Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hive Mind: What's Your Favorite User Experience Tip?

Hello Friends! I thought it would be fun to try a little experiment here and develop a group writing project that would allow us to define best practices around the user experience using the Lotus Notes client. While I don't believe in absolutes, there are many ideas which will almost universally improve the user experience. Let's see if we can document some of those.

Here's what I propose. Like all the things I work on, this is pretty simple! ;-)

1. Pick one (and only one) idea or technique that you'd like to represent as a user experience best practice. What we are looking for here is to focus on the Notes client, as there's tons of stuff out there regarding UX best practices for the web. (Many of those are applicable in any software environment, actually, so it's good to be aware of them).

2. Share this idea via your blog, leave a comment here, or send me an e-mail. I'll create a special area (perhaps a wiki?) where this information can be consolidated after people have had a chance to comment on the various concepts.

This will be a community controlled effort to get the initial entries together, so if your entry generates a lot of "boo hiss", we'll choose to leave it out. If we get enough people to participate, we'll end up with a nice little resource that the entire community can use.

I believe a focus on the user experience from the standpoint of the everyday Notes developer is even more important now than ever before due to the efforts that IBM is putting into this area. The last thing we want to do is expose our ugly old apps in the beautiful new Notes 8 shell. It will be like "putting lipstick on a pig"!!! Perhaps this group resource will be a place where developers can go to draw inspiration for their next project.

Along with the "Best Practices Guide for the User Experience", I was thinking of creating a "Lotus Notes Interface Gallery". Think of this as a place to show off your best work, again with the goal of providing inspiration (and perhaps some bragging rights) to other developers who might not be comfortable in anything other than the 3-pane UI model. For all its warts, there are some excellent examples of Notes UIs out there, and I think it would be cool to get them all together in one place. What do you think? A dedicated sub site here or something more generic, such as Flickr? Let me know your thoughts and feel free to send me submissions.

Well...This is a community all about collaboration and it's what we do best. So, please, if you are interested, consider playing along. This could be fun AND educational! Cheers...


Keith said...

Chris, I think this is a great idea. The gallery should be functional either way, it's really a matter of preference. Me personally I would like to see it in a sub-domain, but that's just because I really don't know how to use flickr :blush:.

As for my submission for the best practices on user experience, I'll have to think about that one as I'm still learning (mostly from yourself and Nathan) the best way to design a good user experience.


Keil Wilson said...

Chris, I'm not exactly sure what kind of examples you are looking for here. Perhaps an example from you would be in order? Are we talking coding tips, UI layout and design, screen shots? What exactly are you hoping to see us contribute? How much detail do you want?

stephen said...

Chris I think you would have a heart attack if you saw the notes databases I have inherited to forms and green text are fairly common.

I'm a fairly new notes developer - only two years experience and your site is a total inspiration. Notes databases don't have to be ugly.

Thanks to all the tutorials on this site I was able to put together a rather cool interface but the users preferred the old way...

Gregg Eldred said...

"Improve the user experience" he says. This is the tip, IMHO, and should be standard for all Domino developers, as well as Admins (think deployment of mail-in databases, as an example):

One of the best tips I have ever seen.

Chantel Langenhoven said...

Chris, I am busy with understanding our era of Microsoft 'junkies' and how it impacts UX. Any fews?