Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
We are adding support for large icons to Notes 8.5 (in addition to the small ones that ship with Notes 8 and 801).
We plan to have a context menu item on the open list, and a preference.
Figure: Use large icons in the context menu on the Open list. I'ts a "check mark" menu item, like "Dock the Open List"
Here is the preference. Notice that I put it on the Windows and Themespage. I know that there used to be a preference on the BasicNotes client Configuration page.
However, this new preference applies to Expeditor, Syphony, andLotus Notes, so it does not make sense to have it on the BasicNotes client configuration page any more. For example, if Samantha is using "standalone" Symphony, she needs to be able toset large icons on the Open list for the 3 Symphony editors. TheBasic Notes Client Configuration preference won't be there. Yeah,I am a bit worried that people will not find it there. The other optionis to make a whole page just for that.
Figure: the new "use large icons preference" in the Windows and Themes preference page
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "8.01 Screenshots" and "If I were an animal, what type of animal would I be?" (Misc trivia 1: Once upon a time a potential employer actually asked me this in an interview (not IBM, thank goodness) Misc trivia 2: The follow up questions was "and if you were a plant....")
Moving right along.
As part of 8.01 we are refreshing the look of the To Dos. So I figured I'd pass along a few screens shots of the works that is going on.
An updated view: <Mary Beth resized the picture on Sept. 17, so now it does not look as good. >
The Updated create form:
And for the wise-acre in the back, the reason my To Do list is so short is I'm just that on top of things (and if you buy that, I've got this wonderful bridge I'd like to sell you. Hardly used...)
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "Hybrid Selection Model - Keyboarding" and "How to Tell if Your Boss has a Sense of Humor" (Note: This requires access to your company's public blog, a thesaurus, and (ideally) a secondary source of income...)
Moving right along...
This posting is a bit of a fishing expedition. We're looking to collect some scenarios on how you and your business users might want to share calendar information between themselves, get information from external calendars, etc. We're trying to specifically avoid referring to technology (e.g. iCal) and instead capture what it is that Samantha, Ted, and Betty want to do. That's where you come in, because we really want the examples to be as real world as possible.
Some quick scenarios that jump to mind:
Both will be excellent.
Last year I had the privilege of presenting at both. This year, ILUG asked first, so I'm going to ILUG.
DNUG speakers include Kevin Cavanaugh, Brent Peters and Bob Picciano.
ILUG speakers include Alan Lepofsky, Ed Brill, Myself and a few other hard-working and fun-loving IBMers. Notice how ILUG got all the good IBM bloggers :)
ILUG is free, and I think there are a few spots left, so hurry on over to their website to register.
ILUG is a lot more relaxed than Lotusphere, where we are not allowed to do things like toss out give-aways into the audience during our talks. ILUG has to such restrictions, and in fact, in some sessions they hand out beer when you walk in the door! While I do not plan to give out beer, I do plan to bring several give-aways to bestow upon the Lotus faithful. This might be in the form of a "pop-quiz" about what is coming in Notes 8.5. The desgn team and I have posted quite a bit of what is coming in Notes 8.5 to this blog, so read our former posts to prepare (hint: It also never hurts to know the names and job roles of our design personas, especially new newer ones, like Ida, Fred, Raj, Michaela and others...)[Read More]
Now that the Notes 8.5 beta is public, we focus on the feedback forum, and on usability testing with external people
The Notes/Domino 8.5 public beta is now available. The forum with all the details (download, release notes, etc.) is at http://www-10.lotus.com/ldd/nd85forum.nsf
I and the rest of the design team monitor that forum, and thus, most of the discussoin will move there; this blog might not be that active for a bit because all the action is taking place over on the feedback forum.
We are planning on doing some usability testing with external users. We have plans to go to customer sites to do usability testing of Notes 8.5, using our "Renovations on the road" approach that Betsy Comstock and the user studies team came up with. As I am sure you all know, Renovations is where Samantha, Ted and Betty work.
We take Renovations on the road by traveling to the customer site, where they have reserved offices or conference rooms for us, and we set up the server (we named it "the big bad wolf") and 3 clients (who are of course named Piggy1, 2 and 3). Then real end users at the customer site come and participate in usability tests. The mail, calendar and contacts are all to do with Renovations topics.
Of course, the ideal thing is to have users install the betas and use it on their own mail, but you admins are very protective of your end users and you don't usually let them install things like "public beta 1" :) so for business end users, we have found that "Renovations on the road" is the next most useful approach.[Read More]
In Notes 8.5 the Sidebar will be easier to manipulate. Specifically, it will be easier to:
So we added the ability to drag a panel down to become an icon at the bottom, or drag it up to be an icon at the top.
In the public beta , you can drag icons DOWN so that the become an "icon bar" at the bottom. As of today's build, you can also drag them up, as shown in the screenshot below:
Back in June, I asked how many of you used the Lock display feature, and I proposed a new way to deal with it in Hannover. I got over 70 responses to that posting (one of the record-breaking ones). The responses to our Hannover Plan (which was to lock the entire Operating system on Windows) was mixed. Thus, we've had a great deal more discussion of this feature since then.
Here is a revised plan on which we'd like your feedback.
When Samantha chooses a Lock Notes ID menu item, we will Lock the user credentials and break any connections to any servers. We will NOT put up any new blocked screen thingy over the display (this is because we cannot "block" the display of absolutely anything and everything that might show up in the new Hannover shell, like the IBM Productivity Tools). We do not want to block just Notes windows and have Samantha think that everything is blocked.
Thus, we'll allow a "Lock Louts Notes ID" function that locks her Lotus Notes ID and severs the Domino server connections. This means that whatever was on her screen at the time is still visible. She just needs to re-authenticate to continue using a Notes Database. ( And she can probably continue to use any of the IBM Productivity Tools, like the Spreadsheet, because it does not require authentication.) This is more like the Notes user experience in release 5.
Let the commentary begin.[Read More]
Adding databases automatically (or not)
In Notes, when Samantha opens a database that isn't already on her workspace, the database is added automatically to the current workspace page. In Hannover, there can be no notion of "current location" for the launch list. In addition, users are not unanimous in their appreciation of this feature -- many users don't want databases to be added to the workspace automatically. Nonetheless, existing Notes Workspace users will have an expectation that databases will be added automatically, and we need to respect this expectation.
Preferred solution: Ask Samantha if she wants to add new databases (a dialog plus a preference setting)
When Samantha opens a database (by clicking a doc, view, or database link, by selecting File - Database - Open, or in any other way), we should detect whether that database already exists on her launch list/workspace. If it doesn't, then when she closes the database, open a variation of the "Add Bookmark" dialog giving her the opportunity to bookmark it. We should do this on close and not on open, because when Sam is first opening a database, she may not have a clue whether she wants to bookmark it or not -- she hasn't seen it yet!
And here's the related preference:
So.. what do you think? our Chief engineer (Jeff Eisen) is not so keen on this-- only because the "right" thing to do might be to eliminate this annoying dialog and instead implement a really good search, but I am on the fence about this-- it would be a domain search-- does Samantha know what that means? and even if she did, would she remember file names correctly?
P.S. Thanks to jennifer Smith for this design.[Read More]
The closing sessoin of ILUG is commencing. There's still a lot of energy-- one sponsor is throwing out "stress ball brains" and people are having fun.
The "Customising the look of Notes 8" session (Volket, Paul et. a., notice the proper English spelling of "Customising") went well and was well attended for a 9 am session on the last day.
Then the "Linking Notes to the world with Live text" was also well attended. It was an after lunch sessoin adn the room was warm, so the session was a bit quieter than I wanted. Actually, Andrew Davis did most of the presentation, and kept asking for folks to "Stump" him with wiidget requests. Nobody during the session could... but then he spent the next hour with somebody trying to buidl something and he just announced that he's been stumped. Poor Andrew. But he'll forget about it soon once John Head buys him all that beer he deserves :)
I'd like to introduce you to:
Samantha's Work goals
As promotions coordinator, Samantha's main job is to create and manage promotion programs that boost sales and customer loyalty for the Renovations stores. She also has to increase brand awareness of a line of power tools called "Power Renovations". Promotions programs include Web site content, newspaper inserts, catalogs, exhibits, in-store displays, and special events, and may feature purchase incentives such as discounts, rebates, and contests.
Her interpersonal work goals include:
• Staying in touch with her team and customers, staying organized and having good relationships with the people on her team and with customers.
Samantha is responsible for:
• Designing promotions programs and producing promotional material. Samantha works closely with a visual designer; a copywriter, and the web master and outside consultants.
• Coordinating promotional activities with goals of the advertising and marketing departments
• Collaborating with Renovations store managers on the display and administration of in-store promotions.
• Evaluating promotions by ROI (Return on investment) and brand recognition
• Budgeting and financial reporting
Samantha's Work Day
Samantha's day is frequently full of meetings. She and her colleagues meet regularly to discuss the status of their projects, and she attends planning and status meetings with Marketing management. She also meets with Renovations store managers to collaborate on promotion plans, placement, and execution.
Samantha uses an
• Lotus Notes 6.5 client with mail, calendar, and contacts applications. She's a bit frustrated with mail and contacts compared to Outlook, which she used at her last job. She uses seven other Lotus Notes databases (She has local replicas of the first two). The IS dept created the local replicas and the replication schedules for her; she has no idea how to make a local replica of any of the others or how to change the schedule)
• IE 6.0, to keep tabs on competitors' web sites as well as the Renovations site. She uses Google Maps when she needs directions for visits to store locations, and is also a veteran online shopper.
• Microsoft Word 2002 and Microsoft PowerPoint 2002. She is a real power user of Powerpoint.
• Lotus Sametime 2.5
The IS department put Lotus Notes and several Adobe products (Illustrator, Photoshop) in the Mac so that she could work closely with the visual designers in her department.
In addition to her laptop, Samantha has her own computer at home, on which she uses Hotmail,
Ted’s Work Goals
As VP of Merchandising and Marketing, Ted’s main goal is to increase profitability and generate new revenue streams through delivering excellent promotional activities, both inside the Renovations stores and in outside media and special events. He sees his role as setting longer-term strategy and doing whatever is needed to keep his direct reports successful implementing projects such as improving store atmosphere, developing and delivering advertising, promotions, special point of sale displays, etc.
Ted manages by motivating and leading his employees. He seems to know everyone, and uses his relationships to accomplish business goals. He is often the “face of the company” to outsiders, and enjoys the spotlight.
Ted’s Work Day
Ted arrives at work around . He first scans email to “check the pulse” of his responsibilities. Ted gets over 100 email messages a day and many include large attachments. Ted attends to as many as he can and sorts them into folders for Betty to handle, projects he’s working on, and people he needs to meet with. Often there are phone calls, voice messages, or Sametime chats about urgent items. Ted keeps track of his work by making sure everything is on his calendar. He checks to make sure he’s ready for today’s meetings, checks an email folder named “Urgent” and occasionally prints out information he’ll need. He also looks ahead at the meetings for the rest of the week.
Ted spends at least 80% of his usual work days in meetings. Betty schedules the meetings, taking care to allow time for Ted to get from one to the next. She understands his work and priorities well, and therefore knows which meetings and people to squeeze into his schedule. In any day, Ted may have 10 or more meetings scheduled, but that may change drastically during the day as new issues arise that require Ted’s attention.
When Ted travels, Betty takes a more active role in scheduling, monitoring Ted’s email for important issues, routing or handling any she can, and alerting Ted to anything he might need to know about immediately.
Ted hates surprises and makes sure he’s up to date on business and consumer trends. At free moments during the day, he peruses newspapers, trade publications, analyst reports, websites, etc., and forwards interesting items to his staff, often with a request for an individual to follow up or get more information.
Ted uses an
Ted also uses PowerPoint and Excel. He has a cell phone and Palm Pilot.
Betty’s Work Goals
Betty supports Ted Amado in whatever capacity he needs, managing his calendar and inbox, providing support information for meetings, making travel arrangements, etc. She supports Ted and his senior managers by helping to create spreadsheet reports and presentations. Betty also leads the team of administrative assistants, and makes sure their hardware, software, and training needs are met.
Betty really wants everyone to be well taken care of. She is highly efficient, trusted, and knowledgeable about Renovations’ business and Ted’s responsibilities and priorities.
Betty’s Work Day
Betty arrives in the office around . Her low-walled cubicle is right outside Ted’s office. She has a large paper calendar on her desk and yellow stickies on and around her monitor. Betty checks her voicemail, scans Ted’s mail and calendar, and then her own. She makes sure there are no changes to Ted’s calendar since last night and updates it if needed. Meeting changes come via the phone, email, or Sametime rather than as Notes calendar invitations since Ted has little free time and other entries must shift to accommodate changes.
When something urgent comes up, Betty contacts Ted right away. If he’s offsite or not in the office yet, she calls his cell phone. If he’s in a meeting, she uses Sametime or walks to the meeting and speaks to him directly when the meeting ends. When Ted’s schedule changes for later that day, Betty makes the change in Notes and also contacts Ted if she thinks he might not see it there in time.
Aside from all the calendar work she does, Betty helps make sure that Ted has everything he needs for his meetings, such as information from email, lists of attendees, and directions if he’s offsite. She prepares monthly report spreadsheets and transforms Ted’s draft PowerPoint slides into more polished presentations. She sets up meetings with other management team execs, suppliers, analysts, and other people inside and outside Renovations and she organizes larger meetings by doing everything from managing materials to ordering lunch. Betty also sometimes routes email or replies to it on Ted’s behalf (cc-ing Ted), especially when he's traveling. She sorts email he needs to take care of into folders: “Urgent”, “Read”, and “Personal.” She also deals with email Ted has sorted into folders for her: “Edit” or “Print.”
Betty is Notes savvy in both mail and calendar but hates repeating meetings. She wishes she could use the group calendar but needs something that would allow her to see what everyone is doing all at once. Her own mail isn’t as organized as Ted’s. She uses her inbox as a to-do list and only files items when they are finished.
Betty's Work Tools
Betty’s primary computer is an IBM ThinkCentre desktop workstation running Windows XP. She also has an IBM T30 Thinkpad that she uses when she is out of the office to keep all of Ted’s information current.
Lotus Notes 6.5 is her email and calendar tool. Betty loves Sametime Instant Messaging and could not live with out it.
She uses MS Word, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer 6.0.
Betty also has to use “Reserve” an internal room scheduling application (web-based).
Well hello there! John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "Week Numbers In Calendar" and "String Theory, Temporal Physics, and the Notes Calendar" (Teaser: in an alternate universe you've already read this/will never read this/your boss is a Borg)
Moving right along...
In an effort to better conserve the real estate in the side calendar we are looking at introducing a few changes, which you can see in the screen shot below:
1. We are looking to relocate the time range to the first line and indent the subject etc. below the time range. This will allow more of the subject to show by default. A possible downside is that Reminders will require two rows (1a).
2. We will remove the Time/Subject header since it no longer applies, which will help offset some of the vertical real estate loss.
3. We will indent the awareness icon under the left hand margin of the subject.
4. We will maintain the current wrapping/scroll bar behavior, however since the subject will be further to the left this behavior will be more palatable. Still, once we move the subject we may tweak the wrapping algorithm (i.e. we don't want the horizontal scrollbar to appear by default if it can be avoided).
Thanks in advance, and remember to keep your eye out for my next entry: "Blogs: Does anyone actually read the text below the screen capture?"
The memorial service for Cynthia Ice has been scheduled for :
Saturday May 31st at 1:00 pm
Fowler-Kennedy Funeral Home in Maynard, Massachusetts
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations may be made in her memory to:
Joslin Diabetes Center
One Joslin Place
Boston, MA 02215
and / or that of her beloved guide dogs Ellery and Cashmere to :
The Seeing Eye Inc.
P.O. Box 375
Morristown, NJ 07963
( 973) 539-4425
OVERVIEW of Locations (and I'm vacation all next week, so no posting)
In Hannover, Samantha Daryn (a design persona) will be able to:
OLD TERM New Term/mapping
Office (network) Online
Island (disconnected) Offline
Travel (notes direct dialup) Travel (should we remove?)
Home (notes direct dialup) Home (should we remove?)
Home (network dialup) <remove>
Samantha will still see a "picklist" of locations in her status bar, and be abe to "Edit Current..." from there. (however, choosing Edit Current will bring up a dialog now).
We're simplifying the menus by changing "Mobile" to "Locations" and having fewer choices:
Choosing "Switch to Location..." brings up the same dialog as "Choose Current Location" used to.
Choosing "Manage Locations" brings up the following dialog:
And Choosing "New" or "Edit" brings up basically the following dialog (remember, we're now hiding the internet browser and the instant messaging tabs because they have preferences elsewhere):
Advanced users can still go to the Personal Name and Address book, and under "Advanced", get to the locations stuff.
(We really wanted to find a way to hide it for basic users, but our plates are getting full with all the other stuff we're doing, so we're hoping that these changes above will at least get Samantha off to a better start.)
A few questions:
1. Should we pare down to just 2 locations by default (online and offline) or go with the 4 listed above?
2. What should we do about the "Edit Current Time/Date..." dialog, which used to be on the menus? It's this one:
We could keep the menu item, Make it a tab in the "Edit Location" dialog, or invoke it from a button in the "Locations" preferences dialog. How many of your users still use that?
3. How important is it that we hide the Advanced stuff in the personal nab? Would having it still be there ruin any simplified experience? (of course, there are still things in the Advanced pernab that are not on this Locations redesign.)
Let's save the discussion of whether to keep the term "Locations" for another day. Thanks. I look forward to having LOTS of responses and opinions when I return from my week of vacation!
I am working with Chris Majoros and Matt Hatem (Matt and I gavethe "themes" talk at Lotusphere) and Carrie Tracy ( visual designer--she and I gave the "Design Directions" talk together atLotusphere) on a "Mac" visual theme for Lotus Notes 8.5 on the Mac.
In addition to working on the visual part, we are toying with the ideaof reducing the number of toolbar buttons in the toolbars,because, as you Mas users know, the Mac toolbars are generally prettysparse. For example, Mac toolbars do nto generally have things likePrint, Save, etc. Should we pare down the toolbars on the Mac?
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog entries as "The Side Calendar Real Estate Mambo" and "Famous Shakespearean Candy References" (Fun tip: Macbeth's sweet of choice? Licorice Whips (it's all in the subtext))
Moving right along...
The Notes 8 Month view currently displays only the text of the entry without a background. The question is should we be using the background that we are using in the other views? Keep in mind that when the default calendar colors are applied the text for the different entry types appears in different colors (Note: You do have to click the Restore colors button on the Calendar>Colors preference tab to have these colors appear. We don't update the colors automatically for 8).
Visually, we're talking about this:
Thanks in advance and remember to keep your eyes open for my next blog entry "Tales from the Tub" (just gotta get the old laptop wrapped in plastic here...)