Thursday Mar 20, 2014

Simplified UI and the Oracle User Experience in Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8

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.


Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 Simplified UI Entry Experience

Time entry
Time in Oracle HCM Cloud Release 8

Sales Campaigns
Sales Campaigns in Oracle Sales Cloud

Succession Plans
Succession Plans In Oracle HCM Cloud

Dashboard
Dashboard in Oracle Sales Cloud


Settings Structure
Settings in Simplified UI: Structure

Check the Usable Apps web site to read more about the user experience in the Oracle Applications Cloud.  

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.

Monday Nov 11, 2013

Moving the Oracle User Experience Forward with the New Release 7 Simplified UI for Oracle Sales Cloud

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.

Analyst Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, saw Simplified UI at Oracle Openworld 2013 and talked about it with CRM Buyer in “Oracle Revs Its Cloud Engines for a Better Customer Experience.

CRM Buyer
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 screen shot
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.

Settings
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.

Wednesday Oct 09, 2013

Meet the Apps UX team at UKOUG Apps13 in London, UK, in October

By Gozel Aamoth, Oracle Applications User Experience


This year, the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) has created separate conferences for the applications and technology communities. UKOUG Apps13 is the must-attend event for users of Oracle Applications in the United Kingdom.

The Oracle Applications User Experience team is preparing to hit the road in the next few weeks and fly from Oracle headquarters to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. We will be at UKOUG Apps13 in London, UK, from October 14-16.

Onsite Usability Lab: Get involved, and give us your feedback
Our team has been hosting an onsite usability lab at the UKOUG conference in Birmingham, UK, since 2007. We are extremely excited about the conference changes and looking forward to collaborating with Oracle applications users and experts. Oracle customers and partners who plan to attend this conference or who are local to the London area are invited to participate in a usability feedback session. By participating in this activity, you will gain knowledge about new functionality directly from the source and ultimately influence the direction of the Oracle products.

UKOUG APPS 13
Angela Johnston, from left, Teena Singh and Tejas Peesapati from the Oracle Applications User Experience Team host the UX Lab at one of the Oracle User Group Conferences.    

When & Where: Usability feedback sessions will be conducted during the UKOUG Apps13 Conference in London on Monday, October 14th, and Tuesday, October 15th, at The Brewery in the Cardington conference room.


Who can participate? What will we test?

  • Oracle Fusion Application’s simplified user interface with social media features: We are looking for feedback on how well social media features can be used in the context of Oracle’s Fusion HCM applications. Social media features allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.
    • Participants: any type of manager with at least 2 direct reports who use any Oracle enterprise applications and who are savvy users of social networking sites and/or collaboration tools.

  • PeopleSoft Mobile Time & Labor: We will test features such as reporting and updating punch time and holiday time using a mobile version of PeopleSoft Time and Labor flow. This research will be conducted on a smartphone.
    • Participants: anyone who uses PeopleSoft Time and Labor or another  third-party time reporting application as well as a smartphone.

  • HCM Manager/Executive Dashboard (Infolets View): We will collect feedback on interactivity, animation, visualization, and content organization on Manager Dashboard.
    • Participants: managers who manage at least 3 direct reports and use one Oracle HR product such as Fusion, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft or Taleo.
  • Next-Generation UI Concepts: Provide early feedback on new design ideas for the next generation of Oracle Fusion Applications.
    • Participants: anyone who is familiar with Oracle Applications such as HCM, CRM, SCM, Financials, Procurement, etc.
  • New contest management capabilities in Oracle’s HCM offering: If you are interested in being able to run contests to help engage and motivate your employees, you must check out this activity.
    • Participants: individuals who run contests or competitions at their company. This can include things like: hackathons, best-ideas contests, sales contests, incident ”burn-downs” contests, ride-share/commuter contests, etc.
  • Data visualization, eye-tracking and emotional valence: We will use mobile eye-tracking equipment and facial recognition software to record participants’ physical responses during a feedback session. We will also collect verbal feedback on various design concepts on data visualizations for future versions of Oracle applications.
    • Participants: any enterprise software users who have to review reports and occasionally use Excel to generate charts based on data.


Contact Us
This event fills up quickly, and seats are limited. Advance registration is required. In order to reserve a spot for yourself and your colleagues, complete this Sign Up registration form. Contact jeannette.chadwick@oracle.com for additional questions.

Attend these presentations to learn about the Oracle User Experience strategy
The Oracle Applications User Experience team will give several presentations at Apps13 that offer a look at the strategy behind the Oracle user experience. Come to these sessions to get a look ahead at where the user experience is going.

Presentation: Applications Transformation Community Keynote
Presenter: Jeremy Ashley

Presentation: Update on PeopleSoft User Experience Enhancements
Presenter: Harris Kravatz

Presentation: Tailoring Your Applications User Experiences in the Cloud

Presenter: Kristin Desmond and Ultan O'Broin


You can also visit the Usable Apps Events page to see where these presentations at Apps13 will be held.


Wednesday Apr 17, 2013

Stay on Top of the Latest Trends in Enterprise User Experiences


By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experiences

Find your local expert in:

Dubai | Cyprus | Athens | Johannesburg  | Jordan | Prague | Moscow | Doha | Bucharest | Abu Dhabi | Munich | London | Gothenburg | Brussels | Copenhagen | Utrecht | Chicago | San Francisco | Washington DC


Photographs by Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience
Amsterdam canals, above, were outside the location for a recent workshop on enterprise applications user experience. 

In the fall of last year, the Apps UX team met with and updated the Apps UX Sales Ambassador (SAMBA) team in North America with a reprise of last year’s sales training event.

The SAMBA team is a global group of senior-level application solution consultants and applications technologists who provide front-line feedback on the Oracle applications user experience strategy and roadmap. We now officially welcome to the fold representation from Oracle’s Partner team, Alliances and Channels, as well.

Their brethren in Europe, Middle East, and Africa also wanted a chance to see and give feedback on what's new, what's coming, and what is officially "wow" in applications user experiences.  So we took our workshop on the road to create more regional user experience experts.


The new Oracle University training facility in Dubai, near where more UX training was conducted. Highly recommended!

What did they learn?
There was a significant focus on the Oracle Fusion Applications next-generation user experiences, with an in-depth discussion of the new simplified user interface, updates to the desktop user interface, as well as the role of Fusion's native applications.  There was also an extended conversation about how this frames Oracle's overall cloud user experience strategy.

Attendees also got a much more detailed view into how these innovations are spread across the Applications Unlimited product lines, such as E-Business Suite, Siebel, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft. We offered specific examples of how Oracle invests in codifying proven, tested solutions to usability problems, known as user experience design patterns,  that any existing product can family leverage.



Ultan O'Broin, Director, Applications User Experiences, discusses how user experience design patterns allow developers to leverage Oracle innovations across applications products.


Finally, the main event: The applications user experience roadmap with Jeremy Ashley, Vice President of the Apps UX team. What are the next set of big ideas that we are paying attention to and doing research and development around? 

You can get an inkling of the conversation here. Both presenters and attendees debated the merits and risks of simplification, gamification, voice technology, and how to create frameworks for extending these platforms to tailor a user experience to the way a customer's business really needs to function.


Lynn Rampoldi-Hnilo, Director, Mobile User Experience, talks about voice integration for end users of enterprise applications.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Kevin Li, Edward Dewolf and Julian Peters from Europe, and Anand Subramanian from Middle East and Africa, for serving as our spirit guides, and teaching us what you need for your customers and partners. 


Julian Peters, Master Principal Sales Consultant, UK


Anand Subramanian, Middle East and Africa Fusion Apps Leader, Dubai


Edward Dewolf, Principal Sales Consultant, Belgium

A last thank you to Andrew Gilmour for staying calm under pressure to help execute an awesome series of workshops.


Andrew Gilmour, Fusion User Experience Advocates and Apps UX Sales Ambassador Programs

For customers and partners
If you are interested in a briefing and want to stay on top of what's coming in applications user experiences, connect with your local solution consultant or alliances and channels representative -- they will reach out to our Apps UX Sales Ambassadors and can deliver an update for you. 

If you are fortunate enough to find your way to a local user group event, we try to make sure we have a representative from our team on the ground.  Check out our events pages on the UsableApps Web site.

Thursday Apr 11, 2013

The Cloud User Experience: Changing Everything for Users

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

Cloud-delivered applications are one of those things you watch to see how the  phenomenon is going to fully express itself.  It’s one of those industry-wide happenings, perhaps even more compelling than tablet computers, that is making the world a better place for users.

Consumers have already seen the benefit of a cloud approach with tailored, consumer-driven experiences on sites like eBay.  



Whether it’s using a desktop user interface (UI) with powerful features such as a merchant user interface for uploading 100 long and short descriptions and photos, or a simplified UI on a tablet for browsing through items from the comfort of your couch, or monitoring an auction on your smart phone using a native application, these custom, tailored experiences are really enabled by cloud computing.  

Think about that. These user interfaces are tailored for what you are doing, on specific devices, and considering specific contexts of use. Add to that a consumer-level design aesthetic, and industrial-grade security, and you have the makings of a pleasant little revolution for enterprise users.


Enterprise Apps in the Cloud Should Work the Way You Do

Marry ease-of-use, device-savvy design, custom-fit experiences, role-based access, international compliance, and security -- that’s a heady combination. It means that users can and should expect their cloud-delivered solutions to work the way they need.

Let me give you some examples.  If I am a VP of sales, I am likely very mobile and use a simplified UI on a tablet quite a bit to browse and analyze my pipeline on the road.  But if I need to sit down and crank out a deeper level of analysis for territory modeling, I am only going to do that from the comfort of a delightfully wide screen on a desktop UI.  If I am dashing from a customer meeting to the airport, I want a quick user interface via a native application on my smartphone to capture only essential information.



If I am a general ledger clerk, I probably need access to a large-screen user interface.  In fact, if you try to make me do my day-to-day work on a tablet, I would likely smack you with it.  But I may be perfectly happy submitting my vacation schedule from a tablet-kiosk in the lunchroom.

It’s a pretty exciting time of change in enterprise software right now, and I am a big fan of these kinds of changes.  It means that our end users will only benefit.  Stay tuned to the Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog to hear more about some of the new stuff coming from Oracle.  


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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