As I prepare to take our eProductivity software public (It's been a private client-only solution for many years) I needed to find ways to support a growing community of eProductivity users. Since we are already a Notes and Domino shop, naturally I first checked to see what was available within the Notes community. This search led me to two outstanding tools: IdeaJam, by elguiji software and DomBulletin from OpenNTF.org.

IdeaJam
is an amazing product that engages community by allowing people to post ideas and vote on others. IdeaJam wraps all of this in the normal social tools like RSS, comments, email alerts, tag clouds and so on. What's neat about the voting is that you can cast a vote to Promote or Demote an idea. So, over the course of a day/week/month, you can see how the popular ideas float to the top. If you are a power Notes user, then you are probably already familiar with the IdeaJam site that Notes users are using to tell IBM what features are most important to them. In the year that the public IdeaJam site's been up I think they have had more ideas and votes posted than McDonald sold Hamburgers in the same period! (Well, close.)

eProductivityIdeaJam.gif

In the very short time that we've had our IdeaJam site up we've had several excellent ideas submitted and some of these are already in our development queue. I plan to blog more about IdeaJam as I get more experience with the process of involving users in the design process. You're welcome to check out our fledgling eProductivityJam.

DomBulletin
does what it's name says: it is a Domino-based bulletin-board program modelled after the popular PHPBulletin software. I was hesitant to use this software because it had not been updated for several years. I admit that I sat on the fence about this for over two years - did I want to use an old product as the basis for my forum? Ultimately the lure of being able to manage the entire forum in a single Notes database and the ability to integrate it into my workflow won me over. We tweaked a few forms and views and my friend, Tanny O'Haley came in cleaned up the web layout. I hope to see a newer version in the future, although I'm not sure that's in the cards. (Maybe the amazing Mr. Castledine will create one? Hint?) In any case, I'm pleased with the result. Did I mention that DomBulletin is free? You may explore our simple DomBulletin site, here.

There you have it. Two productivity tools that I'm finding useful as I work to build and encourage community around our product. I encourage you to check out these tools.

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