Published March 21, 2007
Humor , Sharepoint , Usability
MS Sharepoint (Many MS products) if the “Trust me Guy” and “Anal Retentive Guy” had a love child it would probably resemble someone in the Microsoft family…
Images are from Creating Passionate Users
The Creating Passionate Users post below actually eloquently (both visually and verbally) points out one of the biggest struggles I’ve had in dealing with how we at work get rewarded for ideas:
She argues that it’s the ‘right’ side of the brain that often saves us. Although Kathy Sierra is referring to the two halves of our brains in human form, I’ve seen the real-life versions of the people depicted below in the corporate work environment. More often than not I feel like the pensive Asian man in the comfortable sweater rather than the sharp looking schmoozer in the shirt and suspenders (by the way, never trust anyone who wears suspenders unless he also wears a bow-tie and sells popcorn). Perhaps it’s just my perception but it feels like the bow-tie/suspender wearing people usually get a lot of credit in meetings or their the ones that look, sound and smell right to leaders.
Lately, too, it feels like project managers and leaders listen to the ‘glib’ guy because he usually tells them what they want to hear:
- “We can get this project done if we do a,b,c.” (Also, the like this guy because he’s seen as strong and confident – real bully material)
But they don’t like it when the intuitive guy utters:
- “This might not work because experience tells us that end users will not be able to figure out this configuration of buttons.” (This guy seems wishy washy because he hesitates and can’t put his finger on the idea)
I think that the challenge project managers and leaders will face is trying to get both types of people to have a constructive dialogue with each other, and also deal with some of the pertinent problems a design or project may face rather than pushing forward just to get the product out the door. I’m sure their are a ton of arguments against doing this. But that’s the Microsoft-type model of product development (example: Sharepoint) and hey, why fix it if it ain’t broke. But I’d be the first to tell them IT IS BROKEN!!!! FIX IT!!! STOP PRESENTING US WITH UNINTUITIVE, _ _ _ _ _ _ (*censored*), HALF-BAKED PRODUCTS!!!
Published December 1, 2006
Sharepoint , Wikis
Continuing with my effort to give my impressions on the new features in Sharepoint, I’m going to just highlight some of the positives and negatives:
:) Image Library: Can use the “Image Library” feature to upload pictures…
:) You can Search for Images provided they have been tagged adequately with keywords by those who upload.
:) Can apply formatting and styles (colors, bold/italic)to text using WYSIWYG editing feature. No markup language or coding to learn.
:) Adding images or links is easy (if you are already familiar with standard MS icons)…
Not so Nice:
:( Finding out how to start a wiki is just as hard as figuring out how to start a blog in MS Sharepoint. (You have to go to Site Actions –>Create –>Sites and Workspaces.) NOT INTUITIVE!!
:( It took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to create a new wiki page… &*$@!!! This is what drives me nuts about MS. It’s not exactly clear from the image below what I’m suppose to click to to create a new page?
:( Don’t see any tracking features that tell me who has edited my page or when. Or a rollback feature that allows me to change my page back? Or again, maybe I just have to dig deeper.
:( You need to copy our Image URL to a clipboard to copy it to the Image link if you want to insert an image. Of course you can do what I always do which is to have two versions of the Sharepoint site open and then cut and paste the link directly from the page with the Image Library link to the wiki page I’m editing.
To be continued…..
Published November 26, 2006
Blogs , Sharepoint , Wikis
So I’ve been playing around with the new version of Sharepoint (created for the Office 2007 release) to check out the features. There were some things I did like about it, and I’ll try to capture these here. But honestly, I feel like I’ve been burned by the tool in the past. Specifically, I’ve been burned by some of the user-assumptions that Microsoft made. This end-user slighting, has resulted in much of my disdain for Microsoft products and perhaps my skeptical view of their tools. But who knows maybe MS under it’s new leadership is really starting to care about what users think (now that they have to be concerned by some competition from the open source realm). It is possible to re-gain a slighted end-users trust and loyalty. Maybe, just maybe Microsoft will be able to wash some of that “dorkness” off of themselves. My husband noted the other night that maybe it’s just that the open-source world has made headway on some in-roads by developing more usable and ‘sexy’ products and so this is just Microsoft’s attempt to keep up.
My biggest questions in exploring this new version of SP were:
- Can I effectively use Sharepoint to blog?
- Can I effectively post wiki articles that are easily editable and searchable and editable by others?
In short the answers were:
- Yes will a lot of initial frustration (but I believe that’s a common business model held by companies or projects that assume that the users must deal with the shortcomings of their tools because they don’t have a lot of other choices – i.e. their company bought the software and now they’re being forced to use it)
- Yes, well sort of…
In the next few posts I’ll try to capture most of my observations on the ease of use of the tool as well as it’s key features. What i’d really like to do if I had the time and better expertise is to evaluate the Sharepoint tool and it’s features using the Ten Usability Heuristics. These observations are only from an ‘end-user’ or blog writer and wiki editor/author perspective. It would also be helpful to evaluate the tool from both a content management/admin perspective.
Brief observations on Sharepoint blog features
- It’s very difficult to figure out how to create a blog.
- Right scrolling for minutes IS NOT AN OPTION.
- Search feature works okay, but you still can’t search for posts or comments.
- You can readily access blog admin features from your blog home page.
- Image posting has universally accessible features
1.) :( It’s very difficult to figure out how to create a blog. The path to the blog creation feature in this new version SP is NOT intuitive. The designers did try to make up for the lack of ‘intuitive’ design by creating a mouseover menu feature that illustrates what each link in the “Create Page” section does. See if you can guess where you should click first to create a blog just by looking at the image:
2.) :( Right scrolling for minutes IS NOT AN OPTION. The default settings on the blog feature post a list of all blogs at the top of the page. This list scrolls horizontally. Unfortunately, Sharepoint is set so that the horizontal page content determines the entire length of the page. Perhaps there’s a setting or control that changes this, but someone needs to tell Microsoft that they should set page settings so that they fit common web usability standards.
3.) :) / :( Search feature works okay, but you still can’t search for posts or comments. I was able to search for unique words in test postings and also for the names of posters without issue. However, I wasn’t quite able to figure out how to use the categories for searching.
4.) :) You can readily access blog admin features from your blog home page. (See below image).
5.) Image posting has universally accessible features- You can use the same image library to post pictures to both your blog and a (Sharepoint) wiki page.