Wednesday Aug 22, 2012

User Experience Highlights in Oracle E-Business Suite: Direct from Nadia Bendjedou

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts on the user experience (UX) highlights in various Oracle product families. The last posted interview was with Jeremy Ashley, Vice President, Applications User Experience, on simplifying Oracle’s applications experiences. In these posts, you’ll see themes around productivity and efficiency, and get an early look at the latest mobile offerings coming through these product lines.

Today’s post is on Oracle E-Business Suite. To learn more about what’s ahead, attend Oracle E-Business Suite OpenWorld presentations.

This interview is with Nadia Bendjedou, Senior Director, Product Strategy.


Nadia Bendjedou
Nadia Bendjedou

Q: How would you describe the vision you have for the user experience of E-Business Suite, for both the application and the framework?

A: Our vision for the EBS user experience is to be productive, personalizable, modern, and feature-rich. The things we have done which resonate with customers include improving our productivity. We have done that by reducing the number of clicks, and reducing redundant windows and pop-ups.

We have streamlined our workflows and business processes. Instead of having four to five screens to do a particular transaction, we have reduced that to two screens, for example.

Moving the navigator to the global header solved a number of issues.  Customers have more real estate on the home screen -- which now allows them to personalize the home screen to include relevant information for them.  Also, users can get back to the global header no matter where they are.  This is accessible from everywhere; you don’t need to go back to the home page.  This is an incredible improvement.

Another feature is the "look-ahead" search and inline list of values.  In the past, you would need at least three screens to choose a value from a list of values, and this involves two round trips to the server. Now, with the inline list of values, you type the first letter and the list filters, a second letter and the list reduces. This is a great user experience feature that our customers really appreciate. 


All these features are part of the productivity vision that we have -- streamlined work flows, the navigator, and the inline list of values.

Personalization capabilities are a part of making the product easy to use by the end users, not necessarily by the administrator.  For example, we want to give end users the ability to personalize the screen so that users can re-order columns and fields on the screen.  These are just some of the things we are doing on personalization. We are adding a lot more in the next releases, and you will see that highlighted at OpenWorld as part of 12.2.

Modern and cutting edge: We are revamping what the user interface will look like in the next release.  This would include improving the productivity of components like the table, the search, the h-grid.  This is part of an overall revamping, bringing a modern sensibility to the visual style.  We are getting it closer to Fusion because customers will be using Fusion, and we want that experience to be seamless.  Whether they are in Fusion Talent Management or E-Business Suite self-service HR, they should not see that much difference in the user interface.  This is much better for our existing customers.


The new E-Business Suite Navigator

Q: Are any UX highlights more popular than you expected them to be?  

A: The list of values (LOV) and the global header.  I didn’t think customers would be so impressed by this, but they really are.  An end user doesn’t want to have to leave their context to navigate, and the global header is accessible everywhere. The LOV is hugely popular. The inline popups where you have a person's name and you can see the person's detail instantly. Customers love how we have paid attention to the smallest details.


The new inline LOV for EBS

Q: How are you approaching mobile user experiences in Oracle E-Business Suite?

A: We are addressing mobile in EBS in two ways.  One, we are certifying all of the Oracle Application Framework (OAF) capabilities on the iPad.  This means that we are running OAF with Safari.  Once we do this, customers can use our OAF screens on an iPad. Of course, an iPad has limitations like no file system, and no scroll bar.  However, we are giving customers the opportunity to run OAF pages with an iPad.  All of the self-service applications will now be able to run on an iPad.  Customers can run their self-service HR on an iPad, or self-service procurement.

The second thing we are doing is building native tablet functionality that could be for iPhone, iPad, Android, or other devices. We have selected where it makes sense to do this, for example, field service products.  You have field service going on the road somewhere to fix an asset.  Mobile functionality makes a lot of sense here. We will be highlighting this as well at OpenWorld.

Q: What else are you working on now that you think is going to be exciting to customers at OOW?

A: The biggest thing we are doing at OpenWorld is Endeca integration with Oracle E-Business Suite. Endeca is really going to take the user experience to another level – it will be about changing the way we use the apps. If you have booked a hotel online or shopped online, you will see the same guided navigation and filtering. That is going to be the landing page for most of our products and modules.  So users will have an intelligent home page.  It is a delightful combination of search, performance, scalability, and business intelligence on structured and unstructured data.  This is something we don’t have today in any application.


This screenshot shows an example of Endeca integration with Oracle E-Business Suite.

Q: What else do you want customers to know?

A: There are a couple of things that we are working on, online patching and moving to Fusion Middleware 11g, that will impact the user experience.

Online patching will be a signature feature of 12.2.  This will allow customers to patch their system while their system is operational. The user will be able to carry on with their work and the system will not be down.  If the system is down, your workers are unproductive.

In 12.2, we are moving to the latest Fusion Middleware 11g, and we will be running on the weblogic server.  We are redefining our technology stack in 12.2; it is a technology shift.

Editor’s note: For more on Oracle E-Business Suite user experience highlights, visit the Usable Apps web site.

To find out more about these enhancements at OpenWorld, check out these sessions:

CON9027 Personalize and Extend Oracle E-Business Suite Applications with Rich Mashups
CON9026 Oracle E-Business User Interface: Rich and Mobile OA Framework Applications
CON9118 Mobile Solutions for Oracle E-Business Suite Applications: Technical Insight
CON9116 Extending the Use of Oracle E-Business Suite Endeca In-Memory Accelerator

For more information on Nadia Bendjedou, see her story.

Friday Aug 10, 2012

Tour Oracle’s Usability Labs during OOW 2012

By the Oracle Applications User Experience team

Oracle invites you to tour our state-of-the-art usability labs Oct. 4-5 during Oracle OpenWorld 2012 in San Francisco. Hop on one of our special chartered buses and head to Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood Shores.

lab tour bus
If you have a reservation, look for a bus like this one near Moscone West in San Francisco.

Our labs will be open for two days to allow our customers to see firsthand how we test future product designs using the latest technology, including eye-tracking equipment and facial recognition software that helps track emotional responses to enterprise application screens. You’ll also get an early look at the direction our enterprise software is heading, including demos of designs for platforms such as the tablet and mobile phone.

Transportation from the Moscone Center in San Francisco to Oracle’s headquarters will be offered for tours on Thursday, Oct. 4, and Friday, Oct. 5, only. If you or your colleagues are interested in joining a lab tour, sign up now to reserve your spot.

lab tour photo
In this lab tour, the group looks into one of Oracle’s smaller labs, which is set up like an office, from a control room.

Sunday Jul 29, 2012

User Experience Roadmap for Oracle Applications: Direct from Jeremy Ashley

By Misha Vaughan, Applications User Experience

This is the third in a series of blog posts on the user experience (UX) highlights in various Oracle product families.

Last week’s post was with Gary Grieshaber, Senior Director, EnterpriseOne Product Strategy on JD Edwards. This interview is with Jeremy Ashley, Vice President, Oracle Applications User Experience team. Here, he talks about Oracle’s roadmap for simplifying Oracle Applications user experiences and what you might expect to see at Oracle OpenWorld 2012 this year.

Jeremy Ashley
Jeremy Ashley

These days, if you ask Ashley about Oracle’s strategy with Applications User Experience, his answer is short: “Simplicity.”

The enterprise application landscape is changing for user experiences, he says. The underlying technologies -- the software, the hardware, and the storage capabilities -- have become so sophisticated that users’ expectations have started to shift. They now expect even more from their devices. Users want their experiences to be smarter and simpler and portable.

You might be expecting to hear more about the consumerization of information technology, or the trend toward BYOD (bring your own device), or even big data.  

Ashley says he views these trends as byproducts, or symptoms, of a larger trend. Users now expect their software experiences to simply map to their needs. They are no longer willing to work to the device, spending hours on training and patiently wading through quirky work-around solutions. Instead, they want the device to work around their needs.

What does Ashley mean when he talks about “simplicity”?  

He calls it a process of reduction. Rather than building more, he says, look at how you can get more out of what you have.  

At OpenWorld, you’ll be able to see what Ashley means by this. This process of reduction, this simplification, becomes imperative for Oracle customers who have a high number of users, on a high volume of transactions, and need walk-up-and-use ease of use.

On the Applications User Experience team, we call this the “entry experience.”

Ashley said that Oracle is evaluating its product lines with an eye toward design, and looking for specific opportunities to simplify. Whether it is with a product family or a spot solution, the Applications UX team is really paying attention to where simplification is needed most and makes the most sense. For example, he said, that could mean providing a simplified user experience or performing inventory receiving using Oracle Fusion Applications Supply Chain Management (SCM).

The other part of simplification is about integrating a user experience across features and across devices of all shapes and sizes -- seamlessly. Rather than presenting the user with a full menu of options, simplicity means making sense of how to pull together the best set of features and information to fit whatever device a user may be working on, as Oracle has done in Oracle Fusion Applications.

Ashley will lead a general session at OpenWorld on the topic of simplification, and he is planning to demo what are likely to be some of the most exciting enterprise applications user experiences Oracle’s has ever showcased. He will be joined by ACE Directors Basheer Khan, CEO of Innowave; Debra Lilley, Oracle Alliance Director and Fusion champion of Fujitsu; and Edward Roske, CEO of InterRel.

Don't miss Ashley’s session at OpenWorld this year.

CON9467 - Oracle’s Roadmap to a Simple, Modern User Experience

This is where you will get a look at the promised demos.

CON9438 - Oracle Fusion Applications: Transforming Insight into Action

In this session, you'll hear again from Basheer Khan, CEO of Innowave, as he presents with Ashley and Katie Candland, Director, Oracle Fusion Applications, on his experience with implementing Fusion Project Portfolio Management, or PPM. A video interview of Khan is also available, where he says his company's implementation of Fusion Applications is bringing efficiencies to their business that they've never seen before.

Find out more about how you can connect with the Oracle Applications User Experience team at OpenWorld 2012.


Monday Jul 16, 2012

User Experience Highlights in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne: Direct from Gary Grieshaber

By Misha Vaughan and Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience 


This is the second in a series of blog posts on the user experience (UX) highlights in various Oracle product families. The last post was with George Jacob, Group Vice President for CRM Applications. You’ll see themes around productivity and efficiency, and get an early look at the latest mobile offerings coming through these product lines.

Today’s post is on JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. To learn more about what’s ahead, attend JD Edwards OpenWorld presentations.

This interview is with Gary Grieshaber, Senior Director, EnterpriseOne Product Strategy.

Gary Grieshaber

Gary Grieshaber

Q: How would you describe the vision you have for the user experience of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne?

A: Modern, intuitive, productive.

The focus here is making end users productive while they are interacting with the applications. This encompasses items such as delivering composite applications to deliver all the information they need to make decisions, enabling end users to personalize the software for their specific needs, and making the transactions as simple as possible. 

Q: How are the UX features you have delivered so far resonating with customers? 

A: The improvements are resonating way beyond our expectations. This has already had a positive impact on encouraging customers to upgrade. Here’s an example of what customers have said:

  • “The extensive updates in Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1, including the new JD Edwards EnterpriseOne One View Reporting, demonstrates Oracle’s focus on providing the tools for a company to grow and adapt to the changing global environment,” said Stephen Kerrigan, Director of Business Applications at Kinross Gold Corporation. “Oracle’s JD Edwards has demonstrated its commitment to its customers and ERP innovation with not only this release of  JD EnterpriseOne 9.1, but with the recent releases of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Tools 9.1 and its support for multiple mobile applications and technologies.”  
  • “I believe our success is based on picking a great partner, Guidewire, and a great ERP suite with the latest mobile, iPad and user interface available in the market. Our employees found the user interface to be incredibly easy to use, and our entire staff have become power users in a very short amount of time,” said Adam Riches, Corporate Controller of Midway Gold.

Q: You mentioned that these UX highlights are more popular than you expected them to be. Can you provide an example? 

A: At the COLLABORATE 2012 conference, we announced the release of a new end-user reporting set of tooling and applications called JD Edwards EnterpriseOne One View Reporting (below). This enables end users to create their own reports by using the familiar interactive application to drive the reporting process.  The user can simply select the fields from the applications which they are already familiar with to select the data for the report, then use the power of the BI Publisher interactive reporting capability to generate the report. This is a major game-changer in terms of ease of use for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne users.



Interactive reporting capabilities are just clicks away with the release of the new One View Reporting tools.

The new JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Pages feature (below) has caught on like wildfire. This is the ability for customers to easily deploy role-based pages for easy navigation, task-directed activities, reports and business intelligence, and external web content. Customers have run with this feature and created business process flow based on navigation, graphical menus, composite application, and many other creative uses.



New drop-down menus, including Favorites, and easy-to-use carousel navigation are among the user experience highlights found in EnterpriseOne now.


Q: What are customers saying about your current mobile offerings?

A: We are getting great traction with the tablet support for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, which enables our customers to run the entire suite of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne applications from an iPad. Don Sauve, a programmer/analyst from Wagstaff, Inc., said that "Oracle has responded to customer requests in providing iPad support for EnterpriseOne. Implementation was a snap as part of the normal tools release update, and E1-specific gestures make the user experience very intuitive."

Q: What are you working on now that you think is going to be exciting to customers at Oracle OpenWorld?

A: We are working on a number of key initiatives that we feel our customers will be very excited to see built into the product. This includes more solutions around mobility, personalization, and end user productivity. In the mobility category, we are working on Tighter Device Integration (such as camera, geolocation) for both the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne smartphone and tablet-based applications. We are also planning support for additional devices as they emerge in the marketplace. In the area of personalization, our strategy is to remove the need for more expensive code-based modification and, in its place, provide more capabilities for end users and IT to configure the user experience. Features such as end-user Form personalization, enhancements to user favorites, and user-defined launch pages will significantly help in this area. In the area of end user productivity, we are planning more capabilities for the EnterpriseOne Pages feature and adding advanced data visualization to the product.

Q: What do you want JD Edwards customers to know?

A: With the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 release, we have delivered a tremendous set of improvements to the end user experience. This is an exciting area for the JD Edwards product line, and the feedback from our customers, partners, and sales has been remarkable. A key part of the product line strategy is to continue this momentum, so stayed tuned to upcoming product innovations.   

Editor’s note: For more on JD Edwards EnterpriseOne user experience highlights, visit the Usable Apps web site.

To find out more about these enhancements at Openworld, be sure to check out these sessions:

CON9160 - Showcase of the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne User Experience

HOL10452 - JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 User Interface Changes

CON9158 - End User Empowerment with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne One View Reporting



Monday Jul 02, 2012

User Experience Highlights in Siebel: Direct from George Jacob

By Misha Vaughan and Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

This is the first in a series of blog posts on the user experience (UX) highlights coming in various Oracle product families. You’ll see themes around productivity and efficiency, as well as a thoughtful approach to pushing UX capabilities into the underlying tooling. Of course, you can also expect to get an early look at the latest mobile offerings coming through these product lines.

Today’s post is on Siebel. To learn more about what’s ahead, attend Siebel OpenWorld presentations. Our first interview is with George Jacob, the Group Vice President for CRM Applications.


George Jacob

Q: How would you describe the vision you have for the user experience of Siebel?
A: Contemporary: Siebel runs in all browsers and all browser-capable devices using the latest web technology standards, such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML 5 while providing a native application user experience.
Productive: Siebel is designed for a user experience that reduces clutter and user keystrokes.
User-sensitive: The user experience enables Siebel to adapt easily to business needs, device types and user preferences.

Q: How are the UX features you have delivered so far resonating with customers?
A:  Customers are very excited about our refresh of the Siebel user interface capabilities; the Siebel roadmap and user interface sessions at Oracle OpenWorld last year overflowed. We have had to turn back customer requests to participate in the early adopter program because we had more than we could handle. Customers are calling this a game-changer for Siebel.

Q: So the UX highlights are popular?
A: Yes, the UX highlights are very popular, although to a certain extent we expected this! 

Q: What’s coming in Siebel on a mobile platform?
A: Our current mobile offering is based on Windows Mobile (native application), and is fairly mature (over 5 years). The new Siebel Open User Interface Framework, by virtue of working on all browsers, will run – when it is released this year – on tablets and smartphones. This is one of the reasons a number of customers are most excited about our UX changes.



Views of Siebel data on mobile devices


Q: What are you working on now that you think is going to be exciting to customers at OOW?
A: We are working on the Siebel Open User Interface, to be released this year in the Siebel 2012 8.1.1.9 & 8.2.2.2 innovation packs. We are also working on Connected Mobile applications for Sales, Service, Consumer Goods and Pharmaceuticals, and Disconnected Mobile applications for Pharmaceuticals in the same release. We are building specialized applications that exploit the new UI framework for Telco Order Capture and for Life Sciences healthcare professional visits. Our 2012 delivery will be the foundation for further user experience enhancements, next year and beyond.

Q: What do you want Siebel customers to know?
A:  We are excited to be focused on improving the user experience of Siebel applications, and it is encouraging to see the positive feedback from Siebel customers and partners.

If you would like to see more in the Siebel user experience, be sure to check out these sessions at OpenWorld:

CON9700 - Siebel CRM Overview, Strategy, and Roadmap

CON9703 - User Interface Innovations with the New Siebel “Open UI”

CON9705 - Unleash the Power of “Open UI”

CON9697 - Mobile Solutions for Siebel CRM



Thursday Jun 21, 2012

Tailoring the Oracle Fusion Applications User Interface with Oracle Composer

By Killian Evers, Oracle Applications User Experience

Changing the user interface (UI) is one of the most common modifications customers perform to Oracle Fusion Applications. Typically, customers add or remove a field based on their needs. Oracle makes the process of tailoring easier for customers, and reduces the burden for their IT staff, which you can read about on the Usable Apps website or in an earlier VoX post.

This is the first in a series of posts that will talk about the tools that Oracle has provided for tailoring with its family of composers. These tools are designed for business systems analysts, and they allow employees other than IT staff to make changes in an upgrade-safe and patch-friendly manner.

Let’s take a deep dive into one of these composers, the Oracle Composer.

Oracle Composer allows business users to modify existing UIs after they have been deployed and are in use. It is an integral component of our SaaS offering. Using Oracle Composer, users can control:
    •    Who sees the changes
    •    When the changes are made
    •    What changes are made

Change for me, change for you, change for all of you

One of the most powerful aspects of Oracle Composer is its flexibility. Oracle uses Oracle Composer to make changes for a user or group of users – those who see the changes. A user of Oracle Fusion Applications can make changes to the user interface at runtime via Oracle Composer, and these changes will remain every time they log into the system. For example, they can rearrange certain objects on a page, add and remove designated content, and save queries.

Business systems analysts can make changes to Oracle Fusion Application UIs for groups of users or all users. Oracle’s Fusion Middleware Metadata Services (MDS) stores these changes and retrieves them at runtime, merging customizations with the base metadata and revealing the final experience to the end user.

A tailored application can have multiple customization layers, and some layers can be specific to certain Fusion Applications. Some examples of customization layers are: site, organization, country, or role.

Customization layers are applied in a specific order of precedence on top of the base application metadata.


This image illustrates how customization layers are applied.

What time is it?

Users make changes to UIs at design time, runtime, and design time at runtime. Design time changes are typically made by application developers using an integrated development environment, or IDE, such as Oracle JDeveloper. Once made, these changes are then deployed to managed servers by application administrators.

Oracle Composer covers the other two areas: Runtime changes and design time at runtime changes. When we say users are making changes at runtime, we mean that the changes are made within the running application and take effect immediately in the running application. A prime example of this ability is users who make changes to their running application that only affect the UIs they see.

What is new with Oracle Composer is the last area: Design time at runtime.  A business systems analyst can make changes to the UIs at runtime but does not have to make those changes immediately to the application. These changes are stored as metadata, separate from the base application definitions. Customizations made at runtime can be saved in a sandbox so that the changes can be isolated and validated before being published into an environment, without the need to redeploy the application.

What can I do?

Oracle Composer can be run in one of two modes. Depending on which mode is chosen, you may have different capabilities available for changing the UIs. The first mode is view mode, the most common default mode for most pages. This is the mode that is used for personalizations or user customizations. Users can access this mode via the Personalization link (see below) in the global region on Oracle Fusion Applications pages. In this mode, you can rearrange components on a page with drag-and-drop, collapse or expand components, add approved external content, and change the overall layout of a page. However, all of the changes made this way are exclusive to that particular user.



The second mode, edit mode, is typically made available to select users with access privileges to edit page content. We call these folks business systems analysts. This mode is used to make UI changes for groups of users. Users with appropriate privileges can access the edit mode of Oracle Composer via the Administration menu (see below) in the global region on Oracle Fusion Applications pages. In edit mode, users can also add components, delete components, and edit component properties.



While in edit mode in Oracle Composer, there are two views that assist the business systems analyst with making UI changes: Design View and Source View (see below).



Design View, the default view, is a WYSIWYG rendering of the page and its content. The business systems analyst can perform these actions:

  • Add content – including custom content like a portlet displaying news or stock quotes, or predefined content delivered from Oracle Fusion Applications (including ADF components and task flows)
  • Rearrange content – performed via drag-and-drop on the page or by using the actions menu of a component or portlet to move content around
  • Edit component properties and parameters – for specific components, control the visual properties such as text or display labels, or parameters such as RSS feeds
  • Hide or show components – hidden components can be re-shown
  • Delete components
  • Change page layout – users can select from eight pre-defined layouts
  • Edit page properties – create or edit a page’s parameters and display properties
  • Reset page customizations – remove edits made to the page in the current layer and/or reset the page to a previous state.

Detailed information on each of these capabilities and the additional actions not covered in the list above can be found in the Oracle® Fusion Middleware Developer's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.


This image shows what the screen looks like in Design View.

Source View, the second option in the edit mode of Oracle Composer, provides a WYSIWYG and a hierarchical rendering of page components in a component navigator. In Source View, users can access and modify properties of components that are not otherwise selectable in Design View. For example, many ADF Faces components can be edited only in Source View. Users can also edit components within a task flow.


This image shows what the screen looks like in Source View.

Detailed information on Source View can be found in the Oracle® Fusion Middleware Developer's Guide for Oracle WebCenter.
Oracle Composer enables any application or portal to be customized or personalized after it has been deployed and is in use. It is designed to be extremely easy to use so that both business systems analysts and users can edit Oracle Fusion Applications pages with a few clicks of the mouse. Oracle Composer runs in all modern browsers and provides a rich, dynamic way to edit JSF application and portal pages.

From the editor: The next post in this series about composers will be on Data Composer. You can also catch Killian speaking about extensibility at OpenWorld 2012 and in her Faces of Fusion video.

Wednesday Jun 13, 2012

We need you! Sign up now to give Oracle your feedback on future product design trends at OpenWorld 2012

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

Get the most from your Oracle OpenWorld 2012 experience and participate in a usability feedback session, where your expertise will help Oracle develop unbeatable products and solutions. Sign up to attend a one-hour session during Oracle OpenWorld. You’ll learn about Oracle’s future design trends -- including mobile applications and social networking -- and how these trends will affect your users down the road.

OpenWorld Exterior 2011

A street scene from Oracle OpenWorld 2011.

Oracle’s usability experts will guide you through practical learning sessions on the user experience of various business applications, middleware, and more. All user feedback sessions will be conducted October 1–3 at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel on Howard Street, just a few steps away from the Moscone Center.

To best match you with a user feedback activity, we will ask you about your role at your company. Our user feedback opportunities include focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one sessions with usability engineers.

What do you get out of it? Customer and partner participants in the past have been surprised to learn how tuned in Oracle is to work that their applications users do every day. Oracle’s User Experience team members are trained to listen carefully, ask specific questions, interpret your answers, and work with designers to create products and solutions that suit your needs. Our goal is to help make you and your users more productive and efficient.

Learn about Oracle’s process, and take advantage of the chance to give your specific feedback to the designers who create the enterprise applications of your future. See for yourself how Oracle collects feedback and measures its designs for turning them into code.

Seats are limited for Oracle’s user feedback sessions, so sign up now by sending an e-mail to Gozel.Aamoth@oracle.com with the subject line: Sign Me Up for an Oracle OpenWorld 2012 UX Session.

For more information about customer feedback sessions and what you can learn from them, please visit the Usable Apps website.


When: Monday-Wednesday during OpenWorld 2012, Oct. 1-3

Where: The InterContinental San Francisco Hotel

How to sign up: RSVP now by sending an email to gozel.aamoth@oracle.com with the subject line “Sign me up for an OOW 2012 UX Session.”

Learn more: Visit the Usable Apps website at Get Involved.



Wednesday Jun 06, 2012

Partner outreach on the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience begins

by Misha Vaughan, Architect, Applications User Experience

I have been asked the question repeatedly since about December of last year: “What is the Applications User Experience group doing about partner outreach?”  My answer, at the time, was: “We are thinking about it.”  

My colleagues and I were really thinking about the content or tools that the Applications UX group should be developing. What would be valuable to our partners? What will actually help grow their applications business, and fits within the applications user experience charter?

In the video above, you’ll hear Jeremy Ashley, vice president of the Applications User Experience team, talk about two fundamental initiatives that our group is working on now that speaks straight to partners.  

Special thanks to Joel Borellis, Kelley Greenly, and Steve Hoodmaker for helping to make this video happen so flawlessly. Steve was responsible for pulling together a day of Oracle Fusion Applications-oriented content, including David Bowin, Director, Fusion Applications Strategy, on some of the basic benefits of Oracle Fusion Applications.  

Joel Borellis and David Bowin
Joel Borellis, Group Vice President, Partner Enablement, and David Bowin in the Oracle Studios.

Nigel King, Vice President Applications Functional Architecture, was also on the list, talking about co-existence opportunities with Oracle Fusion Applications.

Misha Vaughan and Nigel King
Me and Nigel King, just before his interview with Joel.

Fusion Applications User Experience 101: Basic education 


Oracle has invested an enormous amount of intellectual and developmental effort in the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience. Find out more about that at the Oracle Partner Network Fusion Learning Center (Oracle ID required).

What you’ll learn will help you uncover how, exactly, Oracle made Fusion General Ledger “sexy,” and that’s a direct quote from Oracle Ace Director Debra Lilley, of Fujitsu.

In addition, select Applications User Experience staff members, as well as our own Fusion User Experience Advocates,  can provide a briefing to our partners on Oracle’s investment in the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience.

Looking forward: Taking the best of the Fusion Applications UX to your customers

Beyond a basic orientation to one of the key differentiators for Oracle Fusion Applications, we are also working on partner-oriented training.

A question we are often getting right now is: “How do I help customers build applications that look like Fusion?” We also hear: “How do I help customers build applications that take advantage of the next-generation design work done in Fusion?”

Our answer to this is training and a tool – our user experience design patterns – these are a set of user experience best-practices. Design patterns are re-usable, usability-tested, user experience components that make creating Fusion Applications-like experiences straightforward.  

It means partners can leverage Oracle’s investment, but also gain an advantage by not wasting time solving a problem we’ve already solved. Their developers can focus on helping customers tackle the harder development challenges.

Ultan O’Broin, an Apps UX team member,  and I are working with Kevin Li and Chris Venezia of the Oracle Platform Technology Services team, as well as Grant Ronald in Oracle ADF, to bring you some of the best “how-to” UX training, customized for your local area. Our first workshop will be in EMEA. Stay tuned for an assessment and feedback from the event.

Wednesday May 23, 2012

VIDEO: Fusion Mobile Expenses

By Misha Vaughan, Architect, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle Applications Fusion Mobile Expenses

Want to see something that clearly demonstrates that Oracle gets mobile?

Check out this video crafted by the Oracle Applications User Experience team and the Oracle Financials Product Strategy team. The video is for Oracle Fusion Applications Mobile Expenses, and it integrates with Fusion Expenses.



EVERYone hates entering expenses. This application, and the video, show how Oracle takes that pain away.

This application really showcases how mobile devices, and their new onboard technologies like voice input and cameras, are making completely new user experiences possible for enterprise users.

I had a chance to ask Diana Gray, Senior Manager for Financials Product Strategy what users were saying.  According to Gray, "Based on the feedback we've received, the users are delighted about the voice integration that creates expense lines based on your recording details as well as scanning receipts to create expense lines. Being able to capture expenses 'on the go' and submit them for online report creation makes the business traveler's life so much simpler. No more lost receipts. No need to remember how much you paid out of pocket for taxis and tips."

For more information, go to Oracle.com under Financial Management. Or you can get more details in this data sheet.

Want to find out more about Diana and her vision for mobile expenses?  Check out her Faces of Fusion Video

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Factoring UX into Enterprise Resource Planning Upgrades: Joe McKendrick, Unisphere Research, talks about productivity and user adoption

By Misha Vaughan, Architect, Applications User Experience

Joe McKendrick
Joe McKendrick, Analyst & Contributing Editor, Unisphere Research

You know how sometimes you find an absolute gem of a link in the middle of a blog? I found a link to a study just completed on the Oracle Applications User Group membership by Unisphere Research recently. It was tucked away in a blog post by Debra Lilley, who is an ACE Director with Oracle.  Full disclosure: The study was sponsored by Oracle.

I contacted the author of the study, Joe McKendrick, analyst and contributing editor at Unisphere, because the survey provoked some questions for me. I found the study to be pretty illuminating in terms of trends such as productivity and user adoption – that orbit near user experience – but the survey didn’t address enterprise user experience (UX) directly. I wanted to push a little farther, and see if Joe had some specific insights to share based on his work.

MV: What was the motivation behind the survey?

JM:  The purpose of the survey was to understand how much work needed to be done in terms of upgrading to the latest versions of Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft or JD Edwards, and what kinds of issues companies were encountering in making these upgrades. 



MV: How did your company get involved in this study?

JM: Unisphere Research has strong partnerships with Oracle Applications User Group and Quest, the PeopleSoft user group. Members of these groups are providing both the leadership as well as hands-on involvement in ERP upgrade efforts seen in enterprises. 



MV: In the survey, I noticed anticipated benefits of enterprise upgrades, including some areas that relate to user experience such as access to new functionality, improved user productivity, and reduction in IT costs. How do you see usability, user interface, and user experience emerging as an anticipated benefit of an Oracle applications upgrade?

JM:  One of the leading criticisms of ERP systems since they gained popularity over the past two decades is complexity, difficulty to implement, and user resistance. This criticism is not lost on the major ERP vendors, especially Oracle. Each upgrade is built upon user feedback to the previous version. The emphasis now is on providing a relatively lightweight interface, not only for PC terminals, but mobile devices such as smartphones, that not only are simple to navigate, but provide 24/7 access. 



MV: In another part of the survey, I read that top enterprise risks also had some areas that related to user experience, such as maintaining customizations, end user adoption, and rise in training costs. What do you think about usability, user interface, and user experience with regard to ERP rollout risks?

JM: User adoption has always been one of the major sticking points in new ERP system rollouts. This is considered a risk area in the upgrade process, simply because user unfamiliarity with a new interface or new functions may impact the productivity of the organization. 



MV: I also read that user acceptance was among the top issues encountered during enterprise upgrades. What is your perspective on this?

JM:  As alluded to above, users often grow comfortable with existing environments, and change always poses a threat. Businesses need to provide more training and facilitate greater user input into the ERP upgrade process, to enable greater buy-in and less trauma when the rollout actually occurs. 



MV:  In the survey, you discuss compelling reasons for enterprise suite upgrades related to user experience: adopt next-generation technology, increase user productivity, minimize/remove customizations, modernization, and prepare for Oracle Fusion Applications. Can you comment on any of these factors specifically?

JM:  Simplicity and ease of use are the holy grail for ERP applications. Again, these environments have long been regarded as complex, difficult to navigate, and difficult to maintain.  New generations of systems seek to align with the online experiences seen with social networking and mobile applications -- more intuitive, more graphical, and more targeted.

MV:  If you would like to see the survey conducted by Unisphere, you can find it here.

Friday May 04, 2012

COLLABORATE 12 Wrap-Up: Applications User Experience in Las Vegas

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience



Getting the word out about Oracle’s investment in user experience

We had our best year yet at COLLABORATE 12, especially in terms of getting the word out about Oracle’s investment in user experience across the product lines. If you are a reader of this blog, you know that this message in particular is a big item for me.

Our Fusion Applications User Experience session with Jeremy Ashley, Katie Candland, and ACE Director Bex Huff of Bezzotech (a Fusion User Experience Advocate), helped kick off COLLABORATE 12 with great attendance and great questions, as well as a sneak-peek at where we are going with user experience in applications.

This was the first time we brought the Oracle User Experience demopod to COLLABORATE, and it, too, was a smashing success.   We had non-stop traffic, with a guest appearance by Mark Sunday, Oracle CIO ("Like" the Oracle Applications Facebook page to see the photo op).  The pod provides a great way for customers to get a quick feel for what user experience is all about with our eye-tracking demo.

We also had a great opportunity to contribute to the Faces of Fusion stories appearing on Oracle.com.  It was a chance for our Fusion UX Advocates, our Sales Ambassadors, and our usability engineers to talk about their role in helping to bring Fusion Applications to full bloom.


That’s me, Misha Vaughan, delivering a few words for the Faces of Fusion stories.

We also got some nice coverage from Aaron Lazenby of Profit Magazine.  Profit has just gone through a major re-design, and the Oracle usability labs will be covered in the August issue. 

Lessons learned from our speakers

I always like to check in with our team after an event and gauge customer reactions as well as gather a few key lessons learned. Here are some thoughts from Killian Evers, Senior Director, and Laurie Pattison, Senior Director, both of the Oracle Applications User Experience team.

Killian Evers:  “I was completely surprised and overwhelmed with the response Sten Vesterli [Scott/Tiger] and I received to our presentation. First of all, we received a generous round of applause. Second, and more importantly, customers responded that they had heard about extensibility preserving changes, but our session was the first time they had heard the details and seen the proof.”

Laurie Pattison: “Enthusiasm was high.  We were at capacity for the session Floyd Teter [Innowave] and I ran: 100.  My biggest takeaway is that people are eager for information from those that have already installed and implemented and are running Fusion for their businesses.  My biggest takeaways from Floyd were to stop doing requirements "must-haves" and just bring up a Fusion instance and let users at it.  It was a huge plug for how Fusion apps were designed to support users' business processes, as well as how intuitive they are.”

See you next year at COLLABORATE!

If we didn’t get a chance to say hello, we’ll look for you next year at COLLABORATE.


Me and Matt Munyan, Principal Solution Consultant, demonstrating real commitment to COLLABORATE and OAUG.

Thursday Apr 19, 2012

Members of PeopleSoft advisory boards tour usability labs

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

Jatin Thaker, Director of the Oracle Usabiliy Labs.
Jatin Thaker, director of the Oracle Usability Labs, demonstrates an application on a SMART board.

Nearly 100 people came through the labs for tours during the first week of April. While there are lab tours every week, this was an exceptional week for the Oracle usability labs. That kind of traffic is usually reserved for the week of OpenWorld.

Because most of these people were PeopleSoft users, usability lab tour guide Jatin Thaker and his team tailored the tours to showcase next-generation user experience designs that the PeopleSoft User Experience team was working on. These included a look at the next generation of self service user interfaces, SMART board user interfaces, and a CRM demo on the iPad.

Eager volunteers also helped demonstrate how the always-popular eye-tracking and facial gesture analysis tools work in a research environment. That often generates questions about how the tools help pinpoint issues and where in the user-centered design cycle they come into play.

If you're interested in taking a lab tour, visit Usable Apps to get more information. 

Tuesday Apr 10, 2012

Nucleus Research Note: Oracle's Focus on Usability in Fusion Applications

By Misha Vaughan, Applications User Experience

I recently noticed that Nucleus Research Inc. released a research note summarizing their findings on Oracle Fusion Applications.

It's always nice when an outside firm is savvy enough to acknowledge the value of a user experience strategy. When it is applied to what Oracle has done with Fusion Applications,  it's even more satisfying. 

In the note, Nucleus states:

"Based on the demos and testimonials from early adopters Nucleus has reviewed, Oracle has clearly focused on usability with in-application analytics and other smart application features.

 "In Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle has built not just transactional corporate applications where users enter and extract data, but smarter applications that driver user productivity."

Read it for yourself here.

Read more about the story behind Oracle's Fusion Applications User Experience here.

Tuesday Mar 27, 2012

Cutting-Edge Demos Coming to Collaborate12

     

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

Are you building your Collaborate 2012 agenda? Leave room for a stop at the demogrounds while you’re in Las Vegas from April 22-26.

In addition to several presentations on the Oracle user experience, the Applications User Experience (UX) team will be on the demo grounds with a new eye-tracking tool, as well as demos that showcase new user experience designs. Check out our cutting-edge technology, which we use to obtain feedback that helps improve the user experience of Oracle applications, and see what our next-generation designs are in the HCM and FIN user experiences. 

Photo by Martin Taylor – Oracle Applications User Experience

An Apps UX team member demonstrates what happens during an eye-tracking test. The dots on the screen show were test participants were looking and how long they spent at each point in the page.

 

The UX team will also be staffing an on-site lab at Collaborate. At on-site labs, conference participants can sign up to join customer feedback sessions on several different kinds of work flow designs, from HCM to FIN to CRM to mobile. The feedback UX team members collect helps inform and fine-tune the user experiences being designed for next-generation applications. At Collaborate12, for example, user experience designs around Help and organizational charts will be tested for usability.

The Apps UX team brings on-site labs to many major user group conferences, including OpenWorld 2012 in October in San Francisco. Stay tuned to find out when our recruiters are ready to sign up participants, or leave a comment below to find out whether an on-site lab will be at your next conference.

For information on the following presentations, which will be delivered by Apps UX team members, check the Usable Apps Events page.

The Fusion Applications User Experience: Transforming Work into Insight

Customizations Under the Covers – Making Fusion Applications Your Own

OAUG Fusion Middleware SIG (FMWSIG)

18 Months with Fusion Applications – Stories From The Trenhes

PeopleTools Tips and Techniques

Thursday Mar 22, 2012

Delving into design patterns, and what that means for the Oracle user experience

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

George Hackman

George Hackman, Senior Director, Applications User Experiences

The Oracle Applications User Experience team has some exciting things happening around Fusion Applications design patterns. Because we’re hoping to have some new offerings soon (stay tuned with VoX to see what’s in the pipeline around Fusion Applications design patterns), now is a good time to talk more about what design patterns can do for the individual user as well as the entire company.

George Hackman, Senior Director of Operations User Experience, says the first thing to note is that user experience is not just about the user interface. It’s about understanding how people do things, observing them, and then finding the patterns that emerge.

The Applications UX team develops those patterns and then builds them into Oracle applications. What emerges, Hackman says, is a consistent, efficient user experience that promotes a productive workplace.

Creating design patterns

What is a design pattern in the context of enterprise software?

“Every day, people use technology to get things done,” Hackman says. “They navigate a virtual world that reaches from enterprise to consumer apps, and from desktop to mobile. This virtual world is constantly under construction. New areas are being developed and old areas are being redone. As this world is being built and remodeled, efficient pathways and practices emerge.

“Oracle's user experience team watches users navigate this world. We measure their productivity and ask them about their satisfaction. We take the most efficient, most productive pathways from the enterprise and consumer world and turn them into Oracle's user experience patterns.”

Hackman describes the process as combining all of the best practices from every part of a user’s world. Members of the user experience team observe, analyze, design, prototype, and measure each work task to find the best possible pattern for a particular work flow.

As the team builds the patterns, “we make sure they are fully buildable using Oracle technology,” Hackman said. “So customers know they can use these patterns. There’s no need to make something up from scratch, not knowing whether you can even build it.”

Hackman says that creating something on a computer is a good example of a user experience pattern. “People are creating things all the time,” he says. “On the consumer side, they are creating documents. On the enterprise side, they are creating expense reports. On a mobile phone, they are creating contacts. They are using different apps like iPhone or Facebook or Gmail or Oracle software, all doing this creation process.”

The Applications UX team starts their process by observing how people might create something. “We observe people creating things. We see the patterns, we analyze and document, then we apply them to our products. It might be different from phone to web browser, but we have these design patterns that create a consistent experience across platforms, and across products, too.

The result for customers

Oracle constantly improves its part of the virtual world, Hackman said. New products are created and existing products are upgraded. Because Oracle builds user experience design patterns, Oracle's virtual world becomes both more powerful and more familiar at the same time.

Because of design patterns, users can navigate with ease as they embrace the latest technology – because it behaves the way they expect it to. This means less training and faster adoption for individual users, and more productivity for the business as a whole.

Hackman said Oracle gives customers and partners access to design patterns so that they can build in the virtual world using the same best practices. Customers and partners can extend applications with a user experience that is comfortable and familiar to their users.

For businesses that are integrating different Oracle applications, design patterns are key. The user experience created in E-Business Suite should be similar to the user experience in Fusion Applications, Hackman said. If a user is transitioning from one application to the other, it shouldn’t be difficult for them to do their work. With design patterns, it isn’t.

“Oracle user experience patterns are the building blocks for the virtual world that ensure productivity, consistency and user satisfaction,” Hackman said. “They are built for the enterprise, but incorporate the best practices from across the virtual world. They empower productivity and facilitate social interaction. When you build with patterns, you get all the end-user benefits of less training / retraining from the finished product. You also get faster / cheaper development.”

What’s coming?

You can already access design patterns to help you build Dashboards with OBIEE here.

And we promised you at the beginning that we had something in the pipeline on Fusion Applications design patterns. Look for the announcement about when they are available here on VoX.

About

Check here for opinions, updates, and events from Oracle's Applications User Experience team: Applications Cloud, E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, Siebel, PeopleSoft, and more.

Misha Vaughan
Misha Vaughan, Director, Applications User Experience
@mishavaughan on Twitter

Learn more about us at
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