Design Philosophy.

I have designed and implemented dozens of non-trivial Notes databases. Over that time I have developed my own opinions about the development of Notes applications. You may strongly disagree with some of my conclusions ( If so I would like to hear from you, I really am open to changing my mind.)

Some developers believe that all Notes databases should implement the standard Notes interface ( i.e. folders, views and menu bar) with little customization..
Instead of spending time designing a "user-friendly" interface these developers believe that all users should be sent to Notes training where they can learn how to use the standard Notes interface.

I disagree with this approach.
The Notes interface is not intuitive to "casual users". In my experience, much of the functionality of Notes is "hidden". Too many times, sections must be expanded before available options are seen.

Keep the interface simple and the functionality in view !
This may seem obvious and true in all development, yet it is even more important in Lotus Notes.
The true power of Notes is unleashed when ALL stake holders have access to the databases that effect them. That means everyone from the mail person to the CEO. Often, the mail person and the CEO are the very individuals who are not computer literate. To expect them to learn the Notes interface before they can use a database is unreasonable.I always design my databases around simple navigators with large buttons. Everyone understands the "press a button to get a result" paradigm ( Oft referred to as the Ph.D. approach; Push here, Dummy ). I display all major functionality when the database is opened. Users do not have to "hunt" for the functionality.

( Please note: This philosophy applies to the development of non-trivial databases. The situation is different when developing simple, ad-hoc databases or when the developer is an end user.. One of the strengths of Notes is the ability to create ad-hoc databases very quickly. To expect the Notes interface to be customized in all cases would slow development. I suggest that end users rely on the functionality that Notes provides. In this way, their reliance on the services of the (overworked) IT department is reduced.)