Episode 78, recorded on Thursday, 17th November 2011.  We discuss design and development processes in IBM Collaboration Solutions, Project Vulcan, OneUI, the future of mobile and web apps and much more…

Alternative title ‘the only value of a vision is the realisation of it’…

[Sorry for the echo in the middle-section of the podcast – please bear with it, it does go after a few minutes.  Music this week in by Julia Nunes.]


Stuart McIntyre (blog | twitter | company) & Darren Duke (blog | twitter | company)


Ronnie MaffaRonnie Maffa (twitter) is Vice President in Social Software Development at IBM.  Ronnie is responsible for the development of IBM Connections, Lotus Quickr, LotusLive Connections and Engage products.
Ethan PerryEthan Perry ( linkedin | twitter) is a Senior Product Designer, leading the LotusLive and IBM Connections User Experience teams. Ethan has also designed the user interface for IBM application development tools. Before joining IBM, Ethan was a researcher at the MIT Media Lab in the Sociable Media Group.


Design versus Development

  • How do the two teams interact and work together?
  • How do you ensure that Design create UIs that are possible to develop in a reliable and manageable way?

Project Vulcan

  • What is the purpose of the Vulcan vision?
  • How did it come about?
  • Will there be more Vulcan content at Lotusphere 2012?


  • How does Project Vulcan get implemented in LotusLive?
  • How does design for the Enterprise differ from design for the public web?
  • What does that do to customer expectations on release schedules?
  • One of the strengths of the latest Connections release is the ease of customising the UI (compared to say Sametime or Quickr).  Are there plans to continue this trend?
  • Are there any plans to bring new design concepts to admin UIs as well? (e.g. WebSphere/Connections admin UIs)


  • The Connections iPad application was really well done.  What other plans does IBM have to move their mobile, web, and rich clients into the area where their competitors just look weak?
  • Mobile – What next?


Cardstar iPhone, Android and BlackBerry app. Keep all those “Loyalty cards”used for discounts all in one place. Simply photograph the barcode on the card, this is then recreated on the device. When you shop and have to scan the card, simply have scan the barcode on your device. Great if your wife keeps all the cards 😉 (fantastic idea! SM)

In Connections 3 you can filter the news feed by following tags to see all content in your organization that was tagged with a particular keyword. Go to the Home page, click the little twisty next to News Feed, and select Tags.

I am quite fond of just about every features we have added to IBM Connections 3, two that I rely on to keep me current with my social networks is following and email digest.  I use “following”to keep a short list of things that I need to stay current on,  and the “daily digest”to give me one place to quickly check in on what is happening and keep noise level down in my inbox.  This allows me to stay current with a number of IBM Connections networks I participate in. 

IBM Sametime 8.5.2 Administration Guide now available (Amazon US | Amazon UK)
Social Connections II – Great to have Ethan presenting – really looking forward to it…  Includes reception at Cardiff Castle!

Episode 40, recorded Thursday 24th February 2011, discussing the design and information development methodology at work inside IBM/Lotus with IBM’s Director of User Experience and Information Development, Nokia’s decision to partner with Microsoft, the new XPages forum and more…


Chris PaulChis Paul (twitter | linkedin) is Director, User Experience and Information Development, Collaboration Solutions at IBM.
Mat NewmanMat Newman (blog | twitter | company) is the Director of Educaiton for ISW (an IBM Premier business partner in Australia, and this years winner of the IBM South-East Asis Business Partner of the Year award), Mat is a Lotusphere speaker of repute and renown and owner of the coolest yellow suit around!


UX Design at IBM 

  • What does Chris’ role as ‘Director, User Experience and Information Development, Collaboration Solutions’entail?
    • Do you manage a team?
    • Who is part of that team?
  • User Experience AND Information Development.
    • Why the two roles combined?  Are the intersections between their work?
  • Will IBM continue to offer offline documentation?
  • Do you manage design for web-based, client and mobile?  Does that bring challenges?
  • What are the goals and main focus areas in 2011?
    • ‘This year, our focus is on: user adoption, consistency and integration.’
  • We keep on hearing about OneUI.  Can you talk to what OneUI is?
  • Whilst the UI is similar cross the products, the process of customising the UI is very different (thinking of Quickr, Connections, Sametime, iNotes etc.).  Are there any plans to make this easier and more standardised? (Stuart)
    • Where do you see the future interface of the traditional desktop client given the OneUi approach for the browser based clients
    • We’ve seen a huge growth in mobile ‘Smart”devices based on simplified design, which has come at a functionality cost (Apple iOS sans Tasks) how hard do you find the trade off between usability and functionality
  • Has anyone looked at what features are turned on by default?
  • What other vendors do you look at and envy?
  • I would love for you and your people to come out to an Exchange to Notes migration and listen to the users 😉
  • Mac is a big topic today.
  • Does developing for the Mac lead to different design decisions to Windows-development?
  • How do you combine that with OneUI standards
  • As IBM adopts Social Business, users will look for design clues from consumer social sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  These sites evolve fast with almost weekly changes.  Can IBM keep up?  Indeed, should it try to?
  • With the drive for continued improvement do you see the continuation of the point.point release of new features and functionality that we’ve seen in the last year or so?

Other News: 

  • LotusLive Notes support for Blackberry and Android announced this week
    • Additional charge feature ($10/user/month)
    • 300-user limit for Blackberry
    • Traveler expanded with Android support
  • Nokia and Windows Phone 7
    • What’s the impact?
  • QuickrD 8.5 Administration book from Packt released
  • Cisco killed their Radio Star email
    • Complaining of “commodity”for email
    • Is this the future of Office too?
  • New XPages Forum on LDD/Notes.net
    • Built on XPages no less!
    • Good idea?
    • It even has “pinned”topics!


Announcing the winner of the ‘Mastering XPages’eBook:
Andrew Welch,
University of Tasmania,
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


DarrenQuote from Upton Sinclair: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. – via Ben Poole
StuartListen to ‘Get Social Do Business’- new podcast from Lisa Duke
ChrisSurround yourself with talented people and amazing stuff happens!
MatWildfire, plus View/Parent Preview in Notes client