Introducing Scott Clayton – Senior Windows Client Architect. One of our absolute best engineers and he is here to explain one the GroupWise Ascot features – Relevance Sorting!
First Burger King, then Tivo, then GroupWise?
Remember those old Burger King commercials with the tag line Have it your way? What a novel concept to go into a burger joint, place your order and then not have to pull off the onions and scrape off the mustard or any other stuff you hate.
These days when it comes to TV I’m no longer bound by the schedule dictated by the networks or cable stations. Thanks to Tivo I not only watch what I want when I want it, I even skip the commercials. Talk about having it my way. Wouldn’t it be nice if GroupWise worked like that?
In GroupWise Ascot we’re making progress in that direction. We’re introducing a concept we call relevance sorting. Here’s how it works. You perform an action, let’s say you use name completion to find a person you want to send an email to. When you hit enter to add that person to the email’s address list we mark that contact as relevant, because you used it. And if you hit send on that email we’ll mark that contact as relevant again, effectively doubling the relevance count for that contact. Then, the next time you use name completion the contacts with a higher relevance count will sort to the top of the list name completion hit list. This means that, theoretically, after you use GroupWise Ascot for a little while you should be able to name complete to your most relevant contacts with fewer keystrokes. Cool, huh?
What happens when I stop using an individual contact you ask? Will I be stuck with them forever just because we emailed back and forth a few times? The short answer is no, you won’t be stuck with them forever. Each time nightly maintenance is run by your administrator the relevance count will be reduced by a small percentage, small in comparison to how much the relevance count increases when you use your contacts. So if you stop using a contact, after a few months, the relevance count on that contact will return back to zero.
In the spirit of full disclosure there is a limitation to our relevance sorting implementation in the name completion list. Number one: it doesn’t work against the system address book. The reason has to do with the static nature of system wide contacts, something we hope to address in our upcoming Windermere release. Number two: the relevance sorting doesn’t work across personal address books, only within. Based on your name completion search order you’ll see results from the first book contacts are found in, with the most relevant sorted to the top, then the results from the second book, with the most relevant sorted to the top of that list, but underneath all the contacts found in the first book. What this really means is, if you consistently use name completion to find contacts in multiple personal address books the usefulness of the relevance sorting will be limited. If you mainly use the default Frequent Contacts book, or a single personal address book the relevance sorting will have a greater impact on your name completion day in and day out. And one more thing, we plan to redesign name completion entirely in an upcoming release, so at that point we hope to address all of these limitations.
Another place where we introduced relevance sorting is in the Recently Used Folders list. This is found in the same space as the Favorites folder list. Each time you open a folder, or drop an item into a folder we increase the relevance count for that folder. The top 15 folders are displayed under the Recently Used Folders root.
For those who like the Favorites folder list, which is more of a manual pinning of folders (you put them in and you take them out), you can still do it that way. The Recently Used Folders root will be placed below your favorite folders. But, if you didn’t ever take the time to add to the Favorites folder list the Recently Used Folders list will take over, hiding the Favorites root folder until you add something to it. The Recently Used Folders list will sort your most relevant folders to the top, and if you stop using a folder it will, over time, move down in the list till it falls completely off, exactly like the contacts. This provides a more automatic way to spotlight the folders you use the most. And in order to prevent clutter in your Favorites space we won’t put any folders in the Recently Used Folders list that are in your Favorites folder list, or are on your Nav Bar.
One more place we’re using the relevance sorting is with categories. In previous releases of GroupWise the menu showing your categories was sorted based on the last one used. In Ascot we’re using relevance count to sort the categories on the menu.
So, when you start running GroupWise Ascot watch how name completion behaves, take a look at the Recently Used Folders list, and check out the category menu as well. Relevance sorting is just one way GroupWise Ascot tailors the user experience so each individual can have it their way. In the future we will look for more places to utilize relevance sorting. If you have any ideas on how you would like us to do that please let us know.