Thursday Oct 17, 2013

Oracle’s New Approach to Cloud-based Applications User Experiences

By Misha Vaughan

It was an exciting Oracle OpenWorld this year for customers and partners, as they got to see what their input into the Oracle user experience research and development process has produced for cloud-delivered applications. The result of all this engagement and listening is a focus on simplicity, mobility, and extensibility. These were the core themes across Oracle OpenWorld sessions, executive roundtables, and analyst briefings given by Jeremy Ashley, Oracle's vice president of user experience. The highlight of every meeting with a customer featured the new simplified UI for Oracle’s cloud applications.   

Attendees at some sessions and events also saw a vision of what is coming next in the Oracle user experience, and they gave direct feedback on whether this would help solve their business problems. 

What did attendees think of what they saw this year?

Rebecca Wettemann of Nucleus Research was part of  an analyst briefing on next-generation user experiences from Oracle. Here’s what she told CRM Buyer in an interview just after the event: 

“Many of the improvements are incremental, which is not surprising, as Oracle regularly updates its application,” Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, told CRM Buyer. "Still, there are distinct themes to this latest set of changes. 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." 

What else did we hear?

Oracle OpenWorld is a time when we can take a broader pulse of our customers’ and partners’ concerns. This year we heard some common user experience themes on the following:

· A desire to continue to simplify widely used self-service tasks
· A need to understand how customers or partners could take some of the UX lessons learned on simplicity and mobility into their own custom areas and projects 
· The continuing challenge of needing to support bring-your-own-device and corporate-provided mobile devices to end users
· A desire to harmonize user experiences across platforms for specific business-use cases 

What does this mean for next year?

Well, there were a lot of things we could only show to smaller groups of customers in our Oracle OpenWorld usability labs and HQ lab tours, to partners at our Expo, and to analysts under non-disclosure agreements. But we used these events as a way to get some early feedback about where we are focusing for the year ahead. Attendees gave us a positive response:

@bkhan Saw some excellent UX innovations at the expo “@usableapps: Great job @mishavaughan and @vinoskey on #oow13 UX partner expo!”

@WarnerTim @usableapps @mishavaughan @vinoskey @ultan Thanks for an interesting afternoon definitely liked the UX tool kits for partners.

You can expect Oracle to continue pushing themes of simplicity, mobility, and extensibility even more aggressively in the next year. 

If you are interested to find out what really goes on in the UX labs, such as what we are doing with smartphones, tablets, heads-up displays, and the AppsLab robots, feel free to reach out to me for more information: Misha Vaughan or on Twitter: @mishavaughan.

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