On May 21st the IBM Connections team held an event launching the newest version of IBM Connections. I'm excited to take a deeper dive on the Community Gallery App and the thumbnail preview we're introducing in IBM Connections Next.
The Community Gallery and Files Preview
The Gallery App, coming in IBM Connections Next, allows community managers to showcase files from their Community on the Community Overview page. A folder of mages, Videos, slideshows, documents, or more can be chosen to be shown on the Community Overview page. Small thumbnails will be shown as a preview of the content and a user can click to preview the contents of the folder.
Adding a gallery
In the “Add Apps” view, select the Gallery app to add it to the Community Overview page.
Populating the Gallery
The App will be added, and you will be asked to set up the Gallery.
You’ll be asked to select a folder to showcase, or showcase all the files that have been shared with the community.
On the Community Overview Page
After selecting a folder, thumbnails for the files will be added to the App and users can preview the files, or view all of them right form the overview page.
By clicking on one of the thumbnails, a preview of the files in the Gallery are shown in a preview pane. Users can navigate between the files in the Gallery without leaving the Community Overview page.
Since when the Gallery is set up a folder from the community is chosen, when a user chooses to "view all" they are taken to a view of the folder that shows thumbnails for each item in the folder. This view is not just available for folders in Communities, but also Community Files and Personal Files
When a thumbnail is rendered, important information about the file can be garnered by hovering over the thumbnails.
Want to learn more?
My colleague Rene Schimmer will be speaking tomorrow on a Webcast for IBM Connections Next. Check it out here!
The IBM Connections team is dedicated to making our social platform work with whatever E-mail service you may be using. This post will focus on our integration with IBM Notes and Microsoft Outlook.
The IBM Connections Plug-ins for IBM Notes are provided in a single install package.The Plug-ins are meant to surface many of the strong features we have in IBM Connections that our users live by.
Activity stream within Notes
Post a status with attachments
View, comment, delete, Like, or forward updates
Lock and unlock files
Drag and drop, copy, or paste a file from Files to your desktop or vice versa
Send an HTML link to a file
Collaborate on a project using the Activities sidebar
Display Activities to-do items in the Notes calendar
Bookmark a Notes document and add it to your bookmark collection in IBM Connections
Search across the IBM Connections applications
Save chat transcripts to an activity
Show contact and status information federated from various available collaboration sources such as the IBM Sametime buddy list, IBM Connections Profiles, and the IBM Notes Directory.
Find out more about the people you work. Read a person's blog, download files authored by the person, browse the person's bookmark collection, or find content contributed by the person to the wikis and communities that they participate in right from the Business Card.
IBM Connections is dedicated to empowering your workforce through social, so we have a Plug-in for Microsoft Outlook to allow IBM Connections users across the board to access their social information and interactions. Watch this video to hear what we offer today:
An activity Stream portlet which brings the IBM Connections Activity Stream experience into your Portal pages
Enhancements to the Ideation Blog support in the Blogs portlet
Support for IBM Connections 4.5 servers
WebSphere Portal users can integrate the IBM Connections Activity Stream, Activities, Blogs, Bookmarks, Communities, Forums, Profiles, Wiki, & Tag Cloud applications.
This integration allows you to view and interact with events from your communities. Events include updates to documents, wikis, blogs, forums, profiles and status updates and other content updates to your communities.
Deploy community pages, which are portal pages associated with communities from IBM Connections Communities. Portlets on community pages are automatically scoped to the community membership and display content from the community in the portlets. For example, if your community contains a forum, adding the forum portlet to a community page lets portal users view and interact with the forum content from a Portal application.
View and contribute to discussion topics using the Forums portlet.
Blogs, Forums, and Profile summary portlets
Portal Search Center integration
Security integration allows community membership to be used for access control decisions in Portal through a new VMM adapter.
Create and work with IBM Connections Activities within WebSphere Portal. Users can easily set prioritization, activity status and to do items for their activities. Manage the membership to add and leverage the expertise and experience of others in the organization by working together.
Within WebSphere Portal create IBM Connections Blogs postings and comments. View and contribute to Ideation Blogs you can access.
Easily create, edit and discover bookmarks in IBM Connections that have been qualified by others with similar interests and expertise.
Search a directory of colleagues you can use to build a network and locate expertise. Update and comment on Status Updates from your network.
Collaborate on a project with Wikis. Wiki members can view and edit the pages, or add their own pages.
Incorporate meaningful keywords to find associated content and filter the items in other IBM Connections portlets.
The IBM Connections 4.5 Portlets support:
IBM Connections 4.5 CR1
IBM Connections 4.0 CR3
IBM WebSphere Portal Server 22.214.171.124 CF4
IBM WebSphere Portal Server 126.96.36.199 CF 20 (Note: Activity Stream Portlet is not supported with 188.8.131.52)
Microsoft Windows XP SP3 (32-bit), 7 SP1 (64 bit)
Mac OS X 10.7
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9
(IE browser needs to be running in IE7 Document Standards mode for Activity Stream Portlet)
BestCommunications has developed an integrated solution of their Notes/Domino based CRM application and IBM Connections. Their CRM application is named "e-Kokyaku" which means customers in Japanese. It provides a web interface to manage customer information such as company profile, call memo and information on past deals. Also, mobile access interface is provided. When in e-Kokyaku, comments or questions will be also posted to IBM Connections as status updates, where you can engage your network.
Today I needed to contact a colleague and was using SMS text to make the contact. In doing so, I was immediately struck by my behavior. Normally I would use Sametime to interact with my friend, but, due to being mobile (walking down the hall) I was using text instead. What I noticed in my own approach was this. When I "cold call" someone over Sametime, I always use what I'll call the "Accepted Social Interrupt Protocol" ASIP - I start with a simple "Hi", wait for a response, engage in a bit of small talk and then introduce the main reason for my interruption. I imagine most of you do the same. Similar to how I'd act if I showed up at someone's desk and want to talk with them about something.
But here's the kicker - when I text, I don't do this. In fact, it seems overly ridiculous to start out a text with "Hi" and that's all. I basically skip all the ASIP and just get right to the point. In thinking on this, I am almost instinctually reacting to the underlying technology UX - how I react to texts and how one engages with it. Starting with a Hi, then waiting for more small talk seems painfully wrong in this exchange, and I automatically interact accordingly.
So, my friends, do you have similar behavioral oddities? Why do you think you have them? And if not, why? I'd love to hear from you all on this, it seemed interesting to me that without a conscious thought on this, I clearly have established patterns. Looking forward to hearing from you.
We are very pleased to announce the general availability of the IBM Connections 4.0 Plug-ins for Lotus Notes. This linked value offering is now available on the IBM Business Solutions Catalog for customer download. Please have a look using the link above - we encourage everyone to install & use it!
Some noteworthy features include: Social collaboration through Status Updates sidebar in Notes
New features include like/unlike posts, activity stream support, view community posts in stream, post to a community, attach a local File with the post
Social collaboration through Files sidebar in Notes
New features include file locking, sharing files with a community
Serviceability, support and infrastructure enhancements to Notes Plug-ins
Common installer for Windows and Mac clients - includes Activities, Business Card, Files, & Status Updates plug-ins
Proxy file (*.pac) support
Also, the Linked Values team has made some other recent catalog updates:
If you want to quickly find out what's new with your favorite IBM Connections feature, check out this new video series on all the IBM Connections 4 apps. Most of the videos are about a minute long, and you can watch the whole series in one playlist here!
In this video series, we explore the various apps in IBM Connections V4.0, the newest version of IBM's market leading social software. New features include activity streams, embedded experiences, microblog hashtags, community metrics, mail integration, and more. All in addition to the great blogs, wikis, profiles, social bookmarking, communities, activities, and file sharing you already know and love. View other related videos on the IBM Connections playlist, part of the the IBMSocialBiz channel. To learn more about IBM Connections, visit http://www.ibm.com/software/lotus/products/connections/
Today we announce the IBM Connections 4, the market leading social business platform. We are excited to share with you all the great new capabilities in Connections 4. To help you better understand what is in Connections 4, I will share videos on the various elements of Connections, starting with the home page experience:
Here are some of the new capabilities you will find in IBM Connections 4:
3rd Party Activity Stream Entries: Work with external apps within Activity Stream and act on those entries using embedded apps
Community and Deployment Metrics: Find out who in your organization is using which IBM Connections applications and how often by using the new Metrics feature. Metrics data is available for the entire product as well as for individual communities.
Mobile Apps: Access IBM Connections from a mobile device using an app designed specifically for that device. With the Connections 4 release, these native apps have been enhanced, and to support the enhancements, there is now a database associated with the Mobile application and a configuration file that administrators can edit to customize the native applications.
IBM Connections Mail: Gives users the ability to read / respond to mail and read calendar from the Connections browser UI. A new Mail option is displayed in the navigation bar. Click Mail to access your email inbox, and perform some basic mail actions. A new Calendar option is displayed in the navigation bar. Click Calendar to access your IBM Lotus NotesÂ® or Microsoft Exchange calendar.
The IBM Collaboration Solutions UX/ID team is proud to announce the Experience IBM Connections site. This single-page, external site is intended to drive user adoption of IBM Connections and enhance the total client experience. This effort was inspired by feedback from customers requesting materials to help promote Notes to end users.
The site includes tips and resources to learn more. It also highlights favorite tips and features from select IBMers and IBM Champions.
SXSW opens its PanelPicker app today for choosing your favorite sessions for consideration in 2013. It can be daunting to read though and vote on 3500+ sessions, so we'd like to help you find our sessions!
Please vote for our sessions!
Yes, that TPS Report can be social too - http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/582 At your job, your have access to a lot of information throughout many systems. Imagine if you had a single, social stream of updates from all the applications you worked with that enabled you to get your work done. Imagine if you could sign off on an expense report or submit your travel request or even get notified when your colleague finished a task all while you browse a stream of status updates and more. All of this you can do today. Using open standards, enterprise applications are able to stream into social tools and enable people to work in one single place. Find out how companies are best leveraging social platforms for major productivity gains. Corporate Culture Shock - When strategy isn't enough - http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/575 You have a strong social media strategy. Your customers love you on Get Satisfaction. You hit the Twitter trending topics for your viral video campaign. BUT - does your organization have a social business strategy and know how to execute it? Today's top performing companies are not only looking at socializing outside, but are also looking to socialize inside. In this panel we will learn how companies have transformed their cultures to create a more engaged workforce, accelerate innovation, and lead in social business.
Today's post is by Joe Russo, IBM Connections Designer:
Often times in design you will here people say something is intuitive or, maybe more often, something is not intuitive. And frankly, I've often found this is merely a smokescreen, to cast something they don't like and have solid argument to reason why they don't believe in the design.
This happens because for some reason, people have learned that saying that something is "not intuitive" is somehow really important to design. And I want to be clear, we're talking about software here. And when it comes to software, I will make this assertion...nothing is intuitive about a computer interface. Nothing.
Why? First, let's look at the definition of intuitive. Intuitive is defined as "Using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive." Any software is a representation, an abstraction, a pure thought, so people engaging in using software are operating on this virtual, abstract object.
It's called the "treachery of images"...and the caption is "This is not a pipe".
It ain't, you can't put tobacco into it, you can't put it in your mouth and smoke it...it is in no way a pipe.
Software and the objects people use in software are just like that.
Now, I want to take an example of something "real" and not abstract and I want to give you a sense of what is intuitive, what is not and why it matters.
Consider this simple example. I go to my handy-dandy tool box and pull out a screwdriver. Yes, one of those run of the mill deals, and I place it on a table. Even someone who has never seen such a thing will look at it and when told, "pick it up" will know what the handle on that sucker is.
Why? Because how you hold a screwdriver, based on the fact that you're a human being, with a hand, knows without thinking, instinctively, what the handle is on that thing.
Now, I tell you to "use it". Instantly we are transported to the world of the non-intuitive. Even if you figure out that the business end of that thing seems to mysteriously match to the slot or criss-cross of the head of screw...and you can fit the two together, at this point, you've no idea how to use it....and even if you figure out that pushing and pulling are not the way to go, but instead, twisting is...the way you twist the thing to remove a screw (or put a screw in) is 100% arbitrary. Not intuitive.
Great, so what? Well, the value of a screwdriver is that it is a very very useful tool, and frankly, the world could not exist today without it. If I can snap my fingers and make it so that a screw driver never existed, well, God help you if you're in a car, plane or boat.
The thing is, it's quite useful, but someone has to be trained in the use to know what they can do and regardless of how well trained they are, the use of such a thing is not ever instinctive.
Software is the same. Nothing in the way someone uses software is ever instinctive. All of it is learned behavior. So, if you look at something I design and say, "hey, that's not intuitive" you better have something to back that up...and if you ask why, I'm gonna make you read this.
Today's post is by Joe Russo, IBM Connections designer:
Ok, just to be a pain, I'm starting with civics lesson. In the United States, there is a process by which bills become law. The House of Representatives vote and if the majority agrees, the bill passes to the Senate. They vote and if majority agrees it goes to the President. He can sign the bill, making it a law, or he can veto it, and it goes back to congress for rehashing...or if it's near the end of the term, he can simply pocket veto it. This allows him to safely do nothing with the bill, neither making it a law or vetoing it...congress has to wait until the next session of congress and go through the whole process again.
It allows the President to not really come right out and say I veto this.
And, my friends, this simple little act of ignorance is one of the main reasons why social software seems to work for people. Friending, connecting, networking, call it what ever, is all based on a few simple principles. You cannot become friends with someone just by your say so, the other person has to agree to be your friend. This is great and when it happens, you appear in each others network for people to see and you get confirmation that indeed, Suzy, accepted your friend request. Zippity-doo-da!
The thing is, this is all good until, say, you try to friend someone like, Mort. Mort really doesn't care for you, but now, he's got this thing from you he has to deal with. He knows you sent it to him, hoping beyond hope, he'd accept your gesture and become your friend. But Mort really is not interested. If social software systems sent out a notification, like when Suzy said yes!, I'll be your friend in this case, Mort would maybe be a lot less willing to say no, after all, he doesn't want a record of his less than warm and fuzzy feelings for you to be recorded, and while he may not love your company, he doesn't want to give you hurt feelings...and he can do this. He can Ignore your request and silently, this allows Mort to get that potential disaster out of his face and you can, with your fleeting memory, blissfully go along and not get any hurt feelings that Mort just doesn't like you.
I point this out because of two things. First and foremost, this simple little function allows social software and it's users to interact without too much concern over upsetting people they know...simply ignoring allows the potentially socially awkward thing to just kind of fade away. Without this, people would be much more apprehensive of social software and would be less likely to engage. Second, and this adds the icing to an already good design - it's about as simple a thing to build, understand, and maintain over time.
Hooray for the pocket veto, and in this case, ignorance is bliss for more than a few.
What a journey the last five years have been. We are thrilled to celebrate 5 years of IBM Connections on June 29th. Looking back on our original announcement from May 2007, we have come a long way since version 1.0.0! We are the market leading enterprise social software platform, thanks to the tremendous team we have and the amazing customers who are truly advocates for the product. Congratulations to everyone involved in Connections for achieving this great milestone.
Talkwheel has integrated Visual multi-way conversations into IBM Connections communities. It allows Connections users to invite and collaborate with other Connections users or even non-Connections users via Talkwheel service. Check out the video: