After several approaches to get my registration working for IBM Verse I finally received my account information. Thanks to Fredrik Norling who told me not to use a GMail account for registration but a "serious" company account. With that being done it "only" took 3 days to get it.
The onboarding process to the "freemium" account of IBM Verse consists of 3 (4) phases:
- Register with a non GMail account (GMail is blocked or let's say: it's not preferred)
- Receive the confirmation mail that you have successfully registered
- After some days you receive mail no. 2 saying that your account is being prepared
- After some hours you receive mail no. 3 saying that account is ready to use
This post is about my first impressions on IBM Verse.
When logging in to IBM Verse you actually login against the IBM Smartcloud environment (at least it looks like the SAML login you use when using Smartcloud or Greenhouse). Don't bookmark the login page! It won't work a second time as the URL contains some token informations that won't be valid the next time you open it. So just bookmark https://mail.notes.ce.collabserv.com/sequoia/index.html
After you logged in you are presented the main UI of Verse, the inbox view you already know from various presentations and posts. In Firefox (one of the supported Browsers) you will always be presented the question you see in the screenshot.. It basically asks: "This website wants to associate the mailto links with that page. Do you agree?". Maybe it's just a Firefox issue, but I cannot get this message to shut up forever. Instead it is presented everytime I first open this inbox page. Something on the website may cause this question. IBM, please remove that crap!
On the top you have 4 links to the 4 functions you expected from a mail client: Mail, Calendar, Mail Contacts and Files. To be honest: I didn't expect the Files tab at all. This is the area where you can handle all the files that were attached by you or other persons in mails in your Verse inbox - and stored on IBM Smartcloud as well.
Regardless which link you will click it will open a new tab (like it or not, I don't). The first experience with these other apps is: WTF? The IBM Design team made huge efforts to create a new UX for the inbox - but stopped working for the other parts of the application (except for Files):
- Different colors and fonts
- Every part has it's own style
- You can recognize the old iNotes stuff (sic!)
The worst is the "Settings" page of your own profile: it uses OneUI 2.1 (like in IBM Connections 4 or old Domino apps). All dialogs that appear in those parts are OneUI-styled. Ok, I liked OneUI - but if IBM wanted to re-invent "everything" with Verse then I'd have expected the new UI for those, too. They just changed the font - sometimes and not everywhere (epic FAIL!)
The dialogs are also OneUI 2.1. Actually these are not dialogs but popups (watch your popup blocker!)
This gives a preview of IBM Connections "Next"
With the ridiculous OneUI style...
This is a lot of different styles, hm? What about the functionality? The user experience itself?
I'm feeling so alone!
I never felt so alone in the universe as it is being in this uniVERSE. No contacts on my list I could send a mail to. Ok, fine then, let's search the directory for other "beta testers"
There is a "hidden" contact search function in your profile page, so just give it a try!
Great! Just open the contact and add it to your mail contacts or send a mail directly to it!
Hmm... no action for sending a new mail or add it to my contacts. Poor!
Ok, then just open the profile by clicking the name - there will be some actions presented to do so - for sure!
Well... no! If you don't know the person's mail information used in IBM Verse you cannot do anything. WTF?
So I ended up with nothing. An empty inbox (except from the welcome mail) and no contacts. Hey! An empty inbox? This is what IBM Verse is all about - well done!
Of course I tested to send and receive mails with my Google account but I want to try all those functions in interaction with others: tasks, calendar entries etc. So if you want to get in touch with me to test those things, feel free to send me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What I was very interested in was the technical background IBM Verse is running on. IBM told us that it is running on Domino and it really does:
So what I think about it: it is a replacement for iNotes, particulary for the mail application and functions. You can recognize all the other parts of iNotes (as shown in the images above) running on IBM's Smartcloud environment. As a fremium user you don't have the Watson intelligence available (e.g. the "schedule me a meeting with XXX on YYY at ZZZ hours"). That's not a part I'm missing right now. What I miss is a consistent design and some basic and fundamental functions (e.g. add users to my "cosmos").
Last but not least: mobile access
I just tried to use the web version on my phone (on a tablet it's the same). I am using 1080p but my browser runs in "mobile" mode (not "desktop"). I expected a responsive design at least for my inbox view. But have a look for yourself:
I also tried in landscape mode - the same crap. So the intention is to use the native phone/tablet app - when it's available.
If you are checking the "viewport" meta information to display the page for mobile browsers I'd expect a responsive design - otherwise just display the desktop version.
The app: iOS user can install the app for IBM Verse - but it will only work for Smartcloud (=paying) users but not for "fremium" accounts.
It's a beta
Hopefully there will be some improvements to come. It's not the restriction to a fixed amount of mails per day or the missing Watson stuff - it's all about the basics (add contacts, search and add people etc.)
You can find support here: https://support.ibmverse.com/support/verseforum.nsf
Some updated informations
Holy cow! Meanwhile I received some mails after my "begging" yesterday Thank you all - I will respond as soon as possible. Maybe I reply to all and you will do also, so we can test the mute function!
What I also found: once you drag a person from the right to the left side of the top toolbar (i.e. adding this person to "important" people) you cannot remove them. So consider WHO you will put on that list
To remove an important person just click on the minus (-) sign in the toolbar. You then can remove a person by clicking on the red minus sign separately. But don't bother: if you still have mail from this person you are able to add it again - after relogin.
Another issue: if you have an IBM Smartcloud account then you get in trouble. IBM Verse uses the same token cookie. So if you are logging in to Verse you aren't able to log in to IBM Smartcloud - and vice versa. To get this working just clear all the cookie you got from the corresponding account. My question though is: wasn't it possible to devide the fremium stuff from the Smartcloud stuff? It should have been. Just use a different domain for each - as easy as pie. I know some guys who can show you how to setup this environment.