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Inside Mobile Design and User Experience

Thoughts on mobile and social business applications, design, and user experience, by Chris Reckling.

I hope YOU will be ready to tune in next week, 18 November, for the Mail Next "New Way to Work" event. Register here to either attend in person or stream it. Several of my design colleagues and I will be there on site to show off our work on both mobile and web. I hope to see you there!

Like most projects at IBM these days, we are using IBM Design Thinking practices to ensure we deliver the best experience for our users. That means understanding their goals, needs, and pain points through extensive research; ideating as many possible solutions as possible before narrowing to the best one; prototyping and evaluating through design reviews, user testing, and observation.

Sure, we could have just made a nice email client (and we have) but we also want to help people get their jobs done better, since email continues to be a vital channel for communication in the enterprise. So how do you manage all this stuff coming at you all day while you are trying to do the thing that you do? It requires a new way to work; a new approach to email that doesn't involve 'managing' it. No one's job description says: "Manage email all day" and our aim is to help you make stuff, sell things, build relationships, and everything else you do to run your business.

Image:Who’s Ready for Mail Next?

If you can't make it on Tuesday, then 20 Nov has another webcast you may be interested in. Extreme Mail Makeover

Every day, emails flood our inbox: tasks are left undone, messages go unanswered, and meetings overwhelm us. Why does work have to be such hard work? The truth is, it doesn’t have to be. Join our live video panel discussion on Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM ET and hear how IBM’s latest solution offers an easy way to take back control of your day.

My team and I are hard at work on the mobile version of this transformation. More to be revealed next TUESDAY!!

Chris Reckling, Mobile UX
Image:Who’s Ready for Mail Next?

Chris Reckling | 13 November 2014 05:30:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Sametime Chat in the cloud now supports video on the iPad and audio on the iPhone! I called product manager, Marc Pagnier today - I think he was logged in from the web client actually. Now you can log into SmartCloud directly with your user name/password and have access to audio and video.

Here's my live screenshot from today. Picture quality gets adjusted based on bandwidth. Enjoy!
Image:Sametime A/V in the Cloud


Chris Reckling | 21 October 2014 05:00:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Here's something you may have missed in the little introductory pop-ups when you first log in to the Connections mobile app. We have a new feature, called Favorites, that let's you, the user, add a link to almost anything in the app to the left navigation. This let's you quickly get back to a community, file, forum, or person that you frequently open on mobile. Rather than navigate to a list of Communities and then scrolling to the one you want, make it a Favorite.

Here's the trick (yes, we know this is hard for people to find on their own). Go to the thing you want to add, then long press on the blue bar at the top. 2 bubbles will slide out, the one on the left is for copying the link to that item. The one on the right (the star) is to add it to the Favorites list.

Here I am in the Renovations Sales Community.
Image:Connections Mobile Tip of the Day

And here is the link in my navigation! DONE.
Image:Connections Mobile Tip of the Day

You can add just about anything there, so go ahead and try it. To edit, long press in the navigation area at the top and you can reorder or remove items.

On Android, the action is in the menus. Hit the menu button and choose Add to Favorites.

That's all for now!


Chris Reckling | 17 October 2014 05:01:25 PM ET | Permanent Link

I told you more apps were coming, updated for iOS 7! Today IBM released Traveler Companion and Traveler To Do's to the Apple app store. These were updated to align with new guidelines for iOS 7 (featuring a beautiful new design) and a handful of bug fixes, as reported by customers.

Traveler Companion is available so you can read and send encrypted mail on the device (since we cannot build this into the Apple mail client). It also enforces certain admin policies such as how attachments are handled.

The Traveler To Do synchs your to do's with the Notes or iNotes clients. Even by itself, it is a handy little task manager, designed to make it extremely quick to add and process to do's while giving you the option to add priorities, due dates, and full descriptions.

Remember there are 2 ways to set up your To Do app. The first way is to make sure that you have used Companion for an encrypted mail at least once (this sets up the server info.) Then the To Do should use the same info when it launches. The second way is to input your Traveler server name into the account settings page.

Check it out and try them today.

Image:What? New Companion and To Do Apps? YES.    Image:What? New Companion and To Do Apps? YES.

Note: any resemblance to my own personal to-do list is merely coincidental and does not reflect my or other people's views.


Chris Reckling | 9 May 2014 04:00:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Today IBM released an update to the Sametime Meetings app. This release updates the UI to be more in line with iOS 7 guidelines. Check it out. When we started this process, we decided to go for a lighter, friendlier tone than before.
Here is what the main entrance screen looks like now - what we call the 'lobby'. From here you can launch straight into your meeting room.
Image:Sametime Meetings app for iOS Updated

And once you are in a room, you can focus on the content at hand for the meeting. This screen shot shows the slide viewer, for previewing slides before they project along with the video. That's our designer, Sue Un, I'm having the meeting with (no stock photos here!).
Image:Sametime Meetings app for iOS Updated

Finally, here's the case where you are just having a video meeting, no slides involved. This picture shows Sue and tech lead Russ Fahey, plus me moving the little window around with my finger.
Image:Sametime Meetings app for iOS Updated

This is the first wave of updates coming to the Apple app store with a new look for 2014!

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX Practice Lead

Chris Reckling | 21 April 2014 05:15:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Orlando, FL, also known as Lake Buena Vista, or on my phone location as Bay Lake...Wednesday morning, January 29. It's hump day at IBM Connect - that means the Wednesday night party happened on Tuesday this year at the Hollywood Studios. Everything is turned around! It's been great meeting customers and friends from over the years both in the hallways and in our Design Studio on site in Asia 4. If you are at Connect and haven't made it to the lab, then why not today?? Most people enjoy spending time with the people behind the designs and we love getting feedback and finding out how you get your jobs done. (Plus, we have comfy couches when those feet start to bark at you.)

Here's some photos of the studio we set up - lots of activities there, or just come to have a quick talk or take a survey. What you will witness are many of the techniques we are using in IBM Design Thinking that Phil Gilbert talked about in his keynote speech this morning.

If you are not at Connect and want to participate in a Sametime Meetings survey - try this.

Ron and Kelly prepping for discussions with admins
Image:Update from Connect 2014

Michael's board for understanding a workflow in Exceptional Digital Experience
Image:Update from Connect 2014

Talk to us about collaboration with a scenario map.
Image:Update from Connect 2014

Try out our new Connections mobile app!
Image:Update from Connect 2014

That's it for now. I have a talk - ID401 - at 4:15 today in Dolphin S. Hemisphere III on Connections mobile - 80% demo!

See you around,


Chris Reckling | 29 January 2014 10:04:49 AM ET | Permanent Link

IBM Connect is just around the corner - yikes! Once again, the user experience and info management teams will have a lab in Asia 4, to the left of the elevators to the partner showcase - also known as, 'the same place as the previous years'. IBM Design Thinking is a big emphasis for us this year and indeed, across all of IBM. We will have a number of activities in the studio for you to participate in, as well as the usual one on one feedback sessions we typically do.

I will be speaking on Wednesday, 4:15 pm (or 16:15 if you prefer) during What's New in Connections Mobile, with my colleague Baan Slavens (Product Mgr). During that session, we only have 27 slides, including all the obligatory titles, disclaimers, and conclusions!! That means more time for DEMOS. I plan to roll up a comprehensive look at all the things you can do with the current product (which by the way, you can use against the site when you get your IDs), then unveil a look at our 2014 release plans. We are using the IBM Design Thinking tools to plan and execute on this release, so inevitably, you will start to hear us talk differently about our products.

To hear more about IBM Design Thinking, go to Ethan Perry's session, AD102 IBM Design Thinking for IBM SmartCloud for Social Business. Wed at 1:30 pm. Despite the title, the description says: IBM Design thinking focuses on creating great experiences for our users. Come learn how we discover and envision new design concepts to provide a compelling, integrated experience that works for you.

Here's the flyer that will go in the backpacks. The photobooth is back! The mobile team will have a short survey to fill out (on an ipad, of course) to understand when and where you use your device at different times of the day. One of the primary principles of design thinking is to understand the user, so there are a number of interactive activities to help us do that - and they're fun, too!!
Image:Visit the Design Studio at IBM Connect

See you there. If you can't make it to Orlando this year, check back on this blog for reports during the week.


Chris Reckling | 10 January 2014 07:00:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Getting a jump on things, last Friday the Sametime Chat app for Android was updated for Sametime 9. The new apps add audio and video chats so now you can easily move from text chatting to a richer communication mode.

Congratulations to Tyler (our designer) and the dev team for getting this out to the market.

Here are a couple of screenshots of the app for tablets and phones. Dare I note that you must be running Sametime 9 with the appropriate server pieces enabled? You can try it if you have a Greenhouse account by following instructions at this link.

Image:Sametime 9 Chat App for Android   Image:Sametime 9 Chat App for Android

You can see there is a new option on the business card - Voice Chat.

And here are a couple of the tablet screens showing the video chat.

Image:Sametime 9 Chat App for Android

Image:Sametime 9 Chat App for Android



Chris Reckling | 18 November 2013 05:30:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

November 5. Today IBM released updates to the Connections app for Apple iOS and Google Android. This update primarily adds support for Connections Content Manager, an alternate file database available in communities. The other features worth noting are an indicator for when the device loses the network connection and support for Mobile Iron on iOS.

In these examples, the Connections Content Manager (CCM) is being used inside a community on the Greenhouse. It adds features to your file sharing such as drafts and approvals. In other aspects, we wanted the files in a library to act just like Connections files do for sharing, liking, previewing, and commenting. The library I am using is called "Contracts" and is part of our sales community.

Image:Connections Mobile 4.5 Now Available
Figure 1. Contracts library selected in the community.

Image:Connections Mobile 4.5 Now Available
Figure 2. File details with approval actions.

Image:Connections Mobile 4.5 Now Available
Figure 3. Android phone list of files and folders.

Image:Connections Mobile 4.5 Now Available
Figure 4. Android phone folder list.

Try it on Greenhouse and would love to hear if you are using this inside your company, too!

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX Lead

Chris Reckling | 5 November 2013 12:30:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Last Friday, IBM released updates to the Connections mobile apps for Android and iOS. The main new features include a much better Media Gallery and Wikis experience. (Android already had the wikis done, so this part is only new on iOS.)

Here are a couple of screens to give you an idea of what it's like. It's a much more immersive experience than we've done before and works well in both tablet and phone form factors. Tapping on a picture brings it full screen with a slider at the bottom (or you can swipe left/right to move from picture to picture).

Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available

Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available      Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available

Wikis are much easier to navigate now, with the full list of pages available on the first screen and being able to go full screen on the iPad is very helpful in reading the content inside the wiki.

Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available

Look for an update soon which fixes a few problems on iOS 7.

Congrats to the team on the continuous improvement of our mobile apps!!

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX Lead

Chris Reckling | 1 October 2013 10:15:00 AM ET | Permanent Link

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