February 12, 2006
Via Ole Eichhorn, the UK Guardian's Survival of the Unfittest:
Lotus Notes is used by millions of people, but almost all of them seem to hate it. How can a program be so bad, yet thrive?
We've all had bad software experiences. However, at one of my jobs, our corporate email client of choice was Lotus Notes. And until you've used Lotus Notes, you haven't truly experienced bad software. It is death by a thousand tiny annoyances -- the digital equivalent of being kicked in the groin upon arrival at work every day.
I won't say that Lotus Notes was the reason I quit that job, but it was definitely a factor in my decision. The UI is the application.
Lotus Notes is a trainwreck of epic (enterprise?) proportions, but it might be worth studying to learn what not to do when developing software.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
When Reoccurring meeting is change notes keeps asking to save. When saved same questions are asked by notes to save. the meeting are not moving to the new time on (user's) calendar
This is the help desk ticket that I get from the call center every other day. Why? Because Notes is a disaster of epic proportions.
WTF? I might off myself soon if this doesn't stop.
Heh. I feel the same way about Outlook - and come to think of it, all of Microsoft Office - as many commenters here seem to feel about Notes.
The two biggest problems with Notes/Domino I've seen over the years since R2 are:
- Poor deployments. Either business policies restricted the hardware or networking too much (giving end users the perception of poor performance); or IT staff doing the rollout caused problems (either because the IT staff didn't have Domino skills yet, and tripped over common problems; or because the IT staff didn't *like* Domino themselves, and thus projected mental doom across the project).
- Feature schizophrenia. Domino itself tries to do too many things all at once, and at first blush, seems to do them poorly. Yes, you can write cool field @formulas that call both LotusScript and Java agents to update the DXL that's XSLT styled to create HTML for your web clients - but that's not really the best way to do it. Likewise for anyone who wants the Notes client to be just a simple and straightforward email client, nothing else: you can't get away from the fact that the Notes client does 50 million other things for you.
In any case, at least 80% of the arguments for or against Domino are simply the result of upbringing. I was raised on Lotus products, thus I love them still. Most of the folks here were probably raised on MS Office products, and thus love them still.
What we should really do is refuse to participate in proprietary software anymore, and all donate just a few hours to improving OpenOffice's features and performance. That'd show the world! smirk/
LN Design is the most powerful and userfriendly tool.
Lotus Notes is such a torture I suffered previously in a Fortune 500 company. Surprisingly, a company huge like this could ever tolerate such a hug "Bug" dominating its daily operations. All it can do is to slow down your pace and foster your patience.
Just horrified/frustrated/digusted with Lotus Notes (sucks)... the Auto Save does not work! I lost 2 hours of work after Lotus Notes crashed. All i could do is use enough swearwords in a minute to last a decent man for a lifetime.
What sucks most is that Autosave only works for new drafts... once you manually save it, it is no longer Autosaved.
ho designed the crap UI?
I wouldn't say that I would quit my job because we use Lotus Notes (6.5), but it is such an impediment to my productivity I fear losing my job. Why would would someone devise an email app where organizing the messages, which takes only a few clicks and seconds of my time, be so obtuse and take a half hour with Notes? And the program itself is just plain slow. Even our own IT department hates it but we are apparently stuck with it.
I meant to say only a few seconds of my time with Outlook or Netscape.
Ok, so why after, organizing emails messages to various folders, does Notes insist on putting them back into the orginal folder, when I refresh? Why should I have to archive just to move mail from the server to my local drive (I can drag and drop with Outlook)? Why is Notes not able to figure out which folder to put mail into when I do archive. Why does Notes make the most simple tasks so mind numbingly complicated and unreliable? I must spend a half an hour a day screaming this lame POS program.
No wait... it copied them back to the original folder. Now the emails are in both places. Even the messages I had moved 2 days ago.
What is the matter with you people. Is this some form of late twentieth century social psychosis? Grow up and get a life will ya!
Notes is just a mail box program with some added and useful functionality. Listen carefully...It was and is not a Data Storage technology...The way you all sit around here and bitch about this makes one wonder...Quit a job over it? You really need to stop all this prattle....
I have the misfortune to use this crappy application on a daily basis. Why, when I reset my email client password does it not immediately set my messaging password to the same? I could understand if there was somewhereb else to change my messaging password, but there isn't. So I have to wait until it "replicates" my password. God I hate notes. This application wastes so much of my life. If companies actually did a study on the amount of time wasted versus saved by using Lotus Notes, they would have a fit.
Of course notes admins and proponents will say "notes is more than just email", etc. What they don't consider is the impact on productivity. The impact of productivity for notes users as opposed to outlook users is scary... crashes, freezes, intolerance to blips across the network, inconsistant and cryptic GUI design. I've been using notes for over 10 years and absolutely hate it. Show my the application that cannot be used effectively unless you have training and I'll show you lotus notes. Fortunately my company is upgrading us all to outlook in the not-too-distant future then it will be bye bye stress.
All the best
I love finding things like this - couldn't be any more fun to read. Just like a Harley Davidson vs. Anything (esp. Japanese) debate.
So - who in the room works for companies that use Lotus Notes as an email client? Who in the room works for companies that use Outlook as an email client?
Great. Next Questions.
Who here experiences:
1 - missing messages
2 - odd errors that turn the inbox into gibberish
3 - difficulty in attaching documents
4 - limitations with linking files or web pages to email
5 - Who here had to roll out an extra GB of memory to their machines, their corporate standard, dual-core machines, to make the latest update to their email client (8.5) work without dragging the machine down?
6 - Who here JUST REALLY USES NOTES FOR EMAIL?
Hmm, none of the Outlook users raised their hands.
1 - Who here can attach a link to an email and double-check what they have posted into the body of the email?
2 - Who here can find messages easily, seeing the entire message thread?
3 - Who here can click on the "X" in the upper right corner of an email message and not have to relaunch the entire application?
4 - Who here can see properly rendered HTML messages - that print just fine too?
5 - Who here has been able to do that since 1995?
6 - Who here can quickly and easily make mailing groups?
I'll stop there to stop confusing the Notes lovers. Get with it - most corporations using Notes ONLY use the email portion. For the life of me, for my 28 years of IT Experience, from programming, to the beginning of networks, to the C level management position I have now, WHY, WHY are we using this piece of garbage. Oh yeah - we have invested WAY too much into the software, hardware and support to move to something else - ANYTHING else. As a programmer, we strove to make applications look, feel and act similarly - because - DUH - it makes using the app easier, training quicker, thus it COSTS LESS TO IMPLEMENT AND USE. The Notes UI people should be forced to use Outlook 97 ONLY for the next 2 years. Then let them go back to Notes for email. Maybe, just maybe, they will get it. And before we go crazy with what notes can do compared to Outlook - I still want the question answered - HOW MANY PEOPLE USE THE THINGS DESCRIBED BY DomiNotable? I can personally speak for more than 5 fortune 500 companies that use Notes 98% for email, and have very, very, very few if any apps built around it's document functionality. People just don't WANT to use the icons on their workspace to view shared information. Document versioning? I'll turn on change tracking at the AD level via policy, and properly setup my network shares - I can do that (including the server build) in about 5 hours, wanna race?
I love finding articles like this that are now 4 years old, and even with a relatively new version of Lotus Notes I can still nod my head and agree with everything thats said.
Yes, Lotus Notes is the bane of my working existence!
Sorry guys, as a user I seriously hate Notes. In my company we use 8.5 and the benefit I've seen from previous versions is that the mail system got even more sluggish. We're about 5k employees. But there is good news. We will finally drop the crap and move to the 21st century by moving to MS. This move have been postponed for 5 years due to an IT department that don't have a clue about other corporate systems. Hey, did I mention Baan? Same story there.
I feel I am getting furious when just thinking about Notes. This is the most user unfriendly application I have ever used!! And believe me, I've been around the block. Why is the UI random in this application. Despite all UI rules, this dino still keep frustrating millions of users.