Monday Dec 16, 2013

Six Things You Can Do Today to Jump-Start Your User Experience for Enterprise Applications

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience


Photo by Martin Taylor, Oracle
A good user experience does not have to be a shot in the dark.

Ahmed Aboulnaga’s recent article in UKOUG Scene, “Usability – Ignored by Developers and Undervalued by Managers” made some great points about the benefits of usability research.  

As I was reading it, I wondered: Would a mid-market or small-market company read this and think, “Well, I just don’t have the budget or time, so I’ll just have to do without.”

Good usability practices are completely possible even on the smallest budget, and with no UX staff.  Here are a few ways that even small IT shops can inject some user experience goodness into their process. 
  1. Identify. Who is your user? We’ve published a cheat sheet on how to do this, courtesy of UX Direct, which is a web site that outlines the user experience process and guidelines Oracle uses.
  2. Work smarter. Jump-start your design with user experience design patterns.  We’ve already invested in the research and testing, so you don’t have to.
  3. Sketch. Wireframe before you code. 
  4. Visuals. A few key things on the visuals: Ultan O’Broin (@ultan) is working with ODTUG to get the word out about visual design for enterprise applications.
  5. Get feedback. Persuade a colleague to show your wireframes to real end users. If you do it yourself, it’s too easy to slant the results in your favor.
  6. Iterate. Re-design and re-test, as resources permit. It helps enormously to separate the business logic of your application from the user interface logic, as in this example (page 41) from Lonneke Dikmans of Vennster (@lonnekedikmans).
At this point, you might be thinking that I am making unrealistic claims, so I’ll point you to one of my favorite success stories. When Greg Duncan was with the City of Las Vegas,  he had the one most important resources -- an executive mandate from his CIO at the time, Joseph Marcella.

If that doesn’t convince you that you can incorporate user experience methodologies into your own process, let me share Floyd Teter’s (@fteter) story about a project with EiS Technologies.  He attended a UX and ADF training workshop and picked up some UX methodologies, like basic usability testing, and delivered a world-class user experience in a matter of weeks using ADF essentials for a reporting tool.  His budget consisted of Otter Pops and a Saturday afternoon of testing with end users.

In a story carried by O Tech Magazine (page 25), Marcel Maas (@mhjmaas) of AMIS actually had the benefit of a user experience designer, Sander Haaksma (@sanderha) of UX Company.  However, they still managed to keep costs down by using an agile methodology.

Would you benefit from UX expertise on a project, either as full-time staff or contracted resources?  Of course you would, because you don’t have to spend time developing a whole new area of personal expertise.   

Is that feasible for you? If not, try just one of the techniques above.

Friday Mar 15, 2013

Oracle Apps UX Team on the Road: What Are We Offering at COLLABORATE 2013?

By Gozel Aamoth, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Oracle Applications User Experience team (Apps UX) will be at the Alliance Higher Education User Group (HEUG) conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and OBUG Benelux Connect in Antwerp, Belgium, in the month of March. Team members meet and collaborate with Oracle customers and partners at these events, as well as expand existing relationships. If you’re not planning to attend either of these user group conferences, in April you can meet us at the COLLABORATE 2013 conference in Denver, Colorado.

APPS UX AT COLLABORATE

Photograph by the Oracle Applications User Experience team

Angela Johnston, from left, Teena Singh and Tejas Peesapati from the Oracle Applications User Experience Team host the UX Lab at Collaborate 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The COLLABORATE conference is an event where thousands of Oracle professionals spend days learning about new Oracle products and offerings. There is a lot to choose from, but the Apps UX team always brings something innovative and new to the table. Depending on what you’d like to see or how you’d like to get involved, there are several ways to meet face-to-face with members of the Applications User Experience team: sign up for a user feedback session, where you get the opportunity to explore new ideas and see early designs of future products by test-driving the product before it goes to market; visit our demo pod to learn more about the new entry experience for Oracle Fusion Applications and participate in our very cool interactive eye-tracking demo; or attend one of the Apps UX presentations, which you can read about on the Usable Apps Events page.

Onsite Usability Lab: Participate in a user feedback session

Oracle customers and partners are invited to participate in a usability feedback session, where we will test new interfaces and features for the Oracle Fusion Applications HCM entry experience and work flows that have been gamified; Fusion Applications Help; the entry experience for Fusion Applications Financial Reporting; Oracle Social Network; and Oracle E-Business Suite user experience and interactions. Get a peek at Oracle’s next-generation enterprise application designs and learn about Oracle’s pioneering user-centered design process. Your feedback will help Oracle develop unbeatable products and solutions.

  • Who can participate? Employees, functional subject matter experts, managers, directors, VPs, Fusion Early Adopters, Fusion Applications implementers, IT consultants, partners and more.
  • When and where: Sessions will be scheduled on Tuesday, April 9th,  and Wednesday, April 10th, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Hotel  in Denver, Colorado. You may sign up to participate in a one-on-one session or a brainstorming group activity.
  • How do I sign up? If you are interested in participating or would like to recommend your colleagues, send an email to gozel.aamoth@oracle.com

Demo Station: The new entry experience for Oracle Fusion Applications, mobile, design patterns, and eye-tracking

Are you looking for a simple, current, and productive way for your users to perform key, quick-entry tasks while still having direct access to the full Oracle Fusion Applications functionality? Stop by the Oracle Applications User Experience demo station at COLLABORATE 2013 and discover the new entry experience for Oracle Fusion Applications. 

The Applications User Experience team will also show the latest design concepts for mobile enterprise applications on different mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Having the right mobile applications for your workforce enhances productivity, efficiency, and employee morale and satisfaction. Discuss the similarities, differences, advantages, and challenges of the mobile platform. Chat with us about how these applications and prototypes meet your needs. 

Our team also wants to show you how using both enterprise and mobile design patterns in your customizations can extend the value of your applications, while also promoting standardization and consistency. 

And, get a look at the cutting-edge tools in Oracle’s arsenal of usability evaluation methods, such as eye-tracking. Recording users’ visual attention with eye-tracking methods can help inform the visibility, understandability, and navigation of page elements. Discuss with us how metrics are defined, and how design implications are made.

Attend our presentations to learn about the Oracle User Experience strategy

The Oracle Applications User Experience team will be offering several sessions at COLLABORATE 2013 that offer a look at the strategy behind the Oracle user experience, and provide a look ahead at where the user experience is going. Visit the Usable Apps COLLABORATE 2013 page to find out when and where these presentations will be held.

  • Oracle’s Roadmap to a Simple, Modern User Experience In Fusion Apps
  • Fusion User Experience for Today's Enterprise User
  • Oracle Fusion Applications: Customizing and Extending Using Oracle Composers


Friday Feb 08, 2013

Apps UX Team on the Road: Oracle Usability Lab at Alliance 2013 Conference

By Gozel Aamoth, Oracle Applications User Experience

People
Wei Zhou and Gozel Aamoth from the Oracle Applications User Experience team welcome participants at Alliance 2012 in Nashville, Tenn.

Are you or your colleagues planning to attend the Alliance 2013 conference in Indianapolis this year? If yes, we’d like you to know that the Apps UX team will pack their bags and bring the usability lab to this user group conference. For the fifth consecutive year, Higher Education, Public Sector and Federal users of Oracle Applications will have an opportunity to collaborate with usability experts. Sign up for one of our exclusive user feedback sessions to get a peek at next-generation enterprise applications and learn about Oracle’s pioneering user-centered design process.

The usability lab will be open two days: Monday, March 18th, and Tuesday, March 19th, at the JW Marriott Indianapolis Hotel, Room #202. Attend a one-hour session where our usability experts will guide you through practical learning sessions covering aspects of business applications and more.

Who can participate: Employees, Business Analysts, Subject Matter Experts, Managers of all levels, and Students.

Give us your feedback on: PeopleSoft HCM Home Page, PeopleSoft HCM Manager Self Service, PeopleSoft FUSE Campus Solutions, and Fusion Help Design.

How do I sign up: This event fills up quickly, and seats are limited. Advance registration is required. RSVP now by sending an email to Gozel Aamoth at gozel.aamoth@oracle.com.  

To learn more about the team’s presentations and involvement at this conference, please visit UsableApps.

Tuesday Apr 10, 2012

Nucleus Research Note: Oracle's Focus on Usability in Fusion Applications

By Misha Vaughan, Applications User Experience

I recently noticed that Nucleus Research Inc. released a research note summarizing their findings on Oracle Fusion Applications.

It's always nice when an outside firm is savvy enough to acknowledge the value of a user experience strategy. When it is applied to what Oracle has done with Fusion Applications,  it's even more satisfying. 

In the note, Nucleus states:

"Based on the demos and testimonials from early adopters Nucleus has reviewed, Oracle has clearly focused on usability with in-application analytics and other smart application features.

 "In Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle has built not just transactional corporate applications where users enter and extract data, but smarter applications that driver user productivity."

Read it for yourself here.

Read more about the story behind Oracle's Fusion Applications User Experience here.

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