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.