In my previous blog entry, I outlined 3 key features for Notes V10 release (for every release, not just V10). I want to put forth some ideas which I believe would revolutionize IBM Notes Client, and how customers look at it. All of these I believe are achievable with some work, but I don't think it's too large an effort. Also, it might be too late to get this into IBM Notes V10 considering the timeline, but using continuous delivery methodology, can be released soon after. So here they are.
Change the perception of how IBM Notes Client is viewed.
We all know the perception customers & users have about Notes Client. Everyone views it as too large of an application, and also with too many features built into it, confusing non-technical users. We also have most of the users who are used to using applications on their smartphone. If you look at the smartphone usage, people know the applications to be used, touch it to open and start working on it. Once done, move to another or switch back to it as needed.
What if IBM Notes client never showed up unless someone wants to work with their desktop & side-shelf applications? What if each application is shown as an icon on your Windows desktop, and when you double-click on it, the application launches in it's own window, you work on it and close it down. You could simply double-click on another Notes application whose icon is shown on the desktop and open it. Work on multiple Notes applications, each one opened in it's own window.
If you ask your customers/users, you will find out that majority of the users end up using 3-4 applications the most. So here's what I feel Notes should do:
- Allow administrators to push Windows Desktop icons for most commonly used applications (it could even be in a folder if needed)
- Each application opens in it's own window. Only the 1st app prompts for password (or no password prompt if the customer is using single-sign-on). This concepts (SDI Mode) was always supported by Notes Client until we stopped supporting it (http://doc.4d.com/4Dv16R4/4D/16-R4/SDI-mode-on-Windows.300-3331617.en.html).
I believe this will completely hide the Notes Client complexity from the users who don't need it, and allow them to work independently in each application. A user would never even care if it's a Notes Client application or something else.
Change the 1st impression
As they say, the 1st impression is what sticks with you the most. And what do you see when you open IBM Notes (or if the above is implemented, the 1st application is launched), the "LOGIN" dialog. I strongly feel the login dialog in Notes Client is too 90's. It would be a very simple effort to upgrade this to make it nicer.
- 99% of the users don't change their "Location". Hide this field and provide option to enable it.
- The Keys that display as you type the password, it was great when it was implemented. No other application uses it now. Ditch it.
- Make the controls for Username/password nicer looking. Look at some other password dialog if needed.
Again, few simple modifications would make the 1st impression of the client (one that you will see once a day) so much better.
Imitate IBM Verse
It's your own product and there are few simple enhancements that can be picked up from IBM Verse. It's your own product, so there's no stealing. This will make your mail experience in IBM Notes significantly better. A note of caution though - I like Verse, but don't like the smaller number of messages that are displayed. So don't pick that. Here are some things to use from IBM Verse:
- Hide the FOLDER pane. Again, majority of the users stay in their INBOX and never change to any folder. So hide that folder pane, but allow the user to see the list as needed. Simple change to make the display look simpler, and give more space to what the user wants to see.
- Show Preview to the right. With the folder pane hidden, and preview to the right, I bet the user can see almost 20 messages giving a nice broader view to his/her inbox.
- Show those fast actions as shown by Verse against each document. With the folder pane gone, more space. So show those quick actions like - delete, reply, forward, or remove from inbox so you no longer have to open the message to act on it.
I believe these 2-3 changes in the inbox will significantly change the perception of IBM Notes Mail.
I have outlined 3 changes above, which if implemented, would revolutionize IBM Notes, and I believe will significantly increase the adoption & usage. New customers can also be targeted with these enhancements. In fact if the 1st feature is implemented, you don't even need to sell the Client, You can sell it as the application, similar to how the user downloads apps from AppStore/Playstore on their mobile. Further changes to simplify setup etc can be made.
Hope these are considered for V10 (maybe just the Login dialog?) and beyond.