Monday Jan 09, 2012

Sharing User Experience Best Practices: An Intel Perspective


By Delia Grenville, Intel; and Misha Vaughan, Oracle

Intel took a field trip to Oracle in August. It was a little like a school field trip: Remember how, your teacher tried to tie everything together, from history to math to music. You spent weeks preparing, and you were encouraged to take notes and ask questions throughout the day. The trip was designed to be memorable and to connect what you learned back to your schoolwork.

Our field trip to Oracle was very similar. We wanted to make sure that the conversation we had with Oracle tied together user experience and product development in ways that made sense for our company. We took a lot of notes, asked a lot of questions, and found interesting connections that related directly to the work we are doing right now at Intel.

A mature UX group in action

We wanted to know what 15 years of centralized user experience effort meant to product development. We learned that the team had a cross-section of skills. Not just your traditional UX roles (e.g., interaction designers and usability engineers) but they had emerged to a strength-based team that encouraged a variety of talent to get the job done: program managers, developers, journalists, artists, and animators.

What were Intel’s key takeaways?

The UX team achieved success by optimizing around a number of tenets over the years.

  • Keep the UX story simple. The story should be understandable by everyone in the organization.
  • It’s a partnership. Make the partnership easy, visible, predictable, and integrated so that everyone in the company can participate in it.
  • Know the role you have to play. The user experience process was fully-integrated into the product development cycle with clear exit criteria for the phases of product development.
  • It’s about the orchestral effect. The UX team has end-to-end ownership of the product life-cycle – ultimate the consistency of the experience. The product team owns the business story.
  • It’s the 10,000-foot view to zoom. The Oracle UX team owns design patterns to deliver bug-free, rapid development of the basic components of any experience. As their VP Jeremy Ashley put it, “We know how to make a search or shopping cart. We’ve optimized that part of the experience, so now the whole company benefits from knowing what the pattern is. We work with business teams want to solve the interesting experience problems that differentiate our products.”
  • No chasms. The UX can make sure that there are no gaps between how the product lines work together to create a seamless application story.
  • Push the envelope. The UX team shared their vision for enterprise applications that spanned mobility and perceptual computing.

Intel’s Big Ideas

So you may be asking yourself by now, how does our story line up against what we learned on our UX field trip. We took some time for reflection:

In our UX framework team we’ve been on a mission to align individual business groups and research team UX frameworks into one framework that represents UX in our product development lifecycle. We were confident that this was the right step for Intel before we left; we are fully inspired to be the ambassadors through the org to get this work done.

But, don’t take my word for it! Listen to some what my Intel colleagues have to say about the day: Ralph Brooks, Rama Sawhney, Jarvis Leung, Gary Richman.

"I experienced a company that has embraced UX as part of the culture and lifecycle. You have demonstrated the value to the programs through years of application and I was pleased to see you are still continuing to evolve the capability. Our interaction in the face- to-face provided inspiration for Intel's Business Unit representatives to see the value demonstrated as they also seek to apply UX within Intel." - Ralph Brooks

"Oracle has figured out their "Secret Sauce" when it comes to user experience. I liked their openness in describing their internal processes as well as frustrations. From a research perspective, I found it useful to know that they have over 100 target profiles for developing products, and that these segments are very different from the personas used from a marketing standpoint. This is something we have been debating internally. Thank you for giving us a your viewpoint on user experience." - Rama Sawhney

"I was very impressed on the strategy that Oracle uses to embed UX principles throughout the span of the product development cycle. It appears there are many lessons that we can take back and use in our organization." - Jarvis Leung

"Oracle has clearly made a significant investment in the user experience of their products for quite a long time. They have come up with creative and innovative ways to understand what users want and need, and these insights have become a differentiator for their products." Gary Richman

Listen to more of what your colleagues have to say about the day:

Inspiration for Oracle

Oracle has been so inspired by a series of these kinds of information sharing sessions with customers, that the applications user experience team has undertaken a new initiative -- UX Direct. This is program designed to take the best of Oracle’s user experience practices and transform them into competencies any implementer of Oracle Applications can leverage.

Stay tuned to this blog for more information on UX Direct.

Find out more about Intel’s user experience initiatives: delia.grenville @

Find out more about Oracle’s User Experience Direct program: madhuri.kolhatkar @


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

People in Spheres
Misha Vaughan, Editor & Senior Director, Applications User Experience
@mishavaughan on Twitter

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