Wednesday Dec 19, 2012

Building Great-Looking, Usable Apps: A two-day workshop applying Oracle’s best UX practices in ADF

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

event artwork

I have been with Oracle for more than 12 years. It is a company that has granted me extraordinary creative freedom to help deliver compelling experiences for customers.

I am beyond proud to talk about one of the experiences we just took for a test drive. Recently, we delivered a first-of-its-kind, three-team collaboration, train-the-trainer event in Reading, U.K., on building great-looking, usable apps based on Oracle Fusion Applications -- using the ADF tool kit.

A new kind of workshop
Kevin Li, Platform Product Director, asked the Oracle Applications User Experience VP, Jeremy Ashley, if the team had anything to help partners and customers build applications that looked like Oracle Fusion Applications. He was receiving this request from European partners and customers.

Some quick conversations ensued, and the idea for the workshop was born: We would conduct an experiment.  We would work with feedback from the key Platform Technology Solutions (PTS) trainers under Andre Pavanello, Director, Platform Technology Solutions, in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. We would partner with the ADF team lead by Grant Ronald, Director of Product Management, and leverage the Applications UX expertise in Ashley’s team.

The goal: Create a pilot workshop that in two days would explain to an ADF developer how to leverage the next-generation user experience best-practices developed for Fusion Apps.

Why? Customers who need integrations with Oracle Fusion Applications, who are looking for custom applications that need to co-exist with Fusion, or who quite simply want a next-generation design for a custom app, need their solutions to reflect the next-generation research and design.

Building an event for an ADF developer
The biggest hurdle was figuring out where to start.  How far into user experience country do you take an ADF developer? How far into ADF do you need to go if you are a UX professional?

After some time in the UX kitchen, the workshop recipe looked like this:
Mix equal parts:

ultan presenting
Ultan O’Broin, Oracle Director of Global User Experience, explains the trouble-ticket wireframe design exercise.


Lynn Munsinger, Oracle Senior Group Product Manager, talks about the follow-on trouble-ticket ADF coding exercise. 

For spice, add:
•    Debra Lilley, Fujitsu and ACE director, showcasing some of the latest ADF design work in the new face of Fusion Applications. 
•    Partner show-and-tell of example apps they have built with FMW and ADF that are dynamic, beautiful, and interactive.


Debra Lilley, Oracle ACE Director and Fujitsu Fusion Champion, on the new face of Fusion built with ADF, and Fusion extensibility with composers as a window into “the possible.”


The taste test
This first go-round of the workshop was aimed squarely at ADF developers and partners.  We were privileged to have participation and feedback from:
•    Sten Vesterli, Scott/Tiger S. A., Denmark
•    John Sim, Fishbowl Solutions, U.K.
•    Josef Huber, Primus Delphi Group, Munich
•    Thaddaus Weindl, Primus Delphi, Group, Munich
•    Praveen Pillalamarri, EiS Technologies, Bangalore
•    Balaji Kamepalli, EiS Technologies, Bangalore
•    Plinio Arbizu, Services & Processes Solutions S. A., Mexico
•    Yannick Ongena, infoMENTUM, U.K.
•    Jakub Ciszek, infoMENTUM, U.K.
•    Mauro Flores, infoMENTUM, U.K.
•    Matteo Formica, infoMENTUM, U.K.


From left: Richard Bingham, Oracle; Mauro Flores and Mateo Formica, infoMENTUM, collaborate during the workshop.

Why is this so exciting?  Oracle has invested heavily in the research and development of the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience. This investment has been and continues to be applied across the product lines. Now, we finally get to teach customers and partners how to take advantage of this investment for custom solutions.

This event was a pilot to test-drive the content, as well as a train-the-trainer event that our EMEA colleagues will be using with partners who want to build with Fusion Apps design patterns.

What did attendees think?
"I liked most the science stuff, like eye-tracking, design patterns and best-practice (color, contrast),” Josef Huber said. “It was a very good introduction to UI design, and most developers and project managers are very bad in that.  So this course would be good for all developers and even project managers."


Team Anonymous (from left): John Sim, Fishbowl Solutions; Flavius Sana, Oracle; Josef Huber, Primus Delphi Group; and Mireille Duroussaud, Oracle. They were the winners of the wireframing design exercise

Sten Vesterli, of Scott/Tiger, said he attended to learn techniques he could use in his own projects. He wants to ensure that his applications better meet the needs of his users, and he said sessions during the workshop on user interface design and wireframing were most useful to him.  “Go to this event to learn the art and science of good user interfaces from people who really know how to do it,” he said.



Sten Vesterli, Scott/Tiger, listens to Angelo Santagata, Oracle.

Plinio Arbizu said the workshop fulfilled his goals, thanks to the recommendations given in how to design user interfaces to facilitate the adoption of applications among the final users. “The workshop combined these recommendations with an exercise that improved the technical comprehension, permitting the usage of JDeveloper to set forth our solutions,” he said.

He added: “The first session that I really enjoyed was the five Fusion design principles. It was incredible to discover how these simple principles were included in Fusion Applications, and I had been using many of them applying only ADF components.  Another topic that I enjoyed a lot was the eight recommendations about the visual design of UIs. The issues that were raised in that lesson are unknown to the developers and of great value to achieve an attractive presentation layer to the end users.  Participate in this workshop, and include these usability features in your projects and in this manner not only to facilitate and improve the user productivity, but also to distinguish you as a professional who takes advantage fully of the functionalities offered by Oracle technology.

Praveen Pillalamarri came to the workshop to learn about the difficulties faced in UI and UX development, and how this can be resolved with the help of ADF.  He said he also appreciated the opportunity to talk with other individuals who came to the workshop. Pillalmarri said, “The way we looked at things in terms of work and projects were sharpened.  UI and UX design knowledge was quite interesting, especially the minute things which we ignored in the UI or UX design.”


From left: Plinio Arbizu,
Services & Processes Solutions S. A., works with Richard Bingham, Oracle; Balaji Kamepalli, and Praveen Pillalamarri, both of EiS Technologies.

Ready to spread the word
In EMEA, Oracle customers and partners have access to three world-class trainers via Platform Technology Solutions: Mireille Duroussaud, Flavius Sana, and Angelo Santagata. Contact Andre Pavanello if you would like to experience this workshop firsthand, or you have customers or partners who would benefit from the training.

We are bringing the event to the U.S. in spring 2013. If you have interest in this kind of a workshop, leave a comment below.

For those who want to follow the action, join the ADF Enterprise Methodology Group run by Oracle’s Chris Muir. Ask questions and continue with the conversation in this forum, or check blogs.oracle.com/usableapps for topics emerging from the workshop.




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

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Usable Apps