Genii Weblog

If you will permit a moment of irritation...

Wed 10 Jan 2007, 12:55 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
This year's Lotusphere Online is here, but I really wonder who designs these things.  The first place I went is to the profiles.  Here is a slightly condensed version:

Lotusphere Online screen

Looks pretty, but several issues seem to jump to mind:

1) Why do they give you a way to jump to a page (this is 4 out of 315, so if I want to find Larry, I should try about 87, hm, that's not it...)?

2) Why don't they give you a way to jump to the letter starting the search term?  That is fairly widely accepted.

3) Why do they take up the entire right hand side with two panes dealing with editing your own profile, which you will do exactly once?  Making that decision means that nowhere on the screen does it indicate that there is a search screen below this list, which could have fit nicely in that same space.

4) Why do they forget every single year that providing the information this way allows somebody to extract a complete list of all 4725 attendees, from Aadne Grimsgaard to Zhi Yu Yue?  Each year, it takes them a while, but they finally figure that this is not secure, so they hide all names, making people unfindable, and then allow people to make themselves visible.  By then, it is too late and nobody bothers.  Instead, they should ask on the Lotusphere registration whether people want their name visible and accessible.

5) If you click on somebody's name, it copies the data over to the right hand Content pane (name, e-mail address, and company and title, if you accept them, I guess), but they couldn't even make the e-mail address clickable, so you have to copy and paste it from here if you want to use it.  [Update: It turns out there is a way, but not an obvious one.  Click on the name, isntead of the first cliackable link, and a menu will (eventually) come up allowing you to e-mail]

6) Everything is painfully slow.  Now, I guess a few people are checking in, but how can it possibly be so slow with so few people on.

Anyway, sorry to be "snarky", as my daughter calls it.  Must be the nasty cold I have.

Copyright 2007 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

543.1. Nathan T. Freeman
(01/10/2007 10:44 AM)

Wasn't this where they used DomBulletin in previous years? Wasn't everyone much happier with that solution?

543.2. Christopher Byrne
(01/10/2007 11:01 AM)

IBM has had security problems with their wide open Lotusphere LDAP lookup database for at least the past 4 years...some things never change.

543.3. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/10/2007 11:30 AM)

Nathan - They still use DomBulletin for the discussion, and it is the one part that works pretty well. Almost everything else has problems, both technical and design. And I don't mean minor nitpicky problems, but real functional issues.

Aside from anything else, whoever designed the pages has a big monitor on high resolution, because there is fairly critical information that manages to hide just beneath the bottom of the screen, and usually without any indication it is there. Grr!

543.4. Chris Blatnick
(01/10/2007 12:05 PM)'re absolutely right and these are the things that give Lotus software a bad name in general. The design of Lotusphere Online indicates to me that no usability testing was done and that in fact UI design was not included in its development. Glad to see that others are starting to be annoyed by bad designs! ;-)

By the way...I'm a fellow Clevelander also at home suffering from a cold, so I share your grumpiness. Hope you feel better!

543.5. Adam Osborne
(01/10/2007 01:46 PM)

They need to enable the flux capacitor to get this puppy moving. From here (Oz) it is just about unusable.

543.6. Gregg Eldred
(01/10/2007 01:48 PM)

Ben: My math, or assumptions, may be wrong, but if there are 4725 people listed, and your Sessions DB has been downloaded 3749 times, that comes out to nearly 80% of the total. Awesome!

543.7. Ben Langhinrichs
(01/10/2007 02:04 PM)

Gregg: Your math is good, but my download counter is not. I accidentally set it up to monitor page hits instead of downloads, so the actual number is (and I am not exactly guessing, but close) about 3200. Still 65%, but not 80%. The reason I checked is that the current page hit is 5960, and 126% of the total sounded a bit high.

Heck, even 50% would be enough for me, especially given that they share with coworkers, and derivative databases, such as the Turtle's Blackberry db, have had a couple hundred more, as far as I know.

543.8. Sean T.
(01/10/2007 02:37 PM)


I think they setup a Beowulf Domino Cluster of System 80 386's IBM had laying around to show that Linux could run Enterprise software on low end systems. But they didn't take into account the life sucking power of WebSphere ;^ )

Kidding aside, I'm not sure why the site is acting so slow, and misbehaving to boot. We all know that these components can be made to work extremely efficient and effective together . . . (if done right). Maybe they forgot to attend Wild Bill's " Worst Practices in IBM Lotus Domino Environments - Learning From the Mistakes of Others" :^ ))

543.9. Alan Bell
(01/12/2007 05:05 AM)

why does it matter that the list is open? I could grab everyone's name, so what? I can't get their real email address, but I could spam their LSonline mail (who cares? nobody looks at it, and it is gone on 9th Feb).

What they should do is have it as an address book in the mail system which might make the mail system worth having.

Totally agree about the UI and speed though.