Screen real estate – and sidebars!

How subtle design changes can impact the success of a new product came to me graphically this week with Notes 8.  One thing that has concerned me is the screen real estate requirements for the client, especially as I’m an “X” tablet user, as in X’tra small at 1024×768 pixels when just using the tablet.

In Notes 8 with the sidebar opened using a release 7 mail template, a scenario many people will face during an enterprise upgrade (at least for a period of time) the email experience is difficult.


You can see that the subject field is invisible due to the layout in columns of all the individual facets of the email.  In fact I got so fed up of this that I stopped design changes getting back to the server and switched to a release 8 design locally.  Bingo …


…someone at IBM must have really thought about this issue.  I wonder what the advice is in the interim while the client rollout is happening, the recommendations IBM could make to customers who can’t upgrade the mail template design till the last users client is upgraded to release 8 (and we all know how painful it is to get updates to mobile and remote workers at times!).  I’m sure some basic recommendations can be made, perhaps a release 7 “sidebar friendly” template.


  1. The Open NTF Experience Template for 8.0 work nicely in the 8.0 client and 8.0.1 and also is usable on older clients (our servers will be 6.5 for a while yet but I want to get a feel for 8 before I have to support it.). I’ve opened it with 6.5.5, 6.5.6, 7.0 and 7.0.2 with no problems,(some of the colors are off, but not bad)

    I assume you have a standard template for everyone and you want to upgrade that so you have one upgrade that gets pushed to everyone. I would recommend looking in to how the standard 8.0 mail client looks on the older clients you might be able to get the template out with the first wave of migration to 8.


  2. @1 Nathan, I’ve rechecked my thoughts here based on your comment. The path of upgrading server, then client, then mail templates is still recommended in the Notes and Domino 8 deployment guide redbook (page 56). Most of the folks I know would follow that path which would lead to a delay between client upgrades and mail template upgrades so its that period I’m thinking about.

    @2 Justin, thanks, interesting.


  3. That’s a nice touch, can someone please have same conversation with the Sametime team. Why do they think I need so much white space down the left-hand side, I’d rather be able to read someones name.


  4. @3 – Stu, I don’t know why that’s in the redbook, but there’s no reason at all to wait until every client is upgraded to change a single user’s mail template, except maybe some distorted sense of desktop support.

    I ran a Notes 8 mail template using a Notes 7 client on a Domino 7 server for MONTHS, and it ran fine. Then I’d go in via Notes 8, and it would look better. Then we upgraded the server and things got even better. All during that time I exchanged mail with folks running Notes 6 and 7, using both 6 and 7 templates, and never had a problem.

    So, that might be IBM’s “best practice” but only in the sense of “covering yourself.” Not in the sense of “making users delighted.”


  5. @5 Nathan : thats great news. I’m sure there will be a lot of admins releaved at that. For older client versions we’ve all gone through the pain of delaying template updates and hence frustrating users of the new client with an old design.


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