Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

What is your perspective on enterprise mobility? Tell us!

By Julian Orr, Oracle Applications User Experience

Mobile technology
Photo by Brent White, Oracle Applications User Experience

Is there a certain device capability, such as the ability to capture mobile signatures or remotely wipe a device, that is so important to your mobile workflow that it has influenced your enterprise mobility strategy?  

When it comes to making decisions about your organization’s enterprise mobility strategy, there are a few inescapable themes: 

  • Allowing people to use their own devices vs. having to use company-supplied devices
  • Using browser-based vs. native applications
  • Optimizing your apps for smart phones vs. tablets
  • Whether or not to include or exclude a particular mobile platform.   

That businesses are committing resources to create and execute a mobile strategy is a given. The permutations of approaches to mobile strategies are endless, and the reasons behind them are varied and nuanced.  

These approaches and their justifications are well understood from a generic enterprise perspective, but what are the common themes of an Oracle customer’s mobile strategy? How does it vary from that of the marketplace as a whole?

If one thing is clear, it is that Oracle customers want to do big things with mobility.   

At Oracle, we are committed to using customer feedback to continually improve our products and services, and to help you realize exceptional business outcomes.   

As such, Oracle has created a survey to capture and understand enterprise mobility from an incredibly important perspective, that of an Oracle customer.

We want to know what our customers are doing now, what you plan to do in the near future, and most importantly, what are the key influences to your strategy -- employee engagement, security, cost, or something we have yet to hear about.  

Please take our enterprise mobility survey. The survey will remain open until March 28, and will take about 15 minutes to complete.  The survey also includes a follow-up option to become more involved in Oracle applications research.   

To learn more about the Applications User Experience team, please visit the UsableApps web site.


Tuesday May 28, 2013

100 Partners Later

By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Oracle Applications User Experience team just did something new, and it was very cool.

The customer outreach arm of the Applications User Experience, or Apps UX, team held its first demo reception.

The team has done demos before. And new stuff. After all, this is a research and development organization within Oracle. It’s our job to be ahead of the market and in the midst of designing new user experiences with equal parts cutting-edge technology and creative innovation. So why was this different?

You may have read in a previous post here about simplicity, and how that idea is driving the Oracle applications user experience forward. In May, we showed that idea in action, with demos of several special user experiences actually undergoing development right now. Only previously vetted partners were allowed to see this – as a rule, Oracle does not share much before an application becomes generally available. So being able to share something that was actually in development just for the sake of showing it, well, that was quite exciting.

Aylin Uysal
Photographs by Martin Taylor, Oracle Applications User Experience

Aylin Uysal, Director, Applications User Experience, demonstrates the new simplified UI.


Gathering feedback on iterations of the next generation of an application is part of the Apps UX mission. The team tests and measures and re-tests next-generation designs for enterprise software, gathers up the comments and reactions of specifically recruited users, and figures out how to solve problems with each iteration of the next use experience design. This often happens in one-on-one customer feedback sessions, or occasionally, a focus group.

But in May, about 100 partners were invited to a special reception, just to see what we’re working on.

Mark Vilrokx
Mark Vilrokx, Architect, Applications User Experience, shows how Oracle Voice works.


Sten Vesterli, a
Senior Principal Consultant with Scott/Tiger and Oracle ACE Director, posted in his blog that he had seen the future of ERP. Vesterli wrote: “Yesterday, the Oracle UX team hosted a confidential (strictly no photography!) event demoing some of the new stuff they are working on. If I told you the details I’d have to kill you, but what I can say is this: The future of ERP is as a platform, not an application.”

Floyd Teter, Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Products, EiS Technologies, Inc., also posted in his blog that he "had the opportunity to see plenty of new product prototypes ... none of which I can talk about (inserted frustrated sigh here) other than to say that there is some extremely cool stuff in the pipeline from the Oracle UX team.  Seems like this team's innovation engine is really taking their game up another notch."

This is an adventurous time for the Apps UX team. We’re always looking forward, but with the addition of new developers to our team in the last year, we’re moving forward at a spectacular pace. We’ll keep writing about it here on VoX, so check back frequently.

For a broad view of some of the areas the team is exploring, read this recent post about the road ahead.
To find out where members of the Apps UX team will be speaking next, check the Usable Apps Events page.

Wednesday Mar 06, 2013

Oracle Executive Spends Four Weeks with Just a Mini

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

Steven Chan
Steven Chan, Senior Director, Oracle E-business Suite Applications Technology, holds his iPad mini.

As Oracle continues to develop its strategy in the mobile space, it’s always interesting to hear what Oracle executives are doing and thinking around available mobile devices.  

Steven Chan, Oracle Senior Director of E-Business Suite Technology and a regular blogger, recently traveled around the world in about 30 days with only an iPad mini. He went from the U.K. to Hyderabad, India, to Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China, all in about four weeks.  

Why bring just a mini? His number one concern: security.  How could he keep his computing device physically safe, given such a wide range of locales and conditions? “I could slip it in my suit pocket. This was my primary reason to take my mini instead of my regular iPad,” Chan said. “I could keep it with me at all times.”

He said he thought that he would miss his laptop. “I expected it be painful,” Chan said. “I expected the smaller form factor to be difficult to adjust to, but it was surprisingly easy. I was worried about the ‘squint factor,’ but that turned out not to be an issue.”

In contrast to an iPad mini,  “You have to make a deliberate choice to carry an iPad around with you. This is tricky for guys, and I personally don’t like to carry a murse or briefcase all day.”

He said the smaller size made a big difference when reading books or using it for extended periods.  “I read a couple of books a week, and you really feel the extra weight [of the larger iPad] after a while. When I picked up a mini the first time, my reaction was, ‘This is the device I’ve been waiting for!’” 




Photograph by Martin Taylor, Oracle Applications User Experience

What surprises were there with this device?

“The unexpected business benefits,” Chan said. “In the middle of a conversation with a customer, I could show them a technical road map. They didn’t know I was carrying it. All of a sudden, we can have a different conversation at a deeper level because I have more detailed information with me.”

He also found that having easy access to email was helpful. “Our lives are in email,” he said. “You can keep an email stored on the mini, which is really something. I have a terrible memory; that’s why I write my blog. But not everything makes it to the blog. There is lots of internal stuff: technical debates, contents of new release patch sets. So having my email handy offline allowed me to have certain conversations straight away, instead of saying, ‘Let me get back to you later after I return to my office.’”

Having the iPad mini with him at all times also helped him to be more efficient. “At the UKOUG conference, I had a standing-room-only session,” he said. “At the end, someone came up and asked me if the slides were going to be available. I said, ‘Hang on’ and sent it to him right there. One less thing to do later.” Chan also remarked on the difference between an iPhone and an iPad mini. “Sending a business-caliber e-mail on an iPhone is tedious. The mini is just easier to use for that level of written communication.”

Chan said he’s also been using features he hasn’t tried before. “I’m using the ‘voice dictation’ button with everything now,” he said, “composing emails, sending texts, searches in Safari, creating new calendar entries. I hadn’t used that before.” He tried it because the iPad mini’s portrait-mode keyboard is smaller. “The requirement for greater precision while typing on it is just enough of a disincentive that I now prefer to simply talk instead of type,” he said. “I talk faster than I type, so I’m finding that my data-input rate has increased instead of decreased.” 

That surprised him: “This is completely counter-intuitive. Am I the only one?” he said. “If others are doing the same, then it makes me wonder whether our use of natural language voice input will increase as form factors shrink further.”

How could the iPad mini change things for enterprise users?

When Chan was on the road, he found that he spent his time approving requisitions and handling other administrative transactions -- basically a lot of approvals. He wanted some specific capabilities on the road.  “I would love a nice native app for expense reports,” he said. Oracle ACE Director and Fusion Applications UX Advocate Debra Lilley showed him the Fusion mobile expenses application.  “I want this!” he said.

“An Accounts Payables clerk isn’t going to use a mobile device to enter transactions. Executive users are the ones who use these devices on the road. Fit and finish matter to executives,” Chan said. “We need beautifully-designed mobile apps. Mobile apps have to look dazzling; they need a certain polish. You can immediately tell the difference between an app designed for iOS and one that’s been ported.”

What does this mean for Oracle E-Business Suite? Chan said, “You can bet that this means we are looking at mobile computing beyond just running EBS in a tablet browser. We are looking at how work is changing because of these devices. We have some exciting things in the EBS labs right now.” 

If you are interested in seeing where Oracle Applications are trending, check out the Applications sessions at Alliance, Benelux, and Collaborate, and sign up for a usability testing session at Alliance, Benelux, or Collaborate to help guide the design of our mobile applications.

Monday Nov 12, 2012

Where can you find the Oracle Applications User Experience team in the next several months?

By Misha Vaughan, Applications User Experience

November is one of my favorite times of the year at Oracle. The blast of OpenWorld work is over, and it’s time to get down to business and start taking our messages and our work on the road to the user groups. We’re in the middle of planning all of that right now, so we decided to provide a snapshot of where you can see us and hear about the Oracle Applications User Experience – whether it’s Fusion Applications, PeopleSoft, or what we’re planning for the next-generation of Oracle Applications.

On the road with Apps UX...
In December, you can find us at UKOUG 2012 in Birmingham, UK:
UKOUG, UK Oracle User Group Conference 2012

December 3 – 5, 2012

ICC, Birmingham, UK


In March, we will be at Alliance 2013 in Indianapolis, and our fingers are crossed for OBUG Connect 2013 in Antwerp:

Alliance 2013
March 17 - 20, 2013 

Indianapolis, Indiana

OBUG Benelux Connect 2013

March 26, 2013

Antwerp, Belgium



In April, you will see us at COLLABORATE13 in Denver:


Collaborate13
April 7 - April 11, 2013

Denver, Colorado



And in June, we round out the kick-off to summer at OHUG 2013 in Dallas and Kscope13 in New Orleans:


OHUG 2013
June 9 -13, 2013

Dallas, Texas

ODTUG Kscope13

June 23-27, 2013

New Orleans, LA


The Labs & Demos
As always, a hallmark of our team's presence at these conferences is our mobile usability labs. If you haven’t seen them, they are a great way for customers and partners to get a peek at what Oracle is working on next, and a chance for you to provide your candid perspective.

Based on the interest and enthusiasm from customers last year at Collaborate, we are adding more demo stations to our user group presence in the year ahead. If you want to see some of the work we are doing first-hand but don’t have a lot of time, the demo stations are a great way to get a quick update on the latest wow-factor we are researching. I can promise that you will see whatever we think is new and interesting at the demo stations first.

demostation
Oracle OpenWorld 2012 Apps UX Demo station

For Applications Developers
More and more, I get asked the question, “How do I build an application that looks like Fusion?” My answer is Fusion Applications Design Patterns. You can find out more about how Fusion Applications developers can leverage ADF and the user experience best-practices we have developed for Fusion at sessions lead by Ultan O’Broin, Director of Global User Experience, in the year ahead.


Ultan O'Broin, on Fusion Applications Design Patterns

Building mobile applications are also top of mind these days. If you want to understand how Oracle is approaching this strategy, check out our session on mobile user experience design patterns with Mobile ADF.  In many cases, this will be presented by Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo, Senior Manager of Mobile User Experiences, and in a few cases our ever-ready traveler Ultan O’Broin will be on deck.

Lynn Rampoldi
Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo, left, will do presentations on Mobile User Experience Design Patterns.

Applications User Experiences
Fusion Applications continue to evolve, and you will see the new face of Fusion Applications at our executive sessions in the year ahead, which are led by vice president Jeremy Ashley or a hand-picked presenter, such as one of our Fusion User Experience Advocates

Edward Roske
Edward Roske, CEO of InterRel Consulting, 
and a Fusion User Experience Advocate

As always, our strategy is to take our lessons-learned and spread them across the Oracle Applications product lines. A great example is the enhancements coming in the PeopleSoft user experience, which you can hear about from Harris Kravatz, Senior Manager, PeopleSoft User Experience.

Fusion Applications Extensibility
We can’t talk about Fusion Applications without talking about how to make it look like your business. If tailoring Fusion Applications is a question in your mind, and it should be, you should hit one of these sessions. These sessions will be led by Killian Evers, Senior Director; Tim Dubois, User Experience Architect; and some well-trained Fusion User Experience Advocates.

Find out more
If you want to stay on top of where and when we will be, you can always sign up for our newsletter or check out the Events page of UsableApps.


Monday Oct 29, 2012

Apps UX Launches Blueprints for Mobile User Experiences

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

At Oracle OpenWorld 2012 this year, the Oracle Applications User Experience (Apps UX) team announced the release of Mobile User Experience Functional Design Patterns. These patterns are designed to work directly with Oracle’s Fusion Middleware, specifically, ADF Mobile.  The Oracle Application Development Framework for mobile users enables developers to build one application that can be deployed to multiple mobile device platforms.

blue print

These same mobile design patterns provide the guidance for Oracle teams to develop Fusion Mobile expenses.



Application developers can use Oracle’s mobile design patterns to design iPhone, Android, or browser-based smartphone applications. We are sharing our mobile design patterns and their baked-in, scientifically proven usability to enable Oracle customers and partners to build mobile applications quickly.

A different way of thinking and designing.
Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo, Senior Manager of Mobile User Experiences for Apps UX, says mobile design has to be compelling. “It needs to be optimized for the device, and be visually rich and simple,” she said. “What is really key is that you are designing for a user’s most personal device, the device that they will have with them at all times of the day.”

Katy Massucco, director of the overall design patterns site, said: “You need to start with a simplified task flow. Everything should be a natural interaction. The action should be relevant and leveraging the device. It should be seamless.”

She suggests that developers identify the essential tasks that a user would want to do while mobile. “They need to understand the user and the context,” she added.



A sample inline action design pattern

What people are saying
Reactions to the release of the design patterns have been positive. Debra Lilley, Oracle ACE Director and Fusion User Experience Advocate (FXA), has already demo’ed Fusion Mobile Expenses widely.  Fellow Oracle Ace Director Ronald van Luttikhuizen, called it a “cool demo by @debralilley of the new mobile expenses app.” FXA member Floyd Teter says he is already cooking up some plans for using mobile design patterns.  We hope to see those ideas at Collaborate or ODTUG in 2013.

For another perspective on why user experience is such an important focus for mobile applications, check out this video by John King, Director, and Monty Latiolais, President, both from ODTUG, or the Oracle Development Tools User Group.

In a separate interview by e-mail, Latiolais wrote: “I enjoy the fact we can take something that, in the past, has been largely subjective, and now apply to it a scientifically proven look and feel. Trusting Oracle’s UX Design Patterns, the presentation really can become one less thing to worry about. As someone with limited ADF experience, that is extremely beneficial.”


King, who was also interviewed by e-mail, wrote: “User Experience is about making the task at hand as easy and error-free as possible. Oracle's UX labs worked hard to make the User Experience in the new Fusion Applications as good as possible; ADF makes adding tested, consistent, user experiences a declarative exercise by leveraging that work. As we move applications onto mobile platforms, user experience is the driving factor. Customers are "spoiled" by a bevy of fantastic applications, and ours cannot disappoint them. Creating applications that enable users to quickly and effectively accomplish whatever task is at hand takes thought and practice. Developers must become ’power users’ and then create applications that they and their users will love.”


Thursday Oct 18, 2012

Introducing the New Face of Fusion Applications

By Misha Vaughan and Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

At OpenWorld 2012, the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) team unveiled the new face of Fusion Applications. You may have seen it in sessions presented by Chris Leone, Anthony Lye, Jeremy Ashley or others, or you may have gotten a look on the demogrounds.

Fuse Home
This screenshot shows the new Oracle Fusion Applications entry experience.


Why are we delivering a new face for Fusion Applications? Because, says Ashley, the vice president of the Oracle Applications User Experience team, we want to provide a simple, modern, productive way for users to complete their top quick-entry tasks. The idea is to provide a clear, productive user experience that is backed by the full functionality of Fusion Applications.

The first release of the new face of Fusion focuses on three types of users. It provides a fully functional gateway to Fusion Applications for:

  • New and casual users who need quick access to self-service tasks
  • Professional users who need fast access to quick-entry, high-volume tasks
  • Users who are looking for a way to quickly brand their portal for employees

The new face of Fusion allows users to move easily from navigation to action, Ashley said, and it has been designed for any device -- Mac, PC, iPad, Android, SmartBoard -- in the browser.

Fuse Employee Directory
The Oracle Fusion Applications Employee Directory.

How did we build it?

The new face of Fusion essentially is a custom shell, developed by the Apps UX team, and a set of page templates that embodies a simple design aesthetic. It’s repeatable, providing consistency across its pages, and requires little to zero training.

More specifically, the new face of Fusion has been built on ADF. The Applications UX team created pages in JDeveloper using local tasks flows bound to existing view objects. Three new components were commissioned from ADF, and existing Fusion components were re-skinned to deliver a simple, modern user experience.

It really is that simple – and to prove that point, we’ve been sharing our story around the new face of Fusion on several Oracle channels such as this one.

Want to know more?

Check the VoX blog for our favorite highlights from OpenWorld, which included demos of the new face of Fusion.

And take a look at these posts from Ace Directors Debra Lilley, and Floyd Teter. Special mention to Floyd for the first screen shot credit. Also a nod to Wilfred vander Deijl for capturing the demo to share as part 1 and part 2.

We will also be hitting upcoming user group conferences with our demos, and you can always reach out to one of our Fusion User Experience Advocates for a look.


Wednesday May 23, 2012

VIDEO: Fusion Mobile Expenses

By Misha Vaughan, Architect, Oracle Applications User Experience

Oracle Applications Fusion Mobile Expenses

Want to see something that clearly demonstrates that Oracle gets mobile?

Check out this video crafted by the Oracle Applications User Experience team and the Oracle Financials Product Strategy team. The video is for Oracle Fusion Applications Mobile Expenses, and it integrates with Fusion Expenses.



EVERYone hates entering expenses. This application, and the video, show how Oracle takes that pain away.

This application really showcases how mobile devices, and their new onboard technologies like voice input and cameras, are making completely new user experiences possible for enterprise users.

I had a chance to ask Diana Gray, Senior Manager for Financials Product Strategy what users were saying.  According to Gray, "Based on the feedback we've received, the users are delighted about the voice integration that creates expense lines based on your recording details as well as scanning receipts to create expense lines. Being able to capture expenses 'on the go' and submit them for online report creation makes the business traveler's life so much simpler. No more lost receipts. No need to remember how much you paid out of pocket for taxis and tips."

For more information, go to Oracle.com under Financial Management. Or you can get more details in this data sheet.

Want to find out more about Diana and her vision for mobile expenses?  Check out her Faces of Fusion Video

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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