Tuesday Jan 28, 2014

Apps UX attends Oracle’s new conference in Las Vegas, Oracle HCM World 2014

By Gozel Aamoth, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle has announced its first industry conference, Oracle HCM World, to be held on February 4-6, 2014, at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada. Oracle HCM World is designed as a forum for thought leadership, networking, and enhanced understanding of the changing role of human resources (HR) in today’s business world. Leaders of the HR community will discuss the latest happenings and the future of human resources. 

More than 1,500 customers, partners, press and analysts, as well as Oracle sales and product experts, are expected to attend Oracle HCM World. The conference will feature keynotes with Oracle President Mark Hurd and other executives, strategic content for HR professionals, the opportunity to network and see hands-on demonstrations, and ways to get involved with the Oracle Applications User Experience (Apps UX) team through customer feedback sessions and a walk-in lab.

If you are an Oracle customer and scheduled to attend this conference, we invite you to get involved. This is also an opportunity for Oracle sales consultants and partners to see firsthand how Oracle dedicates a significant investment in user experience research and development efforts to maintain and improve Oracle’s products.

User Feedback Sessions

The Apps UX team will host an onsite usability lab, where HR professionals can see early designs of future HCM products, test-drive the product before it goes to market, and ultimately influence the direction of Oracle HCM product development.

We are looking for employees and managers to provide feedback on HCM applications that use social tools and voice. The one-on-one feedback sessions are very popular, and seats are limited. Advance registration is required. RSVP now.

Oracle mobile usability labs
Oracle customers get a preview of Oracle HCM Cloud Service applications at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 in San Francisco, USA.

Meet the UX Experts Walk-In Lab

Whether you have 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or half an hour, stop by the UX Walk-In Lab, where you can see a one-on-one demo and learn more about how user testing is conducted with a UX expert. Additionally, you can learn how you and your company can participate in future design and user research activities.  Advanced registration is not required.

Meet the Experts Station
Members of Apps UX team conduct an interactive eye-tracking demo on Oracle HCM Cloud Service application at UKOUG Apps13 conference in London, UK.

When & Where:
The onsite usability lab will be open Wednesday, February 5 and Thursday, February 6, 2014. Sessions will be conducted throughout the day at The Venetian Las Vegas Hotel, Venetian/Palazzo Congress Center, Conference room  Delfino 4001 A - 4th level.

If you have questions regarding this event, please contact gozel.aamoth@oracle.com.  For further information on our team’s involvement in this conference, please refer to the events page on Usable Apps.

Monday Dec 02, 2013

Learn more about Simplified UI for Oracle HCM Cloud Applications, new in Release 7

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

Aylin Uysal
Photo by Anne-Marie McReynolds, Oracle Applications User Experience
Aylin Uysal, Oracle, shows the new Simplified UI for HCM users during a special show-and-tell event, before it was generally available in September 2013.

Simplified UI represents the direction that the Oracle user experience is heading for all of its cloud applications.

In September 2013, Release 7 for Oracle Cloud Applications became generally available for Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud. This is a significant release for the Oracle Applications User Experience team, and it represents Oracle’s strategy for cloud applications user experiences along the lines of simplicity, mobility, and extensibility.

In Release 7, there’s a particular focus on HCM users, especially self-service users and managers, said Jeremy Ashley, Vice president of the Oracle Applications User Experience group. These users may be knowledge or information workers. They may also be users who don’t use enterprise applications all day – they may be asked to participate in using an HCM application to fill out information so that they can get paid, but it’s not what they do on a daily basis, Ashley said. They could be physical engineers, or production line workers who don’t even use laptops nor have e-mail, but they are all still expected to participate in the HCM system that their company provides.

Providing a consistent user experience for all of these users that doesn’t require weeks of training to navigate a hefty menu was the goal for the Simplified UI for HCM user experience. “If they have to go through four layers to get to the system, they have to be trained,” Ashley said. “So, we have looked to simplify standard employee tasks. Regardless of whether you’re a line worker or an executive, these standard tasks should be easy to do.”

The Simplified UI for HCM focuses on many self-service tasks that every employee needs to do – changing a phone number, checking a pay stub, looking up a co-worker’s information, or managing personal work goals on the company system.

HCM Cloud UI
Team performance in the new Oracle HCM Cloud.

But the full strength of Oracle’s Cloud Applications is always a click or two away, because Oracle recognizes that someone like the vice president of HR in the company also needs professional-strength applications. Simplified UI helps provide both balance and a gateway, because to think that all levels of HR employees can go through one UI is ridiculous, Ashley said. The UI would be either too simple or too difficult.

The Simplified UI for HCM appeals to these many levels of HR participation. All users should be able to approach it and understand it the first time they see it, no matter their comfort level with the deeper Fusion Applications that sit behind the Simplified UI.

The Oracle user experience also includes opportunities to tailor settings for all employees or implement a company brand, in just a few clicks, which provides easy customization to the Simplified UI for HCM Cloud.

Where can you find out more?

To find out more about the simplified UI and Oracle’s ongoing investment in applications user experience innovations, come to one of our sessions at a user group conference near you.

To get a quick view of what the new user expeirence is about, watch these videos on the HCM Cloud Simplified UI for employees and managers.

Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Fusion HCM: The Next Generation of User Experience for Human Capital Management

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

I follow the trends internal to Oracle and areas of hotspots, and nothing is a hotspot these days like Fusion HCM.  With that in mind, I placed a call to Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President, Product Strategy, to get her take on the latest and greatest in Fusion HCM user experiences.  

Be warned, Gretchen is a powerhouse of ideas. You ask her one question, and you need to be ready for the fire hose.  

Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President, Product Strategy
Gretchen Alarcon, Group Vice President, Product Strategy

Q: What would you like to highlight for readers about the Fusion HCM User Experience?

Gretchen: There are a couple of ways to think about how we have invested in the user experience of Fusion HCM.

A big investment for us is focusing on the role of the user, and what is best for them, and what they need up front to be productive -- whether that is an HR specialist, or a manager who runs his or her work on an iPad.

For example, how do we help end users who are not HR savvy to engage with HR systems?  If you are a manager and you only interact with HR systems a few times a year, how do we make it so that when you open up Fusion and you get into it, you are guided?  How do all the features get displayed according to what the goal is?  If you are talking compensation management, you are used to working with Excel.  

Let’s take that same format, grids, and content, but add in some more information to highlight exceptions, to give you better information in that moment to help you figure out if this person should be receiving more or less in a compensation adjustment. 


Fusion HCM Manager UI


In contrast, think about a talent review process that’s a lot less structured. Typically it’s more of facilitated discussion. How do visualize information about people to help engage in a conversation? So, be less focused on structuring information.

These are two products for managers with very different end results and features, vs. that of the end user who is trying to do a job.

The other investment is in mobile, in terms of thinking of managers, and how they have moved to tablets, and what they have done.

I think the thing to really think about here is that when tablets were first introduced, there were a lot of questions about who these tools were for, and how did this change things. For many people, the ability to run Fusion, if they are thinking about a tablet as a replacement for a laptop, the fact that it runs in a browser helps.  But if you are thinking about a tablet, and you are a manager, you are not necessarily connected to the Internet at all times.  

You may take a look at your organization and see who is available to attend a meeting. Who you should you give an assignment to? If you are recruiting, you need to look at candidates, and look at top people, and look at where they are from a risk-management standpoint.  

What’s really nice about Fusion TAP, if you are a manager and you do not need to separate out in your mind sales questions and HR questions, you stop opening up all different applications.


Fusion HCM Employee UI


We have also been investing from a social standpoint.  Thinking about ways that people can network, can find mentors, or interact through group spaces.  We want to change the way human capital management works for our customers  --  to make it a tool that enables all sorts of workers.

For example, now in the ERP world, companies are talking about “the system of record” or a “system of engagement.” We think about our social investment as a system of engagement.  We are very good as a system of record, but that information is the recorded thinking.  It doesn't explain how you work, who you work with, how you are productive and influential in an organization.  How do we take those things and think about where it’s contributing to business?  How do we help you with better collaboration if you are working on a goal? How do you let everyone else know how you are doing on a project?

For mentoring, it’s important, but many companies don’t have a formal program.  If I could track someone’s activities, it allows the growth of an informal mentorship process.

How does social change the information we have on an employee, make better decisions about this employee, from a talent management perspective?  For example, finding some skills that are not tracked but would be helpful in preparing them for a promotion?  Our products work to come up with a complete view of your employees and their progress.

Q: As you talk to customers about Fusion HCM what kinds of reactions are you getting?

Gretchen: I think there are a couple of differing reactions. There are still many companies that haven’t seen it.  There is a lot of interest overall. What’s interesting is when a customer comes in with a specific point of view.  I visited a customer last spring who asked a lot about analytics.  They asked if we had an app; I showed Fusion Tap and where we are going.  

She said, “That’s it. That’s what I’ve been asking for.”

The market is ready for what we have, and we know it meets their needs.

We now also have an opportunity to surprise them in the mobile and social spaces, in ways they may not have thought to transform their HR processes. There is a lot of positive feedback from our customer base.

Q: What else are you working on related to user experience?

Gretchen:  One of the areas that we continue to invest in is how we unify the user experience with Fusion, since Taleo is our acquired company. We have done a lot, and Taleo has done a lot.

It is has inspired us to think about where we want to go next with usability. Products like HCM we are very much influenced by consumer applications. The users of these products: what are they used to using, and are they coming off of a commercial website, and how can we help them feel that it’s in line with what else they use.

We are also putting some emphasis on areas that we want to extend, like the 9-box. As we are getting them rolled out to customers, they are asking for new ways of using Fusion.  How they structure an employee profile is changing, from a 9-box to a 12-box, or performance vs. potential to performance vs. labor costs.  Customers are taking what we have given them and wanting us to expand on it.

Q: How do you feel about the new face of Fusion?

Gretchen: The goal post continues to move.  Differing users have very differing ways they want to engage the system.

The original design of Fusion was great for power users, and users who needed to make use of wide-screen displays.  We wanted to find a way to give access to casual users working across devices.

The first area of implementation is employee self-service.  What are the 20% of activities you do 80% of the time?  Such as, if you are on a 15-minute break and you need to look up your pay slip because you are re-financing the mortgage your house.

Fusion HCM Simplified User Experience
Fusion HCM’s new simplified user experience

Our next focus is manager self-service. We are going to take on those same questions. One area we see managers coming in and out often is the ”company directory.’’ For example, if I want to give an assignment to somebody, but I need to see what else they are working before I pass this assignment out.

Q: What is the response to this new user interface from customers?

Gretchen: They love it. We have shown FUSE. We have done several design reviews, and we have updated our demo system to show this new UI.  They like the layout and say “my people will get it” and “it’s simple.”  When we are selling to HR users, they are buying for their own productivity, but they are also thinking about how they will engage employees.  It helps them feel confident that we are looking at this as a complete process -- not just a back-office process, but serving the entire enterprise.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

If you want to find out more about what’s coming, check out the HCM blog.

If you want more information, visit the Fusion HCM website.

Editor’s note: This document is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into a contract or agreement.

Tuesday Aug 16, 2011

A Direct Line to UX: Answering Your Questions About UX Tools, Methods, and Fusion HCM

In April, Oracle sponsored a webcast called “Putting the User First – Moving Beyond the User Interface to a User Experience.” Listeners learned how the Oracle Applications User Experience team worked closely with customers around the globe to build a deep user experience in Oracle’s next generation of Human Capital Management (HCM) applications: Oracle Fusion Applications HCM.

The webcast was delivered by Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of Oracle Applications User Experience (UX); Aylin Uysal, Senior Manager, HCM UX; Jay Richey, Director, Oracle HCM Applications Marketing; and Beth Correa, founder and CEO of Official Payroll Advisor.

The webcast, which had more than 200 attendees registered, is now posted on the HR.com site and available.

Picture of Jeremy Ashley, VP of Applications User Experience

Photo by Martin Taylor - Oracle Applications User Experience

Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Oracle Applications User Experience team, sits at an eye-tracking station in the Redwood Shores, Calif., usability labs.

Attendees had several questions, and we’d like to answer them here on the Usable Apps blog. We invite you to take the opportunity to add a comment or question at the bottom of this blog.

From Todd Grubbs, an analyst at WellPoint, Inc.:

Q: I've visited the Oracle Usability Labs, and I’ve done the eye-tracking demo. I'm very interested in learning how you guys apply the eye-tracking data you gather to influence changes in your design.

A: Oracle’s eye-tracking tools help members of the Applications User Experience team record the flow of a user’s visual attention during enterprise tasks. Based upon both qualitative and quantitative methods, researchers can tell whether users clearly understand icons, whether page navigation is intuitive, and whether page layout is confusing. This information helps product teams to make specific decisions that are targeted to visual and/or navigation features of pages. Eye-tracking methods are a complement, and not a substitute, for more traditional usability testing. The interface designer can be informed about unclear or distracting features on an interface, and can help determine why certain errors are made while completing tasks.

For more in how the Oracle Apps UX team uses eye-tracking, visit Usable Apps, or look for our demopod at OpenWorld 2011 in San Francisco, Oct. 2-6.

From Narayan Moni, a director at Aeroxchange, Ltd.:

Q: What software did you use to study the eye-tracking?

A: There are several steps, each with associated software, required to analyze the results from an eye-tracking study. First, detailed samples of gaze-points are translated into strings of behavioral fixations using software made by the manufacturer of the eye tracker, Tobii. Metrics from these scanpaths are then exported to Excel. Data may also be loaded into our own prototype analysis software, which finds matching clusters of similar scanning strategies. Metrics from both of these are then put into SPSS for further statistical analysis. We are also conducting trial studies with software by Noldus, called FaceReader, that can record several dimensions of emotion (e.g., happy, surprised, angry) based upon automated facial gesture analysis.

Q: Also, what was the size of the team that worked on soliciting user feedback? The reason I ask is that my company is a small company, and I am trying to understand the most effective and cost-efficient method to solicit user feedback. I understand that face-to-face is best, but it is also the most expensive and resource-hungry.

A: When Oracle began developing Fusion Applications, its next-generation enterprise software, Oracle had the advantage of being able to incorporate user experience teams from several recent acquisitions. To read more about how the teams came together and what that meant for Fusion, as well as for current application releases that have benefited from this user experience work such as PeopleTools 8.50 and E-Business Suite 12.1.3, please visit Usable Apps. We understand, however, that our work with Fusion Applications was done on a grand scale with a large investment from Oracle, and few businesses could replicate such an effort -- even with substantial resources. So we’ve been talking with Oracle customers and capturing their best practices in the field of user experience. You can read more about the type of research other Oracle customers have done to improve their own user experience – whether it was on a portal or their entire Web site – at Usable Apps as well.

Q: Could you speak about the organizational structure of the team that worked on Fusion and the responsibilities of each team? I am trying to understand how you were able to outline clear roles for each team without having teams step all over each other.

A: Our teams are responsible for certain product areas such as HCM, FIN, or CRM, or certain tool feature sets, such as collaboration (Web 2.0) tools or user assistance. But you have an excellent point, and it’s something we’ve been able to take advantage of: All of our research behind Fusion has been used to improve other Oracle applications as well as develop Fusion, and designs from one area may well serve a task flow in another area. So, because the Oracle Applications UX team enjoys a very collaborative atmosphere, we’ve taken many designs for Fusion HCM and incorporated them into recent releases of PeopleSoft, Agile, and JD Edwards, among other product lines. In addition, you will find collaboration tools and user assistance resources, for example, across the entire product suite of Fusion Applications. Because Fusion is a suite of applications that crosses many pillars smoothly and without interruption to the user, our UX team is designed somewhat the same way.

Kathleen Noble, NM DESIGN:

Q: Are there visuals?

A: Yes, and once again, we invite you to visit Usable Apps to read our growing series of articles on Fusion Applications. Here, you will find several articles on certain areas of the Fusion user experience with screenshots showing the highlights. Articles on Fusion Applications HCM, Fusion Mobile Portrait Gallery, Fusion Financials, and Fusion User Assistance are scheduled for publication before OpenWorld 2011.

Marsha Oremland, a director with ADP, Inc.:

Q: Can social networking be opened to individuals outside of the company?

A: Social networking in Fusion Applications is powered by the WebCenter Framework within Fusion Middleware (FMW). Fusion Middleware provides the ability to offer its services within an organization or outside a secure firewall -- the choice is up to the customer. However, in Fusion Applications, out-of-the-box social networking capabilities have been enabled for internal behind-the-firewall usage across global enterprises. But since Fusion Application runs 100% on Fusion Middleware, this capability can be extended outside of the enterprise through customization. Specific capabilities in FMW that could be opened to individuals outside of the company include discussion forums, wikis, and blogs. Read more about our collaboration tool set on Usable Apps.

Sue Wood, an analyst with Peopleclick Authoria:

Q: How many people work on the UX team?

A: Our team is a conglomeration of existing and acquired UX teams. The Oracle Applications UX team consists of dozens of micro-teams who all research, design, and test specific areas of the user experience of software applications.

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
Usable Apps