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Best Practice Makes Perfect

A collaboration with Domino developers about how to do it and how to get it right in Domino

On the art of setting the meeting alert time preference to the correct value.

As a home office worker, most of my meetings are conference calls. I don't need the default 10 minute alert, since it takes less than a minute to dial in. Except, of course, that sometimes I need to wrap up what I'm doing, and that I don't always notice in advance when my meetings are going to be, and that I'm not at my computer every minute. If I have the alert set to one minute, and go make myself a coffee, the meeting alert could pop up and the meeting could start before I get back. So 1 minute is the wrong amount of time for the meeting default alert.

Even people in an office have a similar situation. They come back into their office with their coffee and see there's a meeting in 7 minutes (because it popped up 3 minutes ago). They need one minute to walk to the meeting room. So they set the snooze to 5 or 6 minutes and they answer emails until the alert goes again, and they can get to their meeting right on time.

But obsessive Andre is always counting clicks. Why should they have to look at the seconds on the clock to decide whether it's 5 or 6 minutes (because 8:53:xx plus 6 minutes might be 8:59:59, and then they would be late)? Why should they have to adjust the time if they don't see the notice for three minutes; doesn't Notes know that it's silly to alert someone three minutes after a meeting starts? Why shouldn't the default behavior if they just click "snooze" be something reasonable?

Alas. Afraid not. I'll just have to do the best I can with what's here -- for now at least -- which for me means setting the default alert time to 11 minutes, so that if I see the alert right away and click snooze, I'll still have time to dial in when it pops up again. But I think I'll drop a note to the UI planners suggesting the different interface pictured here.

While I'm at it, I'll mention again that the dialog shouldn't get dismissed if someone's typing when it comes up, forcing them to open their calendar to see what the notice was about. (Hint: it was about an event three days away. They won't see anything on today's meetings. They will shrug; must've been some other kind of message. They won't realize what Notes was trying to tell them until they get in to work after a very frosty breakfast the day of their wedding anniversary.)

Andre Guirard | 7 July 2008 08:42:52 AM ET | Home, Plymouth, MN, USA | Comments (7)


1) Thoughts while waiting for my meeting to start
Martin | 7/7/2008 9:42:22 AM

In Outlook the default snooze time is "5 minutes before start" which make sense for me as I don't need to think when I want to be disturbed again.

2) Thoughts while waiting for my meeting to start
Brad | 7/7/2008 10:42:01 AM

Yes, yes, and YES again. I have long thought that the alarm-clock-style snooze is the wrong approach. Since I am being prompted to input an amount of time, I want to define the amount of time before the event, not the amount of time from when the alarm pops up.

And as far as the dialog getting dismissed, that is something that is many versions late. It should be a modal window that does not have a default button so that I cannot accidentally dismiss it.

3) Thoughts while waiting for my meeting to start
Charles Robinson | 7/7/2008 11:39:25 AM

My other favorite is that notifications won't pop up if Notes is locked. I understand why, but it should at least pop up a login box so the taskbar icon will blink and users know something is going on.

@1 - I agree, that is a nice touch. One thing that bugs me is the Outlook window doesn't have an "OK" or "Done", you have to click "Dismiss". That's not at all intuitive to me. Every time I see the dialog I'm looking for "OK" and it's not there.

4) Thoughts while waiting for my meeting to start
Tripp Black | 7/7/2008 1:49:45 PM

This is a great idea. I like the second alert prompt. I would like it for not just meetings but also appointments and reminders. A lot of my meetings are not within my company so I use appointments as much as or more often then meetings.

As for the default vs model, I like the default to be "Snooze" or "OK" -- I would tend to OK more than snooze but can get to used to either way. That way I can just click and get back to work.

5) Thoughts while waiting for my meeting to start
Gabriel Amorim | 7/7/2008 3:25:49 PM

@1 and @3 - Agree. That should be dropped to Notes planners for a fix. I guess 5 minutes is okay for me to do whatever I need before a meeting.


Still I do not love Comic Sans...

6) Don’t lose alarms while typing
Gary W | 9/22/2008 9:48:09 PM

If someone can get that change in, so I stop losing alarms, I'll dance a jig!

7) Thoughts while waiting for my meeting to start
Andre Guirard | 10/3/2008 9:50:31 AM

It looks like 8.5 has changed this dialog to be non-modal and not get focus, so it doesn't interrupt your typing. That's handy.

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