----- Original Message -----
From: Eric Armstrong <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> I believe this system has come up for discussion before.
> But as I've had occasion to take a closer look, I thought
> I'd share these comments from the Grooves pdf file:
Eric, some thoughts on Groove I got from Abbe Don, a high-end
interface designer in NYC:
Here's my critique:
We set up a "space" called "Drumming Workshop."
We then tried out all of the different features.
Since I am not a distributed computing expert, I cannot evaluate the
technical accomplishments nor
evaluate the technical architecture. However, having worked on the user
interface for distributed systems
in the past, I can surmise that they have solved some difficult technical
As a user interface designer I feel confident in my report that the user
experience was confusing, difficult
to use, and at times very frustrating. In addition, we "cheated" and
augmented the experience with a
telephone conference call.
Some of the very significant issues that have not been addressed in the
1. turn taking-->
It's very important to know who is "in control" and who has taken what
actions. Due to the fact that our
connections and our processors were of different speeds, my colleagues saw
things and were acting on
things and commenting on them and my screen was not updating. Had it not
been for the phone
augmentation, I would have had no idea what was going on. This was most
problematic when we were all
working on the outline tool at the same time. In fact, it doesn't really
make sense to have more than one
person updating the outline at a time even though it's technically possible
to do that.
There's no real sense, in the interface, of having other people physically
present. Some systems use an
Avatar, which of course, can be too cutesy. Other systems use "shared
cursors" wherein each cursor is a
different color so I can at least discern where the other people are on the
screen and possibly discern
what they are doing.
The tools currently feel like separate applications which happen to be
usable by more than one person at
a time. Does the technology support more "activity" centered collaboration
where the tools are brought to
the activity rather than feeling as if all users must "go to" a particular
tool to accomplish a task.
In general, it seems like this beta version of the software has focused on
solving technology issues but it
does not appear to have solved "real" collaborative work and communication
issues from a "people
centered" and "work centered" point of view.
Also, from a user interface design point of view, one of the limitations of
Lotus Notes and of Lotus Domino
is that the database design and its associated hierarchy is inextricably
linked to the user interface. I can
usually tell if a website has been built on top of Domino because of the UI.
Similarly, when I've worked
with companies such as McKinsey & Company or Institute for the Future, their
intranets which are built
Notes & Domino all show the legacy of the Notes infrastructure. And Virtual
Team Room from Lotus also
has serious usability issues.
So, I would hope that the Groove team learned from the limitations of those
I did read the "peer to peer" white paper and there are obviously some very
interesting ideas there.
-- ________________________________ Nicholas Carroll email@example.com Travel: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.hastingsresearch.com ________________________________
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Feb 27 2001 - 20:35:57 PST