My Oracle Support Blog

  • UI
    October 21, 2009

Results from Recent Usability Research and Studies


Customers have asked about how we deal with customer feedback. Customers who have participated in feedback sessions are especially interested in understanding how their feedback was incorporated into My Oracle Support. This series should answer that question for you. Thanks Charles for bugging me to put this out!


The My Oracle Support design team reaches out to customers in a variety of ways. This includes one on one interviews, group meetings, user group sessions, reading feedback via the site, watching Oracle and other blogs or forums, and doing larger scale surveys. Via these processes we generate feature requests, bugs, or enhancements, which in turn are given to a designer to design. The most feedback comes from places like the Feedback form, but typically these are "bugs" (items which need to be fixed but do not require design consideration). The focus on this series is on design. What features do customers want? How do they want the features to work? Who will use the features and how often? And will the feature make sense for a new user and be efficient for an experienced user?

Design is the process of understanding customer needs and providing a user experience which achieves customer needs and goals while focused on "ease of use". Design is not development. If one writes code to solve a problem it may or may not be "easy to use". Design generally puts more complexity into the code and the development process so that the user doesn't have to deal with the complexity. We are focused on understanding customer needs (we answer to the customer not to development) and how customer interacts with Oracle Support. So one can imagine that the time and energy to design something well takes more time up front, but would require less effort by development in the long run to "get it right" and provide the customer with what they need and want. Of course, we don't always get it right, so we iterate and refine until we do.

A series of user research studies using one-on-one web conference sessions were conducted covering dozens of My Oracle Support customers. These sessions covered basic customer needs (how do you do your business), review of designs to cover those needs (typically screen shots), and up through the use of a demo by the customer, while myself and other watched and asked questions. All of these were done prior to the release of features. Up to this point, we have not yet conducted any in field testing of shipping products, other than the Service Request process, but more on that hairy issue, later!

The results of these tests are written up into design briefs which are used to guide the design and development of the product. Part One will cover the details of how we gather this feedback. Part Two will go into the details of the feedback received. We recognize there are a variety of key issues which still remain in My Oracle Support. This will also be discussed in Part Three. And hopefully all of this will serve as a mechanism to get your input into the design process. I for one, listen to customer feedback and work very hard to make the feedback results appear in the product via improved usability and the introduction of important features.

Part One: Gathering Feedback from Recent Usability Research and Studies

Part Two: Actual User Feedback

Part Three: Special Areas of Feedback: Content, Quality, and Performance

Join the discussion

Comments ( 26 )
  • parvillers Thursday, November 5, 2009
    i'm totally unsatisfied of the new appareance of metalink.
    I can not find any thing and each time I need to open a SR I want also to open an SR against the way to declare SR.....
    Stop all ! It is so unpleasant to try to make thing with your new tools.
  • richard.miller Thursday, November 5, 2009
    Sorry to hear that. but can you be more specific, so maybe we could have a chance to fix your issues. What can you not find? What of the appearance doesn't work for you?
  • Laurent Schneider Monday, November 9, 2009
    New metalink:
    I noticed quite a lot of changes this morning. First, I lost all my favorites (bugs, sr) :(
    Then on SR, I got some strange new "status". For instance :
    SR 7706236.992 : Customer Abandoned
    this issue is now attached to a bug. I adandoned nothing
    SR 6436087.993 : No fault found
    Well, first I cannot see the text of the SR any more, and then the bug was shown with test case and reproduced by metalink.
    SR 7329496.993 : Resolved with solution
    Nope, you solved nothing there, you just created the bug but the issue still exists and leads to a severe loss of services.
    I am really annoyed to not see the text of most of my SRs. Why is this? Improving performance? Not nice :(
    Have a great week and thanks for supporting us :)
  • richard.miller Monday, November 9, 2009
    Lost your favorites! Ouch. Please file a bug. I will check to see if this a "universal" problem.
    Were the favorites in Classic? In MOS Metalink? Or in support.oracle.com version?
    I don't myself know how all of this was merged. I will check and post.
    I did see a document in the Site Alerts region discussing that not all SR content was migrated yet. I think it mentioned Nov 9th... Read the Site Alerts - looks like the migration is not complete. Site Alerts region is on the dashboard.
    Sorry about that Laurent. This wasn't something we covered in our usability sessions!
  • Rory O'Connor Tuesday, November 10, 2009
    It has occurred to me in viewing responses/reactions to the new My Oracle Support (MOS), that in addition to the known glitches and security prohibitions on Flash usage, and resource consumption by Flash, that there may be an extra issue with the user interface (UI): this new UI may well be an addtional challenge for those who use English as a "Second Language" (ESL).
    I would ask you who are non-native English speakers, if it has been your experience that many of you have gradually learned how to cope with the usage of English in the context of MetaLink, and now the totally new interface of MOS is requiring you to start over? Are you having to get familiar with new usages of English on the various MOS web pages?
    Just wondering since it confuses a lot of us native English speakers, also, I think ;-}
  • richard.miller Tuesday, November 10, 2009
    Can you give some examples? Are you thinking about the status's of SRs? I don't recall a lot of new language in the UI - other than trying to make words simplier and easier to understand and translate. The UI shipped this week is new, but not totally new, it is based on the metalink My Oracle Support which has been shipping for more than a year.
    But please do give examples, if we missed something we should fix it.
  • Rory O'Connor Tuesday, November 10, 2009
    Re the UI Changes and ESL Re-Orientation
    The issue is not so much the bare words, but the overall visual context of the positional layout. The same words in different places on the page, and changed visual layout of the various parts can disrupt those of us who are very visually oriented, and learn to look for certain things in the same places on familiar screens. Change the layout, and our frame of visual reference is totally disrupted, so we have to start over learning the new layout, and where to find what we need. Controls are in different places with different names, and any Help facility requires a new frame of reference which further obscures meaning.
    If you then add in the additional challenge of ESL, especially if the words themselves are changed, regardless of being "simplified", then I suspect that is an extra disruption. I know the few times I look at web pages on other sites in other languages, I look for lots of other visual cues, even if it is in German, which I took for 4 years in high school, but that was LONG ago, and I have "vielen vergessen".
    Just a thought on another form of disruptive change.
  • richard.miller Tuesday, November 10, 2009
    So if I understand this, it is not an ESL question, but one of "muscle memory" and wayfinding. You knew your way around the previous page, now it is arranged differently and need to refind your way. Yes, this is a challenge when there is change. Bugs asside, we would hope the additional value provided by the layout would quickly offset the time it takes to "refind" your way on a new layout.
    It is interesting to think that non English speakers would have additional burden because they have to both refind their way AND deal with any change in language. But there are very few language changes made over the last year.
    This is kind of like when I switched to the new Microsoft Office. And to be honest, years later, I still am not as proficient as I was with the "old" office. But I don't think the barrier to entry in My Oracle Support is anything near Office. And we think there are new "short cuts" which allow you to avoid old patterns which were painful and slow.
    I was asked in another thread about why you could only see Technical SRs OR Feedback (non-technical SRs) in the SR panel. The customer wanted to see both. And I told him I thought it had to do with the problems of performance joining the two databases into one screen. And then he wrote back that he just added a second copy of the SR region and set the second one to show Non-Technical SRs. Problem solved. New Pattern. And less effort in the long run than switching the filter on and off. I thought that was a good example of providing flexibility in the UI to deal with the variety of uses one might see for regions.
  • Laurent Schneider Wednesday, November 11, 2009
    Hi Richard, it is much better today :)
    I retrieved my favorites and most of my texts in SRs reappeared
  • anonymous user Thursday, November 12, 2009
    this stuff doesn't work!!!
    frustrating, ... very frustrating ... the new MOS ....
    first when you try to login it hangs on 96% ... then sometimes you get random "server connection errors" ... then you finaly get in and you find messages (error 1009# or "there are no site alerts") but sometimes the message box is "hidden", you cannot acknowledge it and you cannot continue either because the rest of the page is disabled.... and stuff like that
  • Laurent Schneider Thursday, November 12, 2009
    REPRODUCIBILITY: Reproducable in-house.
    Status 91 - Closed, Could Not Reproduce
    I am spending considerable amount of time to explain the bugs clearly and with reproducible test cases. Over the years I have been striving to report the sever issues to get a better product. But this status of "91" is quite depressing :(
    I am not sure if it is related to the new metalink only... but it seems the status you expose for SR and bugs are now "reformulated".
  • richard.miller Thursday, November 12, 2009
    This is fustrating! Was this still happening today?
    "The no site alerts" message is silly. I have asked it to be removed.
    Can you send me an image of the message box being hidden? (richard dot miller at oracle dot com) - so I can follow up. Or if you want to stay anonomous (I don't mind the ranting, I understand), post it somewhere and point me to it via the blog.
    The message box should for everyone show up on the right of the screen and slide in. It should never have to be acknowledged.
    if you are seeing these messages pop-up in a window that is typically wrong, this is only for those who need it for accessibility. Maybe your preferences got messed up?
    Go to Settings > Preferences and make sure the last checkbox for popup of messages is NOT checked. And save that setting.
  • richard.miller Thursday, November 12, 2009
    I am checking. I don't know about this...
  • Jeff Vold Thursday, November 12, 2009
    I would like to hear back on when the Oracle support site will become stable and useable.
    It is Thursday November 12 at 3:51 CST and the site is still having the following error (among other issues) "A server connection error occurred IO Error Error #2032 Please try again later".
    The site works for a while and then doesn't. It is frustrating that this many days have passed after the upgrade and site is still so unstable.
    Please comment back on what the major challenges you have experienced with the upgrade and when the site will stabilize so I can update my co-workers.
    Thanks for your time.
  • richard.miller Thursday, November 12, 2009
    I understand Jeff. This is a problem for everyone (inside and outside of Oracle).
    A response is being created by powers that be. And in the meantime, I can see everyone on this project is working and focused on these issues. Even us designers!
    I think I need to figure out how to cross post, because I did answer about some of the challenges earlier today in one of the other threads in this blog.
  • Jeff Vold Thursday, November 12, 2009
    Not that I need to say this but the sooner some sort of official communication gets out the better. I know how much money we pay for yearly support and to not have it available for this number of days is not acceptable.
    Thanks for your reply Richard and I will watch for the official response from Oracle Management.
  • richard.miller Thursday, November 12, 2009
    Yes, expect it shortly. And look for it in the Alerts region on the dashboard.
    Not to mention other places, if you can't get into My Oracle Support. ;->
  • John Dickey Friday, November 13, 2009
    The error # 2032 may be due to the IE browser. I had the same error and support had me change a browser setting, and I got in just fine.
  • John Dickey Friday, November 13, 2009
    Document ID 841061.1 (My Oracle Support transition). In the section titled "Service Request Numbers Changing". Says there that existing service requests would get a new SR number with a prefix of 2, and that did happen. It also says you can search for SRs using either the original SR number or the migrated SR number. However I have not found a way to search on the legacy SR number. Am I missing something? I was able to add a column that displayed the legacy SR number, but when I do the drop down for searching, the legacy SR column is not available. Is this capability not there at all (which means the documentation was wrong)? That is what is frustruating. You read the documentation only to find some things the documentation says should exist turns out not to exist. How could this happen? Another example - there is documentation that seems to indicate you can access the html web site version from the My Oracle Support log in page. But I sure cannot find how to do that.
  • richard.miller Friday, November 13, 2009
    2032 is a terribly generic error which can be caused by many issues with loading results from My Oracle Support. Can you share what they had you change with others?
  • Subir Ghosh Monday, November 30, 2009
    Can anyone please suggest how to resolve the IO Error Error #2032 while accessing MOS? I have logged a SR, but unfortunately haven't received any resolution yet (after almost more than 1 week..).
  • richard.miller Monday, November 30, 2009
    You are not doing anything wrong. There is some bad code/connections which are being worked. Sorry for the problem. There are multiple places which can throw this very unuseful message.
  • www.roulettetricks.org Thursday, December 31, 2009
    Great idea, but will this work over the long run?
  • Mohd Arif Qureshi Tuesday, November 9, 2010
    while login on the support.oracle.com I am facing Error message "Error Occurred Error#2032 " continuously from last one week. can you help me in accessing the said site.
  • richard.miller Tuesday, November 9, 2010
    I am sorry to say those do occur. And they really annoy me too. What I am doing is putting some logging/instrumentation in place internally to work to log and track where this are coming from.
    I think in some places they might be for an action you are NOT using, so you might be able to proceed and effectively "ignore" them.
    That is no excuse, we will work to resolve them.
    If they are happening on a specific page and repeatedly, please reply back. We will open an SR and I will work to get them resolved in a patch set as quick as possible.
  • guest Tuesday, July 5, 2011

    log in https://support.oracle.com , it display: IO error #2032

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