Today’s Workplace Challenges
These days it’s becoming much more common for people to work with other people who aren’t in the same location. There are many challenges that come with this. You no longer have the luxury of walking over to someone’s office or cube and having a face-to-face conversation. You no longer have team meetings in the same room where you can gauge people’s reactions to what you are saying, see if they are following along, or brainstorm new ideas on a white board. You can’t help feeling one step removed from the people you are meeting with when all you hear is their voice and try to follow along with what people are talking about.
So what can you do to improve the quality of your day-to-day interactions and meetings? That’s where using web conferencing comes in. It can dramatically improve your meetings and ad hoc collaboration by providing a visual representation of what you are talking about, bring the physical presence of the people to the meeting with web cams, and provide a place to capture meeting notes, share files and brainstorm ideas. With ConnectNow, web conferencing is now accessible to anyone. It’s free, sign up now!
For a hands-on look at ConnectNow, join me tomorrow for a live seminar at 11:30 EDT, 8:30 PDT. See our forum for session details.
Here are a few ideas on how you can make the most of your real-time collaboration sessions using ConnectNow.
As a recent addition to the Buzzword team, it’s become part of my task to do some research about good document design and what it means for a document to look good. To that end, this blog will be the sometimes venue of a few document-crafting ideas that we run into. These posts could be design-related findings in areas we think are important (such as online readability, layout or issues related to font choices, etc.) or they could be ideas for how to use Buzzword tools to make super good-looking documents.
There will also be a case study or two—that is, we’ll bring up a few examples of documents made with Buzzword and walk through the creation process with an eye towards Buzzword’s role in the work flow, from inception to finished product.
For now, to whet everyone’s appetite for document aesthetics, here are a few innocent diversions to get you thinking about the visual elements of a page:
I got together recently with David Coletta – Buzzword developer and Flex blogger – to record a conversation on Buzzword and Acrobat.com. We thought that delivering regular 30 minute podcasts might be another useful way to get caught up with what we’re doing with Acrobat.com – good for long commutes, or working out on a treadmill.
The podcast can be heard or downloaded here.
The topics included in this week’s installment are shown below.
Welcome to acrobat.com! As the designers on acrobat.com, we’ve been very busy crafting a new kind of web experience for you to enjoy!
You will see that we’ve tried some new concepts that we think you may love… and we’ve got some great enhancements coming soon for the things that you may not love so much yet We keep ourselves busy every day by thinking of how we can make your experience better and by working together to create those solutions. We want you to have a great experience but we want to be different. We think you’ll love us even more for that.
The core project team for acrobat.com includes three interaction designers: Amy Poling, Marissa Dulaney and Robby Shaver. We also have Josh Fleetwood on the team, he’s our visual designer and prototyper. Craig Scull is responsible for all of our user research and Marie Scanlon provides us with our on screen content. Finally, we have Dan Cooney who is our design manager on the project.
You will hear from all of us over the next few months as we continue to work on the next great ideas for acrobat.com. We will need your input!
We would love to hear from you too, please take a moment to tell us about yourself in a comment.
ﾠThe Web is a wonderful place; it never stops. Buzzword continues to do frequent releases. The challenge is to keep up with the many and varied requests we receive. The team truly likes to hear from our users – your comments and ideas keep us focused on what’s important and give us new points of view.
Buzzword has come a long way since we first launched the Preview. And there’s still a lot we want to do. Here’s a look at some of the features that are on the drawing board – some are ideas that came from many of you (thank you!)
More writing tools:
* As one user wrote to us, “Named styles, named styles, named styles.” This is one of the most frequently requested features and it is high on our enhancement list
* Tools to track changes made by each co-author
* Justified text, in addition to left, right and centered text
* Import and export of Open Document format (ODT)
* More fonts (please see the posting on why there is a small number of fonts in Buzzword)
* Table enhancements – merged cells, more formatting options
Organizing your documents:
* Folders for grouping and organizing your documents
* Tagging documents for search
* Search within the organizerﾠ
* Spell check dictionaries for languages other than US English
* An off-line version of Buzzword
* and many, many more smaller enhancements
The Buzzword team has been releasing new features on a regular basis since our debut last summer. Our users get the benefit of new functionality as it’s ready. Each time you sign in to Buzzword, the latest and greatest is there – no installations, no upgrades, it just works.ﾠ
Please, keep the dialog going. Tell us what you need and what you think would make Buzzword a better solution for your work. The Buzzword forum is open!
If you’ve been following the Acrobat.com press, or reading our marketing materials, or checking our blog and forum, you’ve seen that we are very focused on enabling collaboration – especially when documents are involved. Here’s a quick look at the ways we enable collaboration.
Collaboration in Authoring
The story begins with document authoring, and in Buzzword we’ve heard countless people indicate that Buzzword is the finest online writing experience currently available. Many have told us they’ve even abandoned Word – some use the expression “liberated” – in favor of Buzzword as their primary writing environment.
Buzzword is indeed a simple and elegant word processor, but it really differentiates from Word and other desktop applications when you want to collaborate with others in the writing process. Instead of pushing documents out to others via email, you simply invite your collaborators to the only instance of the document, online, where they can contribute content or just add comments.
With everyone working on the same document, rather than multiple, disparate copies of the document, then collaboration is smoother and you can keep track of everyone’s involvement. The image below shows the Buzzword collaborator bar, which displays who has read the document, when they read it and which version they read. Now that’s getting everyone on the same page!
Here’s a quick update after the first week of Acrobat.com. The response has been terrific, in terms of new users, site visits and press reviews. We want to express our thanks to everyone who tried out our new service – we’re going to continue working hard to earn your loyalty, tuning and enhancing our capabilities. But we couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Our tracking software has been working hard this week, trying to keep up with all the activity. One interesting statistic is this one: the software looks at 214 countries, and in our first week we had visitors from 210. The top 10 countries are shown below:
1. US: 36%
2. France: 7%
3. UK: 4%
4. China: 4%
5. Canada: 4%
6. Spain: 4%
7. Germany: 3%
8. Italy: 3%
9. Japan: 2%
10. India: 2%
Rest of World: 31%
Come on, all you folks in North Korea, Turkmenistan, the Central African Republic and Liberia! We’re just four countries away from having global representation.
Wow, glad to have that behind us, now back to work changing the way people work, for the better!
Thanks for all the attention, but you people should stop surfing the web over breakfast coffee and before and after lunch, and spread your tire-kicking out a little! Just kidding, that’s life on the web and we were mostly ready for it, but it is pretty tense watching the sun rise over the world on a launch day like Monday.
I’ll come back to more details on the “mostly” stuff and lessons learned sometime soon, but I wanted to give a quick update on how things are going, and clarify some stray memes about Acrobat.com that are flying around on the series of tubes serving the web.
We are incredibly excited about the path we’ve started down with today’s beta launch of Acrobat.com. Our goal for the next few years is big but simple: we want to change the way the world works together on documents, for the better. We’ll keep you up to date on our thoughts and progress through frequent (and usually shorter postings to this blog.
Acrobat.com is a suite of online services hosted by Adobe that you can use to create documents together and share them with others. It helps people get document work done faster, without email attachments or version confusion, and it makes your documents look great so that you and your work look great, too.
We are starting with three distinctive applications:
- Adobe Buzzword for creating and reviewing documents together.
- Adobe ConnectNow for holding full-fledged online web conferences with up to three people.
- The Acrobat.com organizer for sharing 5GB of files with others online, including the ability to convert 5 documents to PDF and embed your documents in blogs, wikis or other web pages.
Please give them a try, get more efficient, and let us know what you think. You can sign up for free at www.acrobat.com.
Read on to learn more about our vision…