Category Archives: insidelotus

IBM Connect 2016 – Design Thinking Sessions!

Image:IBM Connect 2016 - Design Thinking Sessions!

This year (next year?) at IBM Connect 2016 in Orlando the User Experience team will be introducing some new types of sessions for attendees. This is our Design Thinking series: an interactive, fun, entertaining, and stimulating experience – one in which you, the attendees are part of the session. There will be no sitting around listening to someone pitch their slides and do a demo! (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Want to learn more about IBM Design and design thinking? Read this article in the New York Times.

What can you expect to do during these sessions?
– Work directly with lead designers, developers, and product managers in defining goals and use cases in different problem spaces. Check out the topics below.
– Learn about design thinking by doing it! We’ll use a number of different methods, depending on the session. We can tell you about it for days, but you only learn by doing. These sessions are highly interactive and collaborative in nature.
– Design thinking is not just for product development. We’ve done sessions on business models, service design, and even to help managers think about their own practices.
– Have fun. Why? Our team is fun! We are experienced facilitators in design thinking and will lead you through the experience.

You can find the sessions in the official session preview tool but I pulled them out for you. I am helpful!

1505: Design Thinking – From zero to heros: Exploring how collaboration leads to innovation
We know that the need to innovate quickly is pushing people to work differently and collaborate more seamlessly. Influence the design direction for Connections Next by participating in this hands-on design session exploring small team collaboration. Help us understand where and how you work with others most effectively. Plus, be one of the first to give us input on designs for small team collaboration and keeping track of important updates.

1366: Design Thinking for Application Development
Learn about design thinking in an interactive presentation – you’ll participate and learn in a hands on way. You’ll learn the basics of Design Thinking and help solve a particular design problem for our application development solution.

1631: Design Thinking: Digital Customer Experience
Engaging beyond the four walls of your business is no longer an aspiration, but is an imperative. Join our design team and share your ideas and needs to help inform our near-term and long-term product roadmap.

1455: Design Thinking: Encouraging desired content behavior through fun
Did you know you can increase the use of stairs by 66% if you make them look and sound like a giant piano? You can also reduce urinal spillage by 80% by adding an image of a fly in just the right spot. Let’s define the top file- and content-related activities that you would like to encourage in your organization (for example, send file links instead of attachments?)…and then let’s figure out how to make those behaviors irresistibly fun!

1471: Design Thinking: What would it feel like if your Inbox could help you prioritize your Mail?
What would it feel like if your Inbox could help you prioritize your Mail? Or if it recommend actions you should take to resolve tasks? If you could ask Verse a question, what would it be? Come explore the future of the Inbox and help us articulate the next evolution in the #NewWaytoWork.

1468: Design Thinking: When did I lose control of my calendar?
When did I lose control of my calendar? Who are all these people booking meetings with me, and when am I expected to actually get my real work done? How do I regain control of my day? If these questions have ever crossed your mind, then come help us imagine a future where your calendar is your own and your time is focused on the important things #ProtectMyPreciousTime

“Designers […] don’t try to search for a solution until they have determined the real problem, and even then, instead of solving that problem, they stop to consider a wide range of potential solutions. Only then will they finally converge upon their proposal. This process is called ‘design thinking’.” – Don Norman

These sessions will surely be the highlight of Connect 2016. I hope you can make it!

Chris Reckling
IBM Practice Lead, Mobile UX
Chris Reckling | 17 November 2015 12:45:00 PM ET | Permanent Link

Connections Mobile Tip of the Day

Here’s something you may have missed in the little introductory pop-ups when you first log in to the Connections mobile app. We have a new feature, called Favorites, that let’s you, the user, add a link to almost anything in the app to the left navigation. This let’s you quickly get back to a community, file, forum, or person that you frequently open on mobile. Rather than navigate to a list of Communities and then scrolling to the one you want, make it a Favorite.

Here’s the trick (yes, we know this is hard for people to find on their own). Go to the thing you want to add, then long press on the blue bar at the top. 2 bubbles will slide out, the one on the left is for copying the link to that item. The one on the right (the star) is to add it to the Favorites list.

Here I am in the Renovations Sales Community.
Image:Connections Mobile Tip of the Day

And here is the link in my navigation! DONE.
Image:Connections Mobile Tip of the Day

You can add just about anything there, so go ahead and try it. To edit, long press in the navigation area at the top and you can reorder or remove items.

On Android, the action is in the menus. Hit the menu button and choose Add to Favorites.

That’s all for now!


Chris Reckling | 17 October 2014 05:01:25 PM ET |

Connections Mobile 4.4 Available

Last Friday, IBM released updates to the Connections mobile apps for Android and iOS. The main new features include a much better Media Gallery and Wikis experience. (Android already had the wikis done, so this part is only new on iOS.)

Here are a couple of screens to give you an idea of what it’s like. It’s a much more immersive experience than we’ve done before and works well in both tablet and phone form factors. Tapping on a picture brings it full screen with a slider at the bottom (or you can swipe left/right to move from picture to picture).

Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available

Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available      Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available

Wikis are much easier to navigate now, with the full list of pages available on the first screen and being able to go full screen on the iPad is very helpful in reading the content inside the wiki.

Image:Connections Mobile 4.4 Now Available

Look for an update soon which fixes a few problems on iOS 7.

Congrats to the team on the continuous improvement of our mobile apps!!

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX Lead

Chris Reckling | 1 October 2013 10:15:00 AM ET |

Connections Mobile June Update

Littleton, MA – Another month, another update to the IBM Connections mobile apps for iOS and Android. There are a number of improvements in this release. In addition to the usual bug fixes and performance improvements, here are a few of the feature updates:

  • Simplified FIles list – there is now a tab at the bottom of the list to switch between Files and Folders. There was a lot of duplication in the drop-down view menu such as “My Files” and “My Folders”. Now it’s just Files and you can switch to Folders view with the tab.
  • Added Profiles About Me and Tags. You can also tag people and manage your tags as well as search from the tag screen.
  • Share and access folders from a Community.
  • Use client certificates to authenticate with your enterprise.
  • Added Action Required view to Updates on iOS. You can also actually take action from there; for example, to accept a network invitation or community invitation.
  • Some dialog boxes for adding new content have been implemented as native controls. For example, in Activity entries, Blog comments, and wiki comments.
  • Many Connections web URLs that previously switched to open a separate web browser to the full site, will now go to the right service in the mobile app.

Here are a few screen shots to whet your appetite.
Figure 1. Files showing the new view choices, files/folders tab, and details view.
Image:Connections Mobile June Update

Figure 2. New Action Required view on the iPad.
Image:Connections Mobile June Update

Figure 3. These screens show the Android phone version of profile tags and then when you tap a tag, a search is done so you can find other people with the same tag.
Image:Connections Mobile June Update     Image:Connections Mobile June Update

We hope you enjoy these latest updates!

Apple App Store
Google Play

Chris Reckling

Chris Reckling | 28 June 2013 03:30:00 PM ET |

New Command URLs in Connections Mobile 4.1 Apps

UPDATE: See this technote for a complete, up to date list of the urls.

With the release of the Connections mobile 4.1 apps, there are new command urls added that developers can use to call into the apps. Many of the new commands allow you to launch a specific view of a service, go to a specific entry, or show a service inside a community.
Check out my previous entries for the full set:
The Basics – launch and configuration.
Additional Commands added to launch specific services.

Update: Here’s the official technote with the updated info all in one place.

Here’s a brief summary of the new ones. Remember, they all start with ibmscp:// and you can also specific a particular account to use. 

ibmscp://  (Open default activities view)
ibmscp:// (Open My activities)
ibmscp:// (view n/a on Android, ios only)
ibmscp://  (Open Completed activities)
ibmscp://  (Open specific Activity entry)
ibmscp:// (Open Activity) 

ibmscp:// (Default view)
ibmscp:// (Open My Watchlist view on android, n/a on iOS)
ibmscp:// (Open My bookmarks view)
ibmscp:// (Open Public bookmarks view)
ibmscp:// (Open Notifications Received view)
ibmscp:// (Open Notifications Sent view)
ibmscp:// (Create a bookmark for the specified url) 

ibmscp:// (Open public Communities)
ibmscp:// (Open My Communities)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Media Gallery)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Feeds Gallery)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Events)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Activities)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Blog)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Ideation Blog)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Bookmarks)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Files)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Forums)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Community Wiki) 

ibmscp:// (Default view)
ibmscp:// (Open Latest Entries view)
ibmscp:// (Open My Bogs list)
ibmscp:// (Open Public blogs)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Blog)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Blog entry) 

ibmscp:// (Open topic)
ibmscp:// (Open Forum) 

ibmscp:// (Default view)
ibmscp:// (Open My Files)
ibmscp:// (Open public files)
ibmscp:// (Open shared with me files)
ibmscp:// (Open shared with me files)
ibmscp:// (Open My Folders)
ibmscp:// (Open Folders shared with me)
ibmscp:// (Open Public folders)
ibmscp:// (Open specific File)
ibmscp:// (Open specific Folder) 

Profiles (additional key) 
ibmscp:// (Open Profile by uid)
ibmscp:// (Open Profile by email)
ibmscp:// (Open Profile by key) 

ibmscp:// (Open Specific Wiki)
ibmscp://  (Open Specific Wiki Page)

Have fun and let us know how you are using them and what else is needed.

Chris Reckling

Chris Reckling | 29 May 2013 08:45:00 AM ET |

Connections Mobile May Update

IBM has released updates to the Connections mobile apps for Android and iOS – version 4.1. This one has some additional features and a handful of UI enhancements in it. In addition, there is broader support for SmartCloud Engage, including Communities (FIles, Forums, Bookmarks) and People.
As is my custom on this blog, here are a handful of screenshots that show off the new features.

1. You can use @mentions in a status update post. We’ll look up the name locally first, then search the server. It’s fast.
Image:Connections Mobile May Update

2. In Files, we have gone to this action bar UI on the bottom of details screens, putting the most common actions a tap away. The download action is right there, too, and not hidden like before. (Downloads is also at the top level navigation, making it easier to find than before – you can see it on the iPad screen below. The FIles list itself has a dropdown “action drawer”. The reason we did this is to optimize for the most common use case, which is to actually view the file. Now, tapping on the file will attempt to view it; tap on the dots to show the menu to download or go to the file details.
Image:Connections Mobile May Update    Image:Connections Mobile May Update

3. Likes on posts and comments can be done in the post details.
Image:Connections Mobile May Update     Image:Connections Mobile May Update

4. Target posts to a person or community. When you choose one of those options, then you can pick which person or community.
Image:Connections Mobile May Update

5. In the small things make a big difference department, we added a Recently Viewed Communities view to the Community list to make it easier to get back to a community you may have just been working on. We put the buttons here below the tab (also in profiles), and there’s an alert if you accidentally hit the Leave button.
Image:Connections Mobile May Update

6. Attachments in forums are accessible now on the device. Here you go to More Actions… then choose to View Attachments to get to the next screen.
Image:Connections Mobile May Update    Image:Connections Mobile May Update

Apple App Store (US)
Google Play

As mentioned in the app store descriptions, there are a bunch of new command urls for you to explore. For example, now you can open a community and navigate to particular app in the community. I will update this blog when the technote is updated with the details on that.

Chris Reckling

Chris Reckling | 15 May 2013 05:30:00 PM ET |

Connections Mobile App Updates

February 18, 2013 – IBM released an update to the Connections mobile apps today. This includes a handful of updates you’ll be interested in, including:

  • Performance improvements
  • The app remembers which view you were using at goes back to it. So, for example, if you always use the “My Communities” view in the Communities section, you will return to that view each time you leave it and go back.
  • The default view for the Activity Stream is “I’m Following”. We thought this would be the more comprehensive view. Of course, you can always change it and we’ll remember that next time.
  • On the iPad, the card panels are easier to close with a single swipe to the right.
  • The community About section has all the rich text rendered and links can be opened within the app.

Google Play
Apple App Store


Chris Reckling | 19 February 2013 05:15:00 PM ET |

New Connections Mobile Command URLS

The Connections apps released in October add additional command URLs to what we already had in them. See this post for details on the first batch and when you might use them, then come back here and check out the new ones. The account info is optional. To use these, call them wherever you would use an http url, such as in an “a href” tag.

Added for Connections 4 mobile apps, but they are client side so will work with a Connections 3.x server.

Launch Activities

Launches the app into the Activities service just as if you had tapped on the Activities icon from the home screen.

Launch Blogs 

Launches the app into the Blogs service just as if you had tapped on the Blogs icon from the home screen.

Launch Bookmarks

Launches the app into the Bookmarks service just as if you had tapped on the Bookmarks icon from the home screen.

Launch Files

Launches the app into the Files service just as if you had tapped on the Files icon from the home screen.

Launches the app into the details of the file with the given uid.

Launch Forums

Launches the app into the Forums service just as if you had tapped on the Forums icon from the home screen.

Launch Wikis 

Launches the app into the Wikis service just as if you had tapped on the Wikis icon from the home screen.

This should make it easier to move from your own apps or web sites into the Connections mobile app.

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX
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Chris Reckling | 17 November 2012 04:00:00 PM ET |

Connections App for Android Phone Updated

October 12, 2012. Today IBM posted an update to the Google Play store of the app for IBM Connections. This app now supports connecting to a Connections 4 server as well as Connections 3.x. You can easily try it if you have a Greenhouse account.
Update: Congratulations to our design team: Grif Friedman (a Yankee fan, but I won’t hold that against him!) and new mom, Carrie Lloyd. Also, the development, qe, and product mgmt team’s all worked together to make this a reality!
New features for Connections 4 include:

  • Activity Streams. You can get updates from people and content you are following or just the status updates for people. A long press brings up options such as launching a URL, pivot to the user’s profile, search by hashtag, and (depending on the type of entry) going directly to the object – i.e. the File, Blog, Wiki, etc. This powerful feature should make it easier to keep up with your content in Connections.
  • In Status Updates, you can include your location and a photo or video.
  • OpenSocial gadgets added to the activity stream will render in an embedded browser window.
  • Community Events. View and respond (Follow, Comment, Attend) to events in your communities.
  • Post a message to a community board.
  • Forums. Updated to be faster, better integrated, and generally nicer. That means we gave them a makeover. 🙂
  • Files. Mostly updated the icons to match Connections 4. Also added a view for Community Files.

In addition, for Connections 4 servers, there are some basic, yet necessary security configurations. You can now register devices, enforce a configuration profile (i.e. require a password), deny access, and perform a remote wipe.

Check out some of the new screens of the activity stream, status update, and a tag search.
Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated  Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated   Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated

Here is the activity stream for a person and a community (updates were part of the app June release, but this uses the activity stream UI). Personally, I’m loving the community stream because is lets me keep up with all of the activity in the community in one spot, then link directly to the file, blog, wiki, etc. Huge productivity gain (and this is also in the desktop browser version!).
Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated  Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated

Two screenshots of forums, one with the updated list view, including information like questions and answered posts. You’ll notice the way we have dealt with the response hierarchy for the forums with those bars on the left side. It should be clear which part of the thread you are replying to, also.
Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated  Image:Connections App for Android Phone Updated

There’s more I could show you, but you’ll have to download the app yourself and try it. Helpful comments on the app store are appreciated by us and by your fellow users. We think you’ll like this update.

(and before you ask, I cannot speak about other updates that may or may not be coming)

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX
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Chris Reckling | 12 October 2012 06:45:00 PM ET |

Sharing a Profile in the Connections Mobile App

Here’s a cool feature you can use with the Connections app for Android. If you need to exchange business card information with another mobile phone user, you can share contact info in 2 ways:
1. Send a Vcard through email, sms, etc. through the Android Share intent.
2. Create a QR code that could be scanned by the user on their phone.

Here’s how you do it:
Open someone’s profile via search or in your list of network contacts. Press the hard menu button and choose the Share item.
Image:Sharing a Profile in the Connections Mobile App

The next menu popup is when you choose how to share. Choosing Share brings up the standard list of Android app options.
Image:Sharing a Profile in the Connections Mobile App

Choose Scan contact info to generate a QR Code.
Image:Sharing a Profile in the Connections Mobile App

Now, another mobile phone can use a QR code scanner to read the information and add it to the local contacts.

(On iOS, the option to share the vcard is there, but not to generate the QR Code.)


Chris Reckling

Chris Reckling | 24 July 2012 04:30:00 PM ET |