Can Widgets get users excited about Lotus Notes?

In a meeting I was in today a conversation came up about Widgets in the Notes 8 client. Sure we all love widgets but what are we really doing with them?  I think Widgets are part of the answer (note I said part, I am not saying it is the complete answer) to marketing Lotus Notes and getting the end users excited about using Notes There are widget catalogs available on the Greenhouse, and  openNTF, but lets take a closer look at what it really out there The Greenhouse currently has 35 Widgets in the Notes/Domino Category, pictured here are the 11 top downloaded the other 24 have between 0 -10 downloads each A picture named M2 The openNTF Catalog has a grand total of 6 widgets with a grand total of 104 downloads (I do realize that openNTF is in the middle of significant changes for the better and some issues are being worked out that should increase the number of contributions) A picture named M3 Look at some of the widgets out there Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, Linkedin, Google Map, Google Docs, the Greenhouse even has a widget for, which is great for baseball junkies like me.   Installing a widget from either of these sites could not be easier, all you need to do is drag and drop them in to your Notes Client, and while some require a client restart others don’t even require that much effort to get up and running. I believe the average person would find something useful in these widget collections, something that would make their life easier in some way every day, something that would make them just a little more productive, and therefore make their lives just that much easier which would make them love notes just a little bit more, maybe even show their friends the cool things they can do in Lotus Notes.  Well it is not happening based on the download numbers shown above. So how do we make users more aware of the different tools available to them in Lotus Notes? Lets take a look, if I visit LinkedIn I see this A picture named M4 Take a look at the instructions on TripIt this is a site that has received acclaim for it’s ability to integrate with Lotus Notes, but you would never know it reading their instructions or browsing their site. Hopefully you get my point, why isn’t IBM out there developing relationships and using their existing ones to get the word out that YES! Notes can do that! Resources for Lotus Notes Widgets Greenhouse Catalog (note you need a Greenhouse ID and Password to access the Greenhouse catalog) OpenNTF Catalog TwitNotes Sample Plug-ins from Julian Robichaux (Check out Scrapple:Drag ‘N Drop Scrap Collector a worthy successor to Alan Lepofsky’s Paste Information tool) I am sure there are more catalogs and widgets out there feel free to post then here as comments.  I am always on the look out for a good widget 🙂

5 Responses to Can Widgets get users excited about Lotus Notes?
  1. Carl Tyler
    June 3, 2009 | 9:27 pm

    You also missed.

  2. Keith Brooks
    June 3, 2009 | 9:30 pm

    Widgets are everywhere, some more practical than others, just like real widgets which were fun to play with then tossed away for being annoying, not used, memory hogs.
    Notes widgets are the same, real estate is at a premium and though I have some nice widgets don’t really use them near as much as I thought I would.
    Although the Linkedin connection lookup is cool and I use that Emoticon

  3. Niklas Heidloff
    June 4, 2009 | 2:18 am

    Mitch, I agree that we need to make more people aware of these capabilities. In order to do this we need catalog(s) with good widgets first. With OpenNTF and Greenhouse we’ve only started to do this.

    In addition to increasing the number of available widgets I think we also need to improve the quality. At a minimum we have ensured in the new OpenNTF catalog that there is minimal documentation and a screenshot and at least one other person has tried it.

    As you write OpenNTF is changing right now and the new steering committee needs to decide officially the strategy of the catalog first before new widgets can be added.

    Also the OpenNTF catalog contains more than pure widgets (the new 8.0.1 feature/purely declarative). It also contains full Eclipse plugins that can be any extensions to the Notes client or composite application components. Sounds like your definition of widgets includes plugins.

  4. Brad
    June 4, 2009 | 4:40 am

    Notes is dying pretty fast:

    { Link }

    No marketing from IBM is forcing developers to switch to Microsoft and java

  5. Rob Novak
    June 9, 2009 | 5:42 pm

    Thanks Mitch for mentioning Julian’s contributions. For what it’s worth, Recon has >250 uses, and Scrapple almost 200 since they were posted a few weeks ago.