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).
In a view, you'd see the first row below (with search right- justified at the end).
In a document, you'd see the second row (Again, with search at the end)
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.
The Hannover client will support some amount of theming through .css files. Jeff Eisen already mentioned it in his blog the other day. The theme variations are mainly color and button shape in "framework" parts like the tab row and status bar, and in views built with Java.
It is unclear right now whether we'll be able to fit in the ability to theme the Notes forms. Probably not.
For me, as a designer, this is exciting news. It means that an admin/app dev can make the Notes client basically use their company colors. We have several themes in our internal builds, although none of them are actually very different. I'm talking about the rich client --the Notes client--here, not just the web, just to be clear for Hynek.
So, if Mike Rhodin or someone makes a big deal about this at Lotusphere (or Fall DNUG), please react with the requisite excitement and enthusiasm. And if you happen to meet Matt Hatem at Lotusphere (or fall DNUG) buy him a beer (or a case or a barrel-- he especially likes microbrews), and thank him profusely, since he's the developer who implemented it
I'm writing from the Phoenix airport, on my way home from the Lotus Advisor conference, where I had a successful (from my point of view) talk that asked for feedback about 5 design issues. I ended up not asking about the Home page one.
Thanks for all your comments about the Getting started. Sure sounds like most of you like the option of us supplying a separate html file that shows up as a tab, rather than using the existing Home page stuff (which will still be there.)
Regarding the content of the Getting Starting page, the example I showed mentioned ONLY "Framework" features on purpose. This is because first, there are plenty of new framework features to talk about and second, I was thinking, you might not apply the new mail/calendar/address book template. Maybe that's not good thinking on my part-- if the Getting Started is easy to modify, it doensn't really matter what IBM puts there, then, I guess because you can change it.
I've been toying with the idea that in addition to a Getting Started Page, IBM really do a good job spiffing up the "About this database" page and turn that "on" by default so that all users of the new mail template have to see a few pictures and a quick list of the important things like:
Unread messages are now BOLD, not red!
I want to take more of a "just-in-time" or "context-based approach to learning the new feautres-- Samantha won't sit down and watch a tutorial for longer than about 3 minutes, so I think we need to chunk up the info and put it in her face as she goes to use each of the revised templates or some other time-- not everything all at once. The "About this database " page is the easiest thing I can think of leveraging now.
I'm standing on the "lab floor" of the Lotus Advisor conference, trying to write this entry in between giving demos of Hannover.
The time is coming for me to make some decisions about a "Getting Started" or "Welcome Page". Here are the options:
We use the current Lotus Notes Home Page mechanism in bookmarks.nsf. Some of the issues here are:
We'd put "getting started" information on what we call the "Setup" page (you have probably not seen this page in a long time), but users who have customized their home page (or who have set something else as their home page, like the Workspace), will not see such information. The current startup page from Notes 7 looks like this:
Should we change that so we FORCE users to see the new information? DO you want the ability to decide whether to force users to see that information? The information might be something like this; the content is subject to change
Option 2: We use Eclipse mechanism, whereby we have a separate tab for a "Getting Started" page, written in HTML. Users see it, and can close it, and then get back to it from the Help menu. It's totally separate from Bookmarks.nsf.
Users would see 2 separate tabs-- one for "Getting Started" and one for "Home"
If we supply this, we'll still provide the Home page stuff (note: We're making the terms consistent so that we always refer to it as the Home Page (rather than our current mix of Home Page and Welcome Page). So once Samantha closes the Getting started, she'll see the Notes Home Page.
Option 3: Forget about the idea of supplying any "Getting Started/Home page" information, just take users right to their mail (Or calendar).
I'm preparing my session for the Lotus Advisor next week. I'll also be working in the lab there, hoping to get some feedback on a "pre-beta build."
My talk is on the "Hannover top ten" -- the top 5, really, the top 5 new features that other people are not covering in their talks, and the top 5 features on which I want design feedback. The top 5 design issues or features that I'll discuss aren't necessarily the top 5, they'll just be the top 5 that development is trying to finalize back at home the day I give the talk. I think that's just fine, because the timing of input is very important, and the folks at this conference will have an opportunity to influence the design-- and they and I will get to have a more in-depth conversation than this blog provides (but don't get me wrong, I am really appreciative of the feedback I get here). The talk will probably include my recent postings here about locations and the Welcome page (I'm working on that posting now), and I'm not sure what else yet.
I did a similar talk at DNUG (Deutsche Notes user Group) in May, but I don't want to ask for feedback on those same issues, because we've already made decisions based on the feedback we got at DNUG, and moved on with the design.
I've been thinking about the terms for the 3 "out of the box" locations. Some ideas:
OfficeNot office, but onlineOffline
I suppose we can add/use "internet", but I must admit, I've heard people say "but I connect to the internet when I'm at the office" so they get confused.
... and by the way, I"m writing this from my (relatively new) iMac, on which I'm running the Notes 7.0.2 beta, and I think it's looking very nice! I had nothing to do with any of the design for the 7.x releases, so this is a kudo to my predecessors. Thanks for your good work![Read More]
Thank-you to all of you who took the time to read the big Locations posting and to write your comments. Wow.
As usual, many many good ideas, and keep them coming. I have read every single response.
Based on these responses, we'll have 3 locations by default (and yes, if Samantha had custom ones we'll keep them). I have to laugh. I ask you for 2 or 4... and you-all tell me 3 :).
?? the other? "Internet" does not adequately describe the difference in user experience. What is the primary difference in user experience? Is it "direct connection/no firewall" or "maybe slower" I liked the person who suggested "VPN" (although that still does not suggest the difference to Samantha's actual experience).
I *DO* hear the gist of many of your postings-- since there are so many users, no one set of defaults will be usable by everybody. So we should try to make as much as possible configurable through user policy. Creating locations and setting their settings via policy--this is something that the admin team has wanted to do. It has teetered on the cusp of being in or out of the release (due to time, it's definitely a good idea). At the moment, it has teetered out.
Having a new client type and associated locations is a great idea. I'll bring it up and see how far I can take the idea for Hannover-- and certainly I"ll make sure it's in the feature request database if it does not get into Hannover.
Thanks again for all the comments... and by the way, I was able to keep "brother-in-law #3" from selling Outlook to my 2 other brothers-in-law over vacation. It certainly helped that one of them takes his laptop to the beach and works from all kinds of local replicas. :)
Here I am on vacation at the New Jersey Shore- Long Beach Island. It's a "family reunion" type vacation-- my husband and 5 (of his 7) siblings, their spouses, and kids. Plus grandma and grandpa. We're renting 5 cottages along the shore. It's beautiful. However, I had not been on "vacation" for more than 5 minutes before brother-in-law #1 said,"Hey! yesterday, this guy at work was swearing about everything he hates about Lotus Notes, and I told him, just wait! I'll be seeing my sister-in-law next week, and I'll tell her everything you said."
Then, brother-in-law #2 chimed in "Yeah, I have to use Lotus Notes on my new job!,"
So here I sit at the beach, doing "semi-contextual" research about the things they love and hate. It's kinda fun. I can hardly wait until Friday, when brother-in-law #3 arrives. He's a salesman for Microsoft. :)
OVERVIEW of Locations (and I'm vacation all next week, so no posting) In Hannover, Samantha Daryn (a design persona) will be able to:
Use a few simple locatoins (e.g. Online and Offline, Travel, and Home)
See all her old locations from Notes 7 if she had a bunch of custom ones, exept a few that we are consolidating (e.g. the 2 "home" ones)
Manage her locations in a comprehenisble way (from a spot off the menu tree as compared to Notes 7 where it is buried in the personal name and address book)
We will keep the Notes concept of "Locations" but reduce the number of them. OLD TERM New Term/mapping Office (network) Online Island (disconnected) Offline Travel (notes direct dialup) Travel (should we remove?) Home (notes direct dialup) Home (should we remove?) Home (network dialup) <remove> Internet <remove>
Samantha will still see a "picklist" of locations in her status bar, and be abe to "Edit Current..." from there. (however, choosing Edit Current will bring up a dialog now).
We're simplifying the menus by changing "Mobile" to "Locations" and having fewer choices:
Choosing "Switch to Location..." brings up the same dialog as "Choose Current Location" used to. Choosing "Manage Locations" brings up the following dialog:
And Choosing "New" or "Edit" brings up basically the following dialog (remember, we're now hiding the internet browser and the instant messaging tabs because they have preferences elsewhere):
Advanced users can still go to the Personal Name and Address book, and under "Advanced", get to the locations stuff. (We really wanted to find a way to hide it for basic users, but our plates are getting full with all the other stuff we're doing, so we're hoping that these changes above will at least get Samantha off to a better start.)
A few questions: 1. Should we pare down to just 2 locations by default (online and offline) or go with the 4 listed above? 2. What should we do about the "Edit Current Time/Date..." dialog, which used to be on the menus? It's this one:
We could keep the menu item, Make it a tab in the "Edit Location" dialog, or invoke it from a button in the "Locations" preferences dialog. How many of your users still use that?
3. How important is it that we hide the Advanced stuff in the personal nab? Would having it still be there ruin any simplified experience? (of course, there are still things in the Advanced pernab that are not on this Locations redesign.)
Let's save the discussion of whether to keep the term "Locations" for another day. Thanks. I look forward to having LOTS of responses and opinions when I return from my week of vacation!
You probably remember that a while ago I asked you about your use of PDA's. In addition to the responses we recevied on this blog, the user research team has been gathering data during various customer visits. Here are our collated results. Thank you for your response, and keep those channels of communication open! (and yes, I WILL post about the redesign of Locations soon!)
Summary and some good quotes:
What is the current % of use of PDAs at your company? 1 respondent said they had over 4000 Blackberry users, but gave no %
3 said 100%
4 said 50%
14 said between 10 -35%
9 said under 10%
In many cases, even if the % was small, it was critical for that segment of the company - for execs, field workers, lawyers who needed and were expected to have 24-hour availability
Are there any company policies that restrict usage to certain job levels or roles?
Unless the company is 100% using them, more high-level managers and salespeople in the field use them.
In many firms, if you can justify the need for one and it's in budget, you get one.
Is there a push to get people onto these devices?
Again, this varies by company, but most people said that there didn't need to be a push because so many people were requesting to use them.
In one or two companies, they are trying to cut down on usage.
Do you see shift coming in the next year toward this?
Most said yes. Some said they had already seen the shift. There is clearly a big upswing in PDA usage
"Yes. I see us going towards the one employee, one PDA as we went to one employee one laptop and one person one mobile phone."
Main tasks done at your company:
C & S (many sync), contacts (many sync), mail (read more than write), web browsing, phone, extranet portal, RSS feeds, custom apps, remote admin of dbs and server
PDA you use:
clearly the Blackberry was the most widely used, especially when it came to companies that had large-scale usage
17 said some sort of Blackberry (in a few cases this was a backup to another PDA)
7 Palm Treo
2 Windows Mobile
2 Pocket PC
1 Palm OS phone
1 HP iPAQ
What are the main things you do with it? (Many are same as company)
C & S (many sync), contacts (many sync), mail, web browsing, phone, extranet portal, RSS feeds, sudoku, teletext, reminders, todos, play games, alerts - replacement for a pager
What are the biggest changes you see in your usage of a PDA vs. a computer? Mostly positive responses...
"extremely convenient - would never be without it"
" necessary for working in the field"
" centralized record for meetings and contacts"
"keep more things in my mind (but really in my PDA)"
"The ability to have the device switched on all the time - real time connection to the business makes a difference"
"great for looking for snippets of information"
" carry my PDA places I wouldn't want to lug my laptop" - (MM - remember when a laptop was considered light?)
"damn screen is too small. useless to read mail with attachments"
"less functional web browsing because screen is small"
"Different devices, totally different purposes. PDA should be focused on single tasks that I can do quickly and accessible using one hand."
" depends where i am - prefer my wireless laptop in my office"
" more accessible - unfortunately"
"Some Blackberry users tend to do more and more on that device instead of their laptop. One non-technical co-worker of mine did Lotusphere without his laptop for instance."
Does the ability to sync data to a PDA lessen the amount of printing you do?
Most said they did not notice a difference in printing. Some, because they never printed their calendars anyway and some because they always like to print calendars.
One respondent made a plea not to get rid of printing in Hannover...
*** Please don't let an increased PDA population be used support any temptation to "cheap-out" on printing support / features in Hannover. ***
"huge benefit for me.. as I'm only part of the time in the office, and I wouldn't even know where my nearest printer is"
"I usually don't print schedules in the first place, but I do look at my PDA calendar a lot more than my PC." (a few people noted that they saw more of a difference in the use of the PC or laptop because it was easier to log into their PDA than boot up just to see calendar or contact info)
"I've never heard of PDAs having anything to do with printing"
"Yes -execs used to have their calendars printed for them every a.m. and faxed throughout day to have an up to the minute schedule. Now they have that on their Blackberry and don't need printouts"
"Mary, I'm glad you are so open to listening on the PDA front. It's a killer app in terms of the competition. If I tell IBMers that EasySync is awful (it is and I've used it for over 5 years), they shrug and point out that there are other commercial apps. I find the commercial apps appropriate for sites that invest in an organization-wide PDA plan. Unfortunately, most of the PDA/SmartPhone usage that I see, is with individuals who are trying to tough it out on their own. Well, maybe not most—maybe 50/50. I think it is an unbelievable oversight that Notes doesn't include the synchronization software equal to that which is available for Outlook."
" As you are asking, I'll mention that everyone who has used Outlook is quite unhappy with EasySync. Due to the nature of the people who have PDAs, it is a relevant problem for the future of Lotus Notes in the companies we work with. We have some customers with mNotes but, usually, they find that solution too expensive (partly because of the low number of PDA users)."
"What I would like my smartphone/pda to do is be able to sync remotely. - If I'm asked to go to a meeting I should be able to accept/reject/reschedule the meeting - Being able to sync with the journal.nsf would be useful too and since that can be stored in the mail file it would be nice to be able to do that remotely too."
"Would be nice to have it built into Domino; Exchange offers such a feature and in Domino you need to buy additional 3rd party products"
"They are very important to our business as these staff need to be alerted to market changes and/or internal problems immediately and in detail. They fulfill a function alongside the large screen as a means of keeping in touch and being alerted to useful information. People also carry them around within the office to ensure they don't miss anything when away from their desk. The majority of usage is the pushing of emails which come from internal systems that users can subscribe to. "
"One of the biggest frustrations of Blackberrys is that they will only connect to the user's email, calendar and todo. The Windows Mobile devices (iMates etc) using mNotes allow you to connect to multiple mail accounts. This is very useful if you have centralised mail accounts that are accessed by several users in the office. The only real solution we've had until now is to forward all mail received at the central account to each user's mail file. If IBM could come up with a solution to that I'd be very pleased. In addition to this the mForms application from Commontime allows easy development of applications within Domino Designer to run on mobile devices."
Here's an update on what we plan to do with the whole embedded browser thing.
Samantha will always use the WMC browser application (rather than the Notes embedded browser) when she clicks a URL. WMC = Workplace Managed Client = the java wrapper. See Jeff Eisen's posting for more details about where Java ends and basic Notes begins.
Samantha will set a preference from her Hannover "unified preferences" preferences for whether to use the embedded browser or the browser that she set as her default browser. The embedded browser will give her the following:
IE on Windows
Firefox on Linux
Safari on a Mac
Her preferences might look a bit like this:
Now, this means that we no longer allow you to set a different browser per location. What say you? Based on the earlier responses, it looks like everybody really just wanted to use their "default browser" and that's it, regardless of location.
So, last, For those die-hard Domino designer types who love to set a different default browser for testing, here is the (somewhat overcomplicated, if you ask me) plan for you:
We'll detect if Domino Designer is installed. If yes, you still set your default browser as per above, but when you are in Designer, and you pick the menu item to "preview in browser", we respect the setting you have made in your location document. This means that, for "Samantha", we hide that "internet Browser" tab in the location document now. But for you savvy types, we show it.
Lotus Notes allows users to choose what to do when they click on a URL in Notes. The choices in Notes 7 include:
The Notes browser
Notes with Internet Explorer
Other (Firefox, Mozilla, etc)
I must admit that I have limited experience with the Notes browser, because the first thing I always did was change that setting to use Internet Explorer (and more recently, Firefox). (The first release of Sametime did, I think, have the Sametime Online Meeting room run in the Notes browser. Well, at least, those early versions of the meeting room ran in a Notes tab. It might not have been the Notes browser.)
We are planning to drop support of the Notes browser in the Hannover release. We are also going to add "Firefox" as a "real" choice, not just a lowly "other".
I sincerely hope that any comments to this announcement are in the category of "yeah, whatever, we do not rely on the Notes Browser," because that is the impression that I've gotten. But, that's why I have this blog. If any of you rely on the Notes browser rather than the other choices, now is the time to start planning what to do. If any of you MUST still have it, now is the time to make your empassioned plea for us to keep it.
(And regarding how Samantha GETS to edit those internet browser choices... from the Location document....TECHNOLOGICALLY that is not going to change, but we are trying tomake the entire locations stuff available from the preferences.)
In my last posting, I detailed how the design team operationalized the expression "world-class user experience."
In addition to trying to achieve that blanket statement, each Lotus Notes release has certain themes. Here are the themes of the "Hannover" release, as agreed upon by product management, design, and engineering:
A new user experience that incorporates usability enhancements and overall ease of use gains for customers
§Improvements in Mail and Calendaring & Scheduling to support enterprise organizations
§Significant improvements in Contact Management
§Integration with real-time Collaboration throughout the entire user experience
§“Activities” model that extends collaboration in context of user activities
§Exploitation of the Managed Client capabilities (rich server-based client management)
§Continued commitment to cross platform solutions (simultaneous ship on Windows & Linux, Macintosh to follow)
§§New “composite application” capabilities integrate Notes, open standards, HTML solutions in single desktop user experience
I got the impression from some of the comments that it looks like the design team is randomly picking different issues to address, and that a more comprehensive approach to designing Lotus Notes might be more fruitful. I can understand why these blog postings might give you the impression that the team is "hunting and pecking" at various issues. I tend to post questions about the various design issues that we're encountering on a day to day basis, however, I want to assure that we've got a more holistic approach.
We started with the statements from DNUG 2005 (Deutsche Notes User Group):
§“Hannover” will deliver a world class user experience in mail, calendar, and contact management, and new capabilities such as activity management and composite applications through its use of IBM Workplace Client Technology."
§The design team operationalized the "world class user experience" statement by dividing it into 4 areas:
Visual Style is all about the visual design, and creating a visual system that is applied consistently across an entire product set.
§Usefulness is about day-to-day use, and supporting Samantha in getting her tasks done. It's about capability, and task flow. It's about being task centric, not tool centric.
§Innovation is about setting the pace, and changing the game. It's about leading, rather than following
§Execution is about attention to detail; it's about meticulous execution on the finer points, an emphasis on delighting Samantha with the experience, and avoiding dissatisfaction.
Most of the postings here have to do with "Usefulness" and "Execution." This is due to the nature of the other two areas, and to the nature of a blog. Certainly Lotus Notes could use some new visual style, and you know that we are working on that. You've seen several different looks at various conferences. We're leaving most of the visual style issues up to the visual designers, informed by feedback from several controlled focus-group type exercises. And the innovation area still has many topics that are IBM confidential, so I'm clearly not at liberty to write about those.
That leaves "usefulness", and one of the main things we learn from this blog is how different organizations use Notes in different ways. We supplement this information, of couse, through the surveys and a few site visits. You've given us some great feedback on the usefulness of some proposed features (and proposed cuts).
The bulk of my postings have been about execution. I think this is because of the nature of a blog. I can take one small issue, craft a question supported by a few pictures, and gather feedback. Quite frankly, I also think that "execution" in user experience details is an Achilles Heel for Notes. It is not known for attention to user experience details, and our development process and culture did not, in the past, reward such attention. But things are changing, and feedback from this blog is helping. Thanks!
Oh, and the reason I have "Make Available Offline..." on the File menu and Not on the replication pull-right is that in my little heart of hearts, I was hoping that we could control ALL of that replication stuff by policy and Samantha would never even need to see the Replication pull-right and we could HIDE it (remember my early postings about menu sets?) from the end users. But at the moment, it does not look like that level of policy control and admin control over menus is going to happen in the Hannover release. (heh, hehe, which is why, Matt, I need to keep blogging after Hannover ).
....I have nightmares that Notes Users Groups all over the world curse me at their meetings and say to each other. "What on earth is THAT WOMAN THINKING???"... so , at least with regard to this one menu item, now you know.
Matt asked if I planned to keep up this blog after the Hannover release ships. That's still several months away, but at the moment I fully intend to. I am trying to involve more of the designers in making their own postings, especially quick opinion questions.
Several of you asserted that all client features should be settable through preferences. I agree, and I do know that folks on the admin side (Chip Carter, Art Thomas, Laurie Sprague, Ana Kapetanakis, ... I'm sure I've forgotten some...) are working on making more of the preferences settable via policy. The designer for the admin user experience part is Scott Davidson, and I'll try to get him to blog about it here as a guest.
.. and all your responses to the replication stuff has made me want to do more redesign, so I'm keeping it short tonight to start new drawings :)
In my posting about new replication dialogs the other day, one of the respondents asked what the "Options..." button would do.
Clicking on the "Options" button brings up the replication options dialog, shown below. Now, the first problem is that Notes calls this "Options" in some cases and "Settings" in others, and for this release, we're just trying to be consistent in calling them Options.
I had made many design changes to this set of dialogs, and some of you may have seen them in Lotusphere usability tests. I even re-designed based on those tests and we ran a second set of usability tests. Both sets of tests on these dialogs had mixed results. Many of the problems came from the fact that we asked participants to set specific options for "Database A" and to also set some different options for all future local replicas. Very few participants accomplished the task, mainly because the difference between the Options (which are database-specific) and the Defaults (which are in preferences) is unclear.
Below you'll see the Preferences (Replication defaults) that we plan to have in Hannover. Quite frankly, I want to get rid of these replication defaults preferences altogether. I think it's overkill. The Samanthas of the world are presented with too many options, and the links between them are not clear. Maybe I am just giddy with the success of removing "zoom preview".
How often do any of your (or your business users) use this feature:
View - Document Preview - Zoom Preview?
It "zooms" the preview into taking up the entire tab, but the tab label is still for the view, not the document that got zoomed. We're thinking of removing this, because we suspect that it's quicker to just open the document, and doing so does not have the usability ramifications of providing a "misleading" tab title.
Thanks, folks, you've given me many good ideas. Regarding the placement of the History menu item, I was thinking of moving it down, because I was trying to group "Things you do often" and "Things you do rarely", tho it appears that some of you like the logical group of "things that pertain to this database" so indeed, I'll probably keep History where it is.
We're making a few improvements to the user experience of replication in the Hannover release.
Our goals are this:
Make it eaiser for end users to figure out how to make a local replica
Make it easier for end users to figure out how to set a replication schedule (and that it's based on location)
Standarize our terms for "options" and "settings" (we picked "options").
First, we've added a new menu item to the file menu-- "Make Available Offline...." This is specifically for making a local replica. We'll still have the old UI for making "any old replica on a server or locally". (Our tests indicated that most end users were stopped in their tracks when the first field on the "New Replica" dialog said "Server: Local". It just twisted their brains.)
Second, we're adding a "Change Schedules" menu item to the Replication pull-right. I'm a bit on the fence over this, so give me your opinions. Right now, users need to go to the replication page and click a thingy that looks like a URL link, OR edit their location document from the personal name and address book (or choose "Edit Current..." in the status bar. ) Our interpretations of the currnet UI are that functionality from the replication page is generally hidden, and that getting to that functionality via the location documents is tough because most users don't know that location documents is where those options are stored. So we're trying to make it more obvious. But maybe we won't need to, because I've also added a "Change Schedules" button to the new "Make Available Offline" dialog.
The dialog that Samantha sees if she clicks either the Change Schedules menu item or the "Set or Change Schedules" button in the new dialog is the following: (And yes, you can still get to it from the personal name and address book.)
I am hoping that the dialog above will help educate users that the schedulesare set based on location. We've done 2 rounds of usability tests with this dialog, and they can set their schedules, but most participants still thought they were setting a schedule for a particular database.
Now, some of you may have seen a prototype at Lotusphere that we were testing, and we've changed a few things since then. At Lotusphere we were thinking of combining the "New Replica" and "New Copy" dialogs and giving users a choice one they launched the dialog. We've abandoned that idea because for those of you who DO know the difference, it just flummoxed you-all and caused you to not complete your tasks.
I noticed that "Hey, you wanna go to my hotel room and replicate" was not one of them.
For those of you who DO like to replicate in your hotel rooms (alone or with someone else), you'll be happy to know that we are NOT planning to change the term "replicate" to "synchronize". I had a demo at Lotusphere that had changed the term. Based on feedback from YOU, we're not going to make the change.
I am re-posting the following IBM internal blog posting from Chris Samoiloff in a public forum because I agree with everything Chris said. Thank you, user research and usability team!
From Christ Samoiloff-- our prototyping guru:
Speaking of usability— was I? This past week I had some extra cycles to help our usability specialists with Hannover testing. I have worked with these same people creating web prototypes for early testing. However, this past week opened my eyes to just what it takes to be a usability specialist. Here is my list of qualifications to be a usability specialist – nevermind the degrees:
It takes supreme patience—patience with people, patience with complex and buggy software, patience with people coming in to test, patience with people who have no clue about how to do this job who are helping for the week.
It takes discretion— discretion to handle buggy software without dissing it to our testers. "Yes, that feature is not currently available."
It takes humility—There were lots of technical issues setting up a complete Hannover environment. Some usability specialists have a bit of technical knowledge, but that is not their primary job qualification. So they are forced to rely on the goodwill of technical people who can help them work out all the issues needed to get the product up and running. And sometimes they must even ask questions more than once because there is so much to learn. And they have to learn it because they are putting it in front of users.
It takes flexibility, creativity, and quick thinking— the ability to scratch plan A and go to plan B when they find asking the user to do something isn't supported by the software at this time (and maybe even crashes the thing).
It takes detective work— this is something I helped with and I got a complete feel for how hard it is. Usability testers have to find testers who fit the profile of the personaes they have used in their scenarios (an AA, a president of a company, an individual contributor). First there is finding these people. Then there is getting them to agree to take a couple of hours out of their day to participate in a test (with minimal reimbursement, really).
I could go on, but you get the picture. Have you told any usability specialists how much you appreciate them, lately?[Read More]
This is an appropriate time to introduce the user research and usability team, because the Hannover project has just released a "pre-beta" to a very few customers, and to several hundred internal users. It's a very exciting time, because the whole thing is starting to come together, and people can actually see and use it, rather than just look at pictures or prototypes from my team.
The team I'm introducing to you today has already contributed to Hannover in many ways, including conducting surveys about the workspace and replication, creating and testing prototypes, and conducting usability tests (both local and remote ones) on early builds. This phase, and the next one-- a more broadly-distributed beta-- will be very busy ones for this team as they gather feedback and work with the designers to improve the release based on the feedback.
Betsy Comstock is the lead user researcher. She's worked on several other products at IBM before joining the Hannover team. Prior to that, she worked with my husband (an electrical engineer/software developer) at Polycom (then PictureTel). She inadvertently did wonderful things for my marriage by having him participate in a usability test. He came home that day and asked "So, is THAT what you do all day at work??" (What did he THINK I do? Walk around with a candy basket?)
Deb Maurer has worked on Notes and Workplace Managed Client Usability. She used to grace our hallways in Westford, MA, but she now works out of her home in Chicago. She's the one who put together (and analyzed the results of) the Workspace survey that many of you responded to earlier this year. She's also done several tests of variations on the new window management models.
Sheri Branco has worked on Notes usability for several years, and she is a wealth of knowledge about what did/did not get tested in previous versions of the product. She did the Replication and locations survey that many of you responded to. She's currently on maternity leave, and we can't wait until she comes back!
Meng Yang is focuses on Search (the improved Search is absolutely fabulous... I haven't blogged about that yet, I should... I'm condifent that the "Samantha's" of the world will find it much improved!). She's also the usability engineer for the stupendous new Sametime 7.5.
Michelle Cooper focuses on the usability of the IBM Productivity Tools. She, like Sheri, is also on maternity leave. They share an office at work. You have to wornder if it was something in the air. I'm very happy for them both, but I have no intentions of going anywhere near that office, just in case it's contagious.
Eileen Driscoll and Roger Didio are covering various usability areas while Sheri and Michelle are our on maternity leave.
Chris Samoiloff is our Prototyping guru. She's espeically assisted with the Search prototypes that Meng then tested.
Andy Lafleur is the manager of the user research and usability group.
As we speak to customers, we are hearing about the growing use (some call it their "addiction to") of Blackberries and other PDAs. This has made us curious about a few things regarding how people at your company use them and how you use them.
What is the current % of employees who use PDAs at your company?(a ballpark figure is fine, e.g. less than 10%, maybe 50% etc)
Are there any company policies that restrict usage to certain job levels or roles?
What are the main things that other people at your organization DO with their PDAs?
Has the use of PDAs reduced the amount of printing? (and if so, what gets printed less?)
Is there a push to get people onto these devices?
Do you see shift coming in the next year toward this?
Your own usage:
If you don't use a PDA now, do you see yourself getting one soon?
If you use a PDA now, which one do you use?
What are the main things you do with it?
What are the biggest changes you see in your usage of a PDA vs. a larger-screen computer?
Does the ability to sync data to a PDA lessen the amount of printing you do? For example, do you look at your meetings on the PDA instead of printing out your schedule?
I gave a talk today at the IBM Best Practices in Collaboration conference in New York. At the end of it, one of the listeners commented that people tend to speak up if they DISAGREE with a decision, and she asked how I could be sure that I'm not getting a "silent majority" phenonenon to many of my postings (for example, the one about popping up that dialog to ask you if you wanted to put a database icon on your workspace, where just about everybody said "yuck, don't do it!" ).
What if, of the 800 or so hits I got that day, 770 of you-all really liked the idea and only the 30 of you who hated it posted a comment?
I have no way of telling, unless you post comments when I ask for feedback. So, if you have an opinion when I ask for one, please post it.
Well, you gave me quite the "Welcome back from vacation" set of responses.... NOT!!!
OK, I hear ya. One keystroke to lock the entire OS is a bad idea. The choices are either to do that, or nix (cut) the screenlock feature altogether for the Hannover release. Now, I know that security is very VERY important, and is probably THE most important asset that Lotus Notes has over any other product. So, educate me. I would bet that 99% of end users don't even know that the screen lock feature in Notes exists. So tell me-- do you educate your users about it? Do you have a corporate policy for using it? Is "Screen Lock" why you buy Lotus Notes... or is it just a side effect?
Whoever pretended to be Ted Amado, our VP design persona--you are brilliant, and you made me laugh out loud-- but I bet you the price of a Lotusphere registration that real "Teds" (e.g. Vice presidents of various companies) do know know that the "Screen Lock" feature exists in Lotus Notes.
I really do want to make the majority of you/end users happy (OK, if not happy, just not incredibly frustrated) with the direction that the Hannover release is taking. I am going to have the dev team code up the F5-to-lock-the-OS feature, and we have a public beta in the fall. If the actual usage feedback is bad, we'll cut it, and have no screen lock. It's easier to have SOMETHING and cut it than to have nothing at all and try to add it.
Yeah, I know, most of you think, "How hard can it be"... remember, Hannover is the Mother of all integration clients (which is why I-- a mother of 2-- am in charge of the User experience of it). We are putting the IBM productivity editors (a spreadsheet, a word processor, a presentation tool -- in it)-- these would not necessarily be locked by the traditional Notes screen lock. Am I being too conservative in thinking that I'd rather have NO Screen lock feature at all than have users think that the feature locks windows/screen that it does not? I have not discovered a screen lock feature for MS Office, or anything Google... why is it important for Lotus Notes to have it?
I do not mean to sound defensive. I think your comments are good, healthy "slaps upside my head" so that I better understand real-world usage. So slap me upside the head some more.. is this "screen lock" issue a Hannover "Make or break" part of the release? or just easy to comment on?
Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm heading to New York for a 3-day, IBM internal conference on collaboration best practices.
I don't know how much I'll blog from there, but I'm pretty sure that attendees will be checking out this blog, because I'm going to mention it in a talk I'm giving about collaborating with users to re-design Lotus Notes. (This is your chance to make some comments that hundreds of IBMers might read.)
Wow, 75 responses. You folks scare me a little, because you had more to say about F5 than about the Workspace redesign.
I've read all the responses (and so have various developers and dev managers) and we had a meeting to discuss, and here's what we've decided:
1. We want to give you configurable function keys but can't fit it in with all the other things for Hannover. So we're taking note for a future release.
2. The Lock Display feature will invoke the windows Lock computer function.
3. To invoke it, users will continue to use the menu or the F5 key.
4. The Sametime 7.5 implementation automatically puts you into "away" mode when your windows computer goes into "lock Computer" mode.
Given the variety of responses, there is no way we could make everyone happy (OK, Nathan, I know, configurable function keys would make ALMOST everybody happy). We do appreciate the responses and pay attention to them, even if what you learn here is sometimes disappointing. I'd rather have you learn about it now and be able to prepare for it than be surprised after the product ships.
Thanks again for all of your feedback and your passion for Lotus Notes!
Notes has a feature called "Lock Display" or "Lockout" (press F5 or choose File - Security - Lock Display).
Do you use it? How often?
Do your business end users even know it exists?
We are considering not having that feature in Hannover. If we dropped support of this feature in Hannover would it adversely affect your decision to purchase or deploy it?
We're considering dropping it because Hannover allows for several different window management models-- in addition to having each document open in a tab contained in a main window, you can set a preference to have all documents open in a new window. In such a case, implementing the screen lock feature to apply to all these windows would require more work. It's doable-- but would you rather have us working on new mail, calendar or contacts features?
OK, so, it's pretty clear that this "ask Samantha if she wants to add a database" is a really unpopular idea. To be fair (to us designers) the mental model we'd been using was that of things like a document-- when you go to close it, you get asked if you want to save it. But OK, fine. Browser mental model it is.
Unlike browsers, however, I am recommending that the Window menu be turned on by default in Hannover (for those of you who don't know-- there IS a window menu in Notes 7, it is turned OFF by default and you have to search some archane preference to turn it ON), and that we have a "History" menu item off the window menu. (I also thought it might be cool to have a "history" tab that's always visible across the top... but the devs gave me "yucky faces" looks when I floated the idea...so I dropped it).
In Notes, when Samantha opens a database that isn't already on her workspace, the database is added automatically to the current workspace page. In Hannover, there can be no notion of "current location" for the launch list. In addition, users are not unanimous in their appreciation of this feature -- many users don't want databases to be added to the workspace automatically. Nonetheless, existing Notes Workspace users will have an expectation that databases will be added automatically, and we need to respect this expectation.
Preferred solution: Ask Samantha if she wants to add new databases (a dialog plus a preference setting)
When Samantha opens a database (by clicking a doc, view, or database link, by selecting File - Database - Open, or in any other way), we should detect whether that database already exists on her launch list/workspace. If it doesn't, then when she closes the database, open a variation of the "Add Bookmark" dialog giving her the opportunity to bookmark it. We should do this on close and not on open, because when Sam is first opening a database, she may not have a clue whether she wants to bookmark it or not -- she hasn't seen it yet!
And here's the related preference:
So.. what do you think? our Chief engineer (Jeff Eisen) is not so keen on this-- only because the "right" thing to do might be to eliminate this annoying dialog and instead implement a really good search, but I am on the fence about this-- it would be a domain search-- does Samantha know what that means? and even if she did, would she remember file names correctly?
Now is the time to comment on our new Workspace design.
First, please see my previous posts about the overview of the new Workspace. We have just a few changes to the context menus that you'll get on a "chicklet" (a little square). These changes are mainly because in the new Workspace you'll be able to have not only Notes databases, but also other things like installed applications, URLs, and so on.
And here's our proposed context menus for the "chicklets" in the Hannover release. Mainly, we added the ideas of "Add to favorite bookmarks" and "add to startup" . Being in the startup would mean that that tab gets "launched" when Samantha launches the Notes Client. Would users notice these choices?
I am very grateful for the 26 reponses that I have recieved regarding the workspace.
However, if indeed there are 124 MILLION Lotus Notes users out there, then 26 measly responses about the thing folks use to get al all their stuff, is an abysmal response rate. A general survey gets a 3% response rate. If we apply that to the number of Lotus Notes users, I should get AT LEAST 3 MILLION replies!!!! So where are the end users??? the tired, the poor, the huddled cubicle dwellers, yearning to breathe free??? (apologies to Emma Lazarus and her poem about the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor).
Please... cross-post my posting about the workspace. We had over 1000 responses to our survey.... where are all those people now??
Here are the 4 main problems we're trying to address in the re-design of the Workspace:
Databases only – no other types of content
Single level of tabs not very scalable
§Can't find stuff – no search
§Stuff is added automatically -- can be good, but contributes to the "can't find stuff" problem
This is what we aim to do:
Allow any type of content to be represented on the workspace
§Provide for multiple levels of tab hierarchy
§Make it possible to find stuff on the workspace
Offer more control over when and where things are added to the workspace
Hannover will have theWorkspace accept the same variety of objects that the bookmarks bar does--NOT JUST DATABASES--and allow Samantha to just switch between the cascading list model to the 2-d model. (Nathan Freeman summed it up nicely in a response to the "Workspace Part 1" blog entry. I am using almost his exact words. )
That means that there are a LOT of things we need to make sure we get right. We tried to do this with "gridded bookmarks" and failed for 2 main reasons (in my opinion): 1. we did not provide all of the features that were in the workspace, and 2. We did not really provide a usable way to nest more than 1 tab deep.
Here are your top requests; I cannot promise that we'll dliver on these, but we are investigating
§Allow the use of image resources for database icons
§Proactively alert users to non-existent databases
§Allow admins to remotely manage/lock down the workspace
When you see the picture below, you'll see that we've "turned" the tabs so that they get listed down the left-hand side. The "launcher" (which is currently selected) is a "tab" of sorts and it lists everything that is on the top level of the Launcher pull-down control. You'll be able to rearrange the chicklets; they do not all have to be grouped over to the left like I show in the picture. Putting the tabs over on the left and treating them like folders allows for multiple levels of nesting.
Unread marks: in red in the upper right.
Stacked replicas: On the bottom, with a dropdown arrow (all the examples say local)
Question: I do not yet know if we can show the file name (as in, Notes 7 if you do the magic keystorke you get the filename) I want to give users a real menu item that will place the file name properly on the chicklet. But, since I must admit that I did not know about the magic keystroke until I read Alan's blog the other day, I didn't put it in the list of requirements.... so how important is that??)
You'll also see that we gave it an action bar with: Search Database Catalog, and Browse for a Database.
And you'll see the Quick Find feature (see the second picture below).
According to our blog Admins, trackbacks were initially enabled when the blogs were deployed on Roller. However, since trackbacks were open to anonymous postings, they soon became a spam magnet. Therefore, they are currently disabled. Once the development team has time to work on it, they will customize the code so we can re-enable it.
Would it be more useful to you if I had a Wiki rather than a Blog?
A lot of the information I've been posting on my blog has been useful as reference material.
However, the blog format does not lend itself well to organizing such reference information and making it available. A blog is organized chronologically, which shows when the information was documented and shows how the documentation evolves. But it makes it difficult to find all postings on a particular topic, and to browse through all postings on that topic. It makes revisions difficult, in part because a blog is supposed to be something of a historical record, and in part because the format focuses readers on the latest postings at the expense of earlier postings. When an old posting on a topic is updated with a new posting, the new one can point to the old one but the old one cannot easily post to the new one. A reader who finds the old one has no idea there's a newer one with additional information.
A wiki organizes information around topics instead of chronologically. It doesn't show as easily when information was documented or in what order, but it does show what information is related and make it easy to browse. Wiki pages can be more easily updated with newer information, so that as readers find information in the wiki, they can be confident that it's the latest the author has made available. Many/most wikis are collaborative efforts of many people gathering together the information they know, whereas blogs are usually written by a solitary author. Perhaps with a wiki I can get more of the design team-- and even the developers-- to contribute information.
(Many thanks to Bobby Woolf for this concise comparison of blog and wiki)
In a previous posting: From Bookmark Bar to Launcher, I discussed the move from a bookmark bar to a Launcher. We also have plans to improve the Workspace as well. There are 2 ways in which we're re-designing the Workspace.
1. Making the items on your workspace more findable in the Launcher (the subject of this posting).
2. Re-designing the traditional "spatially-oriented" workspace tabs. I'll cover that in future postings, but don 't worry, you'll still have "chicklets" (little squares)
The following picture illustrates how we plan to continue to use the "Databases" item from the bookmark bar, and put a folder for each of the Workspace tabs-- and actually grab the color of your workspace tab and make the folder that color. In Notes 5,6, and 7, we do have folders to correspond to each Workspace tab, but we lost the color, and we know that cognitive research tells us that the eye is attracted to color more than anything else except movement). (And yes, I'm painfully aware that the folders and databases from the bookmark bar do not stay in synch with things that get added to the workspace-- I believe that's the biggest usability problem. And we plan to fix that.)
I have been remiss in blogging about the "other half" of the title of this blog: Sametime. My baby. I joined Iris in 1997 as the second person on a new team to take a research project called "Praire Dog" and make it into an Instant Messaging product. The hiring manager/director of the project was sufficiently influenced by Irene Greif (Group manager for the Cambridge -- then Lotus-- Research group) to pay attention to user experience from the outset, and thus hire a user experience designer early on.
Of course, Sametime has had is user experience challenges. Soon after I joined, the plan changed, and IBM purchased 2 companies at the same time (heh heh, get it??) Ubique in Rehovot, Israel provided the instant messaging portion of the product and Databeam in Lexington, Kentucky, provided the application sharing/web conferenging portion. So I didn't get to design a product from the ground up. I got to shove 2 very differnet products together.
After working on Sametime for about 5 years, I was ready for a change, and I think, Sametime was ready for some fresh design blood. So please, allow me to introduce the new Sametime user Experience Team to you.
Amy Travis is the designer for the web conferencing portion. She sits in Westford, MA, and comes to us with design experience on a variety of products, including portal team spaces. Amy hs an amazing attention to detail, and terrific usability testing stamina-- at our annual Lotusphere conference in January this year, she personally conducted something like 30 usability tests in 4 days. She didn't even get up for lunch--we'd have to bring her food. She was mobbed with people who wanted to test Sametime and she wanted to give everybody a chance!
Josef Scherpa is the designer for the instant messaging portion. He sits in some room in his house in Colorado (with a fabulous view, I suppose, but I can't be sure). He used to sit in Westford, MA, but he fell in love and got married and somehow that took him to Colorado. He's also a great skier. Before he moved to Colorado we were on a racing team together. We had a lot of fun, and, thanks to him (the only actual fast skier), our team did not come in last. (I, however, won free wax because I had the slowest racing times of anybody!)
The new Sametime 7.5 Connect client, which is in beta right now, was heavily influenced by an internal instant messaging project. Joe had the opportunity to start with that design and refine and improve it.
Michelle MCdevitt is the designer for the real-time gateway/administration for Sametime. I think this is Michelle's first admin design project. She is, however, an installation design guru, because she also works on both server and client install. She can quote you chapter and verse from the IBM install guidelines. (Pity that Lotus doesn't follow more of them, like the install directory.)
I hope to be able to introduce you to the visual designers and user researchers in another post.
FIRST: I will look into why my blog page is so wide.Then I will investigate seeing if we can fix/make possible going back to the main page once you've viewed comments. The irony of this blog about design is that I don't own this blog UI. (Ya, I know... EXTREMELY ironic, since Notes now has a blog template.)
SECOND: Regarding the sorting, we will not take away the toggle to return to the default sort. We are hoping, however, that by shading the default column header on that toggle operation, that more people will figure it out. We'll improve the sort indicator graphics. Margo and I are still on the fence about whether to have the "sortable" indication appear only on hover.
THIRD: Our Personal Name and Address Book designer (Noy Wanderski) is thinking of changing the Notes delete action for the Address Book. Here's the background information:
Currently in Notes 7, Samantha selects a few contact names and clicks 'Delete' in the action bar. This marks the contacts for deletion (an 'X' appears in the gutter). Samantha has to click the refresh icon or exit her NAB in order for the real "Delete" to occur (a confirmation message opens and she has to confirm it). The Notes devs are calling this whole thing a soft delete.
The Hannover Contacts views have no gutter for an X to appear. If a user selects a name or names and clicks 'Delete' then a confirmation message appears. Once Samantha has confirmed the delete then the contacts are officially deleted.
Keep in mind that Mail has a Trash folder. Contacts does not have such a thing. Should we introduce that? (Hum... mail is to trash as a person is to.... Limbo? a waiting room? )
A while ago I posted about the sort order. Our Mail designer Margo would like feedback on our proposal for "what to do when Samantha clicks the column header the second time."
Notes 7 Sorting Behavior
In Notes 7 (and before), Samantha clicked on a column header to sort the Inbox on that column. Most columns can only be sorted one way (i.e. ascending). When Samantha clicked on the column again, sorting on that column would 'turn off' and revert back to the default sort column (which is 'Date') in Mail. To further complicate the experience, when Samantha sorted on a column other than date, then when she clicked on the Date column, the Inbox would re-sort according to the Date, in an ascending order. If she clicked on the Date again, the code did a 'no sort' on the 'default' sort column, which is basically a descending sort order on the Date column. This funky implementation is manifest in the various up, down, up/down, and solid arrow combinations on the column headers today.
Proposal for Hannover Sorting Behavior
There are multiple changes recommended for Hannover.
1. Highlight only the currently sorted column.
This is done with the gradation (246, 249, 254) to (203, 223, 249) on the currently selected column. The default sort column for a Mail db is the 'Date' column.
2. Only show the sort indicator on the currently sorted column, not on any other column headers,
unless Samantha mouses over another column, in which case, display a sort indicator on the hovered-over column. The sort indicator is right-justified.
3. The sort indicator will either be a solid up triangle (for descending) or solid down triangle (for ascending).
4. If the column is sortable (or is the currently selected column and has additional sort orders - i.e. if date can be ascending or descending) then when Samantha hovers over the column header, we will show the sort indicator and the hover color. Otherwise, nothing will change when Sam hovers over it.
5. When Sam clicks on a column that can be sorted, the column is rendered with the gradient (215, 214, 214) to (245, 245, 245).f the column is NOT sortable (or is the currently selected column and doesn't have additional sort orders), then nothing will change when the user clicks on it.
6. Sam will no longer be able to click on the currently selected sort column to return to the default sort column (i.e. if they're sorted on Name, then they can't click on Name again to return to a Date sort).
She'll have to click on "Date" to do that.
I think this is an important, but potentially confusing (at least initially) change. We can hardly wait for your thoughts on this.
John Goldt asked if this new Launcher design means that we are requiring 2-click access to mail instead of one click.
In some cases, yes, it might. However, what we're trying to build is a server-managed client that will allow an admin to specify which applications get launched at startup so that tabs for them already appear-- thus allowing 1-click access to important things. We plan to allow Samantha or Ted or Betty to do this as well by putting things in their startup folder. Now, Notes has a startup folder today-- do you think anybody uses it? Why or why not?
The replies to my previous posting about the Launcher have been excellent to read, please keep them coming.
Yes, I'll have several future postings about the re-designed workspace.
And in general, I wholeheartedly agree with Nathan that it's too complicated. But Notes is a victim of its own success. With 125 million users, there are bound to be people who use those items on the bookmark bar. I do admit that I'm very concerned with the "new user" experience for the Hannover release-- since everyone will be a new user. I don't want people to freak out because they can't find ANYTHING.
If Samantha had 25 items in her " More bookmarks" we'd have to put them someplace. I bet most of you are workspace-only users (I can say this because the results of a survey we did indicated that most of our users still are.) It would be much eaiser to design a product from scratch (oh, wait, that's what I was doing until my management asked me to work on Notes...).
The design team could produce something that is light-years better-- just like research indicates that the Dvorak keyboard is better.... but who uses that? So, we're focusing on more of a "stepping stone" model... nothing too radical... but an improvement, we hope.
Having said that, though, I am very interested in some of the other comments made.. and in potentially exploring them, like the "Work Centres" from Colin. ... On the one hand, the new Composite applications might be considered work centres. I'll post more on composite apps another day.
Feel free to give me more opinions about what to remove from the bookmark bar/Launcher. I'd like to be able to detect if Samantha ever clicks on any of them, and if not, just remove them. The several of you who said to remove things like IE favorites and More Bookmarks-- you never use them? If people did use them, what do you recommend that we do with the items in them? One giant flat list?
One of the biggest changes for all Notes users of the Hannover release will be that the bookmark bar has been replaced by a "Launcher" button.
Just in case you are not sure what the bookmark bar is (since we don't label it), it's the yellowish vertical bar that runs down the left-hand side of the Notes window. In the picture below, the first item is the Contacts (Personal Address Book), but I think for most people it's Mail, Calendar, and then Contacts
There were only a few issues with the bookmark bar that we're trying to address with the Launcher.
The first is that some users just don' t seem to see it or understand that it's clickable. The second is that it does not scale well. After Samantha has added a few more icons over there, she runs out of space and we give her some arrows to scroll.
So, take a look at one of our initial designs for a Launcher instead. Samantha now clicks the "Launch" button and down comes a menu, complete with pull-rights for nested items. We're not finished with this yet; we plan to do some usability testing over the summer.
The plan was to have the first level of items be exactly the same items that are on your bookmark bar. Now that we're also adding support for three IBM producitivity tools (Spreadhseet, word processor and presentation tool), we'll have to put those choices on there somewhere as well.
Samantha should be able to drag and drop them to re-order them. And she'll have a context menu on each, with choices such as
Open Replica ->
Open in New Window
Always Open in New Window
Change Icon (we hope AA's liek this so they can change the icon of the 6 different mail files they manage)
Set as Home page
If you look carefully at the picture above, you see 3 dots next to the selected item "Favorite Bookmarks". That is supposed to be the visual to tell you you can float that pull-right, as shown in the following picture. I think the floating is a really cool feature, especially if we succeed in being able to let users dock such a thing in the toolbar. But I am worried that the dots might not be enough to let users know they can float it. We're trying very hard to use that consistent visual throughout the UI to let users know they can float something. Opinions?
Several of you have asked if we will fix how we show sort order in the Inbox and other views.
I had a meeting today with the Mail interaction designer (Margo Ezekiel), and two developers to discuss how we plan to show sort order in the "Hannover" release. In general, one of our "rules of thumb" is that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Is the current method of displaying sort order broken? Some would say no, others would say yes.
Here is the situation that causes the most consternation. A user such as Samantha clicks to sort her inbox by date, and she sees that she is sorting it in descending order.
So, she thinks, "I want to sort is in ascending order now", and clicks that little downarrow in the Date column header and she expects the solid triangle to point up, and the mail messages to be sorted in ascending order. Instead, when she clicks, she gets this:
"Hum," she says to herself, "The little arrow still points down. But it's not filled in. None of the little arrows are filled in. So how is it being sorted?And how can I get it to sort in ascending order by date?" She looks closer and it seems to her that it IS sorted ascending by date ... are the column headings lying to her?
THE ANSWER (I think). The Date column can be sorted descending or use the "default" order, which in this case is the order in which the mail messages arrived (Oddly enough, in this case, I think, most of the time, that equates to ascending, which might add to the confusion). So, I think that in my example above, the "Date" column is still the one that's being "sorted", except that the sort order is the "default order", which is not necessarily a "sort order", it's just an "order".
Samantha, however, just wants to find the blasted email from Ted about how she needs to make end-cap displays of toilets appeal to homeowners so that they sell all the overstock toilets that they have. Thus, she has neither the time nor the inclination to figure out email sort order. She just needs to find that mail, or her career is, almost literally, in the toilet.
Now, strictly speaking, any user of Domino Designer could fix all this confusion by going to the following box and selecting "both."
When I discovered this, I ran gleefully to the cafeteria in search of the dude who owns the mail template (it was lunchtime), to get him to pick "both." Ha. It appears that turning on "both" to sort ascending and descending is a big impact to performance and increases the size of the mail file because it creates a separate index. (I might not have this entirely right, so don't quote me.) The bottom line is, from a developer's standpoint, there is a perfectly logical reason why we don't allow ascending and descending sorting. From a developer's standpoint, it's also perfectly logical that if none of the little arrows are filled in, then the view must be using the "default sort."
But the majority of our users are NOT developers. So what should we do for the Hannover release?
I doubt very highly that we can make the changes so that it does not impact performance and mail size. Do we just continue the way Notes 7 shows sort order (or not)? Do we highlight the "sorted" column, even if the sort "order" is "the default order", and then display some other graphic that is neither an up or down arrow? (in addition to or instead of the v to mean that "this is a sortable column"??)
Our current plan is to indicate the column being "sorted by" with a highlight as shown below, and to indicate the sort order (if any) with an arrow. We do not plan to show the little v to indicate if a column is sortable. We thinks this produces less visual clutter and has the potential for less confusion.
My primary reason for attending the "DNUG" conference last week in Karlsruhe, Germany, was to gather user feedback on the "pre-beta" build that I brought with me on my laptop. I also had 5 different options of the "Getting Started" page to show people to gather feedback. (I'll show you those options in another posting.)
I also gave a talk on the "Hannover Top Ten" -- Two top fives, really -- the top 5 features that we haven't already shown, and 5 features on which I wanted to gather more feedback. I'll post the top 5 of each here in a little bit of a different format. Sometimes it's much easier to explain a feature in person than in writing.
Overall, I was pleased with the trip. The talk was well attended and I received a great deal of feedback -- some very clear direction on a feature in the personal address book, and, as always, many new feature ideas.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the trip was hearing the reaction to the announcement that the Hannover release of Lotus Notes will include the IBM productivity suite of a word processor, a presentation tool, and a spreadsheet. I began working on those about 2 years ago before I joined the Notes team. We now have a team of three designers, a usability engineer, and some visual designers working on them. I want to "introduce" them here once I corral all their headshots.
I'd like to extend a particular "thank you" to Denise Shaw of the visual design team, who worked many long hours under a tight deadline to produce the press-ready screens you see in the announcement I linked to above.
You'll be hearing a lot more about the productivity tools here in the near future.
I am representing the Lotus Notes design team at a conference in Germany this week (Deutsche Notes User Group), and some colleagues and I took a few minutes to conduct some informal "user research" by by engaging in a popular German pastime, as shown below.
But seriously, it has been great for me to be surrounded by people who use Lotus Notes in different languages and in varying cultural situations. I'm trying to make sure that I see things through the eyes of others.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Ed Brill for the first time, at the Admin 2006 conference in Boston. We talked about the next release of Lotus Notes, code-named Hannover. Now, of course, that's what I've been blogging about all along, but based on questions that people asked me yesterday I realized that it is not clear to everyone that "Hannover" is simply a code name for the next release of Lotus Notes.
There will be plenty of improvements to Lotus Notes in this release-- my team and I are focusing on improving the user experience in a big way. But you can still rely on things like secure e-mail and robust replication.
Speaking of replication, I have had many conversations with our design partners, business partners, marketing team, and developers, about improving the user experience for replication. At times, the improvements have included changing the term from "Replication" to "Synchronization".
Reactions to such a terminology change tend to fall into 2 camps:
1. The "It's about time" camp
2. The "no, way, you can't dilute the power of the replication message by using the same term that other companies use for something not as robust!!!!! <argh!! ack!! apoplectic noises from the constituency!!>"camp
At the moment, the marketing, development and design team have agreed that the term will remain "Replication." Stay tuned, though. You never know, maybe we'll start using the term "Synchronization" and just tell everybody it's a code name for "Replication" :)
Today, the design, development, and QE teams reviewed 4 User Interface Specifications about mail.
Margo Ezekiel, the user experience designer for mail, had prepared clear documents about re-designed forms and views, among other things, and, to their credit, it was clear that the developers and quality assurance testers had already read them and were prepared for questions. You'd think that after all these years of sending e-mail that a "New Message" form would not be difficult to design, or that there would be much heated debate, so I was a bit surprised at the number of questions and the range of comments.
Several developers even invoked our design personae and talked about "what Samantha can do." In the end, Margo and I walked off with a few "e-design" action items. We all know that it is impossible to make millions of people happy and productive with exactly the same "New Message" form... and one of the most powerful things about Notes is the ease with which the forms and views can be customized. Almost every big customer says they "customize the mail template". But how many customize the form? Does your organization customize the form? What do you change and why?
For some of you end-users who read this bolg (I hope there are a few anyway!), did you know that your organization can customize the form-- a person who knows Domino Designer, and maybe even your Domino administrator??
And last, strictly speaking, the form of which I speak is a "New Memo" form. Have any of you noticed that? Does it matter to you if it's called a "New Memo" or a "New Message"?
On May 2nd, Stu Downes asked if we could look at improving our support of multiple monitors.
He's not the only one. Ken Norland of Countrywide has been asking for 2 years, and John Head of PSC spent a great deal of time with us during Lotusphere 2006 (our yearly "user group" type conference in Orlando), discussing the importance of making Lotus Notes easy and useful to use when a user has 2 monitors hooked up.
I'm happy to say that we maybe able to address improving our support of multiple monitors. I cannot provide any specifics or make any promises, but the IBM Distinguished Engineer in charge of the Hannover release (Jeff Eisen) has taken an interest in Lotus Notes on multiple monitors lately, and he's been looking into making some improvements.
On May 1, Angel Sagredo asked if we could include Outlook users in our requirements and user research.
We already do! :)
One of the primary ways we do that is by working with IBM employees who come from recent acquisitions. That is, IBM buys a company, and if the company had previously deployed Outlook, they switch to Notes. It's a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective by interviewing and sitting with new users of Lotus Notes--people who until recently had used Outlook.
A member of our user studies team, Deb Maurer, just arranged 8 interviews with users at Datapower (a recent acquisition) 2 weeks ago.
The other way we get Outlook users (besides asking friends and relatives) is from people who register to participate in various feedback activities. When you register, you can choose all sorts of activities, not just usability testing. And we ask what mail programs you use, so we can specifically find people who can provide us with perspectives other than the Lotus Notes one. So please, get all YOUR Outlook-using friends and relatives to register, too!
The Hannover release includes team members from many disciplines, including the following design-related areas:
Interaction designers (I'll introduce to to them today!)
User studies and usability
My subsequent posts will introduce you to the various team members. Today, I'll concentrate on the interaction designers.
What is an interaction designer? Well, an interaction designer is someone who thinks about the order of operations, the primary tasks, and the utility of the product in general. I am an interaction designer. We have several interaction designers on the Hannover project who focus on different areas.
Before I introduce them, I'd like to let you know that there are more interaction designers on the Hannover release than any other release of Lotus Notes. Also, none of the interaction designers has worked on a previous Lotus Notes release ( the closest thing is that I worked with Jim Hart and other Notes developers on the Sametime integration in the Calendar for scheduling online meetings). I'd like to think that this means new blood for a new era of increased attention to user experience.
I'm the team lead, you already know a bit about me from the blog. We also have the following interaction designers working on Hannover:
Margo Ezekiel - Mail ( no picture could ever do her justice!) - She's been spending the bulk of her time not only designing a new "threads" experience, but also prototyping it for early usability testing.
- John Lance - Calendar - He's been working hard at many aspects of the Calendar, including improved ways to do free-time lookup. John is also a published author of fiction ( not to be confused with his user interface designs!) He's too shy to provide a picture of himself, so I'm providing a picture of the cover of his book.
- Anuphinh (Noy) Wanderski - Contacts - She's totally redesigned the Contacts form and many of the Contacts views to provide a totally fresh look at the whole "contacts management" experience.
Yao P. (Alex) Song - He's concentrated on providing a consistent search experience across both the rich client and the web, spanning all of the IBM Software group end-user products.
Me, I'm working on "framework" issues like menu s, toolbar, bookmarks, Workpace, and so on.
I said I'd start with the menus and "work my way down" the user interface, with regard to posting. Well, as you can see, I didn' t get very far before your comments took me in the direction of complete policy-driven menus and preferences. We are investigating what to add to the current policy-driven preferences.
(And the "international" settings might not make our list of the preferences to be policy-driven. I know a few of you listed "international" as some of the preferences you'd like to see driven by policy. So speak now in a response or you might have to wait for a future release.)
I should have known that making the toolbar buttons policy-driven would have been your next request. My current and much smaller goal is to get the "Debug Lotuscript" icon out of the "universal" toolbar so that Samantha, Ted, and Betty won't have to look at it all the time.We won't remove it entirely, but I at least want to allow them to use the "print" toolbar button without having to see "Debug Lotuscript" if they don't have to.
Thursday, April 27 was "take your sons and daughters to work day" at our IBM facility in Westford, MA. I brought my 2 kids. On the drive in we were talking about what they wanted to be when they grew up, and my eldest said that she never wanted to do what I do because it's boring, all I do it sit in front of a computer, and that I rush my kids through bedtime so I can do a concall with China or India.
Imagine the "mommy guilt" I felt.
Then we arrived at work. This same child saw three 8X10 glossies of Samantha, Ted, and Betty --our three Hannover design personae--on my shelf. (Yes, I really do have 8X10 glossies, in acrylic stand-up frames, in my office). "Who are these guys" she asked. I explained. "You go and interview people? and then make up stories about pretend people? I never knew you did that."
When she returned to my office late that afternoon after some wonderful group sessions, she noticed my new iMac with the built-in camera, and spent a very long time taking pictures of herself using the "photo booth" application and applying all sorts of visual effects. We talked a little about visual design. At 5:30 I forced her to leave.
"But Mom, this is soooo much fun! You have the COOLEST job!"
Samantha, a Promotions coordinator at "Renovations" (a fictitious company)
Ted, the VP of merchandising at "Renovations"
Betty, Ted's AA
Hannover is for
Samantha Daryn, Promotions Coordinator
Samantha works in the Marketing department of Renovations, a chain of home improvement stores. Samantha is the Promotions Coordinator, reporting to Marketing Manager Amadou Alain. She is based in Chicago, at Renovations headquarters, but travels periodically to industry events, marketing events, and Renovations store locations.
Samantha's Work goals
As promotions coordinator, Samantha's main job is to create and manage promotion programs that boost sales and customer loyalty for the Renovations stores. She also has to increase brand awareness of a line of power tools called "Power Renovations". Promotions programs include Web site content, newspaper inserts, catalogs, exhibits, in-store displays, and special events, and may feature purchase incentives such as discounts, rebates, and contests.
Her interpersonal work goals include:
•Staying in touch with her team and customers, staying organized and having good relationships with the people on her team and with customers.
Samantha is responsible for:
•Designing promotions programs and producing promotional material. Samantha works closely with a visual designer; a copywriter, and the web master and outside consultants.
•Coordinating promotional activities with goals of the advertising and marketing departments
•Collaborating with Renovations store managers on the display and administration of in-store promotions.
•Evaluating promotions by ROI (Return on investment)and brand recognition
•Budgeting and financial reporting
Samantha's Work Day
Samantha's day is frequently full of meetings. She and her colleagues meet regularly to discuss the status of their projects, and she attends planning and status meetings with Marketing management. She also meets with Renovations store managers to collaborate on promotion plans, placement, and execution.
Samantha uses an IBM Thinkpad T30 laptop running windows XP, and a Mac PowerBook G4 (15 inch monitor) . The IS department loaded the IBM Thinkpad with the following:
•Lotus Notes 6.5 client with mail, calendar, and contacts applications. She's a bit frustrated with mail and contacts compared to Outlook, which she used at her last job. She uses seven other Lotus Notes databases (She has local replicas of the first two). The IS dept created the local replicas and the replication schedules for her; she has no idea how to make a local replica of any of the others or how to change the schedule)
•IE 6.0, to keep tabs on competitors' web sites as well as the Renovations site. She uses Google Maps when she needs directions for visits to store locations, and is also a veteran online shopper.
•Microsoft Word 2002 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2002. She is a real power user of Powerpoint.
•Lotus Sametime 2.5
The IS department put Lotus Notes and several Adobe products (Illustrator, Photoshop) in the Mac so that she could work closely with the visual designers in her department.
In addition to her laptop, Samantha has her own computer at home, on which she uses Hotmail, MSN Messenger, AOL Intant Messenger, and Skype IP phone to keep in touch with friends. She also has a personal cell phone and a PDA, which she often uses for work-related activities. And, of course, she never goes anywhere without her iPod.
Hannover is for
Ted Amado, VP of Merchandising and Marketing
Ted is the highly-respected, busy, competitive head of Merchandising and Marketing at Renovations, a chain of home improvement stores. He is based at headquarters in Chicago, where he spends about 80% of his time in scheduled meetings. Ted travels on business about 25% of the time.He depends on his Administrative Assistant, Betty Zechman, especially to manage his calendar and travel.
Ted’s Work Goals
As VP of Merchandising and Marketing, Ted’s main goal is to increase profitability and generate new revenue streams through delivering excellent promotional activities, both inside the Renovations stores and in outside media and special events.He sees his role as setting longer-term strategy and doing whatever is needed to keep his direct reports successful implementing projects such as improving store atmosphere, developing and delivering advertising, promotions, special point of sale displays, etc.
Ted manages by motivating and leading his employees.He seems to know everyone, and uses his relationships to accomplish business goals.He is often the “face of the company” to outsiders, and enjoys the spotlight.
Ted’s Work Day
Ted arrives at work around .He first scans email to “check the pulse” of his responsibilities. Ted gets over 100 email messages a day and many include large attachments. Ted attends to as many as he can and sorts them into folders for Betty to handle, projects he’s working on, and people he needs to meet with.Often there are phone calls, voice messages, or Sametime chats about urgent items.Ted keeps track of his work by making sure everything is on his calendar.He checks to make sure he’s ready for today’s meetings, checks an email folder named “Urgent” and occasionally prints out information he’ll need. He also looks ahead at the meetings for the rest of the week.
Ted spends at least 80% of his usual work days in meetings. Betty schedules the meetings, taking care to allow time for Ted to get from one to the next.She understands his work and priorities well, and therefore knows which meetings and people to squeeze into his schedule.In any day, Ted may have 10 or more meetings scheduled, but that may change drastically during the day as new issues arise that require Ted’s attention.
When Ted travels, Betty takes a more active role in scheduling, monitoring Ted’s email for important issues, routing or handling any she can, and alerting Ted to anything he might need to know about immediately.
Ted hates surprises and makes sure he’s up to date on business and consumer trends.At free moments during the day, he peruses newspapers, trade publications, analyst reports, websites, etc., and forwards interesting items to his staff, often with a request for an individual to follow up or get more information.
Ted uses an IBM Thinkpad T41 with the standard Renovations set of software, including Lotus Notes 6.5 with mail, calendar, and contacts applications. Ted also has access to several Notes databases with sales, corporate finances, project management, and Ted’s specialized database of merchandising vendors; some have reports or views tailored for his personal use.Ted often depends on others on his staff to create summary slides and status reports based on information in these databases.If anything goes wrong, he calls his IT person to fix it.This is not because he’s uncomfortable with the technology; it’s that it’s just not a good use of his time.
Ted also uses PowerPoint and Excel.He has a cell phone and Palm Pilot.
Ted was the first in his family to graduate from college and he still wears his University of Chicago class ring.Soon after joining Renovations, he earned his MBA.He’s the recipient of the Merchandising Innovation Award for 2004, which is on display in his office.
Ted and his wife Victoria, an art gallery administrator, and their 16-year-old daughter Valerie live in Skokie, a diverse suburb north of Chicago.They love to play tennis.
Hannover is for
Betty Zechman, Executive Administrative Assistant
Betty Zechman is Executive Administrative Assistant to Ted Amado, VP of Merchandising and Marketing at Renovations.Betty manages Ted’s calendar, email, travel, and whatever else she can to support him in his responsibilities.Betty also provides indirect support to the Senior Managers of the Business Development Division.
Betty’s Work Goals
Betty supports Ted Amado in whatever capacity he needs, managing his calendar and inbox, providing support information for meetings, making travel arrangements, etc.She supports Ted and his senior managers by helping to create spreadsheet reports and presentations.Betty also leads the team of administrative assistants, and makes sure their hardware, software, and training needs are met.
Betty really wants everyone to be well taken care of.She is highly efficient, trusted, and knowledgeable about Renovations’ business and Ted’s responsibilities and priorities.
Betty’s Work Day
Betty arrives in the office around .Her low-walled cubicle is right outside Ted’s office.She has a large paper calendar on her desk and yellow stickies on and around her monitor.Betty checks her voicemail, scans Ted’s mail and calendar, and then her own.She makes sure there are no changes to Ted’s calendar since last night and updates it if needed.Meeting changes come via the phone, email, or Sametime rather than as Notes calendar invitations since Ted has little free time and other entries must shift to accommodate changes.
When something urgent comes up, Betty contacts Ted right away.If he’s offsite or not in the office yet, she calls his cell phone. If he’s in a meeting, she uses Sametime or walks to the meeting and speaks to him directly when the meeting ends.When Ted’s schedule changes for later that day, Betty makes the change in Notes and also contacts Ted if she thinks he might not see it there in time.
Aside from all the calendar work she does, Betty helps make sure that Ted has everything he needs for his meetings, such as information from email, lists of attendees, and directions if he’s offsite. She prepares monthly report spreadsheets and transforms Ted’s draft PowerPoint slides into more polished presentations.She sets up meetings with other management team execs, suppliers, analysts, and other people inside and outside Renovations and she organizes larger meetings by doing everything from managing materials to ordering lunch.Betty also sometimes routes email or replies to it on Ted’s behalf (cc-ing Ted), especially when he's traveling.She sorts email he needs to take care of into folders: “Urgent”, “Read”, and “Personal.”She also deals with email Ted has sorted into folders for her: “Edit” or “Print.”
Betty is Notes savvy in both mail and calendar but hates repeating meetings.She wishes she could use the group calendar but needs something that would allow her to see what everyone is doing all at once.Her own mail isn’t as organized as Ted’s.She uses her inbox as a to-do list and only files items when they are finished.
Betty's Work Tools
Betty’s primary computer is an IBM ThinkCentre desktop workstation running Windows XP. She also has an IBM T30 Thinkpad that she uses when she is out of the office to keep all of Ted’s information current.
Lotus Notes 6.5 is her email and calendar tool. Betty loves Sametime Instant Messaging and could not live with out it.
She uses MS Word, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer 6.0.
Betty also has to use “Reserve” an internal room scheduling application (web-based).
Betty is the mother of two daughters, both married and on their own.She also has two grandsons, Ryan and Joey. Betty’s husband is an environmental engineer nearing retirement.They spend vacations and long weekends at their family’s little cabin on Castle Rock Lake, Wisconsin, where they enjoy swimming and teaching their grandsons to fish for muskies and walleyes.
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:
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: 1. Controlling all user preferences via policy? 2. Controlling all menus via some mechanism (may or may not be via policy?)
If we had to deliver policy-controlled preferences in chunks across various releases, which ones are the most important?
Template ones (mail and calendar)
Status bar preferences
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.
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?
Good user interaction design is really all about re-design-- re-design based on user feedback. Thus, my primary purpose in this blog is to post questions to the millions of Notes users out there so that I can better understand how you use Notes.
This blog is not the only way that I and the rest of the Notes design team are gathering feedback. We're working with several design partners in various industries, we've posted several surveys, and we get our usability test participants from people who have volunteered to participate by registering at this site: https://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/usentry.nsf/register?openform
My goal is to blog three times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri) about the design of "Hannover" and Sametime.
Today's Question: On the Edit menu, when do you use the menu item called "Quote Selection"?
Never Once a day or more About Once a week About Once a month Less than Once a month
How would you feel if we removed that menu item? (And if you can't figure out what it does, I'll tell you in my next post).[Read More]