We’re looking to improve theFeed Reader in a future release of Notes. I know one of the hottest Feed Reader issues is authentication, andwe’re definitely investigating that area and will be looking for input on that at another time.
A design change we’re investigating is integrating the Feed Reader into the Mail navigator, so thatthe feeds can be viewed, previewed & managed like mail. Initially, this design poses 2 largequestions:
1. How do you want to manage your feeds? Do you want the feeds within your current folder structure (Figure 1), or as a separate high-level node in the navigator (Figure 2)?
Figure 1 (Feeds within Folders) Figure 2 (Feeds as Top Level Navigator Node)
2. Where do you want to store your feeds?
a. In the Mail file itself. This will be convenient as the feeds will replicate with the mail file. The downside is that the feeds will take up space and add toward your mail file quota.
b. In a separate .nsf.
c. Give the user the option of A or B (in a preference and also through policy). Similar to how Chat HIstory is handled now.
3. Also, we're interested in your general reaction to this design idea - i.e. moving the Feed Reader to the Mail Navigator.Thanks,Margo
THREE THINGS IN THIS 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? )
We are revising some of the error messages, and the guideline that I'm using is to tell Samantha:
- What went wrong
- Why (optional)
- What to do about it.
Often, there is nothing Samantha can do because someone else has to do it (e.g. the Domino admin)
For example, one of the messages is about how the thingy is not a known TCP/IP host. So we revised as follows:
Unable to find the server. Check that your network connection is working.
If you have a working network connection, click Trace to discover where it breaks down,
and then contact your system administrator with the information.
[ Trace... ]
[ OK ]
Now, the dev team is telling me that they have had NUMEROUS customer requests to REMOVE "contact your system administrator" from any of the error messages. Because they get too many help desk calls.
So I ask you, in cases like this just what to you expect Samantha to do? Do you REALLY want us not to give her any direction so that she just sits and wastes company time?
I'm really tempted to change it to:
Whatever you do, do NOT call the help desk because they really do not want to help you. Maybe you should just take the rest of the day off.
It seems like the help desk tail is wagging the company dog here. Enlighten me if there's something I'm missing.
We know that Samantha can't add and access authenticated feeds in Notes 8 or 8.01. She actually can do it, but she has to first find and understand how to set up a Notes Account with her user name and password. We don't think many Samantha's have figured this out :)
Samantha will need to have some interaction with Notes Accounts. These can befound in Notes > Preferences > Accounts, and have been part ofthe Notes client for a long time. We're concerned that she might think that 'Notes Accounts' = her e-mail account. It's not a very descriptive term, so we are thinking of alternatives.
How do you like the term 'NotesAccess Accounts'? Any other ideas? Keep this in mind as you look through the scenarios below.
So, here's a design proposal to fix authentication:
Samantha adds a new feed, but she doesn't know that this feed requires authentication.
she clicks on the Add Feed button and gets this dialog: Samantha enters the feed URL and clicks Next
and she gets this
telling her that this feed does require authentication. She now has the option to create a new account or reference an existing account. See Scenario 2 and 3 below for more examples of how she'd do that.
Samantha adds a new feed, and this time she knows that it requires authentication. However, she's never worked with Accounts in Notes preferences. So, after she adds her feed URL, she clicks 'Create a new Notes Access Account' and enters her information.
and she gets this Scenario 3:
Once she fills in her User name and Password, the Next button will become available.
Samantha's been adding new feeds for a while and has set up various accounts. For example, she has one set up to access her New York Times account and another to access the tap server on the IBM intranet. The new Activities feed she's adding is also on the same server, and she knows it needs authenticating, and she knows she can use her IBM intranet account again.
the relevant info gets filled in All Scenarios After Samantha has provided the Authentication information (for feeds that required it) and clicks Next, she'll see this:Thanks,Margo Ezekiel, Notes Client User Interface Designer
She'll click Finish and the new feed will appear in her sideshelf Feed Reader.
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??
Calling all of you who have the Notes 8 beta! Please do a little usability test for me.
Make sure you are using the beta, and save all your data. Then go to the File menu and pick "Close All"
So... What happened? Is that what you expected to happen?
Why or why not?
As you saw from the little test, "Close All" also closes the sidebar. Is that ok? did that seem logical? (If it did NOT seem logical is it because you were used to using the old "Close All Open Window Tabs"?)
Thanks for your comments and opinions. (Please, get all your friends to do this and respond. I want to see if I get more hits today than Ed Brill's blog, since Alan is the guest blogger there today<smirk> Of course I am also interested in the real data! I am having a little "issue" with the dev team as to whether closing the sidebar is a bug or not... )
Greetings loyal customers,
Check out my article on developerWorks. It has some tips for setting up Notes 8 so that Outlook users feel right at home and can make an easy transition.
Do your users set up POP3 mail along with Notes very often?
How many users actually use these other configuration wizards for Newsgropus, Directory Server, Internet Proxy Servers or Replications settings?
What, if any, big usability issues do you /your users have with this part of the Notes configuration and setup? Do you do it for them?
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.
When my team was given the charge to design a world-class user experience, one of the things we did was meet to define and operationalize what it means to be "world-class."
We settled on a definition/operationalization that has 4 parts:
- §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.
There is no such thing as "absolute" world-class user experience. It's only a world-class experience for certain sets of people doing certain tasks. As you know, the set of people for this release are the business end users like Samantha, Ted, and Betty. They are our design personas-- the business end users that we're keeping in mind during the design of this release. You can hear more about this at the talk Chris Reckling and I are giving at 3:45 today.
Lotusphere itself so far today has been a "world-class" experience. Rather than repeating what many others have already said, check out Lotusphere Live
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
- Internet Explorer
- Netscape Navigator
- 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.)
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.
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?
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
Here is the revised Ida persona that we will use for Domino.next. As with Fred, we will revise these personas as necessary with each subsequent release (or introduce new ones depending on the area we're working on).
Ida really enjoys her job because she feels a sense of accomplishment every time she helps fix anyone’s Lotus Notes or Sametime problem.
She has been a second line Notes/Sametime support person for two years. She moved up from first line (help desk) support after being there for quite a few years. The help desk job was her first job after finishing gymnasium. Her desk (and her Notes Workspace) is neat and clean.
A good day is when she has been able to track down a problem that required a little creative thinking or sleuthing. A boring day is when she spends most of it simply processing name changes or making changes to directory groups, and a bad day is when several people have really bad mail or Sametime issues and they get upset with her when their problems are not fixed.
As a mom, she does not get much spare time, but she enjoys reading, and getting the latest and greatest mobile phone gadgets.
Ida is 32. She finished gymnasium but her abitur test scores did not make her a university candidate. She’s married to Niklas (who is in IT at a different company) and has a son Florian, aged 4. She enjoys playing with him in their small back garden. In her cubicle she has the following picture of Niklas and Florian playing a computer game on the little terrace outside.
She enjoys working with people and is good at calming down irate or upset people. She’s very empathetic.
She prefers face to face interaction because she’s a people person, however, because she has to be able to track all support calls for statistical records, she now prefers email and chat. She loves being able to set a default to save all chats so that when someone sends her an instant message with a problem, that gets saves in case she needs to turn that into a trouble ticket resolution. Enjoys department meetings and parties because she gets to see and interact with her colleagues.
Who she works with:
- Other people in second line Notes/Domino/Sametime support
- First-line support people
- Third-line support people when she needs to escalate a problem that she cannot fix
- She takes calls/issues/problems from any other employee who needs second line support for Notes/Domino/Sametime. This could range from an executive assistant an Executive or a young new hire.
She’s part of a 5-person second line support team.
The second line support team is part of a larger IT organization. The larger group includes:
- First, second, and third line support
- Several project planners who plan the rollouts of new products or upgrades
- Systems and directory administration
Generally the work environment is friendly. However, if there is a critical issue that needs to get fixed, things can get tense. The fact that she uses Lotus Notes and Sametime all day, every day, helps her to understand and better diagnose users’ problems.
- She has a Windows XP desktop machine with a flat-panel monitor
- She’s running Notes 7.0.1 and Sametime 7.5.1. She also uses several custom Lotus Notes applications as part of her work, and she’s got Microsoft Office.
- She also uses the Domino Admin client.
- She has several versions of Internet Explorer so that she can support DWA users.
She works in the electronics industry at a large, multi-national firm headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. The firm designs and manufactures medical and electronics. They have offices worldwide, and have deployed Lotus Notes and Sametime in 5 different languages
The IT is centralized in Frankfurt and serves all three of the divisions, except for the first-line help desk. There are several of these in the different geographies, including Europe, India, and Mexico. Sometimes getting a ticket from the first-line help desk in Mexico can be a real problem when it’s all in Spanish and the first-line person really doesn’t speak English (and certainly not German).
- Solve users Notes/Domino and Sametime problems as quickly as possible so that these users can get back to work.
- Create Domino person records, ID’s, user names and passwords for new hires. <!--[endif]-->
- Conversely, she must also ensure that users who have left the company are removed from the Directory and their IDs are dealt with.
- Resetting the Domino http passwords for users who have forgotten it. (This is for access to Sametime and for Domino Web Access.)
- For users who have lost their Notes ID for forgotten their Notes password, getting them back up and running.
- Desktop support like installation issues, interact with people who do network support. Helpdesk tickets.
- Wants users of second-line support to be satisfied 99% of the time because their issue has been fixed quickly.
- Move up to 3rd line support
- Not to look stupid in front of the users who need second line support
- Have management be pleased with the number of incidents she can handle.
Managing Notes IDs takes a long time and can be confusing, especially compared to managing usernames and passwords.
An understanding of the Domino directory
Basic administration of Domino
Basic administration of Sametime
Proficient at using Lotus Notes and Sametime
Good people skills
Calm, patient, and reassuming telephone skills
Bi-lingual in English and German (she finds it easier to speak in German. )
Domino Administration client
Sametime administration client
Various file shares that contain copies of Notes IDs
Rename a user: Janie Doe got married over the weekend. She is now Jane Buck. Ida receives notification of the name change and has to change the person record in the domino directory so that Jane Buck can log in to Notes and Sametime.
Add a new hire: At Renovations, Ida assigns a username and a password to each user so that on the first day of work they can log into the Human resources system and fill out tax paperwork online. Once they actually show up at work, then she creates the Notes user ID. (They wait, because creating the user ID is more time-consuming and believe it or not, often people accept a job but then do not actually show up!)
Add a person to a group in the directory: Ida has to add or remove people from groups in the directory. (this is a job that she finds very boring and she does this first thing in the morning to get it over with.)
Encourage group owners to take charge of their groups.
- Check AdminP for re-certifications and other things.
- Track down “lost mail” issues by checking the logins, going into the mail.box to see if the message is sitting as dead mail.
- Work with the third-line support on their “perimeter” mail servers that do spam filtering, antivirus checking and things, before the mail goes outside the corporate intranet.
- Work with server team if there are other issues like router issues., to try to track down where routers are failing.
Each morning, Ida gets her son up and ready for the day before she leaves him with her mother. Then she heads into work.
Once there, she checks AdminP first, and then the list of trouble tickets to see if there is anything urgent. If there is, she addresses that first, before even opening her email. She will, however, log on to Sametime first thing. Once she gets a lull in the urgent trouble tickets, then she logs on to mail and checks it.
She tends to “group up” some of the boring tasks like adding and removing people from groups, for right before lunch so that she can “reward herself” by then going lunch.
Then after lunch, it is right back to those trouble tickets until it’s time to go home. She likes Thursdays because they have the weekly group meeting then, and it gives people a break from the trouble tickets.
Hey customers and business partners,
As many of you know, Warren and Kitty Elsmore are organizing Swan boat races at lunch time during Lotusphere. There are 2 people to a boat. So, in an effort to 'team' with you-- our customers-- better, the Design team is looking for people to race with us.
Below are the names and roles of the Design team members who are participating. This is your chance for "quality" one-one-one time. Think about it, perhaps it's an opportunity for things like this: you say "Hey John, promise to re-design free time lookup, or I'll turn the boat so that you get soaked!"
- Mary Beth Raven - Designer for "framework" things like the sidebar, and team lead
- John Lance - Designer for Calendar and Contacts
- Sheri Branco - User studies and usability for framework things (she has the unenviable job of telling me that my designs are sometimes stupid without actually saying it that way)
- Margo Ezekiel - Designer for Mail and Personal Journal.
- Deb Maurer - User studies and usability for Calendar and Contacts
- Jodi Rexford - Designer for DWA (Domino Web Access, aka iNotes)
- Kristina McBlain- Designer for To-do's and Composite applications
Post a note below about who you'd like to have on your team, The first responder gets the team member, If you don't care, we'll just assign them in order. (And if nobody responds at all, we'll just have to team up with each other, and then shoot the water pistols at lazy developers whose templates generate lots of "object variable not set" messages-- cause customers always blame US for any Notes error message!)
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".
The Notes "next big release" is the one after the 8.0.1 point release that was announced on September 18th. The Notes 8.0.1 point release -- at least those things in it-- are pretty final now and we're fixing bugs.
Last week the design and user research team held an exercise to prioritize the Notes client features in the "next big release." We did this at the yearly meeting of our "Global Customer Partnership Council. " So that means that the council got to represent all of you in terms of which features are important to put in the next big release. Due to confidentiality restrictions, we can't share everything with you (at least not right now), but here are a few of the results below. The Council could rate things as a P1, P2, P3 or "put it in the trash" -- meaning, "Do not bother to build this."
P 1.5 - Samantha can put Urls, Doc links and links to the Symphony editors on her Re-designed workspace
P 1.5 Samantha will receive Notifications from all plugins in a consistent way (e.g."new mail" slide-in box in lower right).
P 2 - Samantha can have her sidebar managed via policy, can import approved plugins, can efficiently manage a large number of plugins, and have location awareness in plugins"
In the trash:
The ability to put an anniversary on the calendar with no end date. (e.g. infinite repeat)
Now, we do want to make every effort to build the things you tell us are important. We also have to take into account other things like changing business climate and IBM corporate initiatives and so on. So I am unable to make any promises. But I am able at least to keep you updated :)
Hey everybody, check out the free trial version of Sametime 7.5.1.
And don't forget to subscribe to Joe Scherpa's blog
about Sametime desgin, and read his description of all the new features in Sametime 7.5.1, while you are at it!
Last week I asked about your use of the Personal Journal. My intent was to get an idea of the amount of attention/effort we should pay to that compared with Mail, Calendar, Contacts, To-Dos.
I interpret your responses basically as "Personal journal comes last after Mail, Calendar, Contacts, To-do's."
I was also trying to get a feel of whether we should put Personal Journal on the bookmark bar (now the "launcher" or "open list") by default. Since it is on the Home page, I want to, for consistency, also put it on the Launcher, but if most folks do not use the personal journal, I don't want it cluttering up the launcher (of course, we may have a "chicken or the egg" problem here... If I put it on the launcher, maybe more people will use it).
Lotus is committed to being backward compatible. There are some times, however, when it is a real challenge to be both fully backward compatible and also to improve usability.
Here's a case I ran into yesterday. The new dialog box for replication schedule gives users 2 controls to pick what time to start, and what time to finish. In our usability tests, users found this generally more usable than the previous control (mainly because they did not need to guess on the alphanumeric to use for the range -- the "-" is what to use.)
HOWEVER, the QE team informs me that that the old field actually can accept specific times, not just a range. I did not know that. Nothing in the old UI implied that. Did any of you know that? Do any of you set specific times in a way that you could NOT revise them as a range?
So my dilemma today is what to do about this. The easiest thing from a dev point of view would be to change the field back so that it can accept comma-delimited specific times. But that sacrifices the usability. For backwards compatibility, if anybody DID comma-delimit specific times, we could probably support it, but leave the "from" and "to" fields blank. That looks broken.
And no, I am not going to redesign the dialog to allow Samantha to choose EITHER a range or specific times. Lotus Notes is notorious for giving users so many ways to do a thing that they get overwhelemed with choices.
There might be history here that I don't know, like in some previous version, ONLY specific times were supported. But the case as I see it from Notes 7 to Notes 8 is that there was nothing to lead users to believe that they coudl comma-delimit specific times, so I'm not going to change the new UI. If you have a comma-delimited list of times, we'll support it but leave the fields blank.
Let the commentary begin.
As Ed Brill has already told you, the "beta 2" (also called "public" beta) should be available early next week. Watch this website.
Once this beta is available, I'll post lots and lots of pictures to this blog, and I'll also assume that MOST of you are downloading and installing the beta (tell me if you are not!!)
We'll see how things develop. My assumption is that this blog might become LESS active as most of the conversation will move to the feedback forum (url to be posted soon.). But we'll see.
Internally today I have seen messages such as the following:
Notes 8 Beta 2 FVT Sign Off Complete - WHAHOOO!! <eom> (from our project manager)
"As of 4:05 PM today, the Hannover, Activities, Designer, and Instant Messaging FVT (functional verification test) teams have exited the Final Regression test phase for Notes 8 Beta 2.
Congratulations to all of the test teams, and those who have supported their effort, in meeting the goals of this very aggressive schedule and achieving this critical milestone." (from our test lead.)
I'm actually getting all choked up. It's exciting and scary... one thing I know for sure.. we're all in this together. This is a TERRIFIC community and I can count on you to give me both the good and the bad information that will ultimately make this a better product.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments.
@Nathan: I would like nothing more than impress you. But you are right, and I will not be able to impress you with putting the rich text controls right above the data entry area (of course, that is where I put them in Workplace Messaging, but this blog is about Notes)
@Mark Hughes: the > and >> are ideas for different icons for the "recipient indicators" indicators. We've decided that the arrows do not work-- too many people think they are "twisties" to open something. Currently in Notes 7 we have these round icons, and we're trying to improve the iconography:
@Charles -- about notes assuming the same toolbar. Here is my current plan, based in large part from the responses to my earlier posting about toolbars.
ONLY the context-sensitive toolbars are going to be on by default. However, we have augmented the 3 main context-sensitive toolbars (for views, documents in read mode, and documents in edit mode. ) so that you'll get common things like new, and print. Several of us customized our toolbars this way and have been using only the context-sensitive toolbars just to see how usable we think it is. The idea is that for people like Samantha, this is porbably all she needs and will use. (I wanted to create more context-sensitive toolbars, like a mail-specific one, etc. but we are running out of time for that)
You (or Samantha if she's having a power-user day) can turn on any or all of the old static toolbars. If you have created a totally custom toolbar, we'll retain that and turn it on with the context-sensitive one.
@Pierre, yes our original design also had the tab row configuable (to be set and locked by an admin) so that they coudl be on the bottom as well. We still want to deliver tabs on the bottom, but that will have to wait until the next release.
@Miks yes we will have some level of "themeability", for example, you can edit a CSS file to change the tab color etc.
@stisum, yes, our original designs put the search control up in the upper right on the menu bar, however, since we are using a vanilla eclipse toolbar control, we cannot add such a control in this release.
Also, strictly speaking, for the Mail/calendar and Contacts, the Action bar is the same new custom toolbar control, but since all of your custom apps will still be using the Notes action bar, we cant really let Samantha start dragging the action bar and re-ordering it interspered with the toolbar just yes, cause she'll only be able to do that with the Mail/Cal/Contacts.
With the release of the Notes 8.5, the Notes Development Team has switched to an 'Agile' Development environment. In contrast to a traditional waterfall process, we are now focused on doing short, complete iterations, involving cross-functional teams. It's very exciting for us, particularly as designers, because it means we will have daily access to the actual working code, and thus better able to iterate designs as we go along. One of the very first phases of the Agile process, involves writing User Stories. User Stories are about the Business Requirement that will be solved by this item. As the item gets developed, we will be validating the implementation with customers, to make sure we are meeting the business requirement.
Here's an example of our User Stories for the Personal Journal. Please give us feedback as to whether these Personal Journal User Stories meet your business needs, and in particular, whether we have assigned the right priorities. We want to make sure we're building the right stuff!
Thanks in advance,
Margo (Notes Client Mail UI Designer)
1. High Samantha can look at her Journal entries, in views that feel familiar to other Notes 8.5 Views (i.e. Mail, Calendar, Contacts)
- use consistent terminology in the views (i.e. Title, rather than 'Topic'; don't use 'diary' just in the views, and no where else)
- Samantha can select her journal entries in the same manner she's used to in the Mail application.
- Action Bars should have consistent buttons & icons - i.e. Delete, Folder.
- Context Menu should have Journal actions added
- Add icons for views in navigator
- Folders should use collapse/expand icons, not twisty
- Show the first line of body as subject (for clean sheet entries)
- Samantha can preview her journal entries on the bottom or the side; when previewing her journal entries on the side, Samantha sees a well-designed list.
- If soft deletes are enabled, when Samantha deletes an entry, it is moved to her trash folder
2. High When Samantha opens a journal entry, the look and feel is familiar
- use consistent terminology and layout to the other 8.0+ forms
- use consistent action items & icons as in other 8.0+ forms (i.e. Forward, Delete, etc.)
- make the clean sheet form more standard (i.e. make the title/category a show/hide collapsible section, rather than a button)
3. High Samantha can easily access her Journal
- Journal is listed in the Open drop-down
- Journal is listed in the 'Switch to" menu
- A journal is automatically created when Samantha opens a Journal for the first time
- an alternative: if the Journal doesn't already exist, improve the dialogs for creating one the first time
4. High Samantha is familiar with using the Journal, because it's named the same in DWA.
- rename Personal Journal to 'Notebook' in both Notes & DWA
5. Medium Samantha can quickly create a page in her journal, from anywhere in Notes
6. Medium Samantha can access her journal from any machine.
- Samantha can access her journal in the same way she accesses her mail
7. Medium If Samantha is also a DWA user, she can see her journal entries when she uses DWA and Notes, no matter where they were entered
- Journals will be replicated as contacts are. (unlike today when she has to do a manual synch of the DWA notebook to her Personal Journal)
8. Low Betty, Ted's Administrative Assistant, should be able to access Ted's journal.
9. Low Samantha can easily move a journal entry to a To Do or an Activity.
A few days ago, Alan Lepofsky told you how Lotus made it easy for you to get thin in 2008. It was a post about how we added shortcut keys of CTRL+2, to close the sidebar, CTRL+3 to make it thin and CTRL+4 to open it.
I did indeed pay attention to your reponses there. First of all, yes, we are almost out of shortcut combos that can apply across the entire platform. That is one of the challenges of being the "mother of all integration clients." (I am referring to the client itself, not me, although sometimes I feel that it's synonomous...)
While Nathan's suggestion of using CTRL+> works in left-to-right languages, it becomes completely counter-intuitive in Right-to Left languages (we generally change mnemonics per language, but not the shortcut keys.) So that is how we ended up with the CTRL+2, 3, and 4.
THE PLOT THICKENS, however. Some folks responded that certain key combinations did not work and/or crashed the client. So I investigated by testing it myself. I discovered that CTRL+2 does NOT work in the Symphony word processor or presentation tool because that key combo is already being used to change selected text to double spacing. Thus, I embarked on a mission to find a key combo that pertains across the client for "close the sidebar". CTRL+5 was also already taken by the same editors to make text 1.5 spaced.
Sigh. Thus, I entered an SPR (Software problem report = bug report) to change CTRL+2 to CTRL+0. 0 because Zero is nothing, as in, sidebar closed. I realize it might be more difficult to remember-- CTRL+3, CTRL+4 and then CTRL+0. But that's about all I had to work with. You can always ignore them and use the menus, or click the arrow in the middle of the sidebar.
But now you know the rest of the story :)
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:
- What type of user are you (what is your role, level of expertise)?
- What kind of a learner are you (read material before you start, read and try things at the same time, like to discover things on your own, something else?)
- What types of informal learning do you use?
- Of the different types of content in Online Help, what do you find most useful? (And if you don't use Help, please say why.)
- Are there differences in your learning style when the product is new vs. when you're upgrading?
Here is the information about the Workshop.Information Development Center Innovation Meeting, 2007 Date: March 7, 2007Time: 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 CenterGoal: 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.Why attend?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.RSVP: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!
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.
Now that (the first of two) opening general sessions are over, I can tell you more about the Live Text feature that I've been working on for Notes 8.0.1.
Notes 8.0.1 will ship with several types of text that are "recognized", such as an email address or postal address. These recognized terms or phrases get a special underline, and you can (left) click on the underline to get a dialog of options, as shown in the picture below.
If there is only one action to take, then clicking simply performs that one action. Once you have chosen your default action, clicking performs the default action, as shown in the picture below.
You can right-click to get all the options on a contact menu. The context menu also lets you set preferences for live text, such as what the special underline can be, and what types of text to recognize, as you can see in the picture below.
While Notes ships several types of recognized text, I think the power of this feature is in the fact that application developers can create their own recognized text, for example, for part numbers, customer numbers, or emplooyee numbers and hook them up to useful actions that make sense for your organization.
This feature has something for Fred and Ida the Domino administrators as well. They can deploy new recognzers as "widgets" by putting them in a widget catalog (a catalog.nsf, conceptually similar to a database catalog, er, application catalog ). In addition, if you use Desktop policies, we have several new policy settings that allow Admins to choose who gets the feature, who can build their own new widgets, and so on.
There is a security issue related to MIME (HTML) emails and images within them. Spammers or otherwise nefarious characters will send an email with an image that pulls the image off of a server. Additional information is encoded in this request that identifies the email address to which it was sent. Thus, when Samantha opens the message, it retrieves the image and now the spammer has a verified email address which then prompts more email.
To address this issue we're working on "delayed loading" of images. We're planning on making this a user preference.
- Do you want it on by default?
- Do you want to control it/mandate it via user policy?
- Do you or your users need to be able to set this on a per-database basis e.g. your own personal mail file but not mail-in databases? or Betty-the-AA can set it for a delegated mail file but Ted-the-boss of the mailfile herself can choose not to?
- Assuming the email has loaded and not retrieved the images, what do you want to see in their stead? We were planning just little X's
- We were planning on giving Samantha a button to click to load the images, something like the following:
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.
The Information Development team is looking to streamline the end-user Help system for the next major release of Notes. In the area of Search, we are wondering if customers have implemented the Domain Search feature in their companies, and, if you have, what kind of help your end users need to successfully search for documents and applications across their Notes domains.
Thanks for any assistance you can provide,
Notes Information Developer
Take a look at the new icons for the Action Bars. We took your comments about the views to heart, and we did not change any of the metaphors.
Hello to everyone running any of the betas (and anybody else for that matter!!). Please take a few minutes to check out this feature/idea that we have implemented in the beta. We are not sure if it is worth keeping.
We call it the Spacer.
It has to do with the Open list.
and the Docked List (which basically looks like the bookmark bar).
Please open up your beta build and take a look at where there is simlpy extra space in the open list. We built a Spacer-- a way to organize things simply by grouping them by leaving space (rather than having a separator). If samantha does not like it, she can right-click to remove the space. She can also drag and drop the space. We have not yet provided the ability to copy and paste more space. Take a look at the following screenshots. What do you think? Will Samantha like it, or will she just think it's a bug? Should we keep it or remove it?
Here is the Open list. Notice the spacer in the Open list-- it has the selection, the dark blue, in this picture.
Samantha can select the space and drag it and drop it to a new location to create a new "visual group" (look for the thick black line).
The picture below shows how she has dragged the spacer and dropped it to a new location.
Last but not least, this also works with the Docked Open list, as you can see in the picture below. samantha can select, and then drag and drop the "space" to visually group the things in her docked Open list. (look for the big, thick line in the picutre -- it shows you where she'd be dropping the space).
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.
In Notes 8, we tried to add more "self service" support that is more closely allied to the Notes client itself. You might have noticed that in Notes 8.0 we added a menu item on the Help menu called IBM Support Assistant, as shown in the following screenshot:
In Notes 8, this takes you to a browser page (as shown in the screenshot below), from where you can search other sources, get specific product information, and initiate data collection (which you can analyze yourself or send it to IBM as part of a PMR). (If you have Notes 8, please go explore this now!)
Now, for Notes 8.5, IBM is rewriting the support assistant in Lotus Expeditor.
This change in technology means we have a few opportunities to integrate more fully with the client. For example, would it be helpful to add items to search into the Help sidebar when it is open, or right into the Search Center Dropdown, as shown in the following figure:
On the one had, we realize that most end users like Samantha, Ted or Betty would not be searching the IBM support site. Rather, it is Ida in second line support or Fred the admin who would be doing so. Thus, I think that one important requirement would be the ability for Ida to add organization-specific areas to search, and the ability to remove certain other search choices. Please let us know if that's a realistic requirement.
What other requirements do you have for it? How, if at all, can we make it helpful for end users/help to reduce your internal help desk calls?
or maybe we really can't, and we should focus on administrators and application developers?
The IBM Support Assistant menu item is not built-in to the Designer client or the Admin client in Notes 8. Would it be more helpful in those clients? (I realize that if the Support assistant is now a plug-in, we may have some technical issues regarding which clients are in Expditor and how soon they will get there.)
Thanks for your insight and opinions.
Chris Reckling and I gave a talk entitled "Designing a world-class user experience for IBM Lotus Notes" at Lotushere 2 weeks ago, and since I extolled the virtues of being able to easily export it to a pdf file in my last post, I figured I should post the actual .pdf so that those of you who did not attend can take a look at it.
While Chris and I gave the talk, it represents the efforts of a team of visual designers, interaction desginers, and usability professionals.
ID102 is our talk.
On January 12 I blogged about some of the things we'd have in the user experience lab for you to test. At the time I was not allowed to use the official names, so here they are now:
Got content? Share your thoughts on "Geneva:"--- Officially now Lotus Quickr! Tell us what you think about the new content sharing capabilities and collaborative team workspace and discuss your content collaboration needs. Be heard...We're listening!.
This is Lotus Connections! Testdrive the new Lotus social software for business, including ouractivity-centric collaboration solution Get your opinions heard!Try out our EACH OF OUR social software COMPONENTS for yourself. Let usknow what you think about getting started with Web 2.0 and what itwould take to deploy this new tool set in your organization. Beheard...We're listening!
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:
- ID 109: Design Directions for Notes, Sametime and Expeditor (with Carrie Tracy, a visual designer on the Sametime team)
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)
- AD204: Customizing the look of Notes 8 : coding tips and user interface guidelines for creating a company-wide look and feel (with Matt Hatem, an awesome developer with an uncanny eye for design details).
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.
The first beta version of IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8 (previously referred to by the codename "Hannover") has been made available to a small group of customers and business partners for initial assessment. The feedback we receive from this group in November and December will help us determine when to open it up to a broader set of beta customers and partners.
... and yes, I will be asking them about the "right double click." I am reading all those responses, and, thanks to you, lauhging at many!
Your responses to my posting about right double-click have been a fabulous affirmation of how we as a user/design community can come together to make decisions. I am discussing options with development.
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.
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"?
The "Taking Notes" podcast team of Bruce Elgort and Julian Robichaux interviewed Jeff Eisen and me about our Hannover (Notes 8) experience thus far. It's just over half an hour, and provides some useful insight from both the design and development perspective.
So far, readers like you simply get little glimpses of the new Hannover user interface from blogs like mine, and from press coverage (and Ed Brill and Alan Lepofsky of course). For the past several months, we've had a pre-beta of Hannover out to several Design partner customers, and several hundred people have deployed it internally at IBM.
Our user studies team did a round of usability testing on new mail, calendar and contacts features, and on the three IBM productivity tools (word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool) as well. (We tried using participants who signed up in the participant database, but it was tough-- we are looking for business end users who use Outlook, Eudora or some OTHER mail besides Notes, to come participate in our testing. If you know such people, have them register! https://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/usentry.nsf/register?openform )
We've gone over the test results with the user studies team, and have begun making some modifications to our designs.
We plan to have a public beta sometime later this year. During that time, we'll have many more external users, and I'll be at liberty to post many more screenshots. The user studies team plans to do several more rounds of testing, and we may try some new ways to gather feedback (typically, beta testers report bugs, but do not often report on design and usability issues).
And by the time our yearly Lotusphere conference rolls around in January, we'll all be using the public beta, I hope, and you-all can give me one last round of suggestions.
So, just a quick process overview tonight.
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:
Chris Blatnik will be joining us as an evaluator, and many of the Notes design team that posts to this blog, including myself, John Lance, Betsy Comstock and designers from our other products!!
- What: The 15-minute Usability and Design Evaluation
- When: Monday, Jan 21, 1 - 5 pm. First come, first served. Time strictly enforced.
- Where: Dolphin, Asia 4 - Lotusphere 2008
- Why: Take home some quick tips to make your users happy and productive.
We have a new feature in Hannover called "View Recent Collaborations." Samantha can right-click on any name field and pick a menu item to view recent collaborations with said person.
Samantha then gets a dialog box that lists her recent mails and chats:
We're at the stage of defining "Recent." Currently, it's set in Notes.ini with a default of 2 weeks.
I'm thinking that's enough at least for now-- Admins can change that default before deploying, but I'm hesitant to provide a user preference so that Samantha can set it for 4 weeks and Betty sets it for 1 week... while that might be nice eventually, in terms of getting users used to the feature
(e.g. why does this mail message show up in Samantha's but not Betty's?) and help desk calls, that the ini setting might be enough. We're still figuring out a way to let Samantha know what "Recent" has been defined as (short of telling her to read her ini file.)
On February 18, 2008, I posted several draft dialog boxes concerning the roaming user 'upgrade' experience,
which we are trying to improve.
In the comments, you asked for several things, one of which was theability to customize the initial dialog that tells users they are beingupgraded.
The good news is....we actually listened! We changed our plan and atthe moment, we plan to give you not one, but 2 customizable dialogs aspart of that experience. We plan to let you customize the firstone, and then the last one. Here is the revised first one, and you cancustomize the text (well, that is the plan tho I have not yet seen itworking) up to the radio buttons:
IBM Lotus Notes
Your Lotus Notes administrator has made you a "roaming user" so that you can get all of your Notes data on different computers.
You can continue to do your work and monitor the progress on the Replication tab
What do you want to do now?
O Convert to roaming now
O Ask me the next time I start Notes
O Never ask me again, I do not want this computer to roam.
[ OK ]
You can also customize the "roaming finished" dialog. (It is currently so lame that it's funny, in my opinion. It is 100%technically accurate but completely useless to Samantha.
The last dialog currently reads, "You have now completed the roamingprocess. You can now roam to other machines once the "user can roam"field in the person record has a status of Yes."
The problem is that Samantha has no idea what a person record is (isthat like a "hit single' from the olds days of record companies??) andshe has no way of verifying when, if ever, this happens. So werevised the default ROAMING COMPLETED MESSAGE , but the most importantthing is that this message is a customizable one as well! (e.g. you cantell Samantha when roaming should be ready based on how often you runAdmin P. We had a lengthy discussion about whether or not to tellSamantha about Admin P. I managed to persuade the developers thatif we mention "Admin P" then she will think that Fred wet his pants.
Here's the current planned wording:
The roaming setup process is complete on this computer. Your LotusNotes data will be the same on any computer once a scheduledadministration task has run.
[ OK ]
We have had several requests from customers to interview users of DWA-- Domino Web Access, (aka iNotes)-- and create a persona. We also had requests forus to ensure that we take into account various age groups in ourpersonas, including younger (university-age or just entering the workforce) users. To that end, our own intern, Drew Condon, hasconducted several interviews of such users and created the followingdraft persona.
Please feel free to comment if you are a member of this target usergroup-- or get your friends/siblings/children to read it (if they aremembers of this target group) and provide us with feedback.
Mary Beth on behalf of DrewDWA is for: Paul Clemmons, Intern
User ID: pclemmons | Telephone Number: 1-416-555-1104 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Employee Number: 11130
Here's a photo of Paul:Biography:
Paul is a 23 year old graduate student getting his MBA with ane-business concentration at a Chicago area business school. Heworks part time as an intern three days a week in the PR department ofRenovations, a home improvement store, when he’s not at school. He is working on a project with two other interns focused on optimizingand monitoring the image of Renovations on the Web.Personal Life:
Paul has an apartment in Logan Square on the outside of downtownChicago with two other roommates he met on Craig’s List. He’splayed bass guitar in a local band for the past 3 years, and hetypically rides his bike around Chicago instead of driving.
Here's a photo of his beloved Bass:Assumptions:
- Able to multitask, but understands his limits, and sets them.
- Expects to be able to “connect” to people and information virtually all the time.
- Knows technology plays a big role in day to day life, but recognizes the importance of real contact.
- Focused on what technology can to for him, rather than how or why.
- Intakes a huge amount of information on a daily basis, at his discretion.Goals and Motivations:
- Graduate on time with honors, but also learn something.
- Use connections to find a well paying (secure), interesting, andsatisfying job; possibly at Renovations, but he’s keeping his optionsopen.
- Manage a busy schedule, but not let work and school consume life.
- Paul collaborates with others on searching through socialbookmarking sites to see if there is any new positive or negative pressabout Renovations.
- Monitors the content on various Wikis, web pages, and blogs about the company to make sure they are accurate.
- Partly responsible for checking and maintaining Renovations online customer forums.
- Paul rides the “El” to get from home to work to class, and tries to be productive answering emails along the way.
- IE 6 at work with a del.icio.us plug-in to save pages he browsesat work, for home. Uses IE (Renovations gave him IE, he hasn'tyet treid to get permission to see if he can use Firefox)) to do all ofhis web based research.
- Lotus Notes 7.5 w/ DWA for work emails.
- Dell laptop running XP at work, model # = whatever they gave him (something not great).
- Microsoft Office Suite for creating reports, work related documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
- Custom skinned FireFox at home/class.
- Gmail for mail, chat, & calendar and Facebook and LinkdIn for social and professional networking.
- Digg and del.icio.us for social bookmarks.
- Apple MacBook and old Dell Desktop at home.
- Google Docs for most things or MS Word for more substantial documents like resumes.
- iGoogle homepage with RSS feeds from his favorite blogs (TechCrunch, Engadget)
Technological & Computing Skills:
Paul is “connected” virtually all the time; he can be reached or reachout via mobile/smart phone through voice, data, or textmessaging. When at home, Paul is wirelessly connected to ahigh-speed, always-on network connection. Paul has a both a desktopcomputer (music and photos networked to his TV), and a newer laptop forschool and general use that he keeps in the living room at hisapartment. He usually leaves his work laptop at work.
Paul uses gmail for personal email and chat, although he has an old AIMaccount too, and sees them as part of broader services offered byGoogle (youTube, google maps, search, and the iGoogle homepage). Paul also keeps another email address active as well; its not uncommonfor him to have a couple of email addresses at any given time.
Paul relies on email and chat for more immediate communications, butuses Facebook as way to casually keep in contact with friends, or checkout what others are up to. Voice is seen as on par with personalemail, and just another method of communicating, however, Paulrecognizes that it is preferred for professional or formalsituations. Paul, not deliberately, uses different channels tocreate a layered communication style that allows him to filter andtarget how he contacts people based on relationships or the type ofmessage. Paul’s good friends talk to him on the phone, others mayonly receive text messages.
At work, Paul uses DWA instead of the Notes client because most of hisresponsibilities are limited in scope. Reading and responding toemail is his primary mode of communication in the office, although hesometimes has to log into the client to access and add data to areporting database. For the most, part DWA meets all hisprofessional needs.
Paul usually adopts technology based on buzz, recommendations fromfriends, availability, impact, and mandate, but rarely on research orin depth feature comparison. He is quick to switch betweencompetitors or sites if he feels the switch is a net benefit. Hisrich client applications were preloaded with his original computer(iTunes, Photoshop Elements, Microsoft Office etc), or are highlyspecific to some of his interests, but most of his interaction is donevia free Web applications (monster.com, google maps,weather.com). Paul has his “sites” that he checks daily for newsand entertainment to help pass the time or stay up to date; he more orless creates a diverse patchwork of free unrelated sites to satisfy allhis information and communication needs.
A while I go I asked you how"mac-ish" you want Notes 8.5 on the Mac to be.
Thanks for the responses, I read every one. I met yesterday with our Mac visualdesigner (Carrie) and the developer in charge of the Mac theme(Chris) and we made a few decisions. For example, we agreed to make the statusbar icons monochrome, and center the status message. We also agreed that wewant the selected tab to have the "upside down" look-- that is,it bleeds into the top. We want to make the toolbar separators a"dot" like on other Mac apps, and more things like that.
One place where we backed off was the toolbar butons. We discussed re-drawingthe toolbar icons to have a mac look, and we discussed paring down thenumber of buttons on the toolbar, for a more Mac feel. After someinvestigation, we concluded that we do not have the time or resources to redoALL the toolbar icons (there are a lot!) and also to test them to make sure allthe conditionalization works to show the right toolbar on the rightplatform. We (eventually, after a bunch of metaphoricalhand-wringing) decided NOT to pare down the toolbars, either. Ourrationale is-- (in addition to worrying about whether we can fit it into the8.5 cycle), that since we are not giving the buttons a Mac look, then evenparing them down would not help THAT much. Please bear in mind, however, thatin 8.0 in general, we pared down the toolbars so that onlythe context-sensitive one and search show up by default.
We'll keep you posted on other Mac deisgn issues as they arise. We're workingon photoshop pictures right now. I may or may not post them-- I don't want toget your hopes up too high in case the actual rendering is not quite asbeautiful as Carrie's pictures.
(Fixed the link)
We still haven't finalized our sidebar design dilemma of how to make it easily scalable and also easily discoverable. We have, however, decided that the design I described in the second sidebar proposal is not going to be implemented for Hannover.
Hi. I'm Merry Morse. I am part of the UX team and manage the Users First customer partner program. We created Users First a year ago to fill a big gap - the UX team had not been getting out and seeing our users in their work environments. Without this first-hand exposure, we can't fully understand the "user experience." The good news is that we've seen more customers in the past year than in the past ten. Through our visits, usability sessions, and roundtable discussions, we've gotten to know people in all sorts of roles who take our software to the limit to get their jobs done and use it in ways we can't imagine on our own. Working with customers as we design our products is having a huge impact. And, the more people we talk to, the more common themes emerge. That's what we need to be able to design and build what you need.
While Mary Beth is basking in the Hawaiin sun. I'll take the opportunity as a guest blogger to share some snapshots of people we've met in our travels. All names will be fictitious, but all entries will be about real customers and partners, their goals, and the challenges they face. You'll meet non-technical business users, IT administrators, and developers. Our first customer is Joe.
He's the collaboration manager for MedCareUS, a healthcare organization with over 150,000 employees, serving several million members. Joe's goal over the next two years is to plan and implement the MedCareUS collaboration strategy (a somewhat daunting task!). A big part of that is document management, with these capabilities:
- Personal document space
- Team document collaboration space
- Enterprise document collaboration space
- Easy-to-use: easy navigation, simple task flows, and clear terminology
Joe described collaboration at MedCareUS.
He said, "It's daily life. It's everything we do - from writing a simple email to a formal white paper to writing research notes for new medicine we develop, it's doctor-patient exchange, it's the whole process. To initiate acollaboration, someone generates an idea or comes up with a response toa request. Then they do some research, write down some thoughts,collect artifacts of data and eventually share that with others. Thenthe real collaboration kicks in. Right now, email is the hub of thatcollaboration, but it goes beyond that very quickly. If you and I aresharing ideas for something that will become a project, we need tomaintain that data, store it for future use, share it with others, andbring other people in and out of that collaborative experience. Rightnow we use several tools for that, which is very confusing for endusers. If I'm a researcher looking for cure for a disease, I'd use phone, fax,and email. I’d write a 15-page Word document of initial findings andsend it to a few others for review. Or, I’d walk the paper over tosomeone to read it. I‘d collect comments in email, expand the Worddocument until it becomes a 100-page thesis. I’d then convert it to PDFand put in a document store. Domiono.Doc used to be our standard fordoc management, but we now have no standard and are looking for one."
"For a long time, the IT division was not listening to the business. We are starting to now. End users are pushing what we want to do 2 - 3 years ahead of where we are. The medical staff wants and expects high-quality, inexpensive, audio-video available worldwide in every room they walk into. The majority of the medical staff don't carry laptops or PDAs. They use a shared machine for email, and do real-time collaboration on the other side of world or in the next room. They want to be able to show what they’re doing in surgery. If they show a knee operation, they want a camera in the operating room, but they might also have a surgeon in NY giveing instructions realtime while surgery is going on across the country. They don't want to keep the patient under sedation while they fax or email things because that’s a high risk. They want and need this to be highly reliable, high quality, and with high ease of use." Twenty % of their staff are medical professionals (their bread and butter). Eighty % iare the business staff that supports the medical staff, and many like mobility. It costs four times as much per year to keep a user at a desk than working at home. As Joes says, "There’s a huge benefit to letting people work at home and we need to support that."Joe worries that computers are too confusing and overly complicated for end users.
"The big joke is, 'Wasn't the computer supposed to make life easier so we have more time with family and friends? When do we get that? In 3.0?' There's usually so much stuff shoved in front of user that they just don't use it. People say, 'I just want to get my email, send a document, see if someone reviewed it. That's all I need.' Other than that they'll go to a web site and search for something, then leave and go do something else.”
The medical staff doesn't earn money spending time with a computer, they earn money spending time with people. They would like a tool that lets a doctor walks into a room for an exam and their badge logs them in. They type in a patient record and all the information comes up. When they go into an exam they want to do 2 or 3 mouse clicks - no more. They have 15 minutes for each patient and are often double booked. As Joe puts it, "If they have to spend 6 minutes logging into the computer and get their information, it’s the whole appointment."Mail size and attachments are an issue.
They're trying to train users not to send attachments and instead to use a teamroom and have discussion threads and send links to it. But that's too many steps for most users. You have to go to another db, create a new document, attach it, add information, save it, go to Edit Copy as doc link, go back to the email and paste that in. Doctors and nurses say, “No, I'm just going to forward the email. You fix the network and storage problems.” They want to make an Action button in email that says "Start Collaboration," so ideally you could start the collaboration in the Word document instead of having to make it an attachment. You should be able to notify people, have the document put somewhere easy to find, in-line edits, version control - and it needs to be easy for the user. Right now, technology does everything, but it doesn't do it well yet.What changes would make the biggest difference to MedCareUS?
Joe is not sure yet. He needs access to more business users. He laid out a collaboration roadmap, but it’s based on his knowledge of Lotus and IBM and collaboration in general. It’s based on a generic path, which is not necessarily the correct path. They plan to use the next few months to get real usecases. They will talk to business units to find out what they cando from the collaboration standpoint to make their lives better:whether that means to remove software, give them more software, or makethe current software work better. Joe says:
- "Case studies are what we need to do now. Doctors want to help. I wouldlike to do a conference with the doctors. I want toask them how we can make their life better. They say what they want todo, and we will find the functions. That's what would make my job a success."
- "It takes 5 to 10 clicks to put email where it needs to go (and you need to know ahead of time where it needs to go). We want people to just be able to click a button. If you can come up with a solution to take an email or something that generates an idea and makes it into an artifact that's usable by that person, a group, or mass populace, that would be great."
Our team has gotten some excellent feedback from Joe on our early designs for Lotus Quickr, our new team-based document management tool, and we want more of that as we modify the designs. We plan to work with him on the use cases he needs to find out the top requirements for MedCare's collaboration roadmap. What will help him will also help us - a good match.
So, what about Joe's situation? Does any of it sound familiar in your line of business?
Have you solved any of the challenges he brings up?
Would anyone be interested in being interviewed for a customer snapshot?
All comments welcome.