Friday Jun 27, 2014

More Wearables: A wearables design jam out-of-house with EchoUser and FATHOM

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team hosted its first Wearables Design Jam with people outside of Oracle in May. Members of the team headed up to San Francisco for the event, which was held at EchoUser, a user experience (UX) design and consultancy firm and a collaborator on UX with Oracle. Ultan O’Broin (@usableapps), OAUX Director and partner outreach dynamo, was the host. This reprised event updated an earlier internal event, also the first of its kind here, on wearables. Our goal, as before, was to get design teams thinking about the enterprise use cases for wearable technology.

O’Broin shows off wearable ears.
Photos by Rob Hernandez.

Ultan said at the event: “The goals for the day were to build a relationship with a partner in the wearables and innovation space - to see if we could work together in a way that was mutually beneficial and to increase the awareness of users in this space. We are ahead of the curve and ready to offer optimal user experiences, and the technology is there. This is a pilot event because we want to do more of this. We want to work out the methodologies so we can take it on the road. I’d like to try this next in the UK, and in a culture that hasn’t been exposed to the wearable hype, and try it in countries that are very conscious of what goes on in the public and private sphere, like Germany, and try it in Asian countries as well.” 

Ultan said the event was great. “People entered into the spirit of openness, their own experiences, their own background - and they applied it in a fun and meaningful way," he said.

Ultan and Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai), of the TheAppslab team at Oracle (@theappslab), delivered a level-setting presentation on the state of the art for wearables, including examples of Google Glass. Attendees were from Oracle, EchoUser, and FATHOM, a 3D-printing company in the Bay Area.  

Veronica De La Rosa of FATHOM, Carol Chen of EchoUser and Aylin Uysal of Oracle develop on-boarding concepts that incorporate wearables.

Attendees then broke into teams of three and four to brainstorm on enterprise wearables concepts. They sketched, drew, debated, and produced an idea for an enterprise wearable use case in 2 hours. All teams delivered a 5-minute pitch at the end of the day to judges Mick McGee (@micklives), CEO, EchoUser; and Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), VP, Oracle Applications User Experience. Teams pitched employee on-boarding wearables, shipping delivery driver wearables, and retail worker wearables.

Mick McGee, EchoUser, and Jeremy Ashley, Oracle, discuss the design themes emerging around wearables.

Mick and Jeremy gave comments on the team presentations, which are recapped here: 

Mick: “There was a theme of people interaction and people connection, enabling our interaction with work colleagues. where you can actually get around the social stigma of using wearables to connect. I like the idea of interaction in different, small, productive ways. One thing that stuck out to me in talking to Jeremy was all the small gains in end user experiences – that will be the killer app.”  

Jeremy: “I agree with all of those points, especially the small gains. There are different cultures where being tracked is actually motivating, e.g., you being monitored while you are doing a safety check, so you want to be monitored. In another environment, you may not want to be tracked; the level and type of tracking needs to be different. I think understanding role by role where the comfort level is, is important.”  

Mick: “If you recall the iPhone days, that was only 7 years ago. There was a big platform change, from my perspective, all this investment going on, this next platform is right around the corner. Enterprise has more of a chance, to me, than consumer for this kind of technology because they make us work better. I’m excited to see where wearables goes.”

Jeremy:  “It’s exploring what is already in the environment, and leveraging what we might consider mundane tasks, and automating them. These are the small gains that we are going to get with this kind of technology. I like the idea of things happening around you -- rather than going to websites to onboard, giving a device – eyelashes, a ring, or whatever -- where they can have a personal on-boarding experience.”

Mick: “I see a lot of potential in these ideas to help the end-user consumer, especially to help reduce the social stigma associated with these technologies.” 

So which idea did the two execs think had the most enterprise merit?

Jeremy: "The Thought Box was the best solution. It would have a high impact using existing infrastructure, with off-the-shelf parts, and would greatly enhance the whole experience, and could viably be done now.  And it combines many small gains. That would be, overall, a big impact." 

The winning team, Thought Box: Kimra McPherson, EchoUser; Amaya Lascano, EchoUser; and David Haimes, Oracle. With Jeremy Ashley and Mick McGee in the background.

The Thought Box team pitched a wearable designed to be worn by a shipping delivery driver – such as a UPS or DHL driver. The wearable, such as a pair of sunglasses, would provide detailed information about the shipping delivery location such as:
Whether any hazards exist
Whether the recipient is home
Step-by-step directions to the location 
How to be more efficient in the delivery based on past experience
How to be safe, such as using a trolley when moving a heavy load up a steep grade
Sending alerts to the recipient when the driver is close
Taking a picture of the package at the drop location and sending it to the recipient
Even integrating construction details.

This device is aimed at making small efficiency gains that can scale across the whole business. 

The Thought Box concept and pitch sketches

The overall benefit of this wearable concept was aimed at making faster and more reliable deliveries to increase a driver’s rate of success. The related goal is also reducing customer calls, because of the real-time trouble-shooting.

My personal favorite wearable technology of the day: 
I personally was delighted by the idea of custom wearables designed by Team ConneXtion, and modeled by Aylin Uysal below.

Aylin models wearable eyelashes, intended to aid new hire on-boarding.

How do you find out more?
The Oracle Applications User Experience team is going to be going on the road in the year ahead.  If you want to chat with us about our experiences with wearable technologies, along with other technology we see on the horizon, feel free to find us at an upcoming event on UsableApps.  

If you will be at OOW 2014, so will the Apps UX team. Come find us!

Wednesday Jun 11, 2014

So, how is the Oracle HCM Cloud User Experience? In a word, smokin’!

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle unveiled its game-changing cloud user experience strategy at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 (remember that?) with a new simplified user interface (UI) paradigm.  The Oracle HCM cloud user experience is about light-weight interaction, tailored to the task you are trying to accomplish, on the device you are comfortable working with. A key theme for the Oracle user experience is being able to move from smartphone to tablet to desktop, with all of your data in the cloud.

The Oracle HCM Cloud user experience provides designs for better productivity, no matter when and how your employees need to work.

Release 8 
Oracle recently demonstrated how fast it is moving development forward for our cloud applications, with the availability of release 8

In release 8, users will see expanded simplicity in the HCM cloud user experience, such as filling out a time card and succession planning. Oracle has also expanded its mobile capabilities with task flows for payslips, managing absences, and advanced analytics. In addition, users will see expanded extensibility with the new structures editor for simplified pages, and the with the user interface text editor, which allows you to update language throughout the UI from one place. If you don’t like calling people who work for you “employees,” you can use this tool to create a term that is suited to your business. 

Take a look yourself at what’s available now.

What are people saying?
Debra Lilley (@debralilley), an Oracle ACE Director who has a long history with Oracle Applications, recently gave her perspective on release 8:

“Having had the privilege of seeing a preview of release 8, I am again impressed with the enhancements around simplified UI. Even more so, at a user group event in London this week, an existing Cloud HCM customer speaking publically about his implementation said he was very excited about release 8 as the absence functionality was so superior and simple to use.” 

In an interview with Lilley for a blog post by Dennis Howlett  (@dahowlett), we probably couldn’t have asked for a more even-handed look at the Oracle Applications Cloud and the impact of user experience. Take the time to watch all three videos and get the full picture.  In closing, Howlett’s said: “There is always the caveat that getting from the past to Fusion [from the editor: Fusion is now called the Oracle Applications Cloud] is not quite as simple as may be painted, but the outcomes are much better than anticipated in large measure because the user experience is so much better than what went before.”

Herman Slange, Technical Manager with Oracle Applications partner Profource, agrees with that comment. “We use on-premise Financials & HCM for internal use. Having a simple user interface that works on a desktop as well as a tablet for (very) non-technical users is a big relief. Coming from E-Business Suite, there is less training (none) required to access HCM content.  From a technical point of view, having the abilities to tailor the simplified UI very easy makes it very efficient for us to adjust to specific customer needs.  When we have a conversation about simplified UI, we just hand over a tablet and ask the customer to just use it. No training and no explanation required.”

Finally, in a story by Computer Weekly  about Oracle customer BG Group, a natural gas exploration and production company based in the UK and with a presence in 20 countries, the author states: “The new HR platform has proved to be easier and more intuitive for HR staff to use than the previous SAP-based technology.”

What’s Next for Oracle’s Applications Cloud User Experiences?
This is the question that Steve Miranda, Oracle Executive Vice President, Applications Development, asks the Applications User Experience team, and we’ve been hard at work for some time now on “what’s next.”  I can’t say too much about it, but I can tell you that we’ve started talking to customers and partners, under non-disclosure agreements, about user experience concepts that we are working on in order to get their feedback.

We recently had a chance to talk about possibilities for the Oracle HCM Cloud user experience at an Oracle HCM Southern California Customer Success Summit. This was a fantastic event, hosted by Shane Bliss and Vance Morossi of the Oracle Client Success Team. We got to use the uber-slick facilities of Allergan, our hosts (of Botox fame), headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a presence in more than 100 countries.

Photo by Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
Vance Morossi, left, and Shane Bliss, of the Oracle Client Success Team, at an Oracle HCM Southern California Customer Success Summit. 

We were treated to a few really excellent talks around human resources (HR). Alice White, VP Human Resources, discussed Allergan's process for global talent acquisition -- how Allergan has designed and deployed a global process, and global tools, along with Oracle and Cognizant, and are now at the end of a global implementation. She shared a couple of insights about the journey for Allergan: “One of the major areas for improvement was on role clarification within the company.” She said the company is “empowering managers and deputizing them as recruiters. Now it is a global process that is nimble and efficient." 

Deepak Rammohan, VP Product Management, HCM Cloud, Oracle, also took the stage to talk about pioneering modern HR. He reflected modern HR problems of getting the right data about the workforce, the importance of getting the right talent as a key strategic initiative, and other workforce insights. "How do we design systems to deal with all of this?” he asked. “Make sure the systems are talent-centric. The next piece is collaborative, engaging, and mobile. A lot of this is influenced by what users see today. The last thing is around insight; insight at the point of decision-making." Rammohan showed off some killer HCM Cloud talent demos focused on simplicity and mobility that his team has been cooking up, and closed with a great line about the nature of modern recruiting: "Recruiting is a team sport."

Deepak Rammohan, left, and Jake Kuramoto, both of Oracle, debate the merits of a Google Glass concept demo for recruiters on-the-go.

Later, in an expo-style format, the Apps UX team showed several concepts for next-generation HCM Cloud user experiences, including demos shown by Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) of The AppsLab, and Aylin Uysal (@aylinuysal), Director, HCM Cloud user experience. We even hauled out our eye-tracker, a research tool used to show where the eye is looking at a particular screen, thanks to teammate Michael LaDuke.

Dionne Healy, HCM Client Executive, and Aylin Uysal, Director, HCM Cloud user experiences, Oracle, take a look at new HCM Cloud UX concepts.

We closed the day with Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), VP, Applications User Experience, who brought it all back together by talking about the big picture for applications cloud user experiences. He covered the trends we are paying attention to now, what users will be expecting of their modern enterprise apps, and what Oracle’s design strategy is around these ideas.  

We closed with an excellent reception hosted by ADP Payroll services at Bistango.

Want to read more?
Want to see where our cloud user experience is going next? Read more on the UsableApps web site about our latest design initiative: “Glance, Scan, Commit.”

Or catch up on the back story by looking over our Applications Cloud user experience content on the UsableApps web site. 

You can also find out where we’ll be next at the Events page on UsableApps.


Check here for news and upcoming events from Oracle's Applications User Experience team on the Oracle Applications Cloud and more.

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

Learn more about us at
Usable Apps


« June 2014 »