|Latest 7 Posts
| Thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Book 4|
Mon, Jun 19th 2017 75
| How to Split SharePoint Document Libraries to Simplify Synching|
Sun, Apr 30th 2017 12
| Using SharePoint with OneDrive as a File Server (for Ex-Domino Admins and Traditionalists)|
Mon, Apr 24th 2017 15
| Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 2|
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 15
| Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 1|
Fri, Mar 31st 2017 14
| How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365 - Part 2 (Extending Booking Time)|
Tue, Mar 21st 2017 7
| How to use PowerShell to Change the Email Address of Office 365 Groups|
Fri, Mar 10th 2017 8
| Thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Book 4|
Mon, Jun 19th 2017 75
| How to Use Microsoft Outlook with Your IBM Verse (in the cloud) Mail|
Sun, Oct 9th 2016 48
| How to Create an Auto-Response Mail Message in Lotus Notes 8.5.3+|
Wed, Feb 22nd 2012 36
| Restarting Agent Manager on Domino 9.0.1 may crash your server....|
Wed, Feb 18th 2015 22
| Fixing Word 2016 Crashes when Opening Older Documents with Macros on Windows 7|
Tue, Nov 15th 2016 22
| How to do Bullets and Numbering in IBM Notes|
Tue, Feb 4th 2014 19
| How to Create a Good Email Signature and Use it in IBM Verse|
Mon, Apr 18th 2016 19
| How to set IBM Verse as your Default Email Client|
Thu, Jun 9th 2016 19
| Getting your Head around the IBM Connections ID|
Tue, Feb 23rd 2016 18
| How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365|
Tue, Feb 21st 2017 15
||Simplifying an IBM Connections Community for Rollout - Part 2
IBM Connections.Cloud is a very powerful set of software and services but using the default settings will result in a community that isn't very pretty, has low usability and will discourage your users from participating.
Luckily a few tweaks, some promises and a bit of work on engagement can make a huge difference.
The Overall PlanObviously you need to plan out what your guests and members will be doing in your community. It’s basic marketing. People don’t visit the site for nothing, they are there because of a basic need. You can’t begin to provide a solution until you've identified those needs.
The needs could be as simple as, the need to obtain information or the need to collaborate with others. These aren't mutually exclusive needs but they do suggest vastly different requirements. Providing information is usually done via files and/or wikis while collaboration is more of a forums thing. Understanding the needs will help you to build a community which satisfies the needs of your users.
The best question to ask is; What would you want out of the site if you were a user?
Once you've thought it through, you need to consider workflow and story (how the information and sections should be organised). Whether you’re providing forums or documents, having consistent, logical and relevant headings is very important. You’ll also need to load your site up with branding and eye-catching graphics. I covered a lot of this in my last post.
Loading the Modules and GraphicsAssuming that you've done your planning, you probably have a good idea of what you need for your site. I'm not planning to go into detail on the initial construction of a community because I covered adding modules back in June last year.
The first module that you need to add is the Wiki. You may not be using this directly in you community but it’s still the best place to store graphics. At the same time, you should open Notepad because you’ll want to save lots of URLs for easy reference.
Copy the URL for the Wiki and paste it into notepad. Once you start hiding things on your community, you’ll have trouble getting back to the Wiki if you don’t have the URL. Of course you can re-add it and then re-hide it again but that’s extra work.
You'll eventually want to fill your notepad document with labelled links to to your main community page, any specific folders, forums, topics, surveys or other materials you might want to link directly to.
The WikiThe Wiki will generally start with a welcome page. If you're not planning to use the Wiki, then you should still add a nice graphic and link it back to the main (outline) page of your community. Casual (or accidental) visitors to the wiki will see the graphic, click on it and be quickly redirected back to the main areas of your site.
You can add lots of images into the attachments section of the wiki page, This section won't display for users unless they go looking for it, so it makes a good storage area. As you add graphics, you might want to right-click on them to copy their URLs into notepad for later reuse.
Setting App Security
Once you start hiding Apps, they will disappear from the App Security screens, so you'll need to edit their security settings first.
To do this, go to Edit Community and select the App from the list across the top of the page. You'll be able to change the settings for your App.
In particular, since you're not using the Wiki except for storing your graphics, you'll probably want to prevent users from being able to modify it. Change their role to reader and save.
While you're in this space, consider checking though the rights of the other apps.
Building Your OutlineIf you've been using Connections to create communities already, you're probably fairly familiar with the outline control. You can change the layout of the outline page (decide on a 2 or 3 column layout and move modules around) but as I mentioned in my previous post, there's only a few areas that can really be customised.... the rest simply cannot be changed.
The best way to get your outline layout to work is to insert a table. It helps if you've already done a rough drawing of what you want in your outline.
You'll probably want to set the table width to be 100%, rather than a specific pixel width. This ensures that it grows and shrinks with the screen. You can also right click on cells and set the column width to percentages.
If you right-click on a cell, you can choose to merge it down or across. Merging cells is a key part of layout. You can also set individual border and background colours.
When it comes to inserting images, you can simply add them via the URLs you copied to the clipboard. You can resize images by right-clicking on them and setting their width and height. If you set one of these values, the other will usually change.
What's not so obvious is that you can set the width to a percentage. At the moment, if you do this in connections, it will muck up the aspect ratio of the image (unless you set the width to a percentage and delete the number in height).
Using percentages on images is great for rendering on various sized screens however sometimes it doesn't work out so well. This is particularly a problem when you're using Icon buttons. In that case, you might want to set the images to a fixed size.
Hiding AppsYou'll find that the more apps you use, the more cluttered your outline page becomes. There's a simple solution to this, hide the app. Hiding an App will retain its data (and indeed leave the app fully usable -- if you have the link).
For the most part, hiding the app removes the app from the outline page and from the drop-down menu. Unfortunately not everything removes itself from the drop-down. Members, for example will remain even if the members app is hidden.
Before hiding any apps, make sure that you have their URLs copied to notepad.
If you need to unhide an app, you simply choose community actions and add apps. The hidden apps are in a section of their own and can easily be added back in with the plus button.
Making the Page EngagingThe final part of the community experience is to make the page engaging. You need to remind your admin users that they need to regularly add and update content in order to capture the audience.
If you've set a static front page, you need to find some way to add some more active content.
In the example community page below, we've removed all of the standard navigation features on the outline and replaced them with our own. As a result, we're able to use the language of the users, for example "Agendas" instead of files.
The agendas link goes to a specific folder for agendas within the files system. We're also able to add more dynamic content, for example the date of the most recent meetings (with links to files for that specific meeting). The graph links to a full statistical report and could be replaced at regular intervals with either different graphs or perhaps different reports.
The last thing to note is that the main menu content is all on the left hand side while the active content is on the right. This is because in a mobile environment where everything scales down, there's a good chance that some of the extreme right content will be lost.
The most important part of the site is the overall navigation, hence that's on the left.
Apr 14, 2016
| Recent Blog Posts
Thoughts on the Microsoft Surface Book 4|
Mon, Jun 19th 2017 9:40p Gavin Bollard
I've spent the last couple of months on Microsoft's Surface Book 4 (i7) and I've had enough time to form an opinion. I generally hate laptops but I've found the Surface Book to be fast enough and easy enough to do the majority of my work on. The touchscreen is very responsive and I love being able to detach the tablet from the base - though admittedly, I rarely have a good business reason to do it. We ordered around 45 of the devices all at once. One was DOA and another had batteries in th
How to Split SharePoint Document Libraries to Simplify Synching|
Sun, Apr 30th 2017 10:54p Gavin Bollard
In my last post, I talked about how you need to split your SharePoint document libraries into smaller chunks in order to synch them. In this post, I'm going to assume that you made the same mistake that I made and put too many documents into the one document library. In my case, I have an IT Team SharePoint site which holds all of our IT documents. It makes sense to keep all our IT documents together. For the most part, the site doesn't need to be synched anywhere because it's mostly a stora
Using SharePoint with OneDrive as a File Server (for Ex-Domino Admins and Traditionalists)|
Mon, Apr 24th 2017 6:33a Gavin Bollard
Over the past few months, I've been looking at a whole range of options to do with file storage on the basis that Microsoft's OneDrive simply doesn't do what we need. The whole time of course, I've been unable to shake the feeling that Microsoft should be offering something that already covers this space. After all, file sharing is one of the major "tentpoles" in most Windows networks. As it turns out, SharePoint is the answer to this - and it works well if it's playing nicely with OneD
Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 2|
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 6:14a Gavin Bollard
Last time on Real World Computing, I talked about migrating mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Office 365. Now it's time for Part 2. Mail RoutingWe did routing in two parts. Initially we had MX records for both IBM and Microsoft with Microsoft having the higher number (which means lower priority). After the cutover date we switched the priorities so that Microsoft Office 365 had the higher priority. One of the cool things about Microsoft’s setup is that they give you two domains, o
Migrating Mail from IBM Notes and Verse to Microsoft Outlook on Office 365 - Part 1|
Fri, Mar 31st 2017 11:05p Gavin Bollard
It was always just a matter of time. Eventually we were going to have to make the jump from IBM to Microsoft. It's not that IBMs software isn't good. It's very good. It's simply that IBM is the Beta to Microsoft's VHS. Technically the IBM product line is far superior but on the surface, IBMs poor UI will never match the incredible pull of Microsoft's polished Office 365 offerings. We're just finishing a mail migration from IBM Notes/Verse to Microsoft Outlook, which we did entirely in-ho
How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365 - Part 2 (Extending Booking Time)|
Tue, Mar 21st 2017 4:01p Gavin Bollard
Following on from Part 1 where I talked about how to get rooms to show up in the room list, here's the next step where we extend the booking time from the default of 180 days. Why is there a limit?In most circumstances, a limit makes perfect sense. It stops employees from booking meeting rooms for years in advance and then leaving the company. In our case, it's actually fairly common to book the meeting schedule up to about 18 months into the future - so the 180 day (6 month) limit is quite r
How to use PowerShell to Change the Email Address of Office 365 Groups|
Fri, Mar 10th 2017 9:34p Gavin Bollard
One of the odd things about Office 365 is how much you have to resort to PowerShell to get things done. That's currently the case with the Office365 Groups, a recently introduced type of group that works particularly well across all of the Office365 applications. I've been setting a few things up with Office365 groups lately and I've had two instances where I needed to do some renames. Once was when the people who asked for the group changed their mind about the name and the other was when
How to Set up Rooms Properly in Office 365|
Tue, Feb 21st 2017 7:53a Gavin Bollard
You'd think that setting rooms up in Office 365 would be a simple matter of going to the Office 365 Admin console, expanding Resources, clicking on Rooms and Equipment and then using the Add Button This works but it doesn't do everything. If you want your rooms to appear in the Room List (and to show available times), you'll have to use PowerShell to put them there. Finding AnswersSo... I spent a while trying to find the answers without a whole lot of luck. I think that coming from the No
Solving Some Azure Active Directory User Synchronisation Issues on Office 365 |
Sat, Feb 18th 2017 10:46p Gavin Bollard
We started moving over to Office 365 quite a while before we decided to ditch Notes mail and move to Outlook. It was also my plan to get rid of our internal active directory server and rely solely on the cloud for authentication. As it turned out, management wanted to keep the AD server a little longer, so we've had to synchronise our onsite accounts with the Office 365 ones. The synchronisation processes immediately created duplicates (and sometimes triplicates) of users. The journey to re
OneDrive to Rule them all ... or perhaps not.|
Mon, Feb 6th 2017 12:02p Gavin Bollard
Microsoft OneDrive is great! It's easy to use too and has some really great integration into Office 2016 - which means that when you go to save or open files, instead of displaying a file dialog, it renders the folder names right into the panel. Sadly the sharepoint integration in Office 2016 is still dialog-based. On the surface, it looks like a great files storage solution but as it turns out, just like Tolkien's OneRing, beneath that shiny surface, OneDrive is mostly evil. At work, we'