Friday, January 30, 2009

Speedgeeking: The Amazing Tabbed Table

I had the pleasure of being able to participate in Speedgeeking this year at Lotusphere and while it's hard on the voice, it's really a lot of fun. For those not familiar with speedgeeking, it's much like speed dating. Each presenter is at a separate table and groups of attendees spend 5 minutes getting a "crash course" in whatever that presenter's topic is. After 5 minutes, they go to the next station and so on for 1 hour. To keep it fun and lively, an MC is continually calling out the time and rowdily making people move along. It's a bit of a challenge to distill a topic down into a meaningful 5 minute pitch and presenting the same content (loudly) 12 times straight is certainly harder than it seems, but the effort is totally worth it.

As I promised to the attendees of that speedgeeking session, I'm including my sample database here to play around with. If you didn't get to attend, then read on to learn more about "The Ever Amazing Tabbed Table: Cool UI Tricks Anyone Can Do" (and by anyone, I mean developers...admins couldn't handle this ;-)

Get the database here

I think tabbed tables are an excellent design element for making good UIs in Lotus Notes. I'm continually amazed at the uses that you can come up with for this versatile element. For speedgeeking, I demonstrated four popular design pattern uses for the tabbed table, primarily focused on their programmatic aspect.

So what will you find in the sample database? Four cool techniques including:

Fade In/Fade Out

Fade In/Out Example

Wizards Example

Rotating Headlines

Headlines Example

Elegant Navigation

Navigation Example

All of these techniques are extremely easy, can be setup in a few minutes and can be used over and over again. To me, simple is elegant. I hope you enjoy and find some new uses in your own applications.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lotusphere 2009 - Getting to WOW

Yesterday was the deadline for Lotusphere abstracts, so I hope you got your ideas in. I'm really excited that there seems to be such a buzz around the conference this year (even more than normal, it seems). One of my former colleagues submitted a couple of ideas too, so I'm hoping he gets a chance to get up there and show off his stuff.

I actually ended up with two entries thrown into the hat and one Birds of a Feather idea. Both of the session submissions are with a couple of fantastic speakers, and as always, I'm honored to have the opportunity to present with them. I'll hold off on announcing one of them until I know he's cool with it, but I'm thrilled to tell you that the first session abstract was submitted along with Tom Duff! Tom has a great, casual speaking style and has become a beloved presenter at Lotus conferences. I hope if we get picked that I can live up to his expectations! This session will actually be quite complimentary to one of his other ideas. I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing the Moving From Plumber To Painter presentation.

Our proposed session is entitled: Getting To Wow...Interface First Design For Lotus Notes Developers. If you'd like to check out the abstract or help influence whether or not we get to do this session, please click the link above and vote over on IdeaJam. Many of the other proposed sessions are there and the fearless leader of the Best Practices track, Mr. Mac Guidera, is watching this space with interest. Looking through the list of ideas submitted so far, I think we are in for an incredible round of sessions in 2009!

Hope to see you there...

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Lotusphere 2009...Should I Even Try?

So Lotusphere time is upon us again in a few short months and people are getting all hyped up and excited since registration opened yesterday. This is always a fun time, as the folks in the blogging community start talking about some of the sessions they hope to submit, while others keep their thoughts very close to the vest.

I'm currently wondering what, if anything, I should submit as an idea this year. Are there any topics that you'd specifically like to see at Lotusphere based around the stuff I do here? If you think of something, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail.

One idea I had (pretty vaguely defined at this point to be honest) is to walk you through the process of doing an application redesign. There are *tons* of applications out there in Notes land that still work great going on 10, 15 years old (or even older!) but the UIs of these applications leave much to be desired. It's important to keep the UI up to date in order to meet the ever increasing demands and expectations from our end users. It might be beneficial to show one of these applications and the methodology you can use to update the UI without a lot of rework of the underlying code. I'm thinking best practices, short cuts, quick wins, etc. It's a balancing act, really, as sometimes many people think these UI things are too "touchy feely" and that we should only be talking about writing code. I don't know...what do you think?

Also...if you've got any really cool ideas and would like to possibly team up on something, let me know that too. As I said yesterday on Twitter, I'll even let you do all the work! ;-D

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

ILUG...The Question of the Day

ILUG...Please, Please, Please!So...the question of the day is:

How do I convince my boss to let me go to ILUG?

In my current role at IBM, I'm in technical sales for the Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas. Thus, it seems a little hard to justify that heading over to Dublin in June will help me sell Lotus software here at home. Then again, I would be "expanding my thought leadership". :-)

Hmmm...what do you guys think? Perhaps I could give out his address and we could all spam him! ;-D (Just kidding...I know he's started reading my blog now).

Well...either way, it's going to be one heck of a conference this year. Go if you can!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lotusphere 2008...Wrapup

(Editor's note...wrote this a few days ago...but as usual too busy to be timely!)

Wow...what an amazing week @ Lotusphere. I still can't believe there are naysayers out there regarding the work being done at Lotus and IBM. We'll be here for a long time and I'm certainly looking forward to being along for the ride! There are many, many great recaps of the week to be found on the internet already, so I won't rehash any of that. From the UI perspective, I am glad to hear that people are getting the message that Lotus is committed to repenting for UI sins of the past. The "OneUI" initiative is a great step forward and will arm us with the necessary ammunition to fight back when the critics decry the "ugliness" of Lotus applications. I've seen or been involved in many potential migration situations which basically came down to the fact that the decision makers thought that Notes was ugly and hard to use. I won't argue that point about older versions, but still many of the "problems" postulated by these decision makers were issues that could have been easily rectified through user training or minor template modifications. Why are so many companies still using these old versions of Notes and thus perpetuating this "pain and suffering" on their users? Because Lotus Notes is rock solid and it works. However, we need to convince these companies to move to Notes8 so that they can not only realize all the incredible advances from a technology standpoint, but so they can also see the gains to be made from the people side. Notes8 creates a compelling user experience and offers many productivity enhancements as well. When you move to Notes8, your users will be happier and more efficient and this in and of itself should help justify the upgrade, since the process is pretty trivial for most companies. We can thank Lotus Notes' long history of backward compatibility for that. I don't mean for this to turn into a commercial for Notes, but after this week's announcements at Lotusphere, Notes becomes even more compelling and hopefully we'll see even more of our friends upgrading now that the first point release (8.0.1) is almost available. Things like LiveText and widgets are going to make the exerience even that much better...I can't wait! Of course, the "OneUI" idea involves the other great Lotus products as well and I'm sure we can expect to see more improvement on this front as we move forward.

From a personal perspective, this was a different Lotusphere for me than in years past. For one, this was my first LS as an IBMer, so that meant some different activities during the day and in the evening. I participated in some customer meetings with Lotus executives and spent time with several customers at night. I was also busy prepping for and giving various presentations. Bruce and I got to deliver the UI Worst Practices session not once, but twice and I really enjoyed that one. A classic (and completely unplanned) moment occurred in the session that was being videotaped. Bruce was in the middle of talking about writing good error messages when the presentation came out of slide show mode and message popped up that his machine was now running on reserve power. Turns out he forgot to plug his Mac in and it was running out of juice! Luckily, Apple's error messages are pretty good, so this provided a perfect example to illustrate Bruce's point. It was also funny to see him fumbling with the cord as we tried to get back on track! :-) On Wednesday, Nathan and I got to provide back to back sessions on UI design and theory. The first session (BP216) was more about basics to keep in mind, while BP217 was a demo and show and tell bonanza. We spent almost the whole time in the Notes client or Designer. Unfortunately, we both *love* to talk about this stuff, so of course we needed more time. We actually had a 30 minute break in between sessions, but level set the audience at the beginning that we might just keep talking through the break and that people were free to talk, ask questions, get snacks, etc. We did end up pretty much talking the whole two and a half hours, which was great fun for me. I love introducing people to this ideas and seeing them run with it and I could have stayed up there the rest of the day. It's become pretty clear to me that this is the space I really want to be in...more as an evangelist and consultant around UI design and best practices. Now my goal is to figure out how to map out that path in my career plans...

For those of you looking for the slides, here are the final packs for BP214 and BP216 in both PowerPoint and ODS formats. We need a few more days to pull together the updated slides for BP217 as well as the downloadable demo database that has everything we showed, so please stand by for that.

BP214 - Yikes...It Looks Like That?! Powerpoint | ODF
BP216 - Interface Matters: Basics of UI Design Powerpoint | ODF

I hosted a Birds of a Feather session around designing the user experience on Monday night. That is definitely an unfortunate timeslot, as it's really hard to compete with free food and drinks and the Product Reception as well as various parties. We did end up with a group of about 8 people or so and exchanged some good ideas. If we do it again next year, I'll see if I can campaign for a better time/day.

It was great seeing old friends at Lotusphere as well as meeting new ones. I feel especially humbled by the kind comments of people who came up and introduced themselves as readers of this blog. For those of you who take the time to read here and those that came to my sessions, I just want to say thank you again. Your time is precious and the fact that you devoted an hour or two to listen to our presentation means a great deal to me. I love teaching and sharing new ideas with other people and nothing makes me happier than hearing about how you have been able to make things better at your job by the little tricks and techniques that my colleagues and I have shared. Thanks also for the great comments on the make me blush! ;-)

I'm going to take a few more days to distill specific product thoughts down into some posts that might be useful, as well as polish off the advanced UI slides, so don't forget to check back here or better still, add Interface Matters to your RSS feeds. :-)

Here's to Lotus, IBM and all of us. I think we're off to a fantastic 2008...Cheers!

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lotusphere 2008...I'm A Returning Alumn

For the second year in a row, I have the honor of speaking at Lotusphere and in this case, presenting with two excellent gentlemen. If you find some time in your schedule, please join me and Bruce in:

or me and Nathan in:

Sharp-eyed readers will note that the Interface Matters sessions are back to back. That's right...2 whole hours of UI goodness! :-) Nathan and I are getting the old team back together. We've reprised some info from last year and will be showing several new techniques and ideas.

BP214 with Bruce is new and of course based on the venerable "Worst Practices" sessions introduced by Messrs. Buchan and Mooney. I can't promise we'll be nearly as funny ('cause let's face it...their accents just rock), but Bruce is a great presenter and I'll learn a lot from him. The session is chock full of good information about what *not* to do when designing your interface, so I hope you can stop by.

As I mentioned last year, if you catch me in the hall or sitting in the lobby or something, please stop by and say hello. I love talking about all aspects of Notes development (as well as all other sorts of geekery), so don't be shy.

17 days to go. I can't wait! :-)

Update: Whoops...forgot that the BoF from last year is back again too. Hopefully Nathan and Bruce will join me in co-moderating.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Woot! Less than two weeks away now...

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Sneak Peak: Build A Better Burrito...the Notes Way!

Click for animated demo

Want to see more? Make sure you catch me at ILUG 2007 or in my 'Advanced User Interface Techniques for the Notes Client' session at Lotus Developer2007. Was making a burrito ever this good? ;-D

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Interface | Matters World Tour 2007

Conference and user group season is in full swing, so here's an update on my upcoming speaking gigs. Of course, we kicked off the year in style at Lotusphere, where I was very honored to be chosen to present in the Best Practices track (thanks Rocky!) and it was doubly cool since I got to do it along with Mr. Freeman.

I forgot to mention the Northeast Ohio User Group Meeting on Feb. 22nd. Thanks for all who attended and listened to me drone on. In case you were looking for it, my presentation can be found here.

This Wednesday (03/07), the good folks at the Central Ohio Notes/Domnio Users' Group asked me to come down to Columbus to give the modified version of BP101 from Lotusphere. I say modified since it combines elements of my sessions from the View as well as the Lotusphere one, minus the really cool demos that Nathan showed (proprietary client stuff). Check out the full agenda for more.

In May (24th-25th), it's across the ocean we go for ILUG 2007! I'm sure most people know about this by now, but if not, hurry to the website and register while you can. This is a FREE event featuring some of the best speakers in the Notes community. Somehow, through a gross error, I got included on that list as well! :-) It's like a mini-Lotusphere in cool is that!!!

Finally, at least for now, is the Lotus Developer2007 conference in Boston June 4 - June 6. This is another excellent event and is being held in conjunction with Admin 2007. I'll be presenting five four sessions including "JavaScript Best Practices", "Creating Dynamic Domino Applications with Advanced CSS", "Leveraging Interface First Design for Top-Notch UIs", and "Advanced Lotus Notes Client UI Techniques" (session titles subject to change).

I hope to see you all at one or more of these events. If you make it, please stop me in the hall, at the dining tent, in the elevator, etc. and say hello.

Update: I'm combining two of my sessions into one for Lotus Developer2007, which leaves me with four sessions total.

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