My thoughts on Lotus Notes

Monash moves to Google Apps

I was going to post something about this months ago, but never got around to it. It’s about time I did. Monash has finally moved to Google Apps for both students and staff. There was much rejoicing.

It was interesting to see how people adapted to Gmail. It was a while ago since I moved, so I’d forgotten what the experience was like. I was surprised by some of the complaints and frustrations I was seeing. My favourite feature was conversation threading, but this frustrated a lot of people. When Gmail released the ability to turn off conversations, there were a few joyous emails sent around telling people about the new feature. I’m not entirely sure why people were so frustrated with conversation threading, but the one or two I spoke to explained that once they’d filed a message away, they didn’t want to see it again and would rely on what was included in the reply to get the context of the thread. Essentially, they wanted Gmail to work exactly like the desktop email clients that they were used to.

Another common frustration I heard is that they couldn’t sort by column. Many people used sorting instead of searching in desktop email clients. So, again it seems to be a case of people wanting Gmail to work like their desktop email clients rather than trying to use Gmail as designed. To be fair, I sometimes find it difficult to find an email in the over 54,000 I have if I can’t remember enough keywords and I get hundreds of hits. Being able to sort or slice the emails in a some other way would be useful.

Our department was moved to Gmail in September last year and now that the dust has settled, I’ve noticed that a handful of people have switched back to Thunderbird, but most people seem to be satisfied with the Gmail web interface.

This concludes the “Lotus Notes” section.