Much ado about scripting, Linux & Eclipse: card subject to change

2007-08-20

Notes 8, Part 2: Great Personality

Today I decided to upgrade my mail template from Notes 7 to Notes 8:

  1. "Open" Menu > Favorite Bookmarks > Workspace
  2. Right-click your Mail icon (Your Name on Local).
  3. Application > Replace Design...
  4. Choose the Mail (R8) template.

After the update, I discovered some cool* new usability gotchas:

  • Inbox layout corrupted; had to restart Notes. Fine after restart. Question: if this is a "Built on Eclipse" tool, why not just prompt me to restart, like any other Update?

  • The option to default-sort my inbox in 'order arrived' appears to be gone.
  • When first opened, my inbox now shows me my 5 month old mail at the top of the box, rather than my most recent arrivals. Clicking the date column sorts in reverse, but puts the selection at the bottom of the box so I have to scroll back up to see today's mail. Oy.
  • I can't column sort up AND down anymore, just in one direction.
  • Down the left, the Folder icon & its accompanying text can be clicked to open... but only the icon can be clicked to close. The Tools menu, however, only opens/closes via the icon. In both cases, however, the cursor becomes a hand over the text even if clicking it does nothing.
  • If you scroll-wheel over the inbox scrollbar, it will move up and down without moving the inbox contents; scrolling in the inbox itself (not over the scrollbar, over the contents) does move the content (and the scrollbar too). Clicking and dragging the scrollbar also works. Related to this, I can scroll up and down in the SameTime contacts widget, but when I pick someone's name, it always jumps back to the top and I end up selecting a completely different person. (This seems to only happen after the initial startup; after that it's fine.)
  • In the screenshot below, note the completely useless tooltip telling me that my cursor is over the 'preview pane'. Uh, thanks.

zx suggested I have a look at the OS theme (File > Preferences... > Windows and Themes > Theme > Operating System Theme). I wonder if this ability to reskin SWT will be donated back to Eclipse one day. This is pretty cool, since it means I can reskin Notes by just changing my KDE preferences. Very cool.

Anyway, as I said the other day, I'm pleased with Notes 8, despite its usability gotchas great personality. It's the little touches that make the Notes experience so very unique. ;-)

* Why cool? Because while being odd, they're quirky enough to be entertaining, yet not annoying enough to be character flaws.

2 comments:

Mary Beth said...

Hey Nick,
Th reason we do not prompt for a restart "like any other update" is that the 125 or so million users are not aware that it is an "Eclipse update." -- It's the next version of Notes to them.
Plus, having to restart after an update is just plain RUDE.

Can you please fix that for us? Thank you.
We are wokring on trying to fix those other usability issues that you mentioned.

Nick said...

Mary Beth:

If the template update could be done w/o restarting, then I'd agree. But as it left me in a corrupt and unusable state, I should have been told "you have to restart." This is not rude, this is POLITE, as it properly sets users' expectations of required behaviour. Corrupting my inbox via an update... now that's RUDE.

Other updatable apps (eg., Firefox, Thunderbird, SameTime) require restarts after updates -- hell, most require it. If I wasn't such a test monkey / usability nerd, it might not have occurred to me that a simple restart might fix my Inbox view, and I'd have been complaining to tech support and wasting Lotus' time & money supporting my call. Instead I decided to blog the experience so that hopefully others will Google first and save you the support call.

I'll happily revise my post if you can prove to me that you're in fact on the Lotus Notes dev team; however, your quasi-anonymous 'Profile Not Available' comment says otherwise. I'm glad you & Lotus take usability issues seriously, and look forward to working with you in future.