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Inside Mobile Design and User Experience

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

At the DNUG conference in Dresden this past May, Mary Beth and I gave "deep dive" talk about Notes 8. I organized it around each area of the product. There was so much to show that we didn't even get through it all, except very briefly. In this post, I focus on handy Mail features.
1. Redesigned Inbox look and feel - of course, this is the most prominent thing about the client. It's fresh, friendly, and something that you want to use. If you've been to any of Mary Beth's talks about our design process, you know that we did extensive research with users on the color palette to use and apply across the client.
2. Vertical preview - In addition to the horizontal preview that we've had forever, the vertical preview is now available. Personally, I've tried using it but I prefer the horizontal preview. I've noticed execs seem to like this one.
3. Conversations - There's actually 2 variations on showing a conversation. One is in your normal inbox, where each message will display a twistie when there are replies in the conversation. This is handy when you want to quickly find a response to an email while you are looking at it. (Keyboard shortcut tip: use the right arrow to open the conversation; ESC to close it.) The other mode is Conversation mode, which 'gathers' the threads together and only shows you the last response in the inbox. This mode is useful to reduce the number of messages that you see in the inbox. Each conversation has a twistie and a number indicating the number of messages in the conversation. Plus, you get a summary of the conversation topic right in the view.
4. One click actions - The action bar includes "split-actions". Clicking on the New button creates a new mail message, but clicking on the arrow next to it let's you drop-down the menu for other actions.
5. Streamlined form - The mail for has been redesigned and is "cleaner". There's more whitespace and items that are not used alot are hidden (like bcc and mail options). A message in "read mode" displays common names by default, reducing the UI clutter. In additon, if you have a long list of names, you can display them in alphabetical order, too. This is good for when you want to easily see whether someone is on the cc list, for example.
6. Send and receive mail action - A lot of end users don't want to know about replication, so we put an action in terms they understand - i.e. Send and Receive mail. We actually already had this in the status bar in previous releases, but I know I never used it. Now, I can either hit the button on the action bar or use a keyboard shortcut to replicate (I mean, send/receive mail).
7. Selection model - Notes has adopted the standard selection model - so, shift-click, ctrl-click will select documents in a view. Of course, as soon as we do that people start seeing the advantage to the regular Notes checkmark style selection model...oh, well, we're looking at ways to get the best of both worlds. In the meantime, file this under "follow platform conventions where possible".
8. Improved Internet mail sending/reading - A top request, this means that rendering html mail in the client will look like it should, and sending to other clients is much improved, too, by simplifying what goes out. And, I can testify here that it works great!

So, these are my favorites so far, what are yours? Next up....Calendar.

Chris Reckling
Program Director, MA UX Design Studio, Lotus Software

Chris Reckling | 7 August 2007 10:22:42 AM ET | Westford, MA

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