our User Experience Lab is our guest blogger today.
It's January 12. Yikes.
Lotusphere is only one short week away. We are all very excited about what we will be showing you and we are very anxious to hear your feedback. One way to do that is to visit our User Experience lab, which will be located in Oceanic 1. Our theme this year is Be Heard...We're Listening! And that is just what we have been doing throughout 2006 and plan to continue in 2007.
You have been a huge partner in our Notes 8 design process. Last year at the UX Lab we conducted over 120 sessions on Notes 8 and over 90 sessions on Sametime 7.5, often with 3 or 4 people per session. What you told us last year played an instrumental role in how we designed both of these products. We would like to double that at this year's UX Lab, so we invite you all to come sign up for a session or two.
Here are some of the options you'll have:
Notes 8 "Collaboratory:"Experience a live Notes 8 environment. Play the role of an employee who works at a home goods company we call Renovations, Inc. Provide feedback on applications such as Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Help, Documents, Feeds, Activities. Tell us what you think about the overall experience of using Notes 8. Be heard...We're listening!. This is the new technique. Please come and give it a try.
Beyond Notes 8:We're starting to design areas for our next release of notes. Come tell our lead designers for Calendar and Contacts what you want in the next release of Notes. Check out an early prototype of some new Calendar ideas and give your feedback. Take a peek at new features being considered for Contacts by testing out our new prototypes. Share your thoughts on what's important for the next release of Contacts. Be heard...We're listening!
Your Web conference takes a turn: Help steer! We'd like your feedback on a new web conference experience -- joining, sharing information, and managing the shared experience. Be heard...We're listening!.
New meeting tools, hot off the press:Check out early prototypes of some new meeting tools, and give feedback on the capabilities that would be most helpful to you. Be heard...We're listening!.
Gotcontent? Share your thoughts on "Geneva:" Tell us what you think about the new content sharing capabilities and collaborative team workspace and discuss your content collaboration needs. Be heard...We're listening!.
Ride the Portal Express: See our latest offering. We have in-line editing, out of box sites and templates, provisioned user groups, and more. Tell us what you think and how your organization uses Portal.
Give us your insight on Lotus ActiveInsight: If you’ve seen the demos, give us your feedback. Share your thoughts on the value of strategy maps. Take part in a color experiment and test the effect on data consumption. Be heard...We're listening!.
Portlet Factory expert or novice?Test it out. We want to hear what you think. Be heard...We're listening!.
Electronic Forms -- Not your Grandma's Paper Forms: The current generation of tools for viewing and designing electronic forms allow you to create highly interactive user experiences. Come test drive an early build of our next release of Form Designer and Form Viewer tools. We have a form for you to design but if you want to bring your own, that would be great too! Be heard...We're listening!.
Industry Solutions for Electronic Forms: Do you manage, design or develop software for an industry in which forms play an important role in central business processes? Think banking (loan applications), insurance (workman's compensation), health care (medical records) and more. If so, tell us about how you use forms in these processes. Be heard...We're listening!.
Test drive the new Lotus social software for business, including our activity-centric collaboration solution Get your opinions heard!Try out our EACH OF OUR social software COMPONENTS for yourself. Let us know what you think about getting started with Web 2.0 and what it would take to deploy this new tool set in your organization. Be heard...We're listening!
Design your own components: Even if you have never used it, try out our component designer, use our training and help, which has been designed with input from our customers. Be heard...We're listening!.
We will have sign-up sheets at the lab. Come sign up early. Last year we had to send people away. Be heard!
And in case you dn't know how to find us:
Lotus is committed to being backward compatible. There are some times, however, when it is a real challenge to be both fully backward compatible and also to improve usability.
Here's a case I ran into yesterday. The new dialog box for replication schedule gives users 2 controls to pick what time to start, and what time to finish. In our usability tests, users found this generally more usable than the previous control (mainly because they did not need to guess on the alphanumeric to use for the range -- the "-" is what to use.)
HOWEVER, the QE team informs me that that the old field actually can accept specific times, not just a range. I did not know that. Nothing in the old UI implied that. Did any of you know that? Do any of you set specific times in a way that you could NOT revise them as a range?
So my dilemma today is what to do about this. The easiest thing from a dev point of view would be to change the field back so that it can accept comma-delimited specific times. But that sacrifices the usability. For backwards compatibility, if anybody DID comma-delimit specific times, we could probably support it, but leave the "from" and "to" fields blank. That looks broken.
And no, I am not going to redesign the dialog to allow Samantha to choose EITHER a range or specific times. Lotus Notes is notorious for giving users so many ways to do a thing that they get overwhelemed with choices.
There might be history here that I don't know, like in some previous version, ONLY specific times were supported. But the case as I see it from Notes 7 to Notes 8 is that there was nothing to lead users to believe that they coudl comma-delimit specific times, so I'm not going to change the new UI. If you have a comma-delimited list of times, we'll support it but leave the fields blank.
Let the commentary begin.[Read More]
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 983 Views
During Lotusphere, the user Experience group will be having a lab in Oceanic 1. As part of that, we'd like you to bring (short) samples of real spreadsheets, presentations, or documents that you've created, and re-create them using the new tools that IBM is including in the next release of Notes.
We'll observe, discuss, and generally get a feel from you what we can improve, what works, and how you like them.
See you there![Read More]
Mary_Beth 110000PF38 512 Views
Join the LotusUserGroup.org Virtual User Group Meeting on January 10th from 12:30 pm to 1:15 pm Eastern Time. Participation is free for members, but pre-registration is required. Register at http://www.LotusUserGroup.org/vug
Mobilize Your Lotus Notes for Handhelds and PDAs
Presented by: Rob Wunderlich, Technology Evangelist, IBM
Wednesday, January 10, 2007 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm (Eastern, GMT-5)[Read More]
One of the purposes of this blog is that the actual release of Notes 8 should have no surprises. I want to involve the user community in every possible phase, and be clear about what is and is not happening in the release.
To that end, I do want to let you all know that, to my knowledge, there are no plans to distribute CDs for a public beta at Lotusphere.
I do not want folks being disappointed.
IBM hasn't said we'd have one available at Lotusphere.
You will, however, be able to see and use a recent build of Hannover in the Meet the Developer lab, in our User experience lab, and elsewhere.
Here are 2 screenshots of the Workspace facelift that I mentioned.
This first one shows hover the mail database. Hover is not something that the old Workspace had. Note that we're experimenting with the tab color. Specifically, rather than making the entire tab a color, we've got just a color block at the beginning. The is the same color that your old tab used to be. And we plan to pick up on that color and in the Launch list, make the corresponding folder that color. You can see that we have retained the unread marks and the stacked replicas, but rounded the edges of the chicklets slightly. You can turn on server names if you want.
The second one shows that the Mail 8 database is selected and hover is over bookmarks.