Great UI examples for LN applications?

I am asked to redesign our ‘corporate LN application template’ which seems to be dated early 2000 or something. This to ‘spice up’ our apps especially in the Lotus 8 Standard client.

A quick search on Google did not gave any quick results.

The problem I have with LN apps is that they seemed to be so limited by the Frameset function. So most of the applications have a Header, Left menu, Right pane for content and somewhere a Footer at the bottom. Very predictable. Also most of the Headers I have seen do not include a menu like most Website Headers do.

Ofcourse there are always exceptions and some little graphic extra work do make your applications ‘professional tools for professionals’. Like in the next example:

But still, a very predictable Frameset in use.

My question:

Do you know any good UI design examples for LN applications?


10 thoughts on “Great UI examples for LN applications?

  1. Nathan T. Freeman 2008-May-28 / 8:44 pm

    So does the very need for this post to exist mean that Chris Blatnick and I have been ineffective in our mutual mission? 🙂

  2. Charles Robinson 2008-May-28 / 8:48 pm

    I recently took a similar application and flipped the outline into a series of tabs and it was very well-received by the users. In your example it would be another row of tabs above the green bar for the stuff in the outline.

    I haven’t seen many fully-functional Notes applications that don’t use a three-pane interface. There is something to be said about consistency, but there is also something to be said about user-focused design. Chris Blatnick and Nathan Freeman have some conceptual designs on their blogs, but there isn’t much out there that you can take and use as a starting point.

  3. Chris Toohey 2008-May-29 / 4:01 am

    I think that good UI depends on the given application – and this kinda breaks the whole “standard application template” the way that we typically think about it.

    What I tend to do (and suggest) for such templates is that you develop first a set of UI components (see Nathan and Chris B’s sessions for ideas – it’s amazing stuff), develop a standard set of functionality*, and then develop several possible UI front-ends in the database – which you can then enable based on the specific needs of the application.

    * – I typically have document creation wizards, email notification templates, Excel exporting/reporting templates, etc. as part of this.

    Now, in an ideal situation, you’d have a master component template that is a composite of all of your particular elements that you want to come from a “standard” template. You then create specific application type templates – ie., team rooms, document approval workflow engines, etc. that are designed to inherit their components from the master component template… but this rant is getting off topic – sorry.

    If you’re looking for examples of good Notes UI development (outside of the Nathan/Chris B sessions), start looking at non-Notes applications. Check out UIs from Microsoft applications. Check out community Web 2.0 products. Check out all of these, and then forget what you know about the typical Notes UI development. Then revisit Nathan and Chris B’s stuff, and start thinking about how you can use Form Design Elements and embedded editors and layers as UI components. Start thinking about the separation of UI from data, and how both the modification and display of many documents can be achieved by using Forms not just as individual document management entry points.

    Once you get that in mind, the possibilities are endless…

  4. Karl-Henry Martinsson 2008-May-29 / 4:48 am

    Take a look at this, it is a short demo of an application I started on recently.
    It is pulling data from a outside data source (in this case a Notes database, but could be from a web service as well). The user can modify certain items in a special form, and the changes have to be approved by a supervisor, then incorporated into the data source.
    Still using the 3-pane design, though. But you could probably get rid of it and put all navigation in the main pane.

  5. quintessens 2008-May-29 / 8:40 am

    Thanks so far for the comments.

    Mostly I predict the slogan “steal with pride and improve” but there are not so many GUI of Notes applications out their to pick from ( like in CSS Zen Garden for web design etcetera)

    @Nathan: I don’t think so. I haven’t visited LotusSphere so I do not know exactly what you demonstrated but some UI’s Chris showed on his blog are already a good demonstration that an attractive and smart design supports the acceptance and success of an application.

    For those who have contacts with the template builders of IBM: are their any UI guidelines defined for building IBM templates? (like coloring, usage of tables, framesets, forms, fields). This might help moving our template towards those of IBM so users experience customized apps like ‘common’ apps…

  6. Tony Palmer 2008-May-29 / 2:57 pm

    I’ve posted a couple of screen shots of a recent database and website on my blog.

  7. Farooq Alvi 2008-September-16 / 8:42 am

    There are great design tips in this absolutely brilliant website by Chris Blatnick ( Look under the title : Lotusphere Demo: Enhancing A Template UI

    There are many more great tips on how to improve on the design aspects..

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