Usability - Productivity - Business - The web - Singapore & Twins

Address Dialog on stereoids

Over the long live of Lotus Notes the address dialog has been a trusted, never changing compagnion:
The Notes address dialog
Over the years it got some facelift like the ability to drag and drop or the ability to sort by Notes hierarchy, language or corporate hierarchy (anybody seen that?) or to look at details in yet another window. It works OK as long as the number of names is small and diverse. However once you enter cultures that are notoriously short of last names and sport large companies it gets tedious to pick the right Mr. Wang or Mr. Lee. In short: the address dialog is overdue for an overhaul. Since simplicity isn't simple careful considerations are needed. How much more complex the dialog could get to stay reasonable and how simple it needs to be. The requirements I came up with can be quite conflicting.
  • I want to be able to filter the search scope based on a series of criteria:
    • by organizational properties (like department name or org type e.g. "sales"
    • by geography
    • by job role
    • by tags
    • by favorites
    • by source: internal/external, groups, individuals, from Facebook
    • by communication history: frequency or date
    • by search in communication
    • by search in profiles
  • access to list by first name, last name or nick name
  • suggestion of addresses from social analytics
  • display of additional information (address card + tags + list memberships) to positively identify the receipient
  • Indication if encryption is available or not
  • Indication if alternate access (e.g. shared communities) is available
I'm sure there are more criteria available. Packing all of them into one dialog might be a challenge. I played around and created a mockuphow it could look like. What do you think?
An alternate approach to address books
As usual YMMV.

Posted by on 27 February 2010 | Comments (c) | categories: Show-N-Tell Thursday


  1. posted by Ian Randall on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    We have been using some code developed by Scott Good that provides similar NAB search features through a Web browser interface. We have extended it to include searches by First name, Second name, Alias, Job Title, Organisation Structure etc. The code scales really well and can handle hundreds of thousands of names.
  2. posted by Jan Schulz on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    One word: Want!
  3. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    @Ian: Any chance to share that code?
  4. posted by Paul Farris on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    Many times I have only remembered somebody's first name and had to open a new memo to get their surname back, via type-ahead, to select their name from the addressing dialog box. It would save time to add the type-ahead to the addressing dialog box directly.

    To work around this we have created a mobile directory catalogue which is sort firstname, lastname and users can change to this directory is they know how to.
  5. posted by Veer on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    Your mock ups are good. Can you share on what software you use for this?
  6. posted by Giuseppe Grasso on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    @Veer: I think is balsamiq mockups: { Link }
  7. posted by Michelle O'Rorke on Sunday 28 February 2010 AD:
    All I want is the space after Last Name removed.

    This one very odd feature makes using the "Find Names" box extremely frustrating to most users when there are multiple matches on last name.
  8. posted by Ian Randall on Monday 01 March 2010 AD:
    The original Scott Goods Code is from here:

    { Link }

    We have adapted the code to extend this to a names look-up in our Personnel & Contacts database (not the NAB) to handle other search functions such as Alias, Job Description, First Name, Last Name and Organisation Structure (a multi-tiered organisation structure in our application).


  9. posted by Fred Janssen on Monday 01 March 2010 AD:
    Looks great. Now if you could only include (part of) the OU structure.
    In your list I cannot see the difference between both Bruce Lee users.

    I know I can click on Details, but users won't....
  10. posted by Lothar Mueller on Tuesday 02 March 2010 AD:
    I think this is very Emoticon cool.gif . Even within small-ish companies and a great diversity of last names this would be a huge step forward! Esp. I like the one detail with the configurable button labels and target fields
  11. posted by Stephan H. Wissel on Wednesday 03 March 2010 AD:
    @Fred: That's the idea of the business card appearing in the dialog. It would show the full address. But of course one could consider having full qualified names here. After all the dialog above is just a mockup. (And yes it is Balsamiq Mockup with a Shutter filter for the dimension)
    Emoticon smile.gif stw
  12. posted by Ian Randall on Wednesday 03 March 2010 AD:
    Just a comment about displaying information that a person might consider confidential. In some countries and cultures it is unlawfull or unacceptible to display certain confidential information about a person in a public directory system.

    Examples include a persons home address, mobile phone number, home phone number. This is due to the obvious threat of "stalkers" in the workplace. Also in some cultures women cannot disclose private contact information to unrelated males without the permission of their family. Even a persons date of birth can be considered sensitive information.

    The Domino Directory already contains fields for some of this sensitive information, but assess to it should be tightly controlled.

    When considering the expansion of personal information displayed from the NAB, we need to consider these issues of privacy and cultural differences as well.

    Additionally, the search by names could be improved by a soundex search, particularly if you are in a part of the world that includes common names that have a significant range of spelling variants for the same name.