matnewman.com

Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Mat Newman  June 8 2010 23:00:00
I just read the most amazing conversation.

The thread basically went like this...
  • Someone complains about a missing feature in Facebook.
  • Someone else then posts: "Probably the same reason that Lotus Notes doesn't have an 'Add to Contacts' option in email."
  • Another user then asks "Which version of Notes?"
  • Which is followed up with: "Not sure, I just know that we've got 40,000 unhappy users. To the point where people confront our CEO on it."

This is the sort of thing that constantly astounds me when I interact with Notes users, although I shouldn't be surprised.  I've come across this sort of thing for almost 15 years.

It's the type of comment that riddles sites such as ihatelotusnotes.

It never ceases to amaze me how many organisations either:
  • Don't give users any Notes training, or
  • (Almost as bad) Teach users Notes as though it was just an Outlook equivalent.

To answer the question, if you've got a version of Notes 4+, the "Add Sender" option is:

Notes 4
  • Menu: Actions -> Mail Tools -> Add Sender...

Notes 5, 6, 7
  • Menu: Actions -> Tools -> Add sender...
  • Action Bar: Tools -> Add Sender...

Notes 8
  • Menu: Actions -> More -> Add Sender...
  • Action Bar: More-> Add Sender...
  • Right-Click: Add Sender...

Side-note:


Since Notes 5, not only can you add the Sender of an email to your Address Book (Contacts), you have also had the option of adding the Recipients of a message to a group - it's an outstanding feature!
(Actions -> More -> Add Recipients...

The Solution:


How do you fix scenarios like the conversation above?  You teach your users how to use NOTES!

No, not Email ... Notes!

I have a client who sends every new starter to their "Lotus Notes Induction" session (even if they've used Notes before).  The classes are always scheduled for a couple of weeks after they start.  On purpose.

At the beginning of the session I always ask the users the same question: "By now you know how to send an email, so who's wondering why they are here for a 3 hour Notes session?"  The nods, grins and hands tell the story.

Then we begin.  I teach the participants how to use Notes.  We don't touch the "New Memo" or "Reply" buttons for the first two hours. We teach them Notes concepts, not email concepts.

At the conclusion of our ILT (classroom sessions) users are asked to complete a course evaluation.  I can't count the number of reviews that have a comment along the lines of: "I'm convinced, it's better than Outlook."

Wouldn't you prefer your users saying that, instead of ...

Feel free to contact me if you want to learn more..
Comments

1keith Brooks  06/09/2010 0:33:52  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Add that the preferences can be set to add the people by default, at least to recent contacts,

2norm van bergen  06/09/2010 3:35:07  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Hi Mat;

I often teach Notes to people at my company, but usually just Executive Assistants. I'd be grateful if you might be willing to share your course agenda w/me so I might use some of your items in developing my own course materials? I like the approach of not touching "New Memo" for the first few hours...

3Karl Dettner  06/09/2010 5:22:13  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Mat!

I agree with Norm. It would be great if you could share that with the rest of the world. Perhaps it leads to convince other "non-believers" in the end?

Anyway, thank you for a great post.

Karl Dettner, IBM Lotus in Sweden

4Tim Paque  06/09/2010 6:09:48  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Of course that might also be one of those stinky shops that still has R4?

5Anthony Holmes  06/09/2010 10:43:15  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

What a telling story.

I wonder if it is the case that the bigger an organisation is, the less likely they are to take the care that your client takes to give everybody a 3 hour introduction? Are there companies with 40,000 people who do this? And if other companies don't take the time to give face to face training (because people are too distributed...), what other strategies work to ensure that people not only understand basic functionality (like 'add to contacts'), but also understand how to do things they haven't yet imagined?

Printed Welcome kits? Buddying? Nominated enablers on each floor? Wikis? Or (heaven help us), emailed hints and tips? (I'm betting that none of them are as good as your classes.)

Anthony Holmes, IBM Lotus in Australia

6Stuart McIntyre  06/09/2010 15:56:29  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

And so often it's one exec or IT manager that says "you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because ..." when actually they mean "I hate Notes because ..."

7Ian Randall  06/09/2010 17:44:01  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Matt,

Have you ever considered making a series of short videos of your training sessions and posting them on Youtube.

In that way we not only gain access to your knowledge but also to the passion that accompanies your training sessions.

8Mat Newman

06/09/2010 20:25:51  Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

@1 - Keith there are so many options like this within Notes that users fail to find themselves without education. There's also the sad point that many admins lock features like this down so that the users cannot choose whether to turn them on or off as required.

@2, 3 & 7 - Yes, I will make a video of the "10 minute Notes presentation" that I did at Lotusphere 2010 - it forms the basis of my classroom sessions.

The important thing about the way that I teach Notes is that Notes IS a database application!

IF YOU DO NOT TEACH PEOPLE HOW TO USE NOTES DATABASES PROPERLY YOU CAN NOT EXPECT THEM TO UNDERSTAND NOTES - INLCUDING THEIR MAIL!

It's no different to teaching spreadsheets. If all you do is teach someone how to click the buttons that they can see on the screen, they will have NO IDEA how to create a formula, and therefore NO IDEA how to use their Spreadsheet application. @5, Anthony you are correct - as with a spreadsheet - it's the stuff in Notes that's NOT staring you in the face that makes Notes so powerful!

@4 - Tim, as I listed, the feature was in Notes 4, and if my Notes 3 CD wasn't scratched I would have been able to confirm that it was there too.

Irrespective, it doesn't matter if the user is on Notes 3,4,5,6,7 or 8 - if they didn't know how a database worked in Notes 4, they still don't know how Notes 8 works now either!

@6 - Right on Stuart, (Ms. Veneman anyone?) Of course the sad thing about an exec or manager not understanding Notes is that they have the power to do something about it, even though it makes no sense to do so, either functionally or financially.

Mat Newman IBM Champion

9Jim  11/09/2012 10:37:33  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

It's maybe worth noting that IBM doesn't teach its staff how to use Notes either. 7 years after acquisition I have yet to have a single course. Why do we expect better from others?

It's odd to me that the solution would be "teach them it's a database". We come from such a tech-centric way of thinking that we think it's a great product and it just needs more explanation.

No.. if it needs that much explanation, it's not a great product. We need to pay more attention to design, and making things work in a way that's intuitive. Maybe the user shouldn't have to understand that it's a database - maybe it should just be obvious how it works.

10Mat Newman

11/11/2012 10:37:12  Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

@9, Jim: To do that you would need to follow the Apple line, strip it down, remove features, present only options that 'most' users want. That results in an 'App', which lacks features and is incredibly inflexible. The short answer; Lotus Notes is *SO* feature rich that users *HAVE* to get some level of training so they understand at least some of the options. I - for one - am totally against the removal of anything from the feature-rich Lotus Notes client.

Those features are what make Notes such an incredibly powerful software application.

Mat Newman IBM Champion

11Goddard  02/22/2013 7:50:10  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

A contact consist of more than just a name and email address.

Following the instructions you gave above for V8 only allows me to copy an email address and associated name into the Contacts -- no other database fields are exposed. So if I want to add a phone number (or two) or an address or website, I have to go into Contacts to expose the "feature rich" ui, search for the contact I just stored an email address for, open it, and finally edit it.

Consistent with this is that when adding a contact that is internal, the "add sender" functionality does not transfer the title, phone, location, or any other useful information into My Contacts -- again only the email address.

The application may indeed be powerful, but the workflow is convoluted.

12Mat Newman

02/27/2013 11:05:50  Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

@11, Goddard: You're going to love IBM Notes 9 then, the 'Add Sender to contacts' feature includes company, Phones, etc...

Mat Newman IBM Champion

13Milind Bengeri  09/28/2013 0:26:58  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

We have Notes 8.5 and I tried to add a sender and 8.5.1FP5, which I believe was released in Setember 2010. Well yes, I was able to do it after googling how to do it. Then I tried adding a contact in CC to the contacts book as well. There was an option to add all recepients to a new group, which is not something I wanted to do. I tried right-clicking, and all the more, action, tools menus, but couldn't do it. In the end I had to manually add it. For a system whcih was released in 2010, don't you think such an often used feature, not matter how simple, should have been easy and intuitive. Lotus Notes may be much much better than any other tool whcih is used just for emails, but all those other simpler lesser tools provide a simple way to do things that people want to do.

The problem with Lotus Notes is not that "it's more than just email", or "it's too feature rich", not even that "needs some training", but it is that it needs "retraining" and quite a bit of it. The problem is that it shouldn't. It may be much more than email, but for people who just want to do emails, all those amazing feature mean nothing. It doesn't matter.

A hovercfraft may be way more feature rich, but people still will use cars, because you can operate it with your feet.

It doesn't matter that it has got all these amazing features, it's that it's unintuitive. it doesn't follow people's expectations. I don't even care about following the Windows guidelines for UI consistency, but it should make sense and be intuitive. It's kinda like UNIX on command prompt. It's a bloody brilliant OS, have used it more than Windows, but if I were to choose one for my parents to use, I would go with Windows or Mac, because even if they provide fewer number of features, they provide them in a way that's easy to use.

When I bought my first mac 4 years ago, after being mainly a Windows and UNIX prompt guy for 6 years before that, it took me maximum of one week to master everything and know where everything was. It's been 2 years since I've been using Notes, and I still need to google how to figure out how to add a single contact in CC to my contacts, and in the end still have to do it manually, because looking for the right answer, if it exists would take too much time. Somthing I can do either on Mail in Mac, or Outlook in Windows within a few seconds.

And when you say that I will love Notes 9, or 10, it doesn't simply matter one bit because companies don't change/upgrade their systems as soon as new ones come out, and with good reason too, and all that time, despite working on a system released in 2010, I have to manually type in a contact in the CC field to my contact. That is why people like me don't like Notes. Because it's not easy, when others are.

Pardon me if this sounded like a rant. But Notes does get on my nerves, every once in a while and your page showed up when I was searching how to acontact in CC to my contacts.

14J. Mirman  11/21/2013 5:34:50  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

What you are saying is you started using Outlook when you were perhaps 12. Now you are old enough to drive a car and keep a job. All of which required a different skill set than the one you possessed when you were 12. Why would you expect everything else to strictly adhere to a skill set you developed at 12? If you could search and find an answer you're done. I agree there are things that make any piece of software challenging. Switching from a consumer product to a commercial product can be challenging--but the commercial-grade solution has benefits that outweigh the challenges as any company knows.

That type of thinking falls right in line with "40,000 users" which is ridiculous. If a company cannot satisfy basic needs with simple information then I'm sure (as I am in this case) their customers hate them and they have bigger problems to address.

Outlook hurts businesses. It costs more in terms of resources, cash, and business process. When people use ego and emotion to force a solution where it doesn't logically fit they get what they deserve.

Search on "I hate outlook." That's no proof that outlook is good or bad. It is proof that you need more than emotion to evaluate solutions your business needs. Why would you purchase a solution that guarantees you have to make additional purchases.

Most complaints (like many here) are user-oriented complaints that stem from a corporate failure to educate. Domino and Lotus Notes provide a complete solution for running a company. Outlook is an e-mail client.

15One of those 40000 Notes haters  01/22/2014 2:27:33  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

The problem with "add sender" is that it is only available in a few select places such as in the email list. It is not available when you right-click the sender in an open email view. It is also not available in those small popups with name details. Seriously!??

Failing to have the most relevant right-click options available, Notes sucks. And it makes us users believe that the code is now in such a bad shape that maintenance and development is no longer possible and that we are victims of lock-in to an obsolete platform. That's also what we though about Microsoft Outlook - until they made the major overhaul that brought the new UI with panels. After that point, Outlook and the other office apps suddenly felt they were reliable, fast and up to date.

I find the databases in Notes useable, but only because this is such a niche application in my workday that I don't care much. It is definitely not very good as an email client or calendar application. Please do not force us to use a database-that-pretends-to-be-an-email-client anymore! Or, it must pretend a lot harder. A LOT harder.

16shane lewis  07/12/2014 0:05:35  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Mat, I thought this was a great article. Did you ever do the video on the classroom session? I would love to take a look.

Shane

17shane lewis  07/12/2014 0:05:42  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Mat, I thought this was a great article. Did you ever do the video on the classroom session? I would love to take a look.

Shane

18Elvis  07/18/2014 7:49:16  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Guess what...easily adding any email address in the from, to, cc, bcc, email body (anywhere) **IS** a feature. So don't tell me about 'feature rich' until you are talking about features people actually care about! It is absolutely ridiculous that the only way to add recipients of an email to your database is to add them to a group. The implicit assumption there is that the list of recipients is relevant and often it is not... it is contextual.

40,000 people of the same opinion can be wrong but in this case they aren't. Notes is terrible, awful, the worst. Get a clue.

19Adrian  10/22/2014 17:58:19  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Hello,

I'm Notes Admin with 2 years of experience. I can't say that I have to much experience, but this things I have learned by myself in the 1st two months, when I started learning Lotus Notes - now IBM Notes. If you never ever used CC or BCC, that means only one thing you don't really know to use any e-mail client.

Anyway, about the "Add sender topic", I have created two screenshots. This is very easy : { Link } - Add sender to contacts and here is the info you need to submit in order to add a new contact : { Link }

You can also add a new contact by simply going to your local contacts > Click My Contacts > New > Contact > add all information that you want then > Click Save and Close. Congratulation now you have your first contact on your local replica.

If you move very often and you use more than one pc, then it is recommended that you do a Replicate and Sync all. This way all your contacts will be synchronized with your mail file from the server and never loose your contacts.

The other thing, you say the only way to send mails to many people at once is to create a group. Well, from my side = writing Group A ( for example ), then writing 20 e-mail addresses ( or copy&pase) is not the same thing. Anyway even if you try to spam or send a info message to all of the users, you wont be able. Every company has it own rule, anti-spam rule and lotus by default wont let you send an e-mail at too many contacts. I do not say that Ibm notes is the best software out there, but is better than Outlook. Things that you wont be able to do with Outlook you will do it with notes. Notes is not only a e-mail client!

I hope this was helpful..

20Adrian  10/22/2014 17:59:37  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Please correct me if I was wrong

21Jim  05/09/2015 1:38:56  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

This is an old thread but maybe you are still monitoring it.

If Notes has the feature "Add Sender to Contacts..." why doesn't it have "Add Sender to Group..."?

The scenario I am often faced with is I send out an email to an entire department and want to create a group containing those that reply back.

I can't seem to find a way to do this.

And as far as Notes being feature rich, if it can't do the simple things then it is not useful.

For instance, why can't I set Paste to default as plain text. I have seen requests for this feature on the Notes forums since 2002. Still not there.

22Cat  05/23/2015 4:41:00  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Well I still can't get the full addresses of my recipient list after reading this thread for an hour.

Actions > More > Add Recipients

NOT THERE in IBM notes 9.

I often need to set up a list of multiple people to email, which I'd like to copy and paste from notes, into the external service it needs to populate, but I cannot get the FULL email addresses.

I'll admit it's a lack of education when someone tells me how it's done. It should be a simple preference IMHO.

23Phil  09/03/2015 3:59:39  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

The more important question is why do you have to have a 3 hour training class? Especially after using the product for a few weeks. Let me answer my own question.... because notes is based on a extremely old platform and is difficult to use. It is not intuitive in comparison to other platforms and is extremely buggy. The only good thing about it is it is secure. Just my 2 cents.

24Rokshana  10/16/2017 18:26:55  
Seriously ... you’ve got 40,000 users who hate Notes because there’s no Add Sender to Contacts option

Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that produce the biggest

Mat Newman

THE Lotus Notes Guy. Productivity Guru. Social Evangelist. IBM Champion for IBM Collaboration Solutions, 2011/2012/2013. IBMer. Views are my own.

#GetProductive #GetLotusNotes

Mat Newman

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