Cost and Value - I heard some good stuff from you all on New Features you'd like to see in product. Thanks for that.Returning to the previous entry I wrote on
Now for the next part of the discussion - existing features.
For all of our existing features in Connections today - I'd love to hear from you and specify one of three "categories" for these. Either this feature Need Enhancement, (and if you say that about a feature, please let me know what sorts of enhancements you'd like to see). The second category would be Leave as is, meaning, you like this feature, find it useful and think it really needs no more changes. Finally, are there any features the we should consider removing -> Drop Feature? If you pick this, please let me know why.
What I want to do is take this list and in combination with the New Feature list look at the overall "bucket" of work and get a picture of where you want us to go. Then we can really prioritize and weigh the value of what we can and should work on.
Let me know what you think.
IBM Social Software
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ibm-connections social-software 345 Visits
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G email@example.com Tags:  social-software ibm-connections 287 Visits
How accessible is Lotus Connections 3? Does it work well with assistive technology (AT)? Great questions from a reader deserve answers and some details.
Lotus Connections 3 is wonderfully accessible and highly compatible with assistive technologies (AT). But more than that, it is accessibly usable, which was the development teamâ€™s primary goal from the outset. Here is some additional background, for those who are interested:
IBM takes accessibility seriously. To us, itâ€™s just good business. As such, it has been part of our culture and our business processes for many years. We have a team of accessibility researchers and experts, who know the law, actively contribute to the development of accessibility standards and understand how to properly incorporate the requirements of both to promote interoperability of technology with ATs.
Does this mean that every IBM product is fully accessible and usable? No. IBMâ€™s deep portfolio and annual business acquisitions make that a nearly impossible task. What it does mean, however, is that weâ€™re always working towards that ultimate goal because we believe that in a knowledge economy, if enterprise solutions arenâ€™t accessible to Everyone (with a capital â€˜Eâ€™), then our clients are leaving knowledge, ideas, and ultimately money, on the table.
Our team at The Human Ability and Accessibility Center, helps train developers throughout the corporation (and consult with other companies, too). We provide recommended techniques, checklists for compliance, and test procedures to validate compliance. The techniques help developers code in the correct way so the underlying product creates the right information for the AT. The checklists (http://www-03.ibm.com/able/guidelines/index.html) explain to developers exactly what is required to meet accessibility compliance. The test procedures clearly state how to test. That testing includes automated tools, visual inspection, and hands on testing with a keyboard and a screen reader. Problems and exceptions get management scrutiny.
Lotus connections 2.5 went through this process and tested as compliant, including direct use with the screen reader.
The team wanted Lotus Connections 3.0 to be highly usable and efficient for users with disabilities. We understood from the outset that this product would be used as the primary social collaboration tool internally. We needed it to be accessibly usable, so that it could be used for everyday collaboration, by every employee. As a team, it was our goal to set the standard for all social collaboration tools, so about a year ago we pulled together a special team of Connections developers, accessibility experts, and IBMers with disabilities. We met frequently, pulling in whomever we needed. For each page or navigation feature, weâ€™d consult our internal disability â€˜expert,â€™ who was typically someone who used a screen reader for daily work. Since Connections is a primarily visual application platform, making it accessible to people who are blind or have low vision, was a top priority. Our expert would then tell us how the screen seemed to work for him, and weâ€™d describe how it worked for the sighted user. After identifying the primary usability issues, the team worked to explore and identify the techniques to deliver the best solution, such as using WAI-ARIA (http://www.w3.org/TR/wai-aria/) landmarks. The developers then implemented the recommendation, so we could run it back through this user testing process. We refined every major function this way. All of this was hands-on screen reader testing by a real user. If it wasnâ€™t right, we reworked it.
The result is, I think, best of breed, accessible web-based social software for business. Lotus Connections meets WCAG 2.0 Level A guidance, and makes extensive use of WAI-ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), including landmarks, roles, labeled-by, alerts, and more. WAI-ARIA capability is now baked-in to Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari desktop browsers. So, screen reader users will have a much better experience on Connections using one of those browsers.
IBM created its first speaking computer over 50 years ago. Weâ€™re still committed to accessibility. We help design international standards for AT interactivity and functional markup such as WAI-ARIA. Now weâ€™re setting the example and raising the bar with the accessible usability of Lotus Connections.
I hope you take the opportunity to experience Connections 3.0 for yourself and let us know what you think. Sign up for a free account at Lotus Greenhouse. (https://greenhouse.lotus.com/home/login.jsp)
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G firstname.lastname@example.org Tags:  ibm-connections social-software 249 Visits
Suzanne Livingston 110000F23G email@example.com Tags:  ibm-connections social-software 291 Visits