Monday Jun 01, 2015

Oracle PaaS4SaaS UX Enablement is Global

In case you were in any doubt, the recent Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) events in Singapore and Beijing serve as a timely reminder that our PaaS4SaaS UX enablement for Oracle Partners is global.

Our toolkit is internationalized (taking advantage of those Java i18n features and the best of Unicode) and supports translation and localization requirements for different countries and regions worldwide.

Rapid Development Kit in Simplified Chinese

The Oracle Applications User Experience PaaS4SaaS enablement for partners is based on the simplified UI rapid development kit approach. Oracle Applications Cloud partners in Beijing and Singapore saw a simplified UI deployed live to an Oracle Java Cloud Service-SaaS Extension service. Try the kit yourself here.

Check out the Usable Apps blog post Deep-diving Oracle UX PaaS4SaaS Enablement in Asia and the VoX (Voice of User Experience) blog posts Showing the Oracle Applications User Experience Roadmap to Oracle's Asia Partners and Laying Out the Oracle Applications User Experience Strategy for Partners in Beijing for more details. 

Saturday Dec 08, 2012

Thought Oracle Usability Advisory Board Was Stuffy? Wrong. Justification for Attending? Your Business

Looking for reasons to tell your boss why your organization needs to join the Oracle Usability Advisory Board (OUAB)? Or why you need to attend one of its meetings (see the customer and partner requirements)? Well, try phrases such as "UX matters for our apps return on investment (ROI)", "That announcement from the <your company's name> AGM about increased productivity", "Happy Workers going home early" or even "Oracle, the Apple of the Enterprise, er, why don't you come along, too?" Or show your boss this meeting report.

OUAB Logo in Badge Format

With OUAB your participation is about realizing and sustaining ROI across the entire applications life-cycle: from early input to designs and beta access to implementation choices that makes for great usage and task completion on the road or office, sure.  Then, there's stakeholder involvement that goes beyond end users, including integration and performance, as well as measuring improved onboarding, adoption and support experience to show your decision makers and investors. It's all going on at OUAB...

If you think OUAB is a boring meeting of old people sitting around moaning about the grief of desktop order entry forms, shaking their heads when somebody mentions "Facebook" as they scroll through texts from the accounts department on their BlackBerries, well think again! Read about about the latest meeting's rich agenda: all designed to engage the audience in a thought-provoking and feedback-eliciting day of swirling interactions, contextual usage, cultural relevance, mobility, consumerization, gamification, and the tailoring your apps implementation to reflect real users doing real work in real environments in your country or region. 

Rollable ereader technology: A way to improve UX or just wrap silicon chips?

Foldable, rollable e-reader technology provides a newspaper-like UX for electronic reading (e-reader) devices. Electronic reading devices and technology featured at OUAB Europe meeting in December 2012, but not as a way to wrap silicon chips! Nom! (Photograph from Terrace Restaurant in Oracle TVP by Ultan O'Broin)

At the 7 December 2012 OUAB Europe meeting in Oracle Thames Valley Park (TVP), in the United Kingdom, Oracle partners and customers from all over Europe and Oracle staff from worldwide locations, stepped up to the mic and Microsoft PowerPoint decks with a range of facts and examples to astound any C-level UX skeptic.

Over the day we explored how to deliver great UX in the enterprise (mobile or desktop workers, too natch); it was all part of a theme of a new contextual, flexible, simplified, never too fast or too usable, yet inherently personal way of engaging with users worldwide to enable them to deliver results for business: that means design stops only when the business problem is gone (so it's iterative then!).  OUAB is about customers and partners knowing more about Oracle UX but also their own users and their tasks so that design and ICT can together transform work into a productive activity that users and bean counters will all be excited by.

The sessions together really gelled for me into a value-packed, engaging, cohesive event. For example:

1. Mobile design patterns: A powerful proposition for customers and partners already on entering the mobile UX space is now offered by using our design resources, implemented with Oracle ADF Mobile. Customers' and partners' developers existing Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) developers are now productive, efficient mobile developers too, applying proven UX guidance using Oracle ADF Mobile components and other Oracle Fusion Middleware in the development toolkit. You can find the Mobile UX Design Patterns and guidance on building mobile apps on the Oracle Technology Network (OTN).

2. Oracle Voice and apps: Now, this medium offers so much potential in the enterprise and offers a window in Oracle Fusion  cloud web services, Oracle RightNow and Nuance technology. Exciting science now stuff, customizable for your UX, and demoed live on a mobile phone. Stay tuned for more Oracle Voice features and modalities and how you can tailor your own apps user experience for your workers. 

Oracle Voice Demoed Live using iPhone

Oracle Voice demo. Voice makes perfect sense in the enterprise. Maybe more than in the personal world only: how many times can you ask Siri about the weather! See the Usable Apps YouTube channel for an Oracle Voice demo too. (Photograph by Ultan O'Broin)

3. Oracle RightNow Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology: Wow! Discover how contextual intervention and learning from users sessions delivers a great personalized UX for users interacting with Ella, a fifth generation VA that uses real conversations to solve problems and prevent others.

Ella, RightNow VA

Meet Ella. Demoing contextual NLP-based customer experience, an example of great Oracle RightNow technology solving real business problems in real-time using real context and learning from the user, ready for the next interaction too. (Photograph by Ultan O'Broin)

4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) keynote: A balanced keynote address contrasting Fujitsu's explaining of the concept, challenges, and trends and setting the expectation that BYOD must be embraced in a flexible way,  with the resolute, crafted high security enterprise requirements that nuancing the BYOD concept and proposals with the realities of their world of water tight information and device sharing policies. Fascinating stuff, as well providing anecdotes to make us thing about our own BYOD deployments. One size does not fit all.

Bring You Own Device

BYOD is a hot topic in UX and the enterprise: whether to embrace or tolerate though?
A keynote delivery at OUAB, you can download your own killer artwork poster here, explaining the concept and exploring the challenges, solutions, and emerging best practices.

5. Icon cross-cultural research and design insights: Ever wondered about the cultural appropriateness of icons used in software UIs and how these icons assessed for global use? Or considered that social media "Like" icons might be  unacceptable hand gestures in culture or enterprise? Or do old world icons like Save floppy disk icons still make sense to users, worldwide?

Well the survey results told you. Challenges must be tested, over time, and context of use is critical now, including external factors such as the internet and social media adoption. Indeed the fears about global rejection of the face and hand icons was not borne out, and some of the more anachronistic icons (checkbooks, microphones, real-to-real tape decks, those famous 3.5" floppies for Save) have become accepted metaphors for current actions. Importantly, the findings brought into focus the reason for OUAB: to engage with customers and partners and understand their needs and issues so we can make great usable apps for them. We must obtain feedback though working groups and Board members, and others, before we build anything.

Best icon for Save? Possibilities

The Save icon is accepted now, despite its original inspiration no longer being in use.
But what would you replace that icon with? Or do you even need to? OUAB discussed!

6. E-Readers and Oracle iBook: What is the uptake and trends of e-readers? And how about a demo of an iBook with enterprise apps content?  Well received by the audience, this session included a live running poll of e-reader usage and revealed a lot about enterprise adoption of the technologies on offer and customer and partner plans for same.

7. Gamification design session: Fun, hands on event for teams of Oracle staff, partners and customers, actually building gamified flows, a practice that can be applied right away by customers and partners. 

8. UX Direct: A new offering of usability best practices, coming to an external website for you in 2013. Find a real user, observe their tasks, design and approve, build and measure. Simple stuff to improve apps implications, no end. You can do it with our investment in UX Science turned over to you in plain language. No special tools, resources, or PhDs needed (we have those so you don't need to).

9. Simplified and Modern UX (FUSE): FUSE is an internal Oracle term really, but since it's out there it means Fusion Simplified Experience). Learn about, and see for real, the new Face of Fusion Applications:  lightweight, simple to use, social, personalizable and fast. We saw three great live demos from HCM, CRM and ICT use cases on how these flexible, thoughtful UX designs brought to life in 100% Oracle ADF can be used in different ways to excite and delight users on different devices and deliver productivity to benefit your entire business.

The new Face of Fusion Applications

The New Face of Fusion Applications (HCM). Demoed live at OUAB.

So, a powerful breadth and depth of UX solutions and opportunities for customers and partners to engage with and explore how they can make their users happy and benefit their business reaping continued ROI from those apps investments. And what a fun day too. Catering provided, superb TVP conference facilities, and a wonderful meeting host (me!). What more could you want as reasons to joining OUAB and attending!

Find out more about the OUAB and how to get involved here ... 

Monday Apr 23, 2012

Oracle Usability Advisory Board Europe Globalization Working Group April 2012 Debrief

Doors to manual! The Oracle Usability Advisory Board (OUAB) Europe met in the Oracle Thames Valley Park, UK and Oracle Geneva offices on the 17th and 19th of April 2012, respectively. These were the biggest and best European meetings yet (with nearly 30 people present); a testament to the importance of, and customer and partner interest, in applications user experience (UX) not just in the EMEA region, but worldwide.

Sten Vesterli of Scott/Tiger Explaining about Usability (and other) Superheroes

Sten Vesterli of Scott/Tiger Explaining about usability (and other) superheroes. Picture by Ultan O'Broin.

There was a top-notch agenda for both meetings, with rich, engaging content, demos of Oracle Fusion Applications UX innovations and concepts, opportunities to input into new designs and features, data gathering exercises, updates from new Board members and from Oracle too on UX and strategic activities. With networking and communication strengthened on personal and professional levels, I have to say, it was fun too, and all conducted in a spirit of candid openness and good humor!

Particular highlights for me were the sessions on designing usable icons for international applications, delivered by Applications User Experience colleagues Lulit Bezuayehu and Eric Stilan, and the gobsmackingly-brilliant keynote in Geneva by Fusion User Experience Advocate and Oracle Ace Director Sten Vesterli (@stenvesterli) of Scott/Tiger called Superhero Usability.

Lulit Bezuayehu and Eric Stilan of Oracle talking in TVP about usable icon design.

Lulit Bezuayehu and Eric Stilan of Oracle talking in TVP about usable icon design. Picture by Anna Wichansky.

In the globalization working group space, my main activities were to elicit feedback from OUAB members on language preferences and search of translated content in the Oracle Fusion Applications Help (see this great white paper for more information). I delivered an update on the Fusion apps translation releases, and explained what was translated and the strategy behind such decisions.  I also gathered data about international interest in mobile applications UX, about gamification, and about browser usage by bi-di language-speaking apps users.

My main observations from the globalization-related side of the Board interactions are:

  • Customers on existing apps are still reporting insufficient space for expansion of names and issues with cross-cultural requirements for apps users. I will take a personal action to follow up.
  • Deployment of mobile solutions and interest in tablet devices in the enterprise in particular is increasing, big time. A hot topic in EMEA for sure, and as you can ascertain from Oracle's new Oracle Fusion Tap for Oracle Fusion Applications web site, a strategic one too.
  • There is emerging interest in enterprise apps gamification, particularly in CRM and HCM space. However, more outreach on the potential and what it actually means in the apps space is needed. Not as strong as in the US at present, but definitely there.
  • Generally, there appears to be no requirement for apps customers to search in the same place for help translated into multiple languages beyond two at most perhaps. However, research continues on this, so no real conclusion there yet.
  • Customers are adopting enterprise apps cloud solutions, and other deployments too naturally, that require language versions on UX grounds, which is great! Cloud-based translated versions for SMEs in EMEA too, are, surprise, surprise, a requirement for success.
  • Machine translated (MT) apps help content. Oh dear! WTF has happened here with user expectations? Mentioned at the Board, the reaction from members about MT told me much about the issue of translations quality but also about the prescience of what is happening in the personal and consumer space influencing enterprise applications UX expectations (a good thing). Oracle MT is not like Google Translate, but is domain specific and quality oriented with human input and verification before release. It is very encouraging that OUAB members continue to care about the quality of the translated content. But, we (OUAB)  need to communicate in plain language (duh) about what improvements in enterprise applications translation technology really means for customers and partners in terms of their user experience. Context of use, and all that. My action item.

Watch out for other blogs covering the non-globalization side of events. In all, the OUAB Europe events were a very valuable exercise, and here's to more OUAB events outside of the US! If your organization would like to participate, then check out the OUAB section of the usableapps web site.

Again, thanks to all the OUAB members for participating, and a big shout out to colleagues Anna Wichansky and Alisa Hamai for their hard work in making this program so successful worldwide.


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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