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New Team in Town

Novell Vibe OnPrem (Formerly Novell Teaming 3)
Takes Collaboration Up Another Notch

Written by Ken Baker

If you've been following the recent buzz, you know that Novell Teaming has a new name: Novell Vibe. As part of Novell Vibe, this proven product delivers more value than ever before. That's because it's now part of a broader enterprise-class social collaboration platform that's available on premise and in the cloud. In fact, Novell Vibe brings together the products formerly known as Novell Teaming and Novell Pulse to make it easier for people to work together and drive better business results. Moving forward, Novell Teaming will be known as Novell Vibe OnPrem, and Novell Pulse will be known as Novell Vibe Cloud. And if you've been eagerly awaiting Novell Teaming 3, it's here—in the form of Novell Vibe OnPrem 3! What's new in this release? A user interface remodel, added branding capabilities, integrations with Novell Messenger and Novell Conferencing, and much more.

When you log in to Novell Vibe OnPrem 3, you’ll notice right away that it’s more polished and sports a more modern look.

Polished UI

When you log in to Novell Vibe OnPrem 3, you’ll notice right away that it’s more polished and sports a more modern look. To achieve this new look, Novell relied on in-depth usability and human factors studies to tweak interface color schemes, font sizes and contrast. The result is a much more pleasing overall appearance.

But some of the improved appearance comes from the user interface being less busy. The previous interface tried to surface too many of the product's features at one time, producing a result that wasn't as streamlined as it could be. The new interface in Novell Vibe OnPrem 3 takes a more simplistic approach that makes it more intuitive and easy to use. (See Figure 1.) It also borrows from the “activity streams” element from the user interface of Novell Vibe Cloud. This means that new content from people or topics you follow in Novell Vibe OnPrem appear in a single place—just as they do in the “Biglist” of Novell Vibe Cloud. This shared interface element is only the beginning of a long-term plan to bring functionality between the two deployment options of Novell Vibe together over time.

The simplified interface is especially apparent in the left navigation bar, which no longer features the long boxy list of all the places you can go and things you can do in Novell Vibe OnPrem. In its place is a stylish, quick list of key personal folder destinations, including your Blog, Calendar, File Folder, Guestbook, Photo Album, Task Folder and Trash. It operates a lot like file explorer, but for all content types, not just files and folders. And if you want more real estate for the main content window, you can instantly hide the left navigation bar with a click of the Expand/Contract Left Navigation button located on the header menu bar.

The header has been greatly simplified as well. Instead of having five levels of menu options—Sign Out, Favorites and My Teams, Search and My Workspace, the breadcrumb trail, and the main menu—the header has been consolidated into two intuitive levels. The top level of the header has the Novell Vibe OnPrem logo (or your organization’s brand) on the left and a personal workspace link and four quick link icons to Personal Preferences, Vibe Feed, Logout, and Help on the right. The header’s second level consists of a new menu bar with dropdowns to My Teams, My Favorites, Workspace (options for creating/editing workspaces and more), Recent Places and View. The menu bar also has another quick link to your personal workspace, along with Hide and Reveal toggle buttons for the left navigation bar and the header.

The menu bar has one more button—the Browse Hierarchy button—which makes a major contribution to the simple, less busy look and feel of the header. This button eliminates the constant display of the breadcrumb trail that lets you see the path to your current workspace or location. Now, instead of always displaying the trail or path, you just click the button to temporarily reveal your current path/hierarchy. (See Figure 2.) The button basically provides the same functionality as the breadcrumb trail, but it looks nicer and is more intuitive.

In a final move toward header simplification, some of the functionality from the old main menu has been moved into other, more intuitive locations. For example, the ability to manage your workspace settings and configure access rights is now part of the new Workspace options pull-down menu.

As an additional part of the UI enhancements, user profiles are also now much more robust. Instead of being limited to basic contact information, users have a more extensive list of profile options, and the administrator has the ability to expand profiles by adding additional elements. It also provides a quick profile, such that when you click another user's name, it'll show you their presence, contact information, microblog, picture, and links to their full profile, workspace and more.

Associated with site branding in Novell Vibe OnPrem 3 is the ability for organizations to create their own site home page.

Simplified and Extended Branding

As another enhancement to the user interface, branding has been simplified and extended. Now it only takes a few minutes to brand a workspace or folder, customizing it to look and feel the way you want. Simply select Brand Workspace... from the Workspace options pull-down and then configure your workspace brand with images, text, font sizes and colors of your choice.
(See Figure 3.)

Novell Vibe OnPrem 3 also introduces the ability to brand your entire site. In fact, you can configure the product to allow site branding with no individual workspace branding, allow site branding and workspace branding to co-exist, or allow workspace branding to override site branding. To take advantage of site branding, you just log in as admin, click on the Administration icon, select Site Branding from the sidebar options, and then customize and configure your site brand. (See Figure 4.)

Associated with site branding in Novell Vibe OnPrem 3 is the ability for organizations to create their own site home page. This lets you have a branded landing page for your whole site—one that users will be taken to by default whenever they log in to their Novell Vibe OnPrem environment. You can customize the site home page to fit your specific needs, populating it with company news, mission statements, product information, support knowledgebases, links to company resources or blogs, and more. This capability is ideal for organizations that want to replace or augment their Internet presence using Novell Vibe OnPrem.

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