With the launch of Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 this month, the Oracle Applications User Experience team gets another opportunity to talk about its simplified user interface (UI) and how our usability research is moving the Oracle user experience forward.
The simplified UI is the modern, intuitive, streamlined interface for the Oracle Applications Cloud that brings to the surface frequently performed tasks, works across platforms, and requires no training. Oracle debuted this simple, mobile, and extensible interface in Oracle Applications Cloud Release 7, in Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud. That release in Fall 2013 illustrates the interface's focus on quick-entry, light-touch, contextual tasks that are tailored by role.
Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 is an extension of the same themes of simplicity, mobility, and extensibility that set the simplified UI apart. Oracle HCM Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud can now take advantage of these user experience enhancements:
Expanded simplicity: Additional self-service, quick-action tasks are brought to the surface in this latest release, enabling more people in your company to easily access the essential information and actions that support the way they work in the cloud.
Expanded visualizations and analytics: Additional infographic-inspired, tablet-friendly, and interactive visualizations and embedded analytics appear throughout the UI in this release.
Expanded extensibility and customization: Not only can you rebrand the simplified UI with your own company logo and watermark and add unique company news and announcements to the simplified UI home page, but you can now restructure and rename the available functional areas and pages.
Here's a look at just a few highlights in the simplified UI in Release 8.
By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
Photo by Martin Taylor, Oracle Applications User Experience Lucas Jellema, Chief Technology Officer of Oracle partner AMIS Services BV, gets a look at new Oracle user experiences during a demo with Lulit Bezuayahu, of Oracle, at an OAUX Expo at OpenWorld 2013. The expo was his source of inspiration for an expo in The Netherlands in March 2014.
Lucas Jellema, Chief Technology Officer of Oracle partner AMIS Services BV, first saw the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Expo at OpenWorld in September 2013 in San Francisco.
“The expo further enforced the message - simplicity, mobility, extensibility - and what that boils down to in terms of actual user interfaces,” Jellema said after the expo. “It also strengthened my confidence in what the UX team is doing. It helps me believe that Oracle actually can be a leader in UX in the enterprise space.” He said he recognized the excitement and possibilities for inspiration for Oracle customers and asked if the UX team could bring the same experience to Europe in partnership with AMIS.
Join us on March 18 at the AMIS offices in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The Oracle Applications User Experience team will be showcasing the latest thinking in Oracle’s user experiences from noon to 8pm, along with talks by speakers including Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President, Applications User Experiences; Sten Vesterli (@techthatfits), Senior Principal Consultant, Scott / Tiger; Lonneke Dikmans, (@lonnekedikmans), Managing Parter, Vennster; and, of course, Lucas Jellema (@lucasjellema).
The event will be open to the public, including students, customers, and partners. Registration is necessary to make sure we can accommodate everyone.
By special request of the AMIS team, Oracle will also host a Secret Chamber that requires customers to be under non-disclosure. Behind these doors, customers will be able to see Oracle’s applications cloud user experience roadmap.
By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience
Anne Meyer of MIPRO Consulting LLC, center, listens along with Kelly Bernie, Senior Manager, Oracle Applications Partner Enablement, left, to a demo from Ivy Leung, Applications User Experience, as she talks about Simplified UI for Oracle HCM Cloud at the OAUX Expo during OpenWorld in San Francisco in September 2013.
In the past 6 months, the Oracle Applications User Experience team has been experimenting with a new way to show the innovative user experiences we are building. This idea of a demo showcase evolved into the OAUX Expo at OpenWorld 2013, in September in San Francisco. Guests, who were required to sign non-disclosure agreements with Oracle and refrain from blogging, Tweeting, or other social media expressions about what they saw, were invited to attend an exclusive reception where they could see demos of just-released and future user experiences. These demos included everything from Simplified UI for the Sales Cloud and HCM Cloud to cutting-edge technology like voice and Google Glass that members of our team are exploring as we consider how to incorporate such technology into future user experiences.
Anne Meyer, representing Oracle partner MIPRO Consulting, was one of about 150 attendees. Here’s what she had to say about the expo and its value:
Q: What were you expecting to see at the OAUX Expo at Oracle OpenWorld 2013? Anne: “I wasn’t sure what the format or content would be other than expecting a view of Fusion Release 7.” (Oracle Fusion Applications Cloud Services Release 7)
Q: How did the demos you saw meet your expectations?
Anne: “The demos surpassed my expectations. I have worked with OAUX in the past for one-on-one feedback sessions and have always enjoyed participating in those. In this forum, it was nice to walk up to and see and hear about a variety of innovative prototypes as well as upcoming new features soon to be available in the Oracle product lines.
The innovation of the prototypes was truly exciting. I’m anxious for these products to make it to the marketplace. Some may be game-changing for Oracle, and how people view Oracle products. They demonstrated a great sense of what the new workforce generation is expecting in the software solutions they use at work. I was particularly excited about the voice recognition prototype. There are endless applications for that capability across the Oracle product lines.”
Q: Would you attend future OAUX Expo events, or bring colleagues to such an event?
Anne: “Absolutely. I always try and expand my company’s participation in OAUX events.”
Q: How was the OAUX Expo valuable to you and your company?
Anne: "The OAUX Expo was important on many levels. First, we are implementing Fusion Release 5, so the view into Release 7 was important in our planning for when we upgrade next year. Second, as I noted in a previous comment, to see the innovation is very exciting to us as we are an organization focused on PeopleSoft and Fusion. It supports our enthusiasm for the products and their future, and how we can infuse that enthusiasm to our clients and prospects.”
Q: Has the OAUX Expo changed your perception of the Oracle user experience?
“I don’t know if it changes my perception per se, because I enjoy participating in the one-on-one feedback sessions. This is just another approach, and a good one, to see more at one time.”
Anne said in a separate email that the expo demonstrated how Oracle is moving forward with technology innovation. “I’ve been a participant in individual user experience sessions, but to put them all together in one room was eye-opening to how there is an overall vision, to where the Oracle products are moving. So having multiple stations to view the innovations gives one a full view, and an exciting one, to the future.”
She added that the one thing that stood out was the voice recognition technology. “All of my customers and prospects are excited about the mobile technology, but little do they know that the voice recognition technology is potentially on its way. That is very, very exciting. We have customers who have people using PeopleSoft on things like oil rigs. How much more convenient could it be to a foreman to be able to audible rather than type things into PeopleSoft than that?
“The example used was CRM, but I think the real bottom-line usage of voice recognition is, for example, when a nurse on a hospital floor can audible inventory items and not take valuable time to key that in. That’s powerful. That’s ROI as hospitals look to reduce cost to patient days. That was the most impressive application I saw there.”
Thank you, Anne, for your time and feedback! For more information on how to attend a similar expo event, contact Misha.Vaughan @ Oracle.com.
By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
The Oracle Applications User Experience group has begun to explore the role of wearable computing and enterprise use cases, which is part and parcel of our charter to watch for future trends that will matter to our customers’ workforce. See, for example, some of the recent posts by The AppsLab team and Ultan (@ultan) on wearables.
Heads-Up Displays: Google Glass
Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai), a User Experience Architect at Oracle, has been roaming the halls of Oracle with what are now easily identifiable as Google Glass. In this post, he talks about his experience using Google Glass and what he has learned about wearing them in an enterprise setting.
Anthony Lai Photo by Misha Vaughan
Q: Let's start with the basics. What is Google Glass, and what is the vision behind the technology?
A: Glass is a device that is supposed to be non-intrusive, to give you information when you need it. It is a way for you to quickly know about stuff right away, without even opening up a tablet or device. It provides notifications to you for things you are interested in. It provides you with navigation. You can ask questions in a free-form format. You can take pictures and do video recording for memories. Quick snapshots. The photos are nice; they are wide-angle.
Q: Do people around you find it intrusive at all? Do they object to the video-recording capacity?
A: If you take a picture, you hear the click sound and there is a flash. It’s not like you don't know it's happening. That brings in a paradigm about glass. They position it just above the eye. You need the eye contact to create trust.
Q: What have you found to be useful for yourself, in terms of work?
The first thing is that I subscribe to things I'm interested in on Twitter. In Twitter, you can have a lot of people you are following. You can select which people you want to receive on your Glass. I put some technology things on there, and Glass would notify me. I feel like it's really annoying now to go to my phone or my desktop. With Glass, it's just instant. That's key for me.
The other side is in-car navigation. I was using my phone, but with Glass, I can see straight ahead and get the directions in my ear. If it is time for you to turn and take actions, it will tell you. So it's not really distracting you from driving.
Q: As a developer working for Oracle, what enterprise use cases occur to you?
Take a CRM use case. What does a sales rep need to do when they go into a sales meeting? What information do they need to know wherever they are? One example is if there is a sales meeting coming up at 3 p.m., Google Glass can remind you, and then give you quick information, like attendees. If you want to call an attendee right away, you can. If you need to make a quick note, if you need to find where the meeting is, how bad traffic is to get there.
During a meeting, we thought, what if you want to take a picture of the attendees so you don't forget who was at a meeting?
At the end of the meeting, you may want to debrief. You go to a coffee shop around the corner, where you can sit and make notes of the meeting with co-workers. You can even run a Google Hangout, or video-conference, with people who are there and not there.
Q: Final thoughts?
It's amazing technology. I think it is an appropriate technology to move into the future. I think there are a lot of people right now that are skeptical. Right now, it is expensive. Ultimately, the price will go down.
Wearables: An Executive Perspective
Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Oracle Applications User Experience team, with his Pebble Watch.
"It's not just about Google Glass,” says Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of Oracle Applications User Experience. “What we are doing is taking the application of computing power here, and moving away from it being a single device. We are moving to multiple devices that sense the world around you. It's really a matter of what these other devices can provide for you.”
Ashley said users are demanding smaller snippets of more detailed information, like Google Now and Windows tiles. “Instead of providing this large dashboard with this information all over it, you will see little tiles with snippets of information that you can drill on. It's no longer about providing lots of detailed information. It's providing lots of detailed information with context.”
The platforms for information delivery include glasses, watches, and other types of devices. The glasses derive their context from where you are, what you are looking at, and what you are supposed to be doing at that time. They use sight, sound, GPS, motion, direction, gesture and more.
Glasses are piggybacking on a set of interactions that you are already doing, and adding extra information on top of that, as opposed to a computer that you have to walk up to and begin providing context to. Glass augments a lot of your movements to gain input and complete a particular task.
Google Glass is an obvious use case for supply chain, Ashley said, when the user needs a third hand to reference material or communicate with someone about a part or a checklist. It can be recording what you are doing, or provide a channel for another technician to look over your shoulder as you check your work.
More use cases
Wearing Google Glass in meetings might also make sense. The user could be acting as a proxy who is sitting in the room for someone else and providing a feel of the room.
In the financials spectrum, a user might want to keep information secret as opposed to making information public. Google Glass could be used by a CFO, who receives real-time data as opposed to opening up a laptop in a public place.
“When they say ‘augmentation,’ people think of Borg-like things on your head,” Ashley said. “Instead it’s about taking something that you already have, and just increasing the sensitivity to make it more meaningful or useful.”
By Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience
In September 2013, Release 7 for Oracle Cloud Applications became generally available for Oracle Sales Cloud and HCM Cloud. This significant release allowed the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) team to finally talk freely about Simplified UI, a user experience project in the works since Oracle OpenWorld 2012.
Simplified UI represents the direction that the Oracle user experience – for all of its enterprise applications – is heading.
Oracle’s Apps UX team began by building a Simplified UI for sales representatives. You can find that today in Release 7, and it was demoed extensively during OpenWorld 2013 in San Francisco.
See the the new Simplified UI for Oracle Sales Cloud, a user interface built for sales reps.
Wettemann said there are distinct themes to the latest release: "One is usability. Oracle Sales Cloud, for example, is designed to have zero training for onboarding sales reps, which it does," she explained. "It is quite impressive, actually -- the intuitive nature of the application and the design work they have done with this goal in mind."
The software uses as few buttons and fields as possible, she pointed out. "The sales rep doesn't have to ask, 'what is the next step?' because she can see what it is."
In fact, there are three themes driving the usability that Wettemann noted. They are simplicity, mobility, and extensibility, and we write more about them on the Usable Apps web site. These three themes embody the strategy for Oracle’s cloud applications user experiences.
Simplified UI for Oracle Sales Cloud
In developing a Simplified UI for Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle’s UX team concentrated on the tasks that sales reps need to do most frequently, and are most important. “Knowing that the majority of their work lives are spent on the road and on the go, they need to be able to quickly get in and qualify and convert their leads, monitor and progress their opportunities, update their customer and contact information, and manage their schedule,” Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Applications UX team, said.
Ashley said the Apps UX team has a good reason for creating a Simplified UI that focuses on self-service. “Sales people spend the day selling stuff,” he said. “The only reason they use software is because the company wants to track what they’re doing.” Traditional systems of tracking that information include filling in a spreadsheet of leads or sales. Oracle wants to automate this process for the salesperson, and enable that person to keep everyone who needs to know up-to-date easily and quickly. Simplified UI addresses that problem by providing light-touch input.
“It has to be useful to the salesperson,” Ashley said about the Sales Cloud user experience. Simplified UI can tell sales reps about key opportunities, or provide information about a contact in just a click or two.
Customer information is accessible quickly and easily with Simplified UI for the Oracle Sales Cloud.
Simplified UI for Sales Cloud can also be extended easily, Ashley said. Users usually just need to add various business fields or create and modify analytical reports. The way that Simplified UI is constructed allows extensibility to happen by hiding or showing a few necessary fields.
The Settings user interface, starting in release 7, allows for the simple configuration of the most important visual elements.
“With Sales cloud, we identified a need to make the application useful and very simple,” Ashley said. Simplified UI meets that need.
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. Stay tuned to the Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog – the next post will be about Simplified UI and HCM Cloud.