Changing of the Guard: A new Face for the UsableApps Site and A New Editor for the UsableApps Blog

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

As Editor-in-Chief of UsableApps, I am mostly asked to sign off on stories and work by writers who are much better than I.  Just check out this thoroughly researched and well-written piece by Kathy Miedema on what mobile looks like across the applications product lines.  Or take a look at the recently updated oracle.com/usableapps, with a whole new area for developers.

Usableapps Home Page
This screenshot of Oracle.com/usableapps shows new organization in the navigation to reflect Oracle’s changing priorities for applications user experiences.

UsableApps Blog: User Experience for Applications Developers

Every now and then, the applications user experience communication squad throws me a hard problem. This time, it was finding a new editor and a new vision for the UsableApps blog.

Anna Wichansky, former editor of the blog, has experienced such success with the growth of the Oracle Usability Advisory Board, of which she is co-chair, that she is now making that her full-time commitment. Which meant I had to ponder the future of the blog.

Ultan O’Broin will take over as the editor, and deliver what I think is a very timely new focus.  In a face-to-face interview session, I gave O’Broin my take on user experience, and I asked him to share his vision for the Usable Apps blog. 

He plans to write posts for: “customers, partners, builders of our apps, users of our apps who need to be able to articulate what they need from the builders.”

“There are going to be a wide range of topics covered that I will slot into different categories,” he said.   I want to build on the great work that has been done on the existing blog and explore new areas such as: developer productivity, cloud deployment of apps, user experience as part of the development tool kit, as well as user experience science and innovation.

Why the shift in the focus on the blog?  “It is a natural progression from where we are,” he said. “We need to reflect the changing expectations of our customers and their end users.  To users, there is no delineation of enterprise apps and apps you use for your personal business. We are in a world of simplicity and modernization.” 

O’Broin also noted the changing nature of customer expectations. Purchasing an application and implementing it is no longer enough, he said. Now, companies need to focus on the user experience of those application implementations to get the most value from their purchase.  “Customers have an expectation of companies like Oracle,” he added. “They are paying a lot of money, and they want access to our expertise.“

A Blog for Applications Makers


O’Broin, far right, speaks on a panel at the San Francisco Maker Faire in 2012.

O’Broin has been blogging for a few years, “I noticed, in the evolution of blogging, readers want to know how to do things. If you have expertise, you need to share it with the community. You need to give it away. You can’t keep it in your head.”

O’Broin said the blog will talk about what UX is, “but also explain how to do things and why they need to do them, with anecdotally rich examples.” 

The blog will have some guest writers.  People from the ADF team will write about modernizing Oracle Forms, about ADF and internationalization, and partners like Basheer Khan who have taken up design patterns will write about their experience.   

O’Broin said, “I would like to get to a level where developers can talk about it themselves. I want developers to say ‘make it like Google or Apple or Oracle.’”

“There is a maker community around enterprise applications.  I want them them to understand that UX should be part of their tool kit.  We can deliver much more than code.  We can deliver a whole experience. “

To Get Started
Fundamental to getting started as an applications developer in the user experience space is getting up to speed on user experience design patterns.  If you got all the way to the end and are looking to wrap your head around the idea, check out the following:

  • Training events – reach out to the EMEA Platform Technology Solutions team, and soon the NAS PTS team, for training in your area on design patterns and ADF.  It’s an intense but thorough introduction.
  • Listen to the podcast with O'Broin on getting started with developer tools like design patterns.
  • Read the user experience design patterns white paper.
  • Watch Oracle ACE Directors Debra Lilley and Sten Vesterli talk about user experience design patterns on YouTube.
  • Read about the launch of the Fusion user experience design patterns for developers.


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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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