Wednesday Jun 22, 2016

Smart User Experiences and Man Versus Machine:
The Language Angle

Enter Parsey McParseface 

Yes, the whole Boaty McBoatface thing has now entered the language space.  

Boaty McBoatface: Your future of translation may lie in machine learning and related technology

Boaty McBoatface: Your future in translation may lie in machine learning and related technology.

Parsey McParseface, which is part of Google's SyntaxNet, an open-source neural network framework implemented in TensorFlow that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) systems is out there. Google tells us:

"Parsey McParseface is built on powerful machine learning algorithms that learn to analyze the linguistic structure of language, and that can explain the functional role of each word in a given sentence. Because Parsey McParseface is the most accurate such model in the world, we hope that it will be useful to developers and researchers interested in automatic extraction of information, translation, and other core applications of NLU."

The Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, and Translation (or GILT) industry offers a fertile ground for innovation and exploring possibilities: from pop-up restaurant ventures to practical evaluations of the age-old man versus machine-type questions. I wonder could Parsey McParseface have a role in determining if a translation was correct or not, given the context (for example, as the UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper would so earthily have it, act as a "bolloxometer")? Or, whether the QA or real-time interpretation possibilities. . . .

Smart User Experiences and Partners

This is all fascinating stuff on one level. But it is a serious business on another. Machine learning is definitely a driver of smart user experiences, along with other areas.The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team is, naturally, exploring all these areas and what they offer for the smart user experience of ever-evolving world of work. Check out Smart User Experiences: Machine Learning and the Future of Enterprise Applications on the Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog for a great primer on what technology can do in the life/work domain.

Oracle partners, and customers too, need to be on board with these emerging technologies and explore their possible application for user experiences. Often, for partners in particular, emerging technology and research and development is a "chicken-and-egg" situation: they cannot sell something unless they have it; yet they won't have it unless someone asks for it! That said, we (OAUX) are here to help partners build solutions they can show and sell. The use of these emerging technologies and innovation is ultimately a design decision.

This is the kind of thing I had intended to talk about at Localization World 31 in Dublin, with a language angle naturally (yes, I even included Parsey McParseface). Alas, personal circumstances intervened, and I did not speak. Some other time perhaps.

Make Sense of the Smarts 

In the meantime, I am sharing the slides I had intended as a backdrop to the discussion. Perhaps they will help you orient yourself to the differences between machine learning, artificial intelligence, NLP, Big Data, robots, and more. They may even help you figure out if whether you might end up owning a robot or working for one, and what your future working life might look like.


Man versus machine, eh? I like to think of it as man with machine. These developments are, after all, a journey so we can arrive at a more human way of working.

Comments welcome.

Saturday Apr 23, 2016

Iconic #WearableTech: Gucci Translate Anyone?

With my interest in all matters translation, wearables, and fashion technology (#fashtech) related, this little innovation from IconSpeak naturally caught my eye.

It’s a t-shirt printed with icons that enables global travellers to communicate with others by pointing to the icons, doing away with the need for those "so-so" mobile translation apps or having to carry clunky phrase books into the bargain. The icons themselves are said to be easily recognizable worldwide and have been chosen to represent the most frequent translation needs of travellers.

IconSpeak World T-Shirt: Wearable tech taken literally

IconSpeak World t-shirt: Wearable tech taken literally?

Here’s what Travel + Leisure website has to say:

“The IconSpeak T-shirt design is surprisingly straightforward: it’s a series of 40 “universal” icons laid out in a grid. By pointing to one or more of the pictures, you can create a very basic message without having to speak a lick of the language. You’ll just have to find someone willing to play T-shirt charades with you. A taste of the icons you have to work with: an airplane, tools, an open book, camera, clock, bus, boat, a person seated on a toilet. Basically anything you need to portray day-to-day necessities.”

Yes, it's wearabletech being taken more literally. 

It’s always great to see innovation, but as a seasoned traveler and fashion fan, whatever about the idea of using icons in yet another curious ritual to interact with others (and there are some social limitations), I think the cut and colours of the t-shirts themselves might need the input of a more happening fashionista. However, you have to admire the simplicity of the idea.

You can read about IconSpeak’s inspiration on their blog. 

From a usability perspective, what kinds of things might be considered for keeping icon-based communication simple?

Check out this blog post from our user experience friends and Oracle Usability Advisory Board member EchoUser (@EchoUser) to find out: When Simple Becomes Complicated

Perhaps you feel there is more potential in using icons on clothes or other places too.

Find the comments…

Sunday Dec 27, 2015

“Hello. Is it .ME You’re Looking For?” Storytelling for Coders

Using plain language and developing solutions that reflect the user’s world are some of the long-laid foundations of software user experience (UX). These days we might talk more about context and storytelling as part of our UX communications strategy than usability heuristics, but the message is the same: talk to your users in way that relates to them.

What’s in a name? It depends. Some good advice from Paul Tomkiel helps you architecture that software the right way for global users.

What’s in a name? It depends. Some good advice from Paul Tomkiel helps you architecture that software the right way for global users.

So, I really love this article by Paul Tomkiel (@paul_tomkiel) of CodeL10n.comFirst, Middle, Last – Why Not Full Name?

Paul writes a very compelling article about how to architecture software for the entering and storing of user names in a way that work globally. He’s aimed this important piece at developers using clear, plain language that they’ll understand. Chances are they will read it.

Naturally, Paul begins with a story we can relate to. In my own experience, I’ve found that my Irish surname (Ó Broin) has been stored and printed in many ways (O Broin, O’Broin, Obroin, OBROIN, Broin, and so on), even in Ireland. Outside of Ireland, I think that only the Social Security Administration in the U.S. got it right – and those guys track you by number anyway. At times, I am sorry I just don’t give up and use the English form of my surname: Byrne.

But, why should I? 

Paul steers clear of the linguistic mumbo-jumbo and "I'm a language expert and can order beer in three languages so listen up, devs" attitude that is such a turn-off for developers (and the rest of us). The article is refreshingly short compared with the usual lectures on the subject, and Paul ends with some useful recommendations and examples from the real world of consumer software.

A fine example of developer relations.

Here’s another great plain language, no-nonsense approach on the subject of i18n and L10n education for developers from Java, Android, and i18n domain whizz John O’Conner (@joconner): the absolute minimum they need to know.

Examples of the i18n and L10n story told well.

* This article is based on a Blogos article. 


Oracle Applications Cloud global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. A globally-savvy UX making it all fit together for Oracle's worldwide partners and customers.

Audience: Enterprise applications translation and localization topics for the user experience professional (designers, engineers, developers, researchers)!

Ultan Ó Broin. Senior Director, Oracle Applications User Experience, Oracle EMEA. Twitter: @localization



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