Planning for IBM Connect 2014 is in full swing! I'm thrilled to have the honor, once again, to plan and manage the lab in Asia 4. As always, learning from the previous year, building on our successes. I want to share a few highlights with you for what's to come.
The first thing I want to mention is that we've changed our name. We used to be the User Experience (UX) Lab. This year, with an emphasis on IBM Design Thinking, we are now The IBM Design Studio.
When you visit the studio, you'll find designers from all of your favorite products to talk to, and interactive activities designed to help gather your feedback on what you like or don't like about our products and solutions. We know most of you will stop by the lab in the few moments you have between sessions, so we have designed our activities to be quick, easy, and fun! If you want to stay longer for more in-depth discussions, that's cool, too.
Also, back by popular demand: The Photo Booth!
I had so much fun taking your photos last year that I couldn't help but slide that into the plans again. This time with a twist! Designers are very visual creatures, so rather than just telling them how you feel about our products, you can show them! Let's call it an Empathy Booth! Take a photo with your favorite product's icon, or with an emoticon that describes how you feel about a product. If you want, you can give us a quote about what you love or don't love about our products. Of course, I had to test out the equipment, so here you go... See you at IBM Connect!
The IBM WebSphere Portal, IBM Web Content Manager, and IBM Web Experience Factory content teams published product documentation in IBM Knowledge Center today. IBM Knowledge Center is the next generation of documentation collaboration and customization. It is a one-stop technical content spot bringing together product documentation for all IBM products. And over time, IBM Knowledge Center will expand to include content from developerWorks, Redbooks, Support, and more.
Since this marks a departure from publishing our product documentation in the product wikis, I wanted to take a minute and tell you about some key capabilities in IBM Knowledge Center. Today's post is about commenting, sharing, rating, and the big one - search. Next week I'll post about the custom collection capability and translations.
Just like in the wiki, you can leave your comments at the bottom of every topic. The content team at IBM still welcomes and needs your direct feedback on the content. A listing of your comments gets emailed directly to a real person in IBM. Then it is reviewed and responded to. We try to respond in a very timely manner. We have periodic times of heavy workload volumes, so we might not respond as rapidly as we would like to, but we will respond.
Share and Rate
You can still rate a topic and share links using LinkedIn, Twitter, or email.
Search results are better. You can share and save results. You can use filters, such as operating system, task, and dates to refine the results. You can search one product or many products. But give us a little time to index and re-index the content!
If you try searching the WebSphere Portal and Web Content Manager content today, you might get beta content search results. We originally posted that content set back in January for our beta. So it needs to be indexed again; that is happening now. If you try searching the WebSphere Portal Express content, you won't get any results. Indexing will not take long.
IBM Knowledge Center search features:
Simple type and enter keyword search, with typeahead
Word wildcards, Booleans, and complex queries
Search across all IBM products, or only those you want
Bookmark search queries and filters
Share search query URL
Log in to IBM Knowledge Center and save up to 10 searches
Tour of search results
Here's a preview of what search results look like and the available controls:
A: You can save up to 10 personal searches.
B: Search filters display above your results. You can clear each one, or all of them. You can also add another product to your search criteria.
C: You can toggle between the table of contents, collections, and search results.
D: You can add additional filters to refine your results.
E: Each result includes the title and abstract, the date the content was originally published, and the content collection that it was found in. We published this content for our beta back in January.
Next week I'll post an update about custom collections and a few other items. If you have questions leave a comment for me here.
IBM Notes 9.0 Social Edition has made its long-awaited debut! Scott Souder, Program Director for Notes / iNotes / Connections Mail joins Julie Brown and Amy Smith on the Notes Tips Podcast
to talk about Notes' new social capabilities, productivity enhancers, and more.
A new version of Content Template Catalog (CTC) has just been released for IBM WebSphere Portal 126.96.36.199 and Web Content Manager 188.8.131.52. The Content Template Catalog is a suite of assets that
simplify and accelerate the process of building a website. It includes
common page templates, content types, and design elements -- making it
possible to build a basic site very quickly -- with little or no
Here's a sampling of what you'll get when you install Content Template Catalog:
Definitions for 25 commonly used types of content
Templates for landing pages, index pages, search pages, and other common page types
Pre-built and easily re-styled list, slideshow, carousel, and grid components
Responsive theme and styling for all layouts and components
In-place editing throughout the templates, enabled by default
Built-in feeds, tagging, rating, and social integration
CTC4 also comes with Site Builder, a new wizard that allows you to build a site in minutes,
with all of the necessary pages, portlets, site areas, content and
components, set up and ready for editing. You can also use Site Builder to create site templates for others to use, making it that much easier for non-technical users to create and manage web content.
Interested? Find out more here:CTC4 4 Documentation
What's your persona?
I've been tasked with managing the planning of the User Experience Lab at IBM Connect this year. And I wanted to bring something new and fun to the table. So....visit me in the UX Lab at Connect, and play dress-up for a photo!
Introducing the UX Lab Photo Booth! We all have different roles we play in our jobs. Pick up a prop that you think best represents one of your personas, and smile for the camera! We will display your photo shoot on our TV in the UX Lab, and possibly shout it out via social media for the world to see.
Here's a few of mine to help get you in the right frame of mind....
In the latest SmartCloud Engage release, you can now create three types of communities:
- Open -- anyone in your organization can see the community and join it
- Moderated -- people can see the community, and can ask to join. The community owner approves each membership
- Restricted -- the community owner explicitly adds or invites members. (This is the type of community that existed before)
Currently, if you want someone from outside of your organization to join your community, it must be a restricted community. In other words, if your organization is "Company A", and you want to have a community that also includes people from "Company B", you can only do this if your community is Restricted.
I'd love to get some feedback on this from our SmartCloud Engage users! What types of communities do you create most often, and why? And would you want to invite people from other organizations into Moderated or Open communities?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
- Amy Travis (SmartCloud Design Lead)
At IBM, our web applications are required to meet WCAG 2.0 AA color contrast requirements, which are as follows:
Small text* must meet a 4.5 to 1 foreground to background color ratio
Large text** must meet a 3 to 1 foreground to background color ratio
Link text must stand out from adjacent text by a 3 to 1 ratio (if it is only set apart by color).
* Less than 18 pt normal or 14 pt bold
**Greater or equal to 18 pt normal or 14 pt bold
In other words, this is bad:
And this is very bad, to demonstrate the point to even those with really good eyes
This is good:
As for links, this link doesn't have adequate contrast (2.5:1) from surrounding text. This link does (3:1). P.S. these are faux links so I could properly color the text.
The contrast ratio checkpoint specifically refers to text, but visual controls can have the same issue. You want users to be able to discover these controls, so follow the same principle (with the exception of a disabled control which users can't interact with, anyway).
Here is a real-world example of that. These controls (the "x" and double downward-pointing chevron images) are large text equivalent. But the first example is less than a 3:1 contrast ratio and could be a problem for some users:
The controls that follow have been adjusted to a 3:1 contrast ratio:
Subtle, yes, but as you can see, it makes a big difference.
NOTE: For icons with a non-transparent background, like this help icon , you should test the foreground color of the icon against the background color of the icon. The color of the background it is sitting on doesn't matter in this case. The user needs to be able to distinguish the question mark, not the background of the icon.
Why should we pay attention to this?
People with moderately low vision should not be required to use assistive technology to view our web applications. Most people's eyesight deteriorates as they age, so this checkpoint is very relevant to a large population of our users.
Tools and Techniques
The math to figure this out is ridiculous! Luckily you can use these tools to check your colors:
In visual perception a color is almost never seen as it really is—as it physically is.
This fact makes color the most relative medium in art.
–Josef Albers, Interaction of Color
Our perception of color is constantly influenced by the relationship between a given color and it's surrounding color (or colors) and is an important principle to be mindful of when working with color. Below is a simple example of this principle similar to the studies found in the above quoted book (Interaction of Color - Albers, Josef
). The two small squares in the illustration below are the same color but have been purposefully made to appear different by placing them on particular background colors.
This principle can also be seen within our products as well. As an example, the 'IBM blue' of our application icons can appear to be different in varying contexts i.e. the dark backgrounds of our mobile applications and the lighter backgrounds we use in our web UIs. The following two Connections icons are identical but have been placed on a light and dark background. It's not as stark as the above example, but you can see how the left icon appears to be more vibrant than the icon on the right, even though they are both identical.
Authors: Jeanmarie White and Tate Joyner
article explains how to install the ActiveX Control for IBM Lotus
Quickr 8.5.x for Domino and perform basic troubleshooting steps.
About the Everyone Writes program:
The Everyone Writes program participates in the IBM developerWorks Author Achievement Recognition Program, which "formally acknowledges the
publishing achievements of prolific developerWorks authors, and
celebrates our common commitment to knowledge sharing." Visit the Web
site to learn more about getting recognition for your writing efforts.
Leslie J. Gallo
Technical Editor, Lotus Division, IBM Software Group
Amanda J. Bauman
Wikis and Everyone Writes Program Manager
The IBM Collaboration Solutions product wiki
team has had a very successful first quarter in planning the next wiki release, due to come out mid-year. Our focus this year is to improve the wiki's overall user experience and reduce the amount of time it takes you to find information you need in the wiki. To ensure we did this successfully for the upcoming release, we took the following actions:
1). Created user stories and designs focused on the highest priority usability issues
We had several user stories already identified and prioritized based on earlier feedback. These user stories helped us pinpoint what we should focus on first in this release. The wiki task prioritization survey
that is currently available will help us further prioritize and identify new user stories for future release work.2). Validated the designs with our users
We met with 28 volunteers between January and early April 2012. We showed participants a set of designs and collected feedback, suggestions for improvement, and validation for the direction we were going in with the wiki. When a design wasn't resonating well with participants, we continued to tweak it until we got confirmation that the user experience had improved.3). Created a plan to implement the designs and got to work
Development is now hard at work making our new designs a reality. We are very excited for the next wiki release because feedback drove the main requirements for it and played a major role in creating an improved user experience.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our design reviews and provided feedback! The improvements we are making to the wiki comes directly from your input.
|Art Corl Jr.
|Dana St. Clair
|Femke Goedhart - IBM Champion
|Gabriella Davis - IBM Champion
||Rob Novak - IBM Champion
||Sharon Bellamy - IBM Champion
We are continuing forward and shifting our focus to the content that appears in the wiki interface. We will be conducting design reviews on those proposed content redesigns in May, which will wrap up our feedback reviews for this upcoming release. We will also continue to work with you on improving the overall wiki user experience. If you'd like to be part of the wiki design process and receive notifications about upcoming design reviews and feedback opportunities, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information.
We're now less than two weeks away from IBM ConnectED, and we at the IBM Design Studio (Swan hotel - Lark 1) are super-excited to see you all there! Come to the Design Studio to give us your feedback, brainstorm with our designers on the future of work, write on the walls, play with Legos, snap a picture in the photo booth, and more!
Our plans are underway, so here's where and when you can find us, and a preview of the exciting stuff you can experience with us this year:
Swan Hotel, Lark 1
Monday, January 26th 10:45am–6:00pm
Tuesday, January 27th 8:30am–6:00pm
Wednesday, January 28th 8:30am–11:30am & 1:00pm–3:00pm (closed during the Meet the Developers session)
Move to the Cloud
Future of Work
Most of our activities are designed to be short, so you can pop in between sessions. But if you want to spend more time with us, we would love that!
Fun stuff & free stuff:
Just for visiting the studio, we'll hook you up with a sweet little notepad to take notes during sessions and write down contact info for all the cool people you meet (while supplies last).
At the Move to the Cloud station, you can take the "Speed Challenge," to see how fast you can move a few sample users to the Cloud. Each day, the fastest person will win a cool power bank, for when you need power for your mobile phone or tablet but can't find an outlet.
Write on the walls:
Come write on our Graffiti Wall to give us your feedback on daily questions.
Return of the photo booth!
Pick up a prop or put on a funny hat, and step into our photo booth for a fun photo!
This year, we've got a new addition: You can take your picture as one of the faces in IBM Verse:
Highlights from the photo booth will be posted to our Flickr page here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ibmconnectux/
Be Social with us
Follow us during IBM Connect and beyond!
On Facebook: facebook.com/IBMSocialBizUX
On Twitter: twitter.com/IBMSocialBizUX
The official hash tag of IBM Connect is #IBMConnectED
Do you access different email accounts from your mobile device? We are interested in knowing how many you switch between and how you like to view those different accounts. Please take this 3 minute survey to let us know! https://ibm.biz/BdFRmv
This is a continuation from my blog post last week about about IBM Knowledge Center, About IBM Knowledge Center: Part 1 Last week I shared information about IBM Knowledge Center's social features and search.
Since then, I am pleased to share that the Digital Experience V8.5 product documentation has been indexed and is ready for you to search.
We've also published another content set for the Content Template Catalog V4.2 and Rich Media Edition V1.0 since last Friday. We've been busy!
This week I want to tell you about My Collections and how to navigate the site.
Use My Collections to create a custom collection of content from many different content sets and to create PDFs. When you create a collection, you can add a single topic or multiple topics.
Suggestion: Add the smallest chunk of content possible. If you add a topic and its subtopics to your collection, you cannot remove selected subtopics later. For example, if you add the Installing section, you cannot later remove topic from that section.
You can edit the collection title and description at any time. You can remove topics or rearrange the order of topics. But you cannot arrange topics within the section that you added. For example, in the screen capture, you cannot remove subtopics in the Installing the DB2 pureScale Feature section.
You can also create a PDF file of your collection. If you create a PDF for a collection, the PDF is also saved with the collection. Then, you can download the PDF from different devices.
If you want a PDF of the Digital Experience documentation, you can add the entire set to a collection. Then you can create a PDF.
Since you have to log in to create a collection, your collections are saved and can be accessed from other browsers.
Navigational elements in IBM Knowledge Center includes, breadcrumbs, table of contents, and linking.
The Table of Contents provide a large part of the navigation. Currently products are grouped under brands. The Digital Experience documentation is under WebSphere. Version 8.5.0 includes the following sets of content.
Product documentation that was previously published in the wiki. Some times this is called info center or information center content.
Online help that is included with the product.
Fast track content for add ons that are published on the IBM Collaboration Solutions Catalog. Currently
Message Catalog that includes messages from many components.
I hope this information helps you get the most out of IBM Knowledge Center. If you have questions, leave a comment here.
The wiki 9.4 template has been deployed to all of our IBM Collaboration Solutions product wikis. The focus for this release was all around the mobile experience. Now you can simply call up any of our wikis on your mobile device, and will be automatically redirected to the mobile UI.
Wiki To Go!
Mobile wiki experience redesigned:
Access any product wiki from your mobile device
Mobile device is automatically detected and redirected from full site UI to mobile UI
Content is optimized for display on your device
Your author profile summary contains links to views with articles you've written, edited, or commented on.
Search type ahead now suggests popular search terms (searched more than 5 times)
In Episode 41 of the Notes Tips Podcast, Julie Brown and Amy Smith interview three ICS UX designers about their IBM Connect sessions.
Sametime 9 has a new simplified look and feel that will enhance your communication experience. Forget looking for your favorite tools and preferences buried under multiple menus. Now, you can complete many of your tasks in just one click and access your most commonly used menus and tools quicker than ever.
Read more about What's new in Sametime 9
Here is a brief preview of what you will find in the article...
Authors: Vinoo Varghese, Abhishek Khandelwal and Malarvizhi (Malar) Kandasamy
Summary: This article describes how to create a IBM Web Content Manager (WCM) custom workflow action that adds approvers to content dynamically, based upon the user's approver access.
About the Everyone Writes program:
The Everyone Writes program helps authors like you to create polished and professional articles in our product wikis. We edit, publish, and promote your articles. In addition, the Everyone Writes program participates in the IBM developerWorks Author Achievement Recognition Program
, which "formally acknowledges the
publishing achievements of prolific developerWorks authors, and celebrates our common commitment to knowledge sharing." Visit the Web site to learn more about getting recognition for your writing efforts.
If you would like to publish an article, and would like help, send an email to The Everyone Writes Team
with the title of your article and a brief description.
The latest episode of the Notes Tips podcast is up! In this episode, Julie and Amy share some of their favorite tips for keeping their inboxes organized.
How do you manage your inbox?
The wiki development crew have been busy working on a new release of the IBM Collaboration Solutions product wikis of the past couple of months, and the following improvements have now been deployed to all of our wikis:
See what other people have searched for with type ahead search keywords
Start typing in the search box, and see suggested search terms based on what others have searched for.
Learn more about the author of an article. Author profile information is displayed on the right side of Community and Learning Center articles
When you view a community or learning article, information about the author's contributions is displayed along side the article.
Search keywords are highlighted in search results
Easily find the keywords you searched for in the article results list with search highlighting.
Show number of comments on an article in views and in article information
Easily see which articles have comments and how many comments, from any view in the wiki and at the top of articles.
Session no longer times out when creating, editing, or commenting on articles
Got distracted while writing an article or comment? No problem. Your session never times out, allowing you to continue where you left off without losing changes.
To view these improvements, visit your favorite IBM Collaboration Solutions product wiki.
Do you use the activity stream in IBM Connections to stay up to date with the people and content you follow? If so, how valuable is the activity stream to you and your productivity? Tell us about your experience with activity streams in your work environment by taking a five minute survey. Link to survey: https://www.ibm.com/survey/oid/wsb.dll/s/ag4e7
The survey will be open until March 13, 2013.
Thanks for your feedback!