Sunday Oct 21, 2012

Not All iPhone 5 and Galaxy SIII in Some Markets #UX #mobile #BBC #L10n

The BBC World Service provides news content to more people across the globe, and has launched a series of new apps tailored for Nokia devices, allowing mobile owners to receive news updates in 11 different languages. So, not everyone using an iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy SIII then? hardly surprising given one of these devices could cost you a large chunk of your annual income in some countries! The story is a reminder of taking into account local market requirements and using a toolkit to develop solutions for them.

The article tells us

The BBC World Service apps will feature content from the following BBC websites: BBC Arabic, BBC Brasil (in Portuguese), BBC Chinese, BBC Hindi, BBC Indonesia, BBC Mundo (in Spanish), BBC Russian, BBC Turkce, BBC Ukrainian, BBC Urdu and BBC Vietnamese.

Users of the Chinese, Indonesian and Arabic apps will receive news content but will also be able to listen to radio bulletins.

It’s a big move for the BBC, particularly as Nokia has sold more than 675 million Series 40 handsets to date. While the company’s smartphone sales dwindle, its feature phone business has continued to prop up its balance sheet.

Ah, feature phones. Remember them? You should! Don't forget that Oracle Application Development Framework solution for feature phones too: Mobile Browser. So, don't ignore a huge market segment and opportunity to grow your business by disregarding feature phones when Oracle makes it easy  for you to develop mobile solutions for a full range of devices and users! Let's remind ourselves of the different mobile toolkit solutions offered by Oracle or coming soon that makes meeting the users of global content possible.

Oracle ADF Mobile Solutions. Oracle Makes no contractual claims about development, release, and timing of future products.

Mobile Development with ADF Mobile
(Oracle makes no contractual claims about development, release, and timing of future products.)

All that said, check out where the next big markets for mobile apps is coming from in my post on Blogos: Where Will The Next 10 Million Apps Come From? BRIC to MIST.

Wednesday Jul 11, 2012

Oracle Worldwide Product Translation Group and Applications User Experience Working Together

The Applications User Experience (UX) Mobile team has been extending its ethnographic research to even more countries. Recently, the team conducted research in Sweden, and I am pleased to say I made the connection for the UX team with the Oracle's Worldwide Product Translation Group (WPTG) local (that is, in-country) language specialists.

It struck me that WPTG's local market knowledge and insight that we heard about at an Oracle Usability Advisory Board meeting in the UK in 2011 would be very valuable to the UX efforts while, at the same time, UX could afford WPTG an opportunity to understand our design and development direction so that linguistic resources (terminology, style guides, translatability guidelines, and so on) for any translation of our mobile solutions could be prepared in advance.

Brent White taking notes as research participant Capri Norrman uses an iPad in work in Stockholm. TITLE=

Brent White of the Mobile UX team takes notes as ethnography participant Capri Norrman uses mobile technology to work in Stockholm.
Pic credit: Oracle Applications UX. The UX team acknowledges Capri's kind permission to use this image.

I'm told by Brent White of the Mobile UX team that the co-operation was a big success.  A WPTG Swedish language specialist joined a couple of ethnographic sessions, taking great notes and turning them around very fast for the UX team. And of course, a great local insight into Swedish culture and ways of working was provided too, along with some very convivial socializing! 

More research in more countries is planned. Watch out for future blog posts and other communications about this super worldwide co-operation.

Wednesday Nov 09, 2011

Sirious Business of Voice-based Assistance: Enterprise Apps and Global UX Considerations

Yes, voice-based user experience has been around for a while. HCI freshmen grappling with Molich and Nielsen's seminal 1990 CHI paper on usability heuristics for the past two decades would have come across such user interfaces - twice. Even on mobile phones voice assistance is not new. I've used voice-based Google search on my iPhone and Google Translate Conversation Mode on my Nexus S for a long while now, for example. But now the inclusion of Siri as a native feature on the iPhone 4S has really caught the attention of the consumer market and UX professionals alike.

Siri image referenced from TechCrunch. All rights acknowledged.

We've had discussion on whether Siri is or isn't a Google search killer, jokes about its inability to deal with Scottish accents, the unfortunate meaning of the word Siri in Japan and Georgia,  outrage over the outages, and all the rest.

Two questions interest me:

  1. What are the enterprise applications user experience (UX) implications of Siri?
  2. What are the global UX aspects to the Siri potential?

As a UX professional I can see Siri use cases for mobile workers, sure, for simple input and creation tasks, but also for finding and manipulating more complex business transactions by taking direct action on data, contacts, locations, analytics, you name it, from one small device. Richard Bingham has some great points about Siri's potential in the enterprise customer service space.

Siri offers a logical means of interacting with devices that are essentially phones while on the move-your voice-and takes the natural user interface experience currently dominated by gestures to a new level. Obviously personalization and alternative interaction options will still always be needed as not everyone will want to use voice-based assistance all the time. Fine for telling Siri to approve an purchase requisition in your worklist or to map a route to the next service request within a 5 mile radius while you're driving (using a headset mind), but nobody is going to intone, Stephen Hawking-fashion, into their iPhone "Tell me who won't make quota in my sales territory this quarter" while waiting in line in Starbucks. For enterprise use, a more scalable service will also be required. An ability for Siri to handle domain-specific terms and jargon that a now comprehensive range of enterprise applications user profiles use in their conversations is a requirement too. With the mass uptake of iPhones and the fact that Siri learns from input means that shouldn't be a huge problem.

As far as I can tell in terms of international language support, Siri supports English sure, especially well if you like to speak like a real android, but also French and German. Additional languages will be needed to penetrate lucrative Asian, Japanese and South American markets. It will need to handle the more, shall we say, nuanced accents of non-native English speakers too. All this is very doable. Siri uses Nuance Communications technology acquired from the infamous Lernout and Hauspie, so global capability is in the DNA. As for usage in the field worldwide, will mobile workers in every culture take to Siri the same way, or at all? Looks like a fine ethnographic study on mobile voice assistance use in the making. 

Can we expect Google and Android to react? You bet. With all that mobile Google Translate and search expertise expect something spectacular before the iPhone 5 appears.  Of course, Siri is currently beta anyway, so by then, Apple will have moved it along significantly too.


Note: Apple says it have no plans to backport Siri to previous Apple iPhone versions, though Steven Stroughton-Smith and others have a solution to that


About

Oracle applications global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. For globally-savvy UX people, so that it all fits together for Oracle's worldwide customers.

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

Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @localization

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