Designing the User Experience for Lotus Notes andSametime
As many of you know, we are improving the roaming user experience so that it's supported in the standard client.
We are creating some user policies so that Fred the Domino admin can specify that Ted Amado (our roaming user) sees NO roaming user upgrade dialog boxes at all-- it just happens.
Fred can also specify that Ted does see dialogs, and we want to improve on the existing dialogs.
Here are some draft dialogs. I am on the fence about how much to tellTed in these dialogs. On the one hand, I know that people don't readdialogs so I want them to be pretty short. On the other hand, if Fredhas decided that Ted gets to see what is going on, then maybe Tedreally does want the details. So here goes.
DIALOG 1: More info
IBM Lotus Notes
Your Lotus Notes administrator had made you a "roaming user"
so that you can get your Notes data on different computers.
To complete the roaming process, information needs to be
replicated with a server now. This might take some time.
Do you want to replicate that information now?
[ Yes ]
[ No, ask me the next time I start Notes ]
DIALOG 2: Less info
IBM Lotus Notes
Your Lotus Notes administrator had made you a "roaming user" so that
you can get your Notes data on different computers.
It might take a few minutes to set you up as a roaming user.
Do you want to finish the setup now?
[ Yes ]
[ No, ask me the next time I start Notes ]
Questions: Do we need to supply MORE info, like that it isContacts, Personal Journal, and Workspace that are getting replicated?
or does Ted not really care about that? At the moment, I am inclined togo with more info because if Ted doe snot care, then FREd can just setthe "Do it without any dialogs" option and the people who get thedialogs might be the savvy kind that want to know?
This is a DRAFT persona. If you are a web developer (or can get one to read this) please feel free to post comments on whether this persona is accurate. Or come to the UX lab in Asia 4 at Lotusphere and talk to us about her.
Michaela is a Web Developer for Renovations. She actually has 2 jobs - during the day, it's her responsibility to put content on the company's internet and intranet sites, and make it look elegant and professional. And on the weekends, she free-lances in website development for small companies and non-profits who have no IT departments.
She has a degree in Computer Science, but she very candidly admits that the skills she uses in this work are those that she learned mostly on her own, not at school. "School was all theory, which, I guess, is important for building a conceptual framework, but the really useful knowledge came from reverse engineering other web pages". She has an intense curosity about everything and is highly motivated to overcome any challenge given to her.
Skills and Methods
If she needs to lay out a page, she uses Dreamweaver, but when a quick edit is all that's needed, she sometimes just fires up the file in a text editor. She has heard of XMLSpy and someday would like to investigate it, but says frankly that EditPlus gives her all of the contextual help that she needs for quick code edits when she doesn't need to work with the visual layout.
When she comes across something cool on another site that she wants to learn, she views the code and searches on the key terms. She keeps abreast of new technology by visiting and reading feeds from different technical news sites. "Often", she says, "one spark of innovation there is enough to spin me off into a whole new feature for my sites".
She's also well-versed in the Eclipse framework from her student days, and she is thrilled that Rennovations is so invested in it. She says it really helps when she is coding in multiple languages. She doesn't get a chance to use it much in her side-work.
Recently, however, she has faced some added challenges. While data storage in MySQL is adequate for her free-lance weekend job, Renovations uses an enterprise-wide RDBMS, and her database skills are not strong enough. She is trying to learn about Oracle with the data architects, but it will take her some time to feel comfortable navigating the enterprise schema. And just last month, she was asked to do some HTML code in a product called Domino, which is an enigma to her. A company expert, Raj, is working with her to understand this schema-less database and to understand about the quirky way that HTML is rendered in Domino. "Passthru HTML" doesn't make sense to her and she would like to be able to use pixels or ems for sizing images and tables, so that she can make use of all the other code she has written previously to make her pages "elastic".
It might seem that Michaela would not have much spare time, but she has a very active social life, too. She loves sports and movies (in fact, she dreams of being a film-maker one day), and spends time networking with her friends in the real world and in virtual worlds of FaceBook and MySpace. She uses texting more than email. She has an idea to create a new kind of social network for people to be able to connect more easily with others from their native countries, and stays up late at night to work on her ideas.
Thanks for all of your commens about the new view icons, painful as they were to read :( ... and I read them ALL and I read Nathan's (LOL! "another clock face, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing"??? )
That's exactly why I posted them here, so this has been a great affirmation of the blog. The Development team has NOT checked the new icons in.
I can't say exactly what we'll do because some of the people I need to coordinate with are on vacation for the rest of the year, so it might be a few weeks before I can give you a full update on the new plan for view icons. I'll do my best to give you some red icons back (among other things), especially since many of you probably got all red and the face and your blood pressure went up looking at the icons.
The unexpected gift was that many of you said that such a change would BREAK the applications. Hooray! -- not hooray that the icon change would break the application, but that so many of you feel that UI bugs are REAL BUGS! Thank you for your support!
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).
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.[Read More]
Nathan Freeman of OpenNTF.org commented on his blog that he doesn't think I'm asking the right questions. http://www.openntf.org/nathan/escape.nsf
If I may summarize, he doesn't want to have to answer questions about each little menu item. He just wants complete control over all menu items. And preferences. I can understand that, and given Lotus Notes' role as an integration platform, it is a reasonable request.
So, we hear ya. If we were to embark on such an endeavor, we might not be able to provide you with the ability to customize all of everything all at once.
Which is most important to you:
If we had to deliver policy-controlled preferences in chunks across various releases, which ones are the most important?
If controlling the menus is more important, do you want to control each menu item via Domino policy?Or would it be wiser to have "menu sets" where you turn on "the mail menus" or things like that?
Let me know. Cause if we can make it happen, we want to start with the things that matter most to you.[Read More]
I'll be doing a series of postings about various menus and menu items, and then move on to other topics. The design team is working on menus right now, so they are fresh in our minds, and I like a "top-down" approach anyway-- start with menus, then maybe move to toolbars, tabs, action bars etc until we get to status bar issues :)
Thanks for the more than 50 comments from my first posting, in which I asked how you felt about the "View - Quote Selection" menu item.
Based on the responses, it appears that we have a cultural split, and our Asian users use the Quote Selection and many others don't. So, I will try to follow up with some of our Asian users. In the mean time, I'll not remove it, although I'm going to try to simply HIDE it in a view (since it is never enabled in a view), and that's about it.
Today's question: the Properties menu items.
On the File menu, there is a "Document Properties..." menu item, and then on the Edit menu there is also a "Properties..." menu item that is context-sensitive and gives you the properties for the current "thing" (e.g. Table, Document, Database, etc.).
I was thinking of just having one "Properties..." menu item, making it context-sensitive, and putting it near the bottom of the File menu. Opinions?