Lotus Notes users have several (perhaps too many) choices to make when they reply to a mail message. One of those choices is "Reply with Internet-Style History."
Do you users know what it does and/or why they would want to use it? In our usability tests, the participants have been puzzled by the term, and we'd like to improve the term.
Choosing this menu item creates a reply in plain text and puts a > in front of each line (hence the "Internet-Style" part). However, since the users in our tests didn't seem to think that phrase meant anything, we're considering changing it to one of the following:
- Reply Using Plain Text
- Reply and Add >
Any other thoughts or ideas?
(And no, I didn't finish the Squirrel costume... sewing machine broke... need to go to a friend's to borrow one... but at least I have the big furry tail cut out and pinned together... Halloween party Friday night... the pressure is on! :) )
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...)
For the Hannover project, we're employing a design technique called "Using Personae." (Personae = Latin plural of Persona, a voice or character representing the user) My summary of the technique is that we create one or more believable fictional characters based on a bunch of interviews with real users, and then try to keep those characters in mind throughout the design of the product.
This idea was first popularized by Alan Cooper in his book The Inmates are Running the Asylum. (1999). We have used this technique before for the design of Sametime 2.0 and 2.5. We started by holding a reading group of the book.
(Conducting the reading group was in itself an interesting exploration of geographically dispersed collaboration, since the development teams were in Kentucky, Israel, and Massachusetts. We'd pick a person to summarize a chapter each week, make a few slides, and put them on the whiteboard of our Sametime meeting room. We'd also ONLY use the IP Audio available as part of the Sametime product. I think one of those reading group meetings was also the first time I had a Sametime video meeting. At any rate, by the time we finished the book, we felt like we should give this "persona" idea a shot.)
Using personae appears to be a popular technique right now. At the annual ACM CHI (Computer-Human Interaction)(http://www.chi2006.org/ )conference taking place this week, there's a panel discussing the use of this technique.
Since a focus for Hannover is improving the end-user experience, we focused on creating several business end-user personae. Yes, the Domino administrator and App dev Designer users are very important to us. But we get to hear from you a lot-- at Lotusphere every year, at the Notes user group meetings, and so on. I have never met a real, live business end user at Lotusphere. So we decided we needed to concentrate on those business end users. (You know, the ones who look at you funny when you say the word "replicate".)
We (Betsy Comstock, Sheri Branco, Deb Maurer, Jennifer Smith) set about to conduct a series of interviews with real business end users. Based on the Hannover goals, we knew we wanted to interview several executives and their AA's so that we could create an "executive/AA pair." We know that this type of "work dyad" has special Notes usage and needs. We also wanted to create an individual contributor.
Thus, three personae - "Ted Amado, VP", "Betty Zechman, AA" and "Samantha Daryn" were created. Now, we know that it's virtually impossible to boil down 125 million users into 3 fictional characters. But keeping 3 specific people in mind is sometimes a LOT easier than keeping the "mass of 125 million faceless users across the globe" in mind.
And we also know that these characters are very "Western-culture centric". We've worked with some of our user research colleagues in IBM Japan to have them conduct interviews of Japanese end users and share that information with us.
In my next posting, I'll introduce you to my "three imaginary friends" (as some of the developers have called them). In the mean time, feel free to read more about this technique at the following web sites:
Do you or anybody in your organization use this item called "Restore Defaults" on the bookmark bar? We're thinking of removing it.
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 "Refreshing To Dos
" and "Great TV Moments of My Childhood" (#4 = Mr. Hooper
defending Sesame Street
from an invasion of Klingons
using only the letter G
(as in "ghuh Daq Hegh DaH, Klingon dog!"). And my congratulations to the Alpha geeks who understood that without the benefits of a translator
Moving right along....
So we're re-examining the exporting of Contacts to different formats (vcard, CSV, TSV, and Structured Text). Specifically we're looking at some of the options that appear on the dialog and wondering how much Ted A) Understands these options and B) Needs to really be concerned about these options.
Of particular interest:
1. When exporting a VCard does Ted has the option to Export a Character Set (below). So, again, the question is does Ted know the difference between these two things? Does he care? Should we just pick one as the default and not give him the option (and which default would you pick?)
2. When exporting contacts to a CSV format Ted gets to choose to Export Character Set and the Level of Detail to incorporate (below). Keeping in mind that we are specifically focusing on Contacts (and not other cases where you would want to export to CSV) does Ted know/care about these different options? Are there defaults we can choose and simply hide the options from him (and what would they be?)
3. When exporting contacts to Structured Text format Ted gets our familiar Export Character Set option, plus a Separator Between Documents and Word Wrap options (below). Again, in the world of Contacts do these options make sense to Ted?
Thanks in advance for the feedback.
In a post-8 version Lotus Notes and Domino Designer, we want to give developers the opportunity to turn on or off the "instant spell check" feature on a per-field basis. (I can't guarantee WHICH post- 8 version...)
(Instant spell check is this one, with the wavy lines:
As you might have noticed, in Notes 8, none of the plain text fields are getting automatically spell checked, only the rich text ones.
Domino Designer users might see a new check box on the property box for enabling instant spell check, as shown in the following picture:
And business users like Samantha might see the Tools - Instant Spell Check menu item toggle on and off depending on where the input cursor is, as shown in the following picture:
However, I am hoping that since the developers will set "spell check on or off" in meaningful ways, that for Samantha, instant spell check will seem to be "on" at the right time, and "off" at the right time.
How do you want us to set the defaults? I am tempted to have Domino Designer turn on the instant spell check for all rich, rich text lite, and plain text fields and put the onus on you developers to turn it off. This means less work for us for some of our templates-- like the subject field in a mail message. Or, does it make more sense for us to turn it on for rich text and rich text lite, but leave it off for plain text, and you go turn ON the plain text spell checking?
Is itpainful for your organization to deploy new versions of the Lotus Notes Client,because your IT department has customized the Mail template?
We want tounderstand what your template customizations are and the reasons behindeach. For example, “Do you customizeyour template to show Last name, First name in the Inbox? If so, why do your users need/want this?”
- Roughly how many customizations do you make to your mail template?
- Do you make the same customizations for all your users or do you deploy multiple customized templates?
- List your most important customizations.
- Why are these particular customizations needed (i.e. what’s the use case)?
MargoEzekiel, UI Designer, Notes Mail Client
BetsyComstock, User Studies Lead, Notes Client
The "About This Application" and "Using This Application" documents for the Mail template (Mail8.ntf) and the Contacts template (Pernames.ntf) have been updated for 8.0. However, you will not see
these updated documents in applications created prior to 8.0.
The reason is that in previous releases, the templates had the "Prohibit design refresh or replace to modify" property on those design elements. Note that this was a customer requested change to the templates, back in R4. Of course, I wasn't working on Notes then, and we're not sure exactly what the use cases were for making this change.
I suspect this was because many of you customized your templates and provided customized "about" and "using" documents and you didn't want them to get stomped on. In Notes 8, we have made many changes to Mail and Contacts applications AND to the "about" and "using" documents, so now some of you might be between a bit of a rock and a hard place, because you are going to WANT the updates we made to these documents.
Now you know, so that you can plan accordingly.
I'm standing on the "lab floor" of the Lotus Advisor conference, trying to write this entry in between giving demos of Hannover.
The time is coming for me to make some decisions about a "Getting Started" or "Welcome Page". Here are the options:
- We use the current Lotus Notes Home Page mechanism in bookmarks.nsf. Some of the issues here are:
- We'd put "getting started" information on what we call the "Setup" page (you have probably not seen this page in a long time), but users who have customized their home page (or who have set something else as their home page, like the Workspace), will not see such information. The current startup page from Notes 7 looks like this:
- Should we change that so we FORCE users to see the new information? DO you want the ability to decide whether to force users to see that information? The information might be something like this; the content is subject to change
- Option 2: We use Eclipse mechanism, whereby we have a separate tab for a "Getting Started" page, written in HTML. Users see it, and can close it, and then get back to it from the Help menu. It's totally separate from Bookmarks.nsf.
- Users would see 2 separate tabs-- one for "Getting Started" and one for "Home"
- If we supply this, we'll still provide the Home page stuff (note: We're making the terms consistent so that we always refer to it as the Home Page (rather than our current mix of Home Page and Welcome Page). So once Samantha closes the Getting started, she'll see the Notes Home Page.
- Option 3: Forget about the idea of supplying any "Getting Started/Home page" information, just take users right to their mail (Or calendar).
Notes 7 shipped with 5 toolbars on by default, I think. (Universal, editing, address, navigation and the context-senstive one). We're focusing on the "PIM" (personal information management, e.g. mail calendar and contacts) experience in Hannover, and for that experience, I think shipping with 4 toolbars turned on is too much.
Now, ideally, I'd like to give you the ability to totally customize the toolbars and govern that through policy, so that you could give the lawyers in your company a different set of toolbars than the accountants, and that kind of thing. That total customization is the direction we plan to go, and using an Eclipse rich client platform takes us in that direction. But we won't be able to give that to you yet in Hannover.
So, here are 2 proposals, which do you prefer, and of course, you can suggest other things.
1. Four toolbars on 2 rows: Editing, Universal, and the new search one on the first row, and the context-sensitive one on the second row. (and of course, if you have created a custom toolbar, we'll turn that on also, and try to fit it on the first row, and if it won't fit, then we'll put it in a third row)
2. 2 toolbars on 1 row: The context-sensitive ones (with a few important items added, such as new, print, and in the case of edit mode, cut, copy, paste and copy as link), and the new search one (and same caveat about the custom toolbars).
- In a view, you'd see the first row below (with search right- justified at the end).
- In a document, you'd see the second row (Again, with search at the end)
Now, one issue with just 1 row is that in our new IBM Productivity Tools (they are a word prcessor, spreadsheet, and presentation tool, and are shipping as part of Hannover), there will be 2 rows of toolbars. That means that the row of tabs will move up and down as Samantha switches between a tab that is for, say Mail, and a tab for the IBM Spreadsheet. If it weren't for this "moving" problem, I'd go with this choice, because it displays fewer icons (e.g. I don't want to make Samantha look at a "paste" icon in a view if it will never be enabled)
Here is a sample of what they might look like in Mail and in the Spreadsheet. Yes, in the squished picture below, it looks like we could fit the second row into the first in a mail view. But then in a document (message) the editing context-sensitive toolbar is a lot longer, so it seemed to make more sense to put it on the second row consistently. The IBM Productivity Tool design lead (Jodi Rexford) and I have coordinated so that the items in the first row (in option 1) are in a consistent order across Notes and the IBM productivity tools, e.g. always starting with cut, copy, paste. If we did the "context-sensitive only" route of option 2, we'd lose that consistency.
Thanks in advance for your comments.
I just got the following email from Andrew Robinson (one of our developers) who says that you can already customize error messages if you want to.
The feature that you're requesting here already exists, I implemented it in 6.55 originally...
This modification allows a user to add the line "err_XXXX=<override text>" to their notes.ini file in order to override the text of Notes error 0xXXXX..
The Notes error code for "The server is not responding, please contact your administrator..." is 0x0807. With this enhancement, adding the line "err_0807=This is a test" will make the text "Custom Error 0x0807
: This is a test" appear in the error dialog when a server is down in Notes. This can be used to override the text of any Notes error text of which the hex code is known.
The hex code for "Unable to find path to server..." is 0x0803, so adding the line "err_0803=Custom Text Here" to notes.ini will customize this message.
In my previous post
I told you that the DWA template and "regular" template are merged, and that there will be an entry in the Replicator page to "synch Contacts" between the Contacts that are stored in a user's mail file (which is the way DWA did it) and the separate pernames.nsf (Contacts), which is the way the "regular" template did it.
One of the reasons we merged the templates was to allow people like Ted (our VP of marketing persona) to delegate his contacts to Betty, his AA. So if they are all in his mail file, he can delegate them. Thus, now, the Delegation of Contacts feature is closely associated with this synch of contacts between mail and pernames.nsf. This means that if Ted delegates his mail to Betty, he'll automatically delegate his Contacts also (if we turn on the synching things automatically). Is that going to be a problem? Think about Your execs, who have not yet been able to delegate contacts... and suddenly -- poof! all the AA's have access. It might be a wonderful thing and all the Domino IT folks will be praised. (personally, I am of that opinion), However, if Ted has been storing the names of all the people with whom he has engaged in, well, let's just say "Private activities" (which may or may not involve women's shoes, Charles...),or, say, the name of his sex therapist, marriage counselor, or Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor... and suddenly Betty has this list, well, IBM certainly does not wish to make any VPs look foolish on account of a magically shared personal contacts book....
On the other hand, I figure, if Ted is going to trust Betty with his Mail and Calendar, then he'd probably trust her with his Contacts as well (and we do want to make it possible for him to set some Contacts as "private only"... but we can't fit it in just yet...).
Thus, perhaps now you understand the debate we're having about turning it on automatically. And yes, it should be governed by a user policy, which will have to wait for a future release.
One other thing-- the Contacts entries count toward your mail quota, so if we turn it on, everybody's contacts will count toward their mail quotas. Is that OK? (and yes we are considering putting all the contacts in the mail file, not for 8.0, but perhaps for a future release.)
So now that you have all this information, do you REALLY want us to set up the Contacts synch to be ON by default? Please provide not only a yes or no, but also the company you represent, the approx number of users affected, and whether you've got people who have ONLY used the "regular" mail template in the past (as compared to the DWA one).
I haven't told you much about the Hannover sidebar. The Hannover release wil have a sidebar that is configurable in several ways.
First, the admin can choose to deploy it-- or not deploy it at all. The Admin can also choose which eclipse plugins to include in the sidebar.
We are planning that several plugins will be provided as part of Hannover. They might include:
- Sametime instant messaging
- "Day at a glance"
The "Day at a glance" is really a mini-view into your calendar, like this:
... and you have hover to get additional information:
And, at least for beta, we prepopulate the feeds with a few we want you to read :)
Yes, the sidebar is resizable-- you can drag it wider, or snap it to a skinny mode, or shut it entirely.
You can turn on or off any one or more of the panels.
You can open more than one panel at a time (but pay no attention to the controls at the top of each title bar right now, we are changing them, they are not working out well in the beta testing.)
Or, you can float one or more of the panels.
Best of all, you can write Eclipse plug-ins of your own and deploy them if you want. Hannover should support signed plugins. Security remains a top priotiy. If you have already written plug-ins for Sametime, they will most likely work in the sidebar as well.
Hi all, John Lance here. You may remember me from such past blog postings as "Week Numbers Redux
" and "My Favorite Last Words" (including: "Arrrrrghhh" - Quint
in Jaws "Arrrrghh" - Emperor Palpatine
in Return of the Jedi, and "This actor is much better then that Booth fellow we saw last week - arrrgh" Abe Lincoln
in Ford's Theater)
Moving right along....
We are looking at the selection model in Notes 8, particularly in the Inbox. We have heard some requests for the classic Notes gutter selection/checkmarks to be reintroduced, so we are considering two different options for post 8.0 releases:
1. A very black and white situation where you either use the Notes 8 windowy selection model OR the classic Notes gutter selection model (think Preferences).
2. A hybrid model whereby we integrate the two approaches as follows:
- We add a check column to the Inbox (the gutter).
- If Samantha selects an email in the Inbox by clicking in the Name, Subject, etc columns we follow the Windows selection model.
- If Samantha selects an email using the gutter then we follow the Notes gutter selection model.
This gif gives you a rough sense of what this experience might feel like (Samantha shift clicks to select multiple mails, then clicks on a single mail, then clicks on the gutter of a single mail):
Samantha will also be able to drag in the check column to select multiple items. There is a slight change in that if Samantha drags too far and then backtracks the selection is removed. In the Notes selection model once Samantha drags over an item it is selected/deselected - she cannot "pull back" if she goes too far:
The biggest impact is that in classic Notes you could check several items and then put the selection rectangle on something that was not selected. This would allow you to do things like Open the selected item without opening the checked items, which is a little hard for Samantha to grasp (in fact, we've gotten some negative feedback from users who do not understand why doubleclicking on the boxed item does not also open the checked items). The confusion is certainly understandable when you consider that when Samantha then does a Copy Selected as Table the checked items are included in the table, but not the item that has the box around it. So the hybrid model will not
allow for this:
Other things to keep in mind about the hybrid model:
- If you scroll down so that the selected items are not on the page, and then click on an item, we follow the above selection rules.
- If you delete in the Inbox we will not support Logical deletes (ie X's in the gutter) but continue using the Trash Can.
Question: If you could upgrade current databases to include a trash can rather then the current X logical deletes, would you want to?
And for the wise guys in the audience: No, selecting something will not automatically change the date. That is a mockup thing.
Thanks in advance.