This is my first external post to this blog, the first of many to engage you in discussion regarding the design of the IBM Lotus Sametime instant messaging client. Following the success of other design blogs, such as Mary Beth Raven's Notes User Experience blog (http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/marybeth), I look forward to your input.
Let's get things started with a question about Sametime extensibility. I'd like to learn how you are extending Sametime. Feel free to respond to this blog, or send e-mail privately to (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- what types of plug-ins are you building?
- how well is the Sametime interface supporting the plug-ins you are building?
- how many plug-ins are you or your users adding to a Sametime client and running at once?
Let's start with these questions and I'll post some follow-up questions later in the week. I'm currently looking at how we should continue to evolve our extensibility model and interfaces.
We had our first Lotusphere User Experience lab prep meeting last week... We're busy working out new ideas for the coming year, figuring out what we need to improve in our lab. Feel free to post a comment here if there are things you'd especially like to see done and/or changed in our lab.
At IBM, we've been using agile development process for some time now, and that process includes designers being part of project scrums. But we've only lately started using agile methods *within* our design groups -- that is, having design-only scrum meetings, and 2-week sprint schedules to address the design work we have across the projects we work on.
As a design lead, I find the scrum process extremely helpful, so I know what all the designers on my team are working on, and can hear what's blocking people. The daily 15-minute meetings take almost no time, and we really hold tight to that meeting time limit.
One of the challenges we face is that design is an inherently iterative process, so we've needed to build iteration into our sprints. Also, new requirements crop up each day, as we learn more details from customers, get Beta feedback, or find that a developer has run into a hitch. So we've had to stay very flexible within our scrum process -- updating sprints as priorities shift.
Overall, though, I think it's been a great win. Much more productive than our older-style weekly "status meetings". I like the fast-pace of 15-minute meetings -- makes me wonder if more of my meetings could be that short!!
Do any of you connect to multiple server communities, and if so, do you enable the community icon in the contact list? We are re-evaluating this design element and want to know more about why you choose to show it. If we were to remove this preference option, and therefore, the display of the icon from the contact list and the business card, would you miss it? Would it prevent you achieving a goal with the contact list?
It was great seeing many of you at Lotusphere. As always, your input was excellent, and I look forward to incorporating your feedback in our design work in 2008. If you did not get the chance to attend the conference, you can still provide product input. We'll be doing more usability testing this year, and you can participate in the lab, or remotely via a web conference. If interested, drop us a note at: email@example.com, or sign up here to be a tester for our other products: http://www.notes.net/usability
We're currently wrapping up our first release of Lotus Sametime Advanced, which introduces persistent chat rooms, new topic-based community chat tools that help you to create and reuse knowledge identified during chat sessions, and an "Instant Share" tool for screen sharing and remote control built directly into the Sametime chat window. Look for this new product by the end of Q1.
The Lotus Design Team is here at Lotusphere, with a user experience and usability lab, in room Asia 4 of the Dolphin Hotel. Stop by and test drive new product interfaces, and future prototypes, and give us feedback on your experiences with existing products. I'm in the lab, showing new interfaces for a browser-based version of Sametime IM, Sametime Advanced, and an iPhone interface for Sametime IM. I also invite you to attend a deep dive on Sametime Advanced, where I'll be covering UI features, and developer Alan Cooke will be providing architecture and implementation best practices. The deep dive is tomorrow at 4:15, session title ID405, in the Dolphin N. Hemisphere (rooms A-C).
Amy Travis is also in the lab, showcasing 8.5 Sametime eMeetings.
We're also giving away a free registration to Lotusphere 2010 in a raffle - the entry requirements are that you stop by the lab and test drive one of the many Lotus products showcased there by the actual product designers.
Looking forward to meeting you, and reinvigorating this blog in 2009!
Now, with Sametime Unified Telephony 8.5.2, you can easily set up a rule to route all your calls to your mobile device, for example, if you're out of the office, but don't want to miss any calls.
File > Preferences > Voice and Video > Routing Calls.
For When my IM status is, select “Any mobile status” and
then enter your mobile telephone number for your preferred number.
When you log on to Sametime from your mobile telephone, all calls
will go to the device you specify in the rule.
With Sametime 8.5.2, meeting rooms that open in a browser window have significant enhancements, so you can do almost everything you can do when using a meeting room that opens in a Sametime window. These enhancements include:
Audio/video and telephony capabilities - Depending on the call capabilities available to you, in a meeting room, click the and select to join the audio call using
your computer, telephone, or video device (if video is available). When setting up your own meeting rooms, you can also choose to use audio/video and telephony for your meetings. See this blog posting for information about the new support for audio and video features in meeting rooms that open in a browser window.
The ability to create and send polls - In the meeting room Library, click the Create a Poll icon to create a new poll, or click Send Poll on an existing poll to send it to meeting participants. After the poll closes, the results are posted to the Discussion area of the meeting room.
Highlighter and pointer tools when sharing slides - In a meeting room, click Tools to select a color to highlight slides you are presenting.
Jump-to slide navigation - When sharing a document, type in a number to jump directly to that page:
Based on customer feedback, we've added a setting for the web meeting client, to indicate whether meetings open in the current window or in a new window or tab. This capability makes it easier for people to get back to the meeting center if they need to jump from one meeting room to another.
This behavior is controlled at the server level, with this setting:
Hello, The Lotus User Experience Research team is gathering information on how you use and manage your contacts, as well as your thoughts on the future of contact management. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey and provide us with input to the future design direction of Contacts.
Come see some new ideas the IBM Collaboration Solutions Information Development team is working on for videos!
We're considering using some animations in our videos, and we'd like to know what you think. Watch some short sample videos in the Online UX Lab and comment with your thoughts and opinions. Link to the activity: http://tinyurl.com/ibmvideo71211
The Lotus User Experience team is looking for people who collaborate with people outside their company, company, institution, agency, university, etc. If you work with clients, partners, colleagues, or service providers outside your company or institution, we are interested in understanding your goals and the tools you are using to collaborate.
Please take a few minutes to complete a brief survey (https://www.ibm.com/survey/oid/wsb.dll/s/ag2cd). In 5 – 10 minutes, you can provide us with invaluable insights into your goals, the tools you use to collaborate for work, and the importance of various collaboration tools.
If you know others who would be interested in participating in the research in organizations such as sales, marketing, customer relations, or procurement, please forward this invitation to them.
Thanks in advance for your help! Velda Bartek Lotus User Experience Research
Hi, Some of you may have seen the Connections business card used in the embedded version of the Sametime livenames in Lotus Notes. The business card appears when you hover over a livename with your mouse cursor. This business card shows the contact's photo as set in Lotus Connections. The Sametime "Primary Contacts" panel allows you to set your own custom photo for a person. What are your thoughts about how this should relate to the business card? Which photo should you see in other places where the livenames and business card appear outside of primary contacts (such as the inbox, or regular Sametime contact list?)
We would like your feedback to help us assess the relative importance of tasks within IBM Sametime products. Your input is very important to our process and will be used in combination with other data to influence additional user experience work.
Since plug-ins can contribute new actions to the context and tools menus, these menus can quickly get very large. Our new products and upcoming releases will add even more actions, and we're looking for space to consolidate in the menus. I realize the "Alert Me When" actions are frequently used, however we could free up two lines in the menu if we condense these three into one pull right menu as shown in the screen below. How do people feel about this? Does the value in the space saved warrant the extra mouse movement into the pull right menu:
You may have heard about our latest release of Sametime 8.5, which focuses on numerous improvements to our emeetings capabilities. Now you can take advantage of reservationless meetings, and access meetings easily through a new panel in the Sametime content list. Read more about the meeting improvements here: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/sametime/web-conferencing.html.
While meetings are in the spotlight for this release, there are a few new views in the Contact List that I'll mention. We've heard you ask for an easy way to view your recent contacts, and now you can. From the Primary Contacts panel, use the view menu in the panel title to switch to the new "recent contacts" or "frequent contacts" view. This helps you quickly start chats with those you talk to the most, or find someone new who you might not remember from a chat a few days ago. You can also adjust whether to show the contacts as a list or photo.
We've had some requests to change the default icons used to represent the different the server communities, so that when new communities are added, we don't show the same icon across the status bar at the top of the client. We are looking into a full refresh of the default community icon set.
Here is one set that we are considering. Do you have any comments on the following? (the preference to show them in the contact list is enabled in this example as well)
We've had some requests to better differentiate the server community icons shown in the My Status toolbar, and the contact list (if you choose to turn them on in the contact list preferences). These are used to help users know which contacts belong to different server communities, as well as what your current status is set to for each community.
Do you have any thoughts about the following proposal:
As a follow-up to the earlier entry on status settings, we would like your feedback on how you use instant message status
information when you contact others in a business environment. This
brief survey should only take a few minutes to complete. Your input is
very important to our process and will be used in combination with other
data to influence additional user experience work.
The Sametime contact list and chat windows display a status bar at the very bottom. This status bar is an extension that can be written to by third parties. I'm curious to know how you may be using this extension and if you could provide examples of the content that you are writing to this space.
We've all been busy preparing our talks, demos, prototypes, mockups, surveys, breakout sessions, and more and we're ready to see you next week in Orlando for Lotusphere 2011. It is going to be great - we are all incredibly excited!
Amy Travis - Sametime Meeting Rooms, and general Sametime integration cross product integration Tracee Wolf - Sametime Telephony Jodi Rajaniemi - Voice and Video in -Sametime Meetings Velda Bartek - Usability and Research Joe Scherpa - Sametime Instant Messaging, Sametime Advanced, Sametime Mobile IM and Meeting Rooms
First ever - Meet the Design team in a Chalk Talk!
We are having a "Chalk Talk" on Tuesday , Feb. 1, and 10:00 AM in the Usability Lab (Asia 4 in the Dolphin Hotel) where you can meet team members and see the current design questions we are tackling.
If you can't make it this year, sign up for user feedback and research activities (in person and remote!): www.ibm.com/software/ucd/lotusur
I'm off to pack my bags after one more dry run of the mobile breakout session...
We're hoping to see you this year at Lotusphere! Here is a list of Sametime UX breakout sessions.
ID501: What's New in IBM Lotus Sametime Amy Travis and Rob Ingram Tuesday, Feb 1. 1:30 - 2:30 PM
ID504: IBM Lotus Sametime Mobile: Native Meetings and Messaging Joe Scherpa and Steve Babin Tuesday, Feb 1. 4:45 - 5:45 PM ID507: SUT Today and Tomorrow Tracee Wolf and David Marshak Wednesday, Feb 2. 10:00 -11:00 AM
ID503: Lotus Sametime Meetings: Today, Tomorrow and Beyond Amy Travis and Ron Pontrich Wednesday, Feb 2. 1:30 - 2:30 PM
ID510: Using Voice and Video in IBM Lotus Sametime Jodi Rexford and Tracee Wolf Wednesday, Feb. 2. 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Question for users of Sametime Advanced- Are you using the FAQ feature for Chat Rooms and Skill Tap broadcasts? If so, how many FAQs are you seeing for individual chat rooms and broadcast communities? What are the maximum numbers you are seeing, and is it common for the number of FAQs to grow larger than, say 5, for an individual chat room or broadcast community?
Hi, We're looking for input and your thoughts about opening meeting room windows. If you are using the Sametime web-based meeting room manager to find/search for a meeting room to join, do you want to open the meeting room in a new window, new browser tab (if your browser is set to use tabs) or reload the room in your current browser view when you click the join meeting button?
For those of you who use Sametime on mobile smartphones, do you find yourselves needing to connect to multiple server communities? If so could you describe how often this occurs, and how many communities you need to connect to?
The Lotus User Experience Team is looking for people who share files in online meetings to participate in a brief study.
seek your input on what is important to you when you share files from
your local system, Lotus Quickr, Lotus Connections, LotusLive, or other
file sharing applications in Sametime Meetings. Your responses will be
used to assist us as we consider how to improve file sharing in online
meetings. Rate the 16 features at http://tinyurl.com/files-in-online-mtgs
Take a look at the upcoming Sametime IM apps for Android and iPhone, and the Meeting Room app for Blackberry. We have a few look and feel designs and icon sets to test out and we want to know what you think!
Listen to an overview of the Sametime sessions in our Unified Communications and Collaboration podcast. A great podcast to listen to on the plane to help you figure out what sessions to attend at Lotusphere 2011! Our product managers and designers provide a sneak peak at each of the sessions.
Hi, If you are a desktop user in a meeting room, would you want to know if a participant was using a smartphone? If you were mobile, would you want others to know you are mobile? Should there be any difference for smartphones vs. tablets? Thanks, -Joe