Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat

Tuesday 15th August, 2006
Recently John Head has been blogging a lot about getting together a series of Notes templates that could be used as a showcase for new/existing customers to show them just how powerful Notes can be. It's all good stuff.

Throughout the discussion there's been talk of getting all the template designs to have a standard look & feel, the so called "blue rinse", so I thought I'd share what I'd been up to here in my day job.

A little while ago, we decided to setup a Notes based employee appraisal system. It needed to be functional, whilst easy to use and meet our existing requirements exactly. The format of the appraisals is so strict that the current system used a protected document template in MS Word. This was OK, but the protection was so locked down, that the Office spell checker couldn't even function.

As my dev skills are pretty basic, I decided to hire the best developer I knew; one Steve Castledine - unfortunately I've now lost Steve's services to IBM!

Steve went away and created a workflow application to our specification and it was all good, except we didn't like the look & feel of it. The functionality was just fine, it just needed...hmmmm...a blue rinse. I pointed Steve to the standard Notes calendar form, as seen below.

I told Steve I wanted our new system to look like that. Users were, after all, pretty familiar with the standard Notes calendar UI and it would be nice to theme it all the same. He said he would see what he could do...and this was the result.

I'm sure you'll agree that the results are excellent, it looks just like a standard IBM template. We added in some themed views...

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  1. 1) Steve Castledine Said: (15/08/2006 15:18:11 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat

    Do not forget to mention this was pre IBM - I do not want any HR people on the phone!


  2. 2) Christopher Byrne Said: (15/08/2006 15:22:58 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat

    This is the opposite of what happened at one client of mine recently. I had done a prototype of a new application with a blue rinse/mail template kind of look and it was rejected. Why? Because it looked to much like the mail/calendar file and users hated that.

  3. 3) Bruce Elgort Said: (15/08/2006 15:38:13 GMT) Gravatar Image
    What does Toyota think?

    Does Toyota mind you showing off "their" apps. on your blog? Nice UI Steve.

  4. 4) Ben Rose Said: (15/08/2006 15:58:10 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat


    If it were a problem, they wouldn't be here ;)

  5. 5) Bruce Elgort Said: (15/08/2006 16:15:28 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat


  6. 6) Andy Dennis Said: (15/08/2006 22:19:21 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat

    Lol. I cant believe it took you 3+ years to re-work trives old interface.. See I knew you were a secret developer :-)

  7. 7) Bruce Elgort Said: (16/08/2006 04:44:40 GMT) Gravatar Image

    In looking at the UI a bit more why are there so many open tabs for the same app? I assume it was just you testing the app.

  8. 8) Ben Rose Said: (16/08/2006 08:05:48 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat

    Yes Bruce, just testing.

    In fact...most of them were there just to take the screenshots!

  9. 9) Thilo Hamberger Said: (16/08/2006 15:49:38 GMT) Gravatar Image
    Wash...Blue Rinse...And Repeat

    Nice work. Now if only Notes would support CSS...

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