Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
Do you have a Larry in your organization? Are you Larry?
Larry is our persona for a lab manager. He is the personwho never sleeps and seems to always be in the server room or machinelab making sure everything is still running, upgrading hardware,updating software, and managing who owns each of the machines. Hemay be the person you email at 10 pm when you need a specific machineimmediately for testing. Perhaps he then puts your name on apost-it, sticks it on a machine and then response to your email withthe ip or hostname. Maybe he is paper free and updates aspreadsheet to say who has which machine. He may even embracemodern technology and has a system where he adds this information in anotes database that everyone can see. Sometimes Larry is asked tomonitor machine usage and report results to QE and IT management, andit is possible he is responsible for requesting purchases of newhardware.
We would like to talk to you, Larry! If you are interested inparticipating in a 30 to 60 minute interview either on the phone or atLotusphere, please send an email to Cori at email@example.com.Please specify whether you want to do it over the phone or atLotusphere.
Thanks very much.
As you know, my husband is a real geocaching fanatic.
I discovered just how much had rubbed off on one of my daughers when she showed me the letter she'd written to Santa, addressed:
89* 26' 34" N
30* 54" 26.44" E
When I pointed out that the NORTH POLE is at 90* she explained "ButMom, there's a research station at 90* so that can't be Santa Claus'sactual location."
Kids say the darndest things...
Regarding Lotus Notes business--- I'm busy finishing up some featuresfor 8.0.1 and working on a big posting on "Tips on how to set up Notes8 for Outlook users." And I know that Margo is drafting a postabout the personal journal, and Chris Kergaravat and Kathy Howard areworking on draft App dev personas, so stay tuned!
(Look! Look!) (My apologies, perhaps it should be Mirada! Mirada!)
For our Spanish-speaking friends, we now have a cross-product demo in Spanish!
Hi Definition version is available here:
Low Definition version is available here:
All the credit should go to the following creative individuals from our Madrid Office.
Daniel Olmo (Sales Spain - The voice behind the video)
Ana Belen Gomez (Tech Sales Spain)
Raquel Lopez-Ruiz (GTS Spain)
Jose Garcia Salas (SWAT Team)
I was on vacation last week, visiting my father with the kids, and boating near his home in the 1,000 Islands (well, actually, the week was rather rainy, and we only went out in the boat one day. We tried to hike in Wellesley Island state park another day, but got caught in a a thunder-and-lightning storm that scared us all into returning to the nature center. We did get to see an Osprey couple in their nest, a great blue heron, and lots of wild turkeys, though.
As of Monday morning I've returned to work, and I'm part of a "release jury" of users who download/install and use specific builds (we call them "release kits") to determine if they are ready to be the final and official "Notes 8 release."
And several of you asked about the Notes 8.0.1 plans. We are beginning to work on that as well and I hope to post a few tidbits abotu 8.0.1 plans soon. (Well, after we get an official "it's done" build... most of my time is spent using/testing/looking at the candidate release kits at the moment.)
Christian Petters asked for an update to the March 15 topic of error messages that ask users to contact their system administrator.
The update is that for error messages that we're adding or revising for Notes 8, we'll ask users to contact their help desk rather than their system administrator.
There are hundreds of error messages that have been added to the product throughout the years, and we will not be able to get to all of them in this release. Especially now that our string files have gone to translation. We made a push to update quite a few before yesterday's "string freeze."
For those of you using the beta, you'll notice that we made a few changes to the View menu as well. Specifically, we added a menu called "Advanced Menus." This item is OFF by default (although it may not have been in the beta).
You advanced users will need to know to go turn it on, so spread the word. When the "Advanced Menus" item is unchecked, we hide a bunch of menus that end-users have complained about. This de-clutters the menus a bit.
Today's guest blogger is Meg Petersen, a project manager in the Lotus Information Development and Content (IDC) team. The IDC team creates training materials, technical reference guides, and online Help and is in the process of looking at what works and what doesn't. We have learned from customer visits that training is a big issue - trainers don't feel they have the time or bandwidth to create and present all the employee training that's necessary, and employees have told us they learn only the very basics in training. They want more time to learn about advanced features and tips about the best way to do things. Because they don't feel they have the time or an easy way to learn best practices, they stick to what they know, even if they think there's a better way to do something.
The Information Development team is reaching out to customers to understand more about learning styles, the use of training and documentation products, differences in use by audience, how much is enough when it comes to documentation and online help, and which types of information are most needed to be successful with Lotus products. We're having a workshop at Lotus in Cambridge, MA on March 7th to dive into these topics and create an innovative plan for training and documentation in the future. We are extending an invitation to customers and partners who can come to Cambridge that day - see details of the workshop below and let us know if you are interested in participatig. We are looking for 10 people for each group.
One topic we'll pursue is informal learning. Informal learning is what happens outside the classroom or a traditional, scripted learning experience. Examples may include web sites, books, on-line help, blogs and wikis, articles, papers, user groups, experts in your online social network, or the person sitting next to you.
We have some questios for you now, and would appreciate your input:
Here is the information about the Workshop.
Information Development Center Innovation Meeting, 2007
Date: March 7, 2007
Time: Session 1: 9:00 –12:00
Session 2: 1:30 – 4:30
Join us for either session or stay the full day.
Lunch is provided, beginning at noon, for morning and afternoon sessions.
Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, IBM Executive Briefing Center
Goal: To bring Lotus and Websphere Portal customers together with key IBM thought leaders from the Information Development Center (IDC) to collaborate on ways to improve and innovate on product documentation, technical papers, and education and training materials.
Who will attend?
A limited number of customers, representing a variety of roles -- knowledge worker, administrator, application developer, training manager, and others.
Members of Lotus IDC representing technical information development, help, education development -- writers, designers, engineers, and managers.
What is planned?
An interactive and energized session filled with customer-focused activities to review current technical content use, brainstorm new and innovative ways to deliver technical content and training, and understand your information development requirements.
To influence the next generation of IBM documentation and training, so what we design and write is what you need.
To earn free exam vouchers to become a Certified Lotus Professional.
Contact Meg Petersen at Meg_Petersen@us.ibm.com or 617-693-6808 before February 28th if you or your customers are interested in learning more about this or if you think you'd like to participate in this opportunity.
Be part of the future of Lotus documentation and training!
Here in the USA it is a holiday week--Thanksgiving is a national holiday on Thursday, so I do not think I'll get to post anything else this week.[Read More]
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."[Read More]
After some hard questions, it is felt by the author of this blog thatit is only fair that I finally reveal myself to you, the Lotuscommunity. You know me as Samantha, and until now I have perpetuatedthe illusion that I am not a real person. However, circumstances havechanged and I think it is only fair that I come forward and tell youwhat is really going on.
I am real. The "design team" that you have all come to know and loveare, in actuality, the imaginary figments. Mary Beth Raven, my finestcreation, is really an elaborate facade. Paying for that fine actresswho stands up at all the conferences has cost me a pretty penny, I'lladmit, but it has been worth it. The fact so many of you believe in herand will swear to seeing her and even speaking with her attests to thestrength and power of your willingness to believe.
I am fond of all my creations. Basing John Lance on Troy McCLurewas a stroke of genius, in my opinion. In revealing thatJohn-the-Calendar-designer is not real, you must understand by now thatCalendarOverlays in Notes 8.5. are also not real, either.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess that the witty, intelligentMargo, the ribald Kathy, my recent creation Michelle, are all imaginarydesigners, created to help me learn Notes 8.
But times change and hard realities must be faced. The "design team"has served their purpose, and given that I have heard rumors that somebloggers were intent on revealing my secret I have chosen to beat themto the punch.
So there you have it. At this point the best I can do is retire "thecrew" as I've come to think of them. I am not entirely certain whatwill become of this blog, but perhaps I will turn it over to my goodfriend Ted (although, between you and me I strongly suspect that ifthat happens it will be Betty writing in Ted's name).
Anyway, it has been fun.
April 1, 2008
also often called "April Fool's Day"[Read More]
A while I go I asked you how"mac-ish" you want Notes 8.5 on the Mac to be.
Group Calendar for Daisuke
Group Calendar for Daisuke
Daisuke’s Work Goals
As a salesman of the IT Company, his main job is to coordinate providing the solution for IT sections manager's problems and to contribute to sales. For this objective, he provide information about JCM's new product and best practices, proposes some solution services and developing plan based on Honma's IT strategy.
He creates weekly work reports of customer support team and to present to Honma IT Manager.
By this procedure, Daisuke gets agreement of their works. On the other hand, he is managing customer's expectation and satisfaction, and then he is trying to keep good relationship.
His interpersonal work goals include:
Staying in touch with customers and Customer support team, obtaining reliance of a customer continuously. As a result, he contributes to the sales for th company. For this objective, he needs to know what kind of talents in JCN for solving problem in Honma It Section. Keeping a relationship with these talents is a one of the important goals for Daisuke.
Daisuke is responsible for
Daisuke spends three days in a week at the customer's office and other days he works at his JCM Office.
He checks his Notes mails first thing in the morning. Then he opens Notes DB of his section's calendar to check the schedule of others who work with him.
When he works at his office, he always adds detailed schedule information to show where he is.
If some one calls Daisuke while he is not at his desk, another person in the office will answer the call for him. This person will then call or send e-mail to Daisuke's mobile phone telling there was a call and what the business was.
He and his coworker who are in charge of Honma tell each other where they are to prepare for customer's urgent call.
He meets with his customer at HQ of Honma Motors face to face three times a week, and he checks if there is any problem in the installed product and service, and he checks new requirements.
Basically, bringing out PC from his office is prohibited.
Daisuke uses an IBM Thinkpad X40 laptop which was prepared by his company and he can't change PC's configuration and install other software without a IT Department's agreement.
The IT department loaded it with the following:
He is using USB memory with a security protection which approved by JCN IT section.
Recently, Daisuke purchased a house at Makuhari-city in Chiba, lives with his wife and a dog "Taro". He commutes by train every day. Commuting time is too long, and then he uses his mobile phone to read the news on the web and listens to the music.
Photo: Taro sleeping in the living room. (Mary Beth says: I think Taro is cuter than Fred's pugs).
Not surprisingly, I am spending most of my time preparing for Lotusphere this week. Jeff Eisen and I spent a while this afternoon "horse trading" demo ideas. He's doing a "What's new in the Notes Client" session and I'm doing a "Design Directions for Notes and Sametime" session and we wanted to make sure we did not repeat the same demos. We both have some cool things to show you. I "won" demos that have to do with gas prices and world clocks. :)
And, I must admit, much to the annoyance of my family, I am addicted to PlanetLotus! My evening ritual has become checking it and all the postings. I REALLY REALLY like it![Read More]
We're turning the tables in the Lotusphere usability lab this year-- bring in YOUR app and we'll evaluate it!
The Lotus user experience (UX ) Lab is going to offer a one-time opportunity for our customers at Lotusphere 2008 - "The 15-minute Usability and Design Evaluation" - in the User Experience Lab, Rm. Asia 4. We'll only be doing this from 1-5 pm on Monday afternoon.
Here's the deal: you can bring in one application, working, and with data ideally, (Notes, Web, Sametime, Portal, Quickr, Connections, Expeditor, any Lotus product) and we'll have someone look at it and make suggestions for 15 minutes. We'll have network connectivity, but if you are bringing a Notes application, a local replica might be best.
The benefits to you are threefold:
1. You can get some quick feedback with practical suggestions from our expert user experience design team.
2. You can take away a handy list of "things to look for" in the form of a guide with some knowledge about how to apply them at home.
3. While you are in the lab, you can sign up to provide US with feedback about many of our products.
Who will evaluate your app:
We here in the design team have decided that it's time for a new persona -- someone who uses ONLY DWA and not the Notes Client.
(For example, I know that the University of Cardiff has some users, but I lost your contact info-- are you out there?? Can you connect us to some Users??)
Specifically, if you have people in your organization who use ONLY Domino Web Access (DWA), and not the Notes client, we'd like to interview them individually for about an hour-- most likely by phone (unless they live or work in the Boston, MA or Orlando, FLA area). We'll simply ask them what they use DWA for, how they use it, whether they use other email, what else they use (computer-wise and hand-held wise) at work, things like that.
If you are interested in participating, please send an email to our DWA designer, Jodi Rexford, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you.[Read More]
If you plan to attend Lotusphere, please don't forget to "vote" (over on the Lotusphere web site) for which talks you think you'll attend. It really does help with the planning, and I like how it closes the loop/makes it come full circle-- I tell you what's in/what's out for features on this blog, and over on the Lousphere web site, you tell us what you want to hear about.
While you are there voting, please consider one or both of these talks that I am doing with colleagues:
The release of Lotus Notes 8.0 ushered in a new era of more user-focused design at IBM. This session reveals continuing changes in the processes that the design team is using in the design of Notes, Sametime, and Expeditor. We discuss many of the design decisions behind the most recent Sametime, Notes and Expeditor releases.
We'll also show some design ideas for upcoming features in these products and solicit your (unexpurgated) opinions! (That is the official summary, but since I wrote it, I think I should add some Symphony design directions to this talk as well, since mainly what I want to do is give you the big picture of all the client based on Lotus Expeditor)
Notes 8 has a beautiful new look and fee, and you can customize it! Inthis session, we'll teach you how to dissect several of the .css filesthat make up the Notes 8 look and customize them. We'll discuss styleguidelines for icons, shadows, gradients, and other visual details, andmake changes before your very eyes! We'll also show how you can followinteraction guidelines covering menus, toolbars, preferences, andsidebar plug-ins. You'll get the information you need to create acustom look that conforms to the new Notes 8 style.
In honor of "Halloween" here in the USA, when we dress up as ghosts and walk around town in search of candy.... , here is a screenshot of our improved "drag and drop ghosting", that is, displaying an outline of the dragged object.
If you like it, maybe you'll send us some candy :)
You'll see this in Notes 8.0.1!
Happy Halloween everyone! This year, I did not have to make any complicated costumes (some of you may remember last year's "Rocky the flying Squirrel" custome that I did for my eldest)
This year, it's just a "dead clown" and a "scary dead person" that I have to create! ( well, and a re-designed workspace, scalable sidebar, and platform-wide slide-in alerts, but those have nothing to do with Halloween!!)
I am off to supervise the American "candy grubbing" frenzy that is Halloween...
A few of you have already discovered this new feature in Notes 8, but for those of you who have not (especially for those of you who feel compelled to send your feedback to my personal email... and that includes all you internal IBMers, too...), I am pleased to point you to our new menu item: "IBM Lotus Notes Product Feedback", as shown in the following screen shot.
Clicking the menu item takes you to a web form, where you can give us your feedback, opinions, requests. The usability team reviews the input on a periodic basis and shares it with the design and development team. Positive comments are also joyfully received on that site :)
I'm having a good time here in London talking with customers and business partners (well, and giving presentations about Notes 8 as well, of course). One of the business partners just told me about a customer of his.
The IT director at this company has learned never to call anything a "database" because the CIO has a fear of anything called "database" and he almost kicked out Notes because it had lots of "databases." Now that Notes 8 is here and the term "database" has been replaced by "application" both the IT director and this CIO are DELIGHTED.
Yeah, we all know it's still the same thing... but it's interesting to see the power of changing just one word.
John Lance and I just finished giving our "What's new in Notes 8" talk at the Admin 2007 conference here in Boston. The session was well -attended with over 100 people. The most fun part, however, is always the questions at the end. I never know what the hot buttons will be for any given audience.
Today, among other things, there were lots of questions about Calendar, which was great because John-the-Calednar -Designer was my co-presenter. Printing also seemed to be a hot topic.
Since we have a new view -- "Business cards" in Contacts, we also have a new printing choice for the business cards, as shown below.
I am heading off to the Irish Notes User Group conference in Dublin this week, and I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't been to Ireland in about 15 years, and never to Dublin. Last time I went I was working for Digital Equipment corporation and I went to Galway.
I have one little problem, however, and it's that I seem to have a burgeoning case of POISON IVY on my face. That's what I get for puttering around in my yard all last weeked. So, IF the immigration officials allow me into the country (they might not want someone contagious-looking ...), I'll probably be dressed like this:
So if you see me, stop and say hello. Wearing the paper bag all week might get a bit dull... hum... perhaps I'll try wearing a cardboard box for a day or two. I understand that Paul Mooney has quite a supply of them in his kitchen...
We KNOW you do not want the "Getting Started" tab to appear every time you launch the Notes 8 client. It was actually NEVER part of the plan. It was a bug.
It is supposed to launch the FIRST time, and then, if you close it, NEVER AGAIN (you can get back to it from the "Open button" or from the Help menu).
Of course, if you never close the tab, it will be there when you start the client again.
As of the build I installed internally at IBM yesterday, the Getting Started tab no longer comes up each time. So (phew!) it's been fixed for the release.
Here's a picture of what I saw when I started the client this morning-- just the Home page tab. (Please note, I had the "save tab order when I close the client" preference turned off. This preference-- formerly called "save window state on close"-- is ON by default in Notes 8 because we have found htat most business users want to be returned to their "work setup/tab arrangement" so that they can get right back to work when they start the client.
I am finally getting to download my vacation pictures from Hawaii, and I thought it might be fun to give you a little glimpse into what my family and I do for fun. (these are my flickr pix of the trip)
My husband is a fanatical geocacher. (For more info see http://www.geocaching.com/ )
So while others might talk to you about Maui sunsets, weddings on beaches,or golfing, me, I got the the "cache tour" of Maui. We stayed in 3 different places (Kehei, then Wa'ianapanapa state park near Hana, and finally in Ka'anapali). This meant that we maximized our geocache-finding potential.
While Mark (the husband) found lots of geocaches, the geocaching highlight of the trip... well there were 2 highlights (hummm maybe lowpoints...:)
1. the " 4th waterfall or bust" cache
2. the "swim into the dark cave" cache
(I do not know the real names of these caches if you are looking for them on the website. I give them names based on my perspective as a 45-year-old totally-out-of-shape computer geekette mother of 2. )
The next piece of info is that my sister and her husband came to Hawaii with us. They have no kids. Just dealing with kids on vacation can be an ordeal, but no, we had to subject them to the "Hike past 4 waterfalls on the way to remote hana village with 2 kids and bugs and rocks mosquitoes and 2 downpours." This is kinda how it went:
We got up nice and early one day to drive from Kihei to Hana. The "Hana highway" is supposed to be a beautiful 3-hour incredibly scenic drive with lots of waterfalls and ocean views. Mark (remember, he's the husband) had already planned that we'd do this cache on the way. So we're supposed to hike into this rainforest and find a tupperware box hidden in the woods, based on some latitude and longitude coordinates from a web site. The "joy and reward" is simply to write your name in a log book and hide the box again. Off we go. All 6 of us. The mom, the dad, the older sister the youger sister, the aunt and the uncle.
We pass waterfall 1.
and waterfall 2
at waterfall 3 there's 20-ish foot cliff that you have to scramble up, with the help of a knotted rope. My brother-in-law took pictures but I certainly do NOT want to show you any of me-- by then filthy from the mud-- trying to haul my butt up over a mini-cliff while clinging to a muddy rope....
Once over the mini-cliff, we hop from rock to rock as we make our way up the stream bed. We get almost to the destination - but to actually GET to the cache, we need to swim across the pool of ice-cold water, climb up the rocks and walk over to yet another waterfall. So we did. All 6 of us. We left our backpacks on the shore and swam. (and yes it was raining!)
We're lucky nobody made off with the car keys and clothing. Mark found the geocache and made an entry in the log book. It took us about 2 hours to do this one hike. We originally had 6 planned for the day, but after that, we just drove the rest of the way to Wai-anapanapa state park and collapsed on our respective pools of mud.
Geocache Higligh #2
This one was actually much easier, tho a bit more scary at first. Mark was prepared. He'd bought a waterproof headlamp so that he could swim into a lava-tube cave now filled with water, and then find the cache. Of course the kids wanted to go with him. So did Unlce Mike. The water was freezing. My sister and I stayed on shore and took pictures. (OK, then I jumped in and swam into the cave to check on the kids when they did not answer me. Just a little excitement... you think maybe your husband and kids have drowned in a cave.. kinda puts the whole F5 issue into perspective....)
.. and yes, that's the top of my head as I watch Uncle Mike and the 2 kids swim off into a cave. And they found the cache and it was "really cool."
... I hope you find the upcoming public beta "really cool" and I am sure you'll let me know what we can do to improve it!
I am a typo queen, so I have been enjoying the in-line spell checking feature in the daily builds for some time.
I've already had several people ask about it, so now you know, and pass the word! They must have missed Ed Brill's blog entry about it some time ago.
One of the purposes of this blog is that the actual release of Notes 8 should have no surprises. I want to involve the user community in every possible phase, and be clear about what is and is not happening in the release.
To that end, I do want to let you all know that, to my knowledge, there are no plans to distribute CDs for a public beta at Lotusphere.
I do not want folks being disappointed.
IBM hasn't said we'd have one available at Lotusphere.
You will, however, be able to see and use a recent build of Hannover in the Meet the Developer lab, in our User experience lab, and elsewhere.
Thanks for your comments about the "More Bookmarks" folder. At the very least, it looks like I can get rid of the Lotus Links. I thought that getting rid of the "Create" folder was a no-brainer, but I admit, I did not realize that people/organizations like John Head at PSC extended it. So I'll look into what we can do there. (It seems logical to me to allow you to extend the Create MENU in a more easy fashion... so I'll look into it.)
For those of you who were concerned about the fact that Samantha now has to do 2 clicks to start mail/Calendar, etc. Indeed, we plan exactly what one of you suggested-- Admins can, via user Policy, put any database they want into the "Startup" folder so that the Mail tab (or Calendar tab etc.) appears automatically at startup. We even considered putting Mail and Calendar and Contacts in the startup folder for the upcoming beta, but decided against it.
Also, remember that you can Dock the Launcher so that it looks and acts a bit like the old bookmark bar (It's a bit hard to tell, but it's the skinny row if icons along the left side).
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.
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. :)[Read More]
I wish to extend my congratulations to my friend and colleague, Alan Lepofsky on his new career move from IBM to SocialText.
There has been quite a range of blog entries about what his move means... and what it means (to me, at least) is that those of us in the CSCW (remember that acronym? Computer-supported cooperative work) community have a collective mission to support and improve how people collaborate-- by giving them new computer tools and capabilities. It does not matter if we work for Lotus, IBM, TeamStudio, Socialtext, Lotus911, SNAPPS, Pavone, Joe's garage, BinaryTree, or whatever... we are all motivated by trying to use computer technology to help people collaborate.
.. and that's what it is all about. And I think that is one of the great parts of the whole social network "revolution." I interact with Rocky Oliver just as much now that he's with Teamstudio as when he was an IBM employee... and I can say almost the same about Bob Balaban... and I am hopeful that I will be able to say the same thing about Alan Lepofsky. He's a resource -- and a friend -- and when I ask for assistance, he'll provide it... not because he's "an IBMer", but because he and I are both members of a community that shares a vision of supporting collaboration via computer technology.[Read More]
The Notes 8.5 public beta 1 is at the moment planned to be available to you around 9 am eastern time Friday morning.
This is not a guarantee, just a heads up, so that those ofyou in, oh, say, Australia, can stay up late and keep pushing the refresh key on your browser so that you can win a beer from your geek mates for being the first one to download it... that kind of thing.[Read More]
This post has nothing to do with Lotus Notes. It's just a peek into the mind and motivations of Mary Beth.
When I was a kid, growing up Catholic in the United States, girls couldnot be altar servers. I really wanted to be one-- up on the altar,helping out, *really* participating at Mass.
My younger brother, Chris, however, was an altar boy. And, of course,he really was not that interested in being one. So we worked outa system, the kind that only siblings can create.
When he served, I'd sit in the first or second row with my Dad. And I'duse a series of hand motions to tell my brother what to do. I'd open my hands to let him know he had to brin gthe book up tothe priest. I'd wiggle my fist to let him know when it was time to ringthe bell. The system worked pretty well, except for the fact thatI desperately wanted to be the one serving, and my brother could notcare less.
So, last year, when my DAUGHTER was old enough to become an altarserver, I signed her up. She did the training. She's been serving atmass for over a year. And tonight she says that she reallydoesn't like it, She'd rather sing in the choir. My initial reactionwas to want to scream-- to tell her just how cool it was that girls cannow be altar servers, that women have come at least a little way in theCatholic church... but instead, I said "OK." Cause, the reallygreat thing is that it's not a big deal any more to have a girl as analtar server.
So now all she has to worry about is whether or not the Jesuits willallow women to become priests. Cause, of course, I wanted to be aJesuit priest, too. None of this second-fiddle nun thing for me. AJesuit Priest or nothin at all. Clearly, I never became a Jesuitpriest to fight the "counter -reformation". Rather , I ended up a userexperience designer for Lotus Notes, fighting Outlook. Hum... maybe notall that different after all....
I had a customer visit today on Madison Ave., New York City. Iwent with Sandesh, the deveopment director. He flew in from Boston onAmerican. I flew in from Manchester, New Hampshire on U.S. Air. He'shome now. However, due to some snow, I am now stuck atLaguardia ariport. The current prediction is that my 6 pm flightwill leave at 11 pm. If if doesn't get cancelled.
I know, John Lance, I should have listened to you. You told me to take the train.
It's going to be a long, cold night. Some announcer just came on andsaid that all the hotels were booked. I am hoarding my spot nearan electrical outlet ....sigh.
Customers, business partners, and other IBMers,
This was a great Lotusphere. You have all been very nice and kind to the design team. I was a little concerned that lots of people would come to the lab all irate, with LONG lists of thngs that they don't like about Notes 8 (I KNOW you have them). Yes, you came to the lab with your lists, but overall, you were patient, kind, and understanding as we discussed the lists.
Also, thanks for all the thanks. It was great for us to hear you tell us to keep up the good work, and thank us for our work on Notes 8.
I did 2 talks this year-- each one with a first-time presenter. Matt Hatem and Carrie Tracy -- you each did a GREAT job! Thank you.[Read More]
Hey faithful customers,
John Lance and I have been hainvg waaaay too much fun at work lately... making this little video. Please, share with all your friends and enemies to help promote Lotus Symphony!
Lotus Symphony Video
If that does not work, please copy this into your browser.
The design and development teams continue to crank away on fixing bugs for the next maintenance release (As john Lance has already said, it will probably be called "8.0.1."
In addition, we're working on the next big release after that. Once of the things that the team as a whole is trying to do is to adapt more "agile" development methods, particularly the
Lean development principles put forth by Mary Poppendieck.
We had a day of training last Friday. One of the important aspects of the lean development appears to be "get lots of feedback from your customers." So, we will continue to make great use of this blog.
That's all for the moment. Last week I presented several talks at Collaboration University in Kansas City, and tomorrow I'm winging my way to the European version of the same conference.
We have discovered the reason that Nathan lost 2 of his responses to this blog.
The blogs were taken off one server and transferred to another server for a few hours beginning at 8am on August 30. The transition should have been seamless, but it looks like the comments may have been made at exactly the time of transfer. A few minutes earlier or later and they would have been recorded on either server.
Hopefully, this blip only caused these 2 comments from Nathan to be lost (Nathan, please don't take it personally).
Because this blog is the most active in ALL OF DEVELOPERWORKS, it makes sense that you would be the ones to notice this failure.
The server transfer was a short pre-migration test. The tentative date for the migration is next Monday.
I will let you know of any updates to this timeline.
The official URL for this blog is now and has always been:
(and I apologize to those of you who wanted a nice short one, like edbrill.com). Having this blog under the auspices of developerWorks does not allow for that.
I gave out other, longer URLs on various occasions and for those folks, I wanted them to know about what was supposed to be a migration of the URL. However, the planned
blog migration experienced technical issues mid-migration and insteadof keeping the blogs down until it was straightened out, the developerWorks team backed outof the migration and returned the blogs to the previous server so that the bloggers could get back to blogging and the blog readers could getback to reading. The developerWorks team plans to attempt the migration again in a week orso. They apologize for the inconvenience.
This URL above works now and will work after the migration The URL above redirects to www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/marybeth. After the migration the redirect will be proxied and the URL will resolve in the browser as www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/marybeth.
FYI, this blog (well, all Developerworks blogs) will be briefly unavailable Wednesday 8/22/07 beginning at 12pm ET (GMT -5). The duration of the outage may be up to four hours.
The new URL after the upgrade will be:
Since my last blog posting, I expected that most of the world would be poised with bated breath, click the refresh button to be the first to download Notes 8....
but in our house, I have been reminded by my ten year old that "Mom, that's only your JOB. There are important entertainment things happening, too."
Those important entertainment things would be the premier of "High School Musical 2," which, for my 2 girls, has been awaited with ALMOST as much anticipation as the Harry Potter book.
Testing... that's what the QE team is doing. We're in the "Final regression testing" phases of the Notes 8 project...
That means design changes are basically finished for the release, and except for show-stopper bugs (and perhaps changes to certain defaults), the design team is finished with the release, and, in many cases, on to helping prepare for launch events.
We continue to monitor the feedback forums daily, and we continue to enter your feedback into our "usability scorecard." So keep the feedback coming nonetheless.
Thanks for all of your comments about Margo's inbox posting, we've been following them over the weekend.
On Monday, April 2, we send our string files to the international team so that they can begin translating Lotus Notes 8 into at least 27 other languages.
(Some of the files already went a few weeks ago). What does this mean to you or me?
The primary thing it means is that, for all practical purposes, any words that get sent on Monday are the words you are going to see in the shipping product. Since the beta that you are all seeing, we have changed a few terms (found a few more instances of "database" to change to "application". etc). But from here on in, any changes to any wording of anything are going to be expensive because we'll have to change it in all of the language files in all 27 languages.
If you have suggestions on terms or labels to improve, keep them coming, but unless they prove really really important, they will have to wait until the next version of Notes.
Just so you know, "pixel freeze" is not for a while yet, so there is still a small window of opportunity to change layout, icons (such as the ones Margo mentioned in her posting about the "to-ness" icons), and other things that do not involve translation.
Don't Forget to Listen to the "Taking Notes" Podcast that Jeff Eisen and I did with Julian Robichaux and Bruce Elgort
Here are some statistics from Andy LaFleur, the co-captain of the usability lab at Lotusphere (and manager of the user studies group).
The user experience (UX) lab was extremely busy this year, conducting hands-on usability tests, interviews, administering surveys, and getting feedback on a variety of designs .
We can roughly track the amount of customer participation from the tickets we collect at the end of each session, which are then entered into a daily raffle drawing. This year, we had 326 raffle tickets, which is 42 more than last year.
If we consider that:
Many, many thanks to all the customers who came, and to the lab staff - you folks are tireless, innovative, and care about our users. Your efforts make the UX Lab one of our best investments.[Read More]
Premium Support customers! We want to talk to you about the re-design of the premium support website!
Calling all Premium Support customers. As you probably know, we are re-designing the premium support (IWCS) web site, and we'd like to talk to you about it.
You can choose to
Read about some new usability feedback techniques we're trying in the User Experience Lab in Oceanic 1 during Lotusphere!
Merry Morse, the co-captian of our User Experience Lab is our guest blogger today.
It's January 12. Yikes.
Lotusphere is only one short week away. We are all very excited about what we will be showing you and we are very anxious to hear your feedback. One way to do that is to visit our User Experience lab, which will be located in Oceanic 1. Our theme this year is Be Heard...We're Listening! And that is just what we have been doing throughout 2006 and plan to continue in 2007.
You have been a huge partner in our Notes 8 design process. Last year at the UX Lab we conducted over 120 sessions on Notes 8 and over 90 sessions on Sametime 7.5, often with 3 or 4 people per session. What you told us last year played an instrumental role in how we designed both of these products. We would like to double that at this year's UX Lab, so we invite you all to come sign up for a session or two.
Here are some of the options you'll have:
Notes 8 "Collaboratory:"Experience a live Notes 8 environment. Play the role of an employee who works at a home goods company we call Renovations, Inc. Provide feedback on applications such as Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Help, Documents, Feeds, Activities. Tell us what you think about the overall experience of using Notes 8. Be heard...We're listening!. This is the new technique. Please come and give it a try.
Beyond Notes 8:We're starting to design areas for our next release of notes. Come tell our lead designers for Calendar and Contacts what you want in the next release of Notes. Check out an early prototype of some new Calendar ideas and give your feedback. Take a peek at new features being considered for Contacts by testing out our new prototypes. Share your thoughts on what's important for the next release of Contacts. Be heard...We're listening!
Your Web conference takes a turn: Help steer! We'd like your feedback on a new web conference experience -- joining, sharing information, and managing the shared experience. Be heard...We're listening!.
New meeting tools, hot off the press:Check out early prototypes of some new meeting tools, and give feedback on the capabilities that would be most helpful to you. Be heard...We're listening!.
Gotcontent? Share your thoughts on "Geneva:" Tell us what you think about the new content sharing capabilities and collaborative team workspace and discuss your content collaboration needs. Be heard...We're listening!.
Ride the Portal Express: See our latest offering. We have in-line editing, out of box sites and templates, provisioned user groups, and more. Tell us what you think and how your organization uses Portal.
Give us your insight on Lotus ActiveInsight: If you’ve seen the demos, give us your feedback. Share your thoughts on the value of strategy maps. Take part in a color experiment and test the effect on data consumption. Be heard...We're listening!.
Portlet Factory expert or novice?Test it out. We want to hear what you think. Be heard...We're listening!.
Electronic Forms -- Not your Grandma's Paper Forms: The current generation of tools for viewing and designing electronic forms allow you to create highly interactive user experiences. Come test drive an early build of our next release of Form Designer and Form Viewer tools. We have a form for you to design but if you want to bring your own, that would be great too! Be heard...We're listening!.
Industry Solutions for Electronic Forms: Do you manage, design or develop software for an industry in which forms play an important role in central business processes? Think banking (loan applications), insurance (workman's compensation), health care (medical records) and more. If so, tell us about how you use forms in these processes. Be heard...We're listening!.
Test drive the new Lotus social software for business, including our activity-centric collaboration solution Get your opinions heard!Try out our EACH OF OUR social software COMPONENTS for yourself. Let us know what you think about getting started with Web 2.0 and what it would take to deploy this new tool set in your organization. Be heard...We're listening!
Design your own components: Even if you have never used it, try out our component designer, use our training and help, which has been designed with input from our customers. Be heard...We're listening!.
We will have sign-up sheets at the lab. Come sign up early. Last year we had to send people away. Be heard!
And in case you dn't know how to find us:
Introducing the new Composite Applications Blog !
It brings together all the key technical architects and user experience design professionals for the major products from the IBM WPLC division (fka Lotus) that provide support for user facing composite applications. These products include IBM Websphere Portal 6.0, IBM Lotus Notes 8.0, IBM Lotus Domino 8.0, IBM Lotus Expeditor 6.1 and future products to be named when they are announced.
I am very pleased that the Composite applications team has decided to do this.[Read More]
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.