Wednesday Apr 20, 2016

Well Run: Oracle PaaS and Fusion Middleware Community Forum XXII

The Oracle Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum, run by Oracle EMEA Alliances and Channels Community Manager Jürgen Kress (@soacommunity) is the premiere EMEA event to attend for Oracle Partners who build solutions using Oracle technology.

This forum is one awesome annual opportunity for partners to come together to show off their greatness, find out about the latest technology from Oracle, and take advantage of hands-on workshops. The forum is about learning and working collaboratively and generating ideas that'll convert into cloud and middleware business wins for partners.

The Oracle PaaS and Fusion Middleware Community Forum XXII (note that emphasis on PaaSwas held in Valencia, Spain, March 15-18, 2016, which coincided with the amazing color and sounds of Valencia's San José Fallas festival.

OAUX at the OFMFORUM

We run this cloud: #OAUX at the #OFMFORUM 

Jürgen’s report from the event makes impressive reading: There were over 650 attendees, of which about 80% were external (to Oracle) partners, with many already working on live PaaS projects and with lots more PaaS projects in the planning phase. This year saw a big attendance from the Oracle U.S. HQ  team, too, along with some 22 OTN ACEs from around the world. (I caught up with my old pal Rolando Carrasco [@borland_c] from Mexico and many others.)

All of the sessions were rated "excellent" or "good" in the feedback survey (not one was rated average or below). Bottom line: The event is excellent value for money and a very attractive proposition for partners working on PaaS and middleware projects, and it is of great interest to those working with Oracle ADF, BPM, JET, MAF, SOA, and so on and the range of Oracle Cloud services (ICS, IoT, JCS, MCS, PCS, and more). 

This year a User Experience and BPM track was added to the program. With so many PaaS partners interested in cloud UX as a competitive differentiator, the forum was a "must-do" outreach opportunity for Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX). I represented OAUX, co-presenting with Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans), Managing Partner at eProseed NL, and spoke about the OAUX Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) and how we enable partners to rapidly design, build, and deploy reusable simplified UI cloud solutions with Oracle ADF, Oracle Alta UI, and other technology.

Lonneke talks about winning business using developer productivity offered by the RDK

Lonneke talks about winning business using the developer productivity and other benefits offered by the RDK. 

(Of course, Valencia is La Ciudad del Running, too. How could I not attend?)

I demoed the Release 10 Cloud UX RDK and showed off the design patterns, eBooks, and developer workspace involved, highlighting key features of the RDK, such as how partners can integrate typical web services easily and quickly deploy a winning simplified UI custom app to PaaS. An excellent overview of the RDK is available on the Fusion Applications Developer Relations blog.

Lonneke provided the partner side of our enablement story by telling the audience about the eProseed experience of developing a smart city IoT solution to enable modern ways of working (the famous activity-based approach of Erik Veldhoen). eProseed achieved some impressive results from the project through customer insight, storyboards, the RDK's UX design patterns, Oracle ADF templates and components, Oracle Alta UI, and with workshops that directly involved the customer and OAUX. eProseed benefitted from:
  • A higher quality solution where the concept of a modern working style fit easily with the design and development framework of the RDK. 
  • Reusable, consistent development through library and component reuse across different use cases.
  • Increased developer productivity resulting in a faster time to market, a quicker transfer of the ownership of the solution to the customer, and tighter collaboration between their design and development teams. Nothing got "lost in translation."
  • An impressive user experience based on the simplified UI Glance, Scan, Commit design philosophy. This approach crafts solutions that are easy to use because of the application of proven UX design patterns, which also enables users to make seamless transitions between the cloud's integrated apps while maintaining flexible ways of working across different devices using data in the cloud and responsive UIs.
  • An enhanced partner reputation for eProseed. Showcasing a solution with a clear eProseed UX signature offers customers confidence about pursuing solutions in the cloud.

You can read more about the enablement event we held with eProseed last year.

Lonneke concluded our presentation by illustrating real results by demoing the very cool "Licht is Uit" IoT solution.

eProseed is right up there in EMEA with providing solutions that have a smart user experience, are built with Oracle technology, and that leverage OAUX enablement. Catch up with any eProseed sessions you can at other events! 

Jurgen and Lonneke at the speaker's dinner. Post-sailing and post-running!

Jürgen and Lonneke at the speakers' dinner. Post-sailing and post-running! 

And the running? Ah yes. Oracle folks and partners did some running in the city proper and on the coast, too, taking in all of the sights. I am pleased to say that the OAUX running club Design Time @ Run Time technical shirts were a big hit, too. Watch out for those at the next event!

The Ultan and Lonneke Inaugural EMEA Forum 10K

The Lonneke and Ultan Inaugural EMEA Forum 10K in Valencia. A half marathon is planned for next year's event.

Partners with access to the community's Oracle Beehive space can now get my own and Lonneke's presentation at the Forum.

Enjoy.

See you at Forum XXIII!


A Taste of FinTech: Bitterballen and Banking in the Cloud with Profource

Financial technology (#FinTech) innovation and the future of banking are hot topics. If you wondered for one tiny moment how the importance of financial applications and the cloud fit into the Oracle Cloud User Experience #PaaS4SaaS enablement that Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) offers Oracle Partners, well, here's one rocking example from EMEA!

Recently, we (OAUX) held a hands-on enablement event at Oracle Nederland in Utrecht to work alongside one of our leading EMEA partners, Profource B.V., to design and build a simplified UI Banking Cloud solution using the Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) for Release 10. This event was the culmination of upfront design and development exploration done collaboratively between the two teams online.

Profource and OAUX Teams in Oracle Nederland

Part of the Profource team with the OAUX enablers: (L-R): Julian Orr, Lancy Silveira, Ronald van Herpen, Martijn Rijpkema, Pam Koertshuis, and Ultan Ó Broin

Held over 2.5 days, the Microsoft PowerPoint Karaoke was cut to a minimum as design and development teams stormed and formed around the solution requirements and worked fast to iterate designs and build a modern banking cloud solution that was then deployed as a service to the Profource cloud. A great success!

Banking Cloud Simplified UI Launch Page Wireframe

Part of the Banking Cloud simplified UI launch experience wireframe. Wireframing the solution using the RDK tools, garnering agreement, and transferring the design to the development team made for rapid, agile innovation and iteration, right through to deployment.

Banking Cloud Statements Wireframe

Simply that simplified UI again: This time for an Oracle ERP Cloud Release 10 solution. This is a wireframe view of part of the user experience flow, built using the RDK's Oracle ADF page templates and declarative components, the Oracle Alta UI design system, and the agile Learn-Design-Build approach of the RDK's guidance.

You can read more about the Banking Cloud event on Profource consultant Pam Koertshuis's (@pkoertshuis) blog: Simplified UI for PAAS 4 SAAS solution.

Profource consultant, Hakan Biroglu (@hakanbiroglu), said about the event:

"We [the Profource team] have learned a lot. Not just on a technical level, on how to reuse your RDK, but also on an architectural and design level. Your workshop forced us to rethink our UX solution and to evaluate every item on every page in every flow, 'Why is this needed? What information does it provide me? What does it trigger me to do?'" 

If you're heading to OBUG's APPSCONNECTed16 event in Arnhem, check out the sessions about the Profource Banking Cloud and their other Release 10 cloud solutions (HCM, PPM, and Resource Management) and about how you can use the RDK and OAUX enablement to do the same for your business.

Many thanks to the Profource team and to Oracle Nederland.  

If you are an Oracle Partner who wants to get ahead in the Oracle Cloud, you can contact us through the usual OAUX channels or your Oracle PartnerNetwork contacts.

Oracle Usable Apps Catds and Skerches

Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience: Enablement for partners from design to deployment. It starts with a sketch . . . .

Oh, the bittterballen?

Since you asked...

Bitterballen

Bitterballen: An Oracle Nederland culinary delight that somehow always features as part of OAUX enablement events in Utrecht. 

Tuesday Apr 12, 2016

Tour the Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) Resources

Julian Orr (@Orr_UX) and I (@KarenScipi) recently hosted a Customer Connect webinar: Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK).

We walked through our Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit landing page, highlighting Learn, Design, and Build resources that you can use for architecting your approach and for designing and building sleek, modern SaaS integrations and custom PaaS applications that share the same user experience and look and feel as Oracle Applications Cloud.

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit landing page

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit landing page

We're delighted to make our 15-minute webinar available to you. A Customer Connect Community account is required. If you don’t have one, take a moment to register for an account.

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit webinar

Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit webinar

Also, for ongoing information and updates, stay tuned to the OAUX channels.

More Information

Saturday Feb 20, 2016

Real Footy: Oracle Cloud UX and Rapid Development Kit Down Under

Tales and Sales

I am just back from an awesome Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) communications and outreach event in Sydney, Australia. This was not my first time in Oz, but engaging with a regional audience eager for our Cloud UX message and PaaS4SaaS enablement, it was clear I wasn't in Kansas anymore.

Woah! A-Game time!

Over two days, customers, partners, and internal sales folks were treated to the best of Oracle Cloud user experience (UX) with a packed-solid, hands-on set of sessions that were all about the Oracle Cloud business.

Cloud UX RDK Released into the Wild in Australia!

Cloud UX PaaS4SaaS RDK released into the wild in Australia! 

My main focus was on the Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit (RDK) for PaaS4SaaS and on selling to win business using the Cloud UX message.

Selling Cloud UX: Real Footy

This is the age of storytelling and demonstrating empathy with your audience. User experience is about keeping it real and resonating with your users, so I opened the selling with UX session with the story of a fellow Dubliner who is also an Irish and Aussie Australian Football League (AFL) hero: Jim Stynes.

Real Footy: Selling Cloud UX in Sydney

Blue Monday: Selling that Cloud UX 

Jim's contribution to Australia transcended mere footy team loyalty. His own empathy with an entire community was felt by lots of people in many walks of life, even if they had no interest in the AFL or football (apologies to Melbourne Demons fans).

Jim Stynes

Move beyond your demons: Jim Stynes (Image: Wikipedia Public Domain

 Jim kept it real.

I explained this importance of connecting with your sales audience on an emotional level to win business with the Cloud UX message, reinforced our Cloud UX strategy of Simplicity, Mobility, and Extensibility and our design philosophy of Glance, Scan, Commit, imparted best practices for engaging with customers using proven UX techniques, and closed out with some examples of how to do it all!

The Rapid Development Kit: Real Development

The Cloud UX RDK is now available for building Release 10 PaaS4SaaS solutions. Together, with Senior User Experience Architect and master of all things technical in the RDK, Lancy Silveira (@LancyS), we delivered a hands-on demo of what's in the RDK, how partners can use it to identify business opportunities for PaaS4SaaS, and then design and develop winning solutions.

A big emphasis was put on APIs as UX design, on how OAUX has made it easy for partners and customers to build web service integrations, and realizing the right simplified UI Cloud UX use cases that add value to decision-makers and end users.

Lancy demos the RDK live in Sydney

Lancy shows off how easy it is to build great simplified UIs for SaaS and PaaS using the RDK live in Sydney. 

Later we played tag-team with OAUX Director Greg Nerpouni (@gnerpouni) and his super-practical sessions on Cloud UX extensibility. We provided a deep-dive exploration of the RDK as Lancy stepped through the technical parts of the RDK, demoed the Oracle Applicatons Cloud Release 10 simplified UI page layouts, declarative components, SaaS task flows and services, and handled any technical questions about using the kit to accelerate the delivery of PaaS and SaaS solutions in productive, reusable ways.

I relayed more wisdom of the PaaS4SaaS crowd and RDK success stories, so nobody was in any doubt about the importance of PaaS and SaaS to customers, partners, and to Oracle. The cloud has changed everything about customer expectations about PaaS custom apps and SaaS extensions UX and their availability, and now we're giving the Oracle PartnerNetwork community a real enabler to meet those expectations: the RDK. 

We also used this opportunity to gauge interest in building solutions using the RDK so that we can plan additional OAUX outreach and communication events in the region, to hear audience feedback on our approach, and to find out what typical use cases are being encountered locally for SaaS and PaaS in the Oracle Cloud.

OAUX and Partner Team in Sydney

The OAUX and Oracle SaaS Applications Alliances and Channels, APAC teams collaborate in Sydney: (L-R) Nicole Giovanetti, Shy Meei Siow, Geet Singh (@geet_s), Lancy Silveira, and Greg Nerpouni

In all, this was one great event. I suspect you will be seeing OAUX boots on the ground in this region again shortly.

In the meantime, stay tuned to the OAUX channels.

Thank you, Sydney! 

More Information

Saturday Feb 13, 2016

Integrating Google Maps, IFTTT, and OpenWeatherMap APIs into the Oracle Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit

The Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Rapid Development Kit (RDK) enables Oracle partners and developers to learn faster, design simpler, and build better. The RDK contains a set of free resources for the design and build phases and includes sample Oracle ADF applications that illustrate how to develop sleek, modern SaaS integrations and custom PaaS applications that have the same look and feel as the Oracle Applications Cloud.

You can find more resources for the RDK at tinyurl.com/PaaS4SaaS, including the code download link. If you prefer to hear about the RDK, tune in to our Oracle HCM Talk Radio podcast to hear how you can tap into the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience.

In this blog, I explain how to enhance the Oracle ADF application samples in the RDK with integration to third-party services, such as Google Maps, IFTTT (If This Then That), and OpenWeatherMap, using simple HTTP and JavaScript.

What You Need

  • Oracle JDeveloper (11.1.1.9.0 or 12c) available as a free download from OTN.
  • Oracle UX Rapid Development Kit available as a free download from OTN and GitHub.

Where To Start

Download the RDK zip file, and then unzip it to your Oracle JDeveloper working folder. You should see a folder structure resembling the following.

RDK Code Folder Structure

AppsCloudUIKit folder structure

Open the application (AppsCloudUIKit.jws) in Oracle JDeveloper to show the projects that make up the RDK.

RDK Project Structure in JDeveloper

Oracle JDeveloper view of projects in the RDK

At this point, you can run the page Welcome.jspx in the DemoMaster project and interact with the out-of-the-box runnable sample application.

Integrating Google Maps

Google Maps come integrated in the Contacts Map page fragment. You can find this page under the DemoCRM project, which corresponds to the Oracle Sales Cloud, with the code organized under logical business objects - contacts, opportunities, and so on.

Location of Contacts Map page in JDeveloper

DemoCRM project: Page fragment ContactsMap.jsff 

When you run the RDK, dismiss the one-time welcome banner, and then click the Map my Contacts icon to navigate to the Contacts Map page. The finished page has a searchable list of contacts on the left with the map rendered on the right. When you click a contact record, the map renders a pin to mark the geographical location of the contact. Clicking the same contact again removes the pin. You can click more than one contact to see location pins together.

Screen shot of running Contacts Map page

Map My Contacts page

Let us see how to build this.

The Google Maps API is a JavaScript Library. We can add JavaScript to an Oracle ADF Faces page by either adding the JavaScript code to the page source or by adding a reference to an external JavaScript library file. In this case, we will use both techniques. We first add a reference to the Google Maps JavaScript Library using the <af:resource> tag.

<af:resource type=”javascript” source=”https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js”/>

We then add JavaScript code blocks directly into the page source using the same <af:resource> tag. The following code block initializes the map object on the page when the page loads.

<af:resource>
   if (window.addEventListener) {
      /* Modern browsers */
      window.addEventListener("load", onLoad, false)
   } else if (window.attachEvent) {
      /* IE */
      window.detachEvent("onload", onLoad)
      window.attachEvent("onload", onLoad)
   } else {
      window.onload = onLoad
   }

  function onLoad() {
      doMap();
   }
</af:resource>

The doMap function anchors the map container object to a seeded element in the page with the ID mapdiv. It sets a default value for latitude, longitude, and zoom level to the map object in the container for initial rendering. This code block also prepares an array to hold multiple marker references in case of multiple contacts selection.

<af:resource type="javascript">
   var map;
   var geocoder = new google.maps.Geocoder();
   markers = [];

  function doMap() {
      var mapelem = document.getElementById('mapdiv');
      var newLatLng = new google.maps.LatLng(37.75, - 122.42);
      var myOptions = {
         center : newLatLng, zoom : 8
      };
      map = new google.maps.Map(mapelem, myOptions);
   }
</af:resource>

When the user clicks a contact, a client listener triggers the geocodeAndMark() function in the following code block. This function obtains the contact address information, generates a unique marker ID, and then calls the geocodeAddress() function.

<af:resource type="javascript">
   function geocodeAndMark(evt) {
      var comp = evt.getSource();
      var combo = comp.getShortDesc();
      var comboArr = combo.split( "+" );
     var id = comboArr[0];
      var addr = comboArr[1];
      geocodeAddress(id, addr, geocoder, map);
   }
</af:resource>

The geocodeAddress function uses the Google Maps geocoder to geocode the address, save the marker in the marker array, and add a pin to the map.

<af:resource type="javascript">
   function geocodeAddress(id, address, geocoder, resultsMap) {
      if (markers[id] == undefined) {
         markers[id] = new google.maps.Marker(null, null);
      }
      if (markers[id].getMap() == null) {
         geocoder.geocode(
            {‘address' : address},
            function (results, status) {
               if (status === google.maps.GeocoderStatus.OK) {
                  resultsMap.setCenter(results[0].geometry.location);
                  var marker = new google.maps.Marker({
                     map : resultsMap, position : results[0].geometry.location
                  });
                  markers[id] = marker;
               } else {
                  alert('Unable to find address. Geocoding returned ' + status);
               }
            }
          );
      } else {
         markers[id].setMap(null);
      }
   }
</af:resource>

Because this processing is done on the client side, the page does not require full or partial refresh to redraw the map to toggle markers. That is all there is to it!

Integrating IFTTT (If This Then That)

IFTTT is a free web-based service that allows you to conditionally trigger events by writing statements in the formatIf Condition Then Actionreferred to as Recipes. A large number of Channels are available to specify the Condition and Action part of the Recipe. It is a fun, yet powerful, integration or automation service for all things internet-connected. I will assume that you have an IFTTT.com account and that you know how to build IFTTT Recipes.

We will use the IFTTT Maker Channel to trigger a Recipe based on a user event in the RDK. The Maker Channel lets you connect a Web Request as the Condition or Action of a Recipe, and this will be the basis for connecting the RDK to IFTTT. You will need to set up your Recipe with the Maker Channel as trigger and give a specific name to the Trigger Event. You will need to add this in the RDK code, so make it meaningful.

Trigger event screenshot

Trigger event name example

You will also need to note the secret "key" string generated by IFTTT for your Maker Channel instance. (Because it is a secret key, I have hidden mine.)

IFTTT Channel screen shot

Maker Channel page

In the RDK, we will trigger the Recipe every time the Sales Opportunity amount is changed. This can be done quite easily by adding a few lines of code to the managed bean associated with the Sales Opportunity page. Open OpportunityBean.java in the DemoCRM project under package oracle.apps.uikit.crm.opportunities.bean, and then add the event name you created and your secret key.

private static final String IFTTT_MAKER_EVENT = “RDK_Opportunity_Amount_Changed”;
private static final String IFTTT_SECRET_KEY = “################”;

We now invoke the following method when the user saves the changes they make on a page. The method continues processing only if the amount attribute has changed. It effectively sends a HTTP POST to IFTTT that triggers the Recipe associated with the Maker Channel instance identified by event name and secret key. At the time of writing, you can send up to three parameters to the event.

//Alert opportunity amount change
private void _alertOpportunityAmountChanged(String name, String oldAmount, String newAmount){
   if (!oldAmount.equals(newAmount)){
      try {
         CloseableHttpClient httpclient = HttpClients.createDefault();
         try {
            String HttpPostString = "http://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/" + IFTTT_MAKER_EVENT + "/with/key/" + IFTTT_SECRET_KEY;
            HttpPost httppost = new HttpPost(HttpPostString);
            String inputStr = "{\"value1\" : \"" + name + "\", \"value2\" : \"" + oldAmount + "\", \"value3\" : \"" + newAmount + "\" }";
            StringEntity input = new StringEntity(inputStr);
            input.setContentType( "application/json" );
            httppost.setEntity(input);
            String responseBody = httpclient.execute(httppost, responseHandler);
         } catch (ClientProtocolException e) {
         } catch (IOException e) {
         } finally {
            httpclient.close();
         }//try-catch
      } catch (IOException e) {
      }//try-catch
   }//amount has changed
}//_alertOpportunityAmountChanged

// Create a custom response handler
ResponseHandler responseHandler = new ResponseHandler() {
   public String handleResponse(final HttpResponse response) throws ClientProtocolException, IOException {
      int status = response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode();
      if (status >= 200 && status < 300) {
         HttpEntity entity = response.getEntity();
         return entity != null ? EntityUtils.toString(entity) : null;
      } else {
         throw new ClientProtocolException("Unexpected response status: " + status);
      }
   }//handleResponse
};

As part of the Recipe action, you now have a world of exciting things you can do every time the amount attribute of a Sales Opportunity is updated in the RDKblink your lights, send an email, write to a cloud document, tweet. Now go play!

Integrating OpenWeatherMap

OpenWeatherMap is an online service that provides free API access to weather data, including current weather, forecasts, and historical data. To use this service, you will need to register for a free account and obtain your unique APP-ID. I will assume that you have already done this. We will now use this service to display an icon for the current weather at the location for Sales Contacts.

Contacts List View screenshot

Contacts page

The technique involves a simple HTTP request to a specific URL with necessary parameters passed as part of the URL. While the services can be invoked for several cities at a time, I will keep it simple by fetching the current weather for one city. You can use the following URL patterns for your HTTP request.

api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q={city name}
api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q={city name},{ISO 3166 country code}
E.g.:
api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q=london
api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q=london,uk

The following piece of code can be used to invoke the OpenWeatherMap service and extract the weather icon reference from the returned JSON payload.

String location = <city>;
String wicon = “”;
if (location != null && location.length() > 0){
   location = location.replaceAll(" ", "+" );
   try {
      CloseableHttpClient httpclient = HttpClients.createDefault();
      JSONParser parser = new JSONParser();
      try {
         HttpGet httpget = new HttpGet( "http://api.openweathermap.org/data/2.5/weather?q=" + location + "&APPID=" + APPID + "&mode=json&units=metric" );
         //Create custom response handler
         ResponseHandler responseHandler = new ResponseHandler() {
            @Override
            public String handleResponse(final HttpResponse response) throws ClientProtocolException, IOException {
               int status = response.getStatusLine().getStatusCode();
               if (status >= 200 && status < 300) {
                  HttpEntity entity = response.getEntity();
                  return entity != null ? EntityUtils.toString(entity) : null;
               } else {
                  throw new ClientProtocolException("Unexpected response status: " + status);
               }//if
            }
         };
         String responseBody = httpclient.execute(httpget, responseHandler);
         JSONObject root = (JSONObject)parser.parse(responseBody);
         JSONArray weather = (JSONArray)root.get( "weather" );
         JSONObject wobj = (JSONObject)weather.get(0);
         wicon = "http://openweathermap.org/img/w/" + wobj.get( "icon" ) + ".png";
      } catch(ClientProtocolException e) {
         //Handle as appropriate
      } catch(IOException e) {
         //Handle as appropriate
      } catch(ParseException e) {
         //Handle as appropriate
      } finally {
         httpclient.close();
      }//try-catch
  } catch(IOException e) {
      //Handle as appropriate
   }//try-catch
}//check location is available

You can display the weather icon in the Sales Contacts list view as shown in the Contacts page above, or anywhere else in the RDK that suits your requirement.

Conclusion

I have shown at a very elementary level, how to call a Web Service (or REST) API by constructing a URL string by using HTTP, receive a JSON payload in response, and parse this to extract the relevant parts. I have also shown how such processing can be easily incorporated into an ADF application by using Java or JavaScript. This gives you a flavor of how to rapidly enhance Oracle Applications Cloud with standalone PaaS applications or PaaS4SaaS integrations, enabling you to offer more UX value to your customers.

Do feel free to share your thoughts in comments, and stay tuned for more. Enjoy!

Resources

Thursday Feb 11, 2016

Speed, Not Surprises, Is the Secret to SaaS Simplified UIs

Julian Orr (@orr_ux) of the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team explains how the OAUX Rapid Development Kit enables the fast and furious pace of PaaS4SaaS development and lets partners and customers confidently deliver stunning simplified UIs in the cloud.

For SaaS and PaaS developers, code is always “on.” They need to work like lightning. That’s because the cloud has changed SaaS customer expectations; if they don’t like their user experience (UX) or don’t get it in time, they’ll go elsewhere.

“PaaS has been a great catalyst for change,” agrees Basheer Khan (@bkhan) Principal at Oracle Partner Knex Technology. “It’s transformed how we develop applications.” Basheer knows that cloud customers will not wait months for application integration and hearing that “but-all-I-wanted-was” lament after a hastily delivered solution wins business only for his competitors.

Together in the Oracle Cloud: Joe Rovirosa, Financial Controller at Pacific Health Foundation Enterprises and Basheer Khan of Knex Technology sketch PaaS4SaaS UX ideas together.

Together in the Oracle Cloud: Joe Rovirosa, Financial Controller at Public Health Foundation Enterprises and Basheer Khan of Knex Technology sketch PaaS4SaaS UX ideas together.

SaaS and PaaS Accelerated Development for Real

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team recently worked with Knex Technology to deliver a simplified UI SaaS solution for their customer Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE). Using OAUX’s Simplified UI PaaS4SaaS Rapid Development Kit (RDK) an Oracle ERP SaaS solution was designed, developed, and deployed to the Oracle Cloud during an OAUX-facilitated hands-on workshop for partner and customer.

Simplified UI user experience design patterns: Part of the free Rapid Development Kit so that SaaS and PaaS developers don’t have to research the best usability practices.

Simplified UI user experience design patterns: Part of the free Rapid Development Kit so that SaaS and PaaS developers don’t have to research the best usability practices.

The free RDK contains Oracle ADF simplified UI page templates and components, an Oracle Alta UI look and feel, and the UX design patterns that enable partners to rapidly assess a business opportunity, develop it quickly using designs from the Oracle Applications Cloud, and then deploy a SaaS integration or PaaS custom app to the Oracle Cloud. OAUX enhances the RDK with online training and one-on-one workshops for partners and their customers.

Basheer explained the essence of the RDK for partners:

“The RDK’s best design practices are embedded into the development tools that make the end product, so developers don’t have to start from scratch figuring out a user experience. Those reusable software components of the kit make it efficient for partners to offer customers low cost solutions.”

Applying simplified UI design patterns during the software development process is a real PaaS4SaaS developer productivity win. Patterns are reusable solutions for developers (how a landing page or visualization should work, for example) that accelerate the development of a user experience that’s proven in advance. Developers can concentrate instead on enterprise-critical technical areas, such as performance and security.

Partners and Customers Together in the Oracle Cloud

Central to the success of PHFE’s solution was their direct involvement in the design process. Representatives from PHFE’s financial and human resource departments acted as typical PHFE users and helped to sketch out (or “wireframe”) an agreed user experience solution. From Leonardo Da Vinci to Walt Disney, this sketching of ideas before committing to an expensive production process allows for easy exploration of options, faster iterations, use of industry standard designs, and eliminates unpleasant surprises at the end. That’s a perfect accelerator for a partner growing an Oracle Cloud business with that killer UX differentiator.

From sketched idea to cloud deployment: Stakeholder agreed wireframes and patterns accelerated developer cloud productivity for an Oracle Cloud ERP solution.

From sketched idea to cloud deployment: Stakeholder agreed wireframes and patterns accelerated developer cloud productivity for an Oracle ERP Cloud solution. The latest version of the RDK resources contains a wireframe template that allows you to design simplified UI wireframes using Microsoft PowerPoint.

Basheer encourages this collaborative approach:

“When the customer is involved, solutions are delivered 5 to 10 times quicker to market. The UX tools and guidance make sure the customer requirements are not lost in translation. Customers get to understand what user experience is about and to take early ownership of “their” design that they take away.”

OAUX and Oracle Applications Development enables and guides Knex Technology to deliver a solution for PHFE at a workshop in Oracle HQ

Oracle Applications User Experience Group Vice President Jeremy Ashley (back, left) and PaaS4SaaS UX designer Julian Orr (back, right) let the design learning transfer as Basheer Khan (front, right) agrees an API-connected solution with Oracle Applications developer Suresh Punathilath.

PHFE’s Financial Controller Joe Rovirosa’s own experience of the OAUX enablement also echoes the power of customer involvement:

“We realized that we needed all stakeholders to be present in order to compliment key skill sets. Having Oracle, Knex, and PHFE in one room allowed business requirements and application capabilities to be immediately vetted, resulting in a very efficient process and a superior solution. Such interaction works best for any implementation.”

From UX Mystery to Cloud Magic

This partner-customer enablement based on the PaaS4SaaS RDK is now an OAUX-proven approach that has seen other Oracle partners such as Hitachi Consulting, Certus Solutions, and eProseed win awards and kudos from North America to Europe to Asia. And that means more Cloud business for the partner network.

Partners and customers availing of the PaaS4SaaS enablement have their designs reviewed by OAUX Group Vice President, Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) who underlined Oracle’s commitment to growing the Oracle partner ecosystem with a must-have UX:

“Partners can have confidence in the whole RDK as a standalone, proven, consistent cloud developer productivity solution that in turn will give their customers real confidence in an SaaS user experience their users want.”

Developer speed, no nasty surprises, and a great simplified SaaS UI are all easily realized with the latest version of the PaaS4SaaS RDK. It’s now being downloaded for free by Oracle partners and developers who want to lead and win with the development of SaaS solutions using PaaS.

OAUX plans further enhancements to the RDK itself, exploring other frameworks, wearable technology integration, mobile application development, and more developer experience ideas all based on Oracle Cloud solutions and reflecting the simplicity, mobility, and extensibility UX strategy.

Information on how to get the RDK and on OAUX partner enablement events is available on the Oracle Usable Apps website.

More Information

Saturday Feb 06, 2016

PaaS4SaaS Developers' Code Is Always 'On': OAUX is on OTN and GitHub

Boom! That's the sound of thunder rolling as PaaS and SaaS developers work as fast as lightning in the cloud. The cloud has changed customer expectations about applicationstoo; if they don’t like their user experience (UX) or they don’t get it fast, they’ll go elsewhere.

PaaS4SaaS developers know their code is always 'on'.

But you can accelerate the development of your PaaS4SaaS solutions with a killer UX easily by now downloading the AppsCloudUIKit software part of the Cloud UX simplified UI Rapid Development Kit (RDK) for Release 10 PaaS4SaaS solutions from the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) or from GitHub.

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team's Oracle Cloud UX RDK works with Oracle JDeveloper 11.1.1.9.0, 12.1.3.0.0 and 12.2.1.0.0. The kit downloads include a developer eBook that explains the technical requirements and how to build a complete SaaS or PaaS solution in a matter of hours

Build a simplified UI with the RDK

The AppsCloudUIKit software part of our partner training kit is on OTN and GitHub and is supported by video and eBook guidance.

Build a simplified UI developer eBook

The developer eBook is part of the AppsCloudUIKit downloads on OTN and GitHub.

For the complete developer experience fast, check out the cool Oracle Usable Apps channel YouTube videos from our own dev and design experts on how to design and build your own simplified UI for SaaS using PaaS.

Enjoy. Check in with us on any questions relating to versions or requirements. Share your thoughts in the comments after you've used the complete RDK and stay tuned for more information. It's an ongoing story...

Downloads 

Monday Jan 18, 2016

CrossFit and Coding: 3 Lessons for Women and Technology

Yes, it’s January again. Time to act on that New Year resolution and get into the gym to burn off those holiday excesses. But have you got what it takes to keep going back?

Here’s Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), our User Experience Developer in Oracle’s México Development Center, to tell us about how her CrossFit experience not only challenges the myths about fierce workouts being something only for the guys but about what that lesson can teach us about coding and women in technology too…

Introducing CrossFit: Me Against Myself

Heard about CrossFit? In case you haven’t, it’s an intense fitness program with a mix of weights, cardio, other exercises, and a lot of social media action too about how much we love doing CrossFit.

CrossFit is also a great way to keep fit and to make new friends. Most workouts are so tough that you’re left all covered in sweat, your muscles are on fire, and you feel like it's going to be impossible to even move the next day.

But you keep doing it anyway. 

One of the things I love most about CrossFit is that it is super dynamic. The Workout of the Day (WOD) is a combination of activities, from running outside, gymnastics, weight training, to swimming. You’re never doing the same thing two days in a row. 

Sounds awesome, right? Well, it is!

But some people, particularly women, unfortunately think CrossFit will make them bulk up and they’ll end up with HUGE muscles! A lot of people on the Internet are saying this, and lots of my friends believe it too: CrossFit is really for men and not women. 

From CrossFit to CrossWIT: Women in Techology (WIT)

Just like with CrossFit, there are many young women who also believe that coding is something meant only for men. Seems crazy, but let's be honest, hiring a woman who knows how to code can be a major challenge (my manager can tell you about that!).

So, why aren't women interested in either coding or lifting weights? Or are they? Is popular opinion the truth, that there are some things that women shouldn't do rather than cannot do?

The reality is that CrossFit won't make you bulk up like a bodybuilder, any more than studying those science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) subjects in school won’t make you any less feminine. Women have been getting the wrong messages about gender and technology from the media and from advertising since we were little girls. We grew up believing that intense workout programs, just like learning computer languages, and about engineering, science and math, are “man’s stuff”. And then we wonder where are the women in technology?!

3 Lessons to Challenge Conventions and Change Yourself

So, wether you are interested in these things, or not, I would like to point out 3 key lessons, based on my experience, that I am sure would help you in some stage of your life: 

  1. Don't be afraid of defying those gender stereotypes. You can become whatever you want to be: a successful doctor, a great programmer, or even a CrossFit professional. Go for it!

  2. Choosing to be or to do something different from what others consider “normal” can be hard, but keep doing it! There are talented women in many fields of work who, despite the stereotypes, are awesome professionals, are respected for what they do, and have become key parts of their organizations and companies. Coding is a world largely dominated by men now, with 70% of the jobs taken by males, but that does not stop us from challenging and changing things so that diversity makes the tech industry a better place for everyone

  3. If you are interested in coding, computer science, or technology in general, keep up with your passion by learning more from others by reading the latest tech blogs, for example. If you don't know where to start, here are some great examples to inspire you: our own VoX, Usable Apps, and AppsLab blogs. Read up about the Oracle Women in Technology (WIT) program too.

I'm sure you'll find something of interest in the work Oracle does and you can use our resources to pursue your interests in a career in technology! And who knows? Maybe you can join us at an Oracle Applications User Experience event in the future. We would love to see you there and meet you in person.

I think you will like what you can become! Just like the gym, don’t wait until next January to start.

Related Links

Sunday Dec 27, 2015

Selfies. Social. And Style: Smartwatch UX Trends

From Antiques to Apple

“I don’t own a watch myself”, a great parting shot by Kevin of Timepiece Antique Clocks in the Liberties, Dublin.

I had popped in one rainy day in November to discover more about clock making and to get an old school perspective on smartwatches. Kevin’s comment made sense. “Why would he need to own a watch?” I asked myself, surrounded by so many wonderful clocks from across the ages, all keeping perfect time.

This made me consider what might influence people to use smartwatches? Such devices offer more than just telling the time.

Timepiece Antiques in Dublin

From antiques to Apple: UX research in the Liberties, Dublin

2015 was very much the year of the smartwatch. The arrival of the Apple Watch earlier in 2015 sparked much press excitement and Usable Apps covered the enterprise user experience (UX) angle with two much-read blog pieces featuring our Group Vice President, Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley).

Although the Apple Watch retains that initial consumer excitement (at the last count about 7 million units have shipped), we need to bear in mind that the Oracle Applications User Experience cloud strategy is not about one device. The Glance UX framework runs just as well on Pebble and Android Wear devices, for example.

Basis and Vector Watch: Exciting Offerings in 2015

It's not all about the face. Two exciting devices came my way in 2015 for evaluation against the cloud user experience: The Basis (left) and Vector Watch. 

Overall, the interest in wearable tech and what it can do for the enterprise is stronger than ever. Here's my (non-Oracle endorsed) take on what's going to be hot and why in 2016 for smartwatch UX.

Trending Beyond Trendy 

There were two devices that came my way in 2015 for evaluation that for me captured happening trends in smartwatch user experience. 

First there was the Basis Peak (now just Basis). I covered elsewhere my travails in setting up the Basis and how my perseverance eventually paid off.

Basis Peak: The Ultimate Fitness and Sleep Tracker

Basis: The ultimate fitness and sleep tracker. Quantified self heaven for those non-fans of Microsoft Excel and notebooks. Looks great too! 

Not only does the Basis look good, but its fitness functionality, range of activity and sleep monitoring "habits," data gathering, and visualizations matched and thrilled my busy work/life balance. Over the year, the Basis added new features that reflected a more personal quantified self angle (urging users to take a "selfie") and then acknowledged that fitness fans might be social creatures (or at least in need of friends) by prompting them to share their achievements, or "bragging rights," to put it the modern way.

Bragging Rights notification on Basis

Your bragging rights are about to peak: Notifications on Basis (middle) 

Second there was the Vector Watch, which came to me by way of a visit to Oracle EPC in Bucharest. I was given a device to evaluate.

A British design, with development and product operations in Bucharest and Palo Alto too, the Vector looks awesome. The sophisticated, stylish appearance of the watch screams class and quality. It is easily worn by the most fashionable people around and yet packs a mighty user experience.  

Vector Watch: Style and function together

Vector Watch: Fit executive meets fashion 

I simply love the sleek, subtle, How To Spend It positioning, the range of customized watch faces, notifications integration, activity monitoring capability, and the analytics of the mobile app that it connects with via Bluetooth. Having to charge the watch battery only 12 times (or fewer) each year means one less strand to deal with in my traveling Kabelsalat

The Vector Watch affordance for notifications is a little quirky, and sure it’s not the Garmin or Suunto that official race pacers or the hardcore fitness types will rely on, and maybe the watch itself could be a little slimmer. But it’s an emerging story, and overall this is the kind of device for me, attracting positive comments from admirers (of the watch, not me) worldwide, from San Francisco to Florence, mostly on its classy looks alone.

I'm so there with the whole #fitexecutive thing.

Perhaps the Vector Watch exposes that qualitative self to match the quantified self needs of our well-being that the Basis delivers on. Regardless, the Vector Watch tells us that wearable tech is coming of age in the fashion sense. Wearable tech has to. These are deeply personal devices, and as such, continue the evolution of wristwatches looking good and functioning well while matching the user's world and responding to what's hot in fashion.

Heck, we are now even seeing the re-emergence of pocket watches as tailoring adapts and facilitates their use. Tech innovation keeps time and keeps up, too, and so we have Kickstarter wearabletech solutions for pocket watches appearing, designed for the Apple Watch.

The Three "Fs"

Form and function is a mix that doesn't always quite gel. Sometimes compromises must be made trying to make great-looking, yet useful, personal technology. Such decisions can shape product adoption. The history of watch making tells us that.

Whereas the “F” of the smartwatch era of 2014–2015 was “Fitness,” it’s now apparent that the “F” that UX pros need to empathize with in 2016 will be "Fashion." Fashionable technology (#fashtech) in the cloud, the device's overall style and emotional pull, will be as powerful a driver of adoption as the mere outer form and the inner functionality of the watch.

The Beauty of Our UX Strategy 

The Oracle Applications Cloud UX strategy—device neutral that it is—is aware of such trends, ahead of them even.

The design and delivery of beautiful things has always been at the heart of Jeremy Ashley’s group. Watching people use those beautiful things in a satisfied way and hearing them talk passionately about them is a story that every enterprise UX designer and developer wants the bragging rights to.

So, what will we see on the runway from Usable Apps in 2016 in this regard?

Stay tuned, fashtechistas!

Sunday Dec 20, 2015

ORAMEX Tech Day 2015 Guadalajara: Global Cloud UX Goes Local

You asked. We came. We were already there.

In November, the Oracle México Development Center (MDC) in Guadalajara hosted the ORAMEX Tech Day 2015 event. This great location gave the Grupo de Usuarios Oracle de México (the Oracle User Group in México) (@oramexico) access to the very strong technical community in the region, and attendees from Guadalajara and surrounding cities such as Colima, León, and Morelia heard MDC General Manager Erik Peterson kick off the proceedings with a timely keynote on the important role that MDC (now celebrating its 5th year) plays in delivering Oracle products and services.

Erik Peterson delivers the MDC keynote

Erik Peterson delivers the MDC keynote at the ORAMEX Tech Day.

Naturally, Tech Day was also a perfect opportunity for the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) team to support our ORAMEX friends with the latest and greatest UX outreach.

UX team at ORAMEX Tech Day 2015

Oracle Applications UX staffers at ORAMEX Tech Day (Left to right): Sarahi Mireles, Tim Dubois, Rafael (Rafa) Belloni, and Noel Portugal (image courtesy of ORAMEX) 

UX team members from the U.S., Senior Manager UX Product and Program Management Tim Dubois (@timdubis) and Senior Manager Emerging Tech Development Noel Portugal (@noelportugal), joined local staffers Senior UX Design Developer Rafa Belloni (@rafabelloni) and UX Developer Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles) to demo the latest UX technical resources for the community, to bring everyone up to speed on the latest UX cloud strategy and messages, and to take the pulse of the local market for our cloud UX and innovation enablement and outreach.

Tim and Sarahi demoed the latest from the Release 10 Simplified UI PaaS4SaaS Rapid Development Kit (RDK) and Rafa and Noel showed off cool Internet of Things proof of concept innovations; all seamlessly part of the same Oracle UX cloud strategy.

Sarahi Mireles introduces the RDK

Sarahi leading and winning with the RDK 

Tim and Sarahi provided a dual-language (in English and Spanish), real-time, exploration of what the RDK is, why you need it, what it contains, and how you get started.

Tim Dubois deep dives into the RDK for ORAMEX audience

The long view: Tim explains that the RDK is part of an overall enablement strategy for the Oracle Cloud UX: Simple to use, simple to build, simple to sell solutions. 

You can get started by grabbing technology-neutral Simplified UI UX Design Patterns for Release 10 eBook. It's free. And, watch out for updates to the RDK on the "Build a Simplified UI" page on the Usable Apps website. Bookmark it now! 

Simplified UI UX Design Patterns eBook

Your FREE Simplified UI UX Design Patterns eBook for PaaS and SaaS is now available

ORAMEX Tech Day 2015 was a great success, representing an opportunity for OAUX to collaborate with, and enable, a local technical community and Oracle User Group, to demonstrate, in practical ways, our commitment to bringing that must-have cloud UX message and resources to partners and customers worldwide, and of course, to show examples of the awesome role the MDC UX team plays within Oracle.

Emirates Apple Watch App: UX Team Ready to Fly

Where will we go next? I wonder…

What's next? Stay tuned to the Usable Apps website for event details and how you can participate in our outreach and follow us on Twitter at @usableapps for up-to-the-minute happenings!

Special thanks goes to Plinio Arbizu (@parbizu) and Rolando Carrasco (@borland_c) and to the rest of the ORAMEX team for inviting us and for organizing such a great event.

Wednesday Nov 25, 2015

UX Empathy and the Art of Storytelling

At this year’s Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, I had the opportunity to observe thousands of attendees. They came from 135 different countries and represented different generations.

Despite these enormous differences, they came together and communicated.

But how? With all of the hype about how different communication styles are among the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Generation Zers, I expected to see lots of small groupings of attendees based on generation. And I thought that session audiences would mimic this, too. But I could not have been more wrong.

How exactly, then, did speakers, panelists, and interviewers keep the attention of attendees in the 50+ crowd, the 40+ crowd, and the 20+ crowd while they sat in the same room?

The answer is far simpler than I could have imagined: Authenticity. They kept their messages simple, specific, honest, and in context of the audience and the medium in which they were delivering them.

Web Summit: Estee Lalonde in conversation at the Fashion Summit session "Height, shoe size and Instagram followers please?"

Web Summit: Estée Lalonde (@EsteeLalonde) in conversation at the Fashion Summit session "Height, shoe size and Instagram followers please?"

Simplicity in messaging was key across Web Summit sessions: Each session was limited to 20 minutes, no matter whether the stage was occupied by one speaker or a panel of interviewees. For this to be successful, those onstage needed to understand their brands as well as the audience and what they were there to hear.

Attention spans are shortening, so it’s increasingly critical to deliver an honest, authentic, personally engaging story. Runar Reistrup, Depop, said it well at the Web Summit when he said:

Web Summit: Runar Reistrup in conversation during the Fashion Summit session "A branding lesson from the fashion industry"

Web Summit: Runar Reistrup (@runarreistrup) in conversation during the Fashion Summit session "A branding lesson from the fashion industry"

While lots of research, thought, and hard work goes into designing and building products, today’s brand awareness is built with social media. Users need to understand the story you’re telling but not be overwhelmed by contrived messaging.

People want to connect with stories and learn key messages through those stories. Storytelling is the important challenge of our age. And how we use each social medium to tell a story is equally important. Storytelling across mediums is not a one-size-fits-all experience; each medium deserves a unique messaging style. As Mark Little (@marklittlenews), founder of Storyful, makes a point of saying, "This is the golden age of storytelling.

The Oracle Applications User Experience team recognizes this significance of storytelling and the importance of communicating the personality of our brand. We take time to nurture connections and relationships with those who use our applications, which enables us to empathize with our users in authentic ways.

Web Summit: Aine Kerr talking about the art of storytelling

Web Summit: Áine Kerr (@AineKerr) talking about the art of storytelling

The Oracle simplified user interface is designed with consideration of our brand and the real people—like you—who use our applications. We want you to be as comfortable using our applications as you are having a conversation in your living room. We build intuitive applications that that are based on real-world stories—yours—and that solve real-world challenges that help make your work easier.

We experiment quite a bit, and we purposefully “think as if there is no box.” (Maria Hatzistefanis, Rodial)

Web Summit: Maria Hatzistefanis in conversation during the Fashion Summit session "Communication with your customer in the digital age"

Web Summit: Maria Hatzistefanis (@MrsRodial) in conversation during the Fashion Summit session "Communication with your customer in the digital age"

We strive for finding that authentic connection between the simplified user interface design and the user.  We use context and content (words) to help shape and inform what message we promote on each user interface page. We choose the words we use as well as the tone carefully because we recognize the significance of messaging, whether the message is a two-word field label or a tweet.  And we test, modify, and retest our designs with real users before we build applications to ensure that the designs respond to you and your needs.

If you want to take advantage of our design approach and practices, download our simplified user experience design patterns eBook for free and design a user experience that mimics the one we deliver in the simplified user interface. And if you do, please let us know what you think at @usableapps.

Sunday Nov 22, 2015

3 Lessons from the Darkness for Cloud Developers: Design Patterns

Simplified UI UX Design Patterns eBook

A visit to a very unusual restaurant in Berlin reveals how following familiar and established user experience (UX) design patterns makes things easy for developers and users of cloud applications alike.

Meat-eaters may like to dive right in and consume the free Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns first. 

That UX Homework Assignment

Just returned from Berlin. While I was there I completed a reverse UX homework assignment given to me by Oracle partner Certus Solutions Cloud Services VP Debra Lilley (@debralilley): to visit a restaurant called Dunkel.

Dunkel Unsicht-Bar and Restaurant is where you are seated, served, and eat in total darkness (Dunkel means dark in German).

To begin with, you order from a set menu, in the light. Then, your assigned server appears, asks you to put your hands on their shoulders, and to follow you downstairs into the darkness of the restaurant itself.

I entered a world that was pitch black. Really. No smartphone UIs glowing, no luminous wristwatch dials twinkled, not even the blink of an optical heart rate monitor sensor on a smartwatch could be glanced anywhere

The server seats you, gives you a quick verbal orientation as to what is, and will be in front, of you.

All around me was the sound of other diners enjoying themselves.

Yet, I enjoyed one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had in years.

title=

Instagram pic of the awesome meal I had in Dunkel.

I had no problems whatsoever in finding or using the cutlery, the breadbasket, or eating any of the food served (four courses) in the total darkness. I ate as normal, at my usual pace, and when the meal was complete, I emerged into the light, again guided by the server, and without looking like I had been in a food fight. 

An amazing, one of a kind, experience! I even left a tip! Try it yourself if you visit Berlin.

Lessons from the Darkness

So, what are the UX lessons from Dunkel? Why was it that I could so easily eat there, without ending up in a complete mess, screaming for help?

  1. Firstly, keep it simple. I didn’t have to deal with, for example, a complex floral arrangement or other decoration shoved into the middle of the table. Everything in front of me was functional or consumable.
  2. Secondly, the experience must be what consumers  expect and be about things they are familiar with from everyday use. The layout of the cutlery (and yes, there was more than one spoon and no, I never used my hands), the positioning of the plates, even where my drink was placed, was familiar to me and as expected. They followed a pattern. No nasty surprises!
  3. Thirdly, if you do need to provide guidance, keep it short and about completing the task at hand, but encourage discovery. For example, my dessert was made of three parts (of crème of pomegranate, mango chili sauce, and homemade pralines) and served in one of those little swing-top glass bottles you need to flip open. But, again, no issue in consuming the lot.

Keeping things simple, familiar,  providing concise task guidance and playing on a sense of discovery is an experiential approach also evident in the simplified UIs in Oracle’s Cloud Applications. The UX follows design patterns.

Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns

The Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns for Release 10 eBook is available for free.

Your UX Assignment's Solution

If you’re an Oracle ADF developer or partner building Oracle Cloud Applications Release 10 solutions, you can now get the Oracle Cloud Applications simplified UI UX design patterns for free in eBook format and make it easy for yourself and your users too.

Looking forward to my next UX homework exchange with Debra!

Sunday Nov 15, 2015

Women in Tech: Where Are They?

Watching thousands of techies storm the floors and swarm the 20+ summits at Web Summit 2015 was an extraordinary experience. As I really looked at the people walking around, though, I couldn’t help thinking, “Where are the women?” Of course I saw women, but I saw far fewer women than men.

Web Summit Centre Stage

Web Summit Centre Stage

Not relying on my own unofficial observations, I noted a V3 article that not only validated my observations with reflections that mimicked mine but went on to share this data point from Capgemini: “only 18 percent of speakers at Web Summit 2015 were women.”

To be fair, though, throughout the Web Summit, significant awareness was placed on the ever troubling lack of women in professional roles in tech. Hearing different speakers and panelists comment on the state of Women In Technology (WIT) got me wondering: Who exactly are WIT? And why wouldn’t more women pitch up “at the best technology conference on the planet” (Forbes)?

Unofficially I asked somewhere around 50 +/- people from both inside and outside of the software industry to tell me who they think WIT are. I found it interesting that the majority of those who answered mentioned engineering, scientific, and developer job titles or gave me the name of a woman they know who holds a role with a similar job title.

These responses got me thinking about the shape of WIT—who’s in, who’s out. Without a doubt, those women who hold roles with technical job titles are in. But what about those women who have dedicated their entire careers to the tech industry but don’t hold job titles that include the word engineer or developer—women, for example, who design (but don’t build) software or those who write about how to extend or customize software?

Shouldn’t women who’ve built careers in technology and who’ve spent years deep-dive learning about specific industries, domains, software, platforms in order to write content that enables users, as well as those who who’ve spent years designing user experiences as well as developing conceptual object and data models, or those who occasionally code—but never held a job title that includes engineer or developer—count, too?

Microsoft’s Peggy Johnson, EVP, Business Development: Partner, thrive or die session

Microsoft’s Peggy Johnson, EVP, Business Development: Partner, thrive or die session

During my three days at the Web Summit, I attended as many sessions as I could in which women were speakers or panelists. I was hoping to learn from them—learn more about the “who counts” aspect of WIT, as well as hear creative proposals or solutions that address the gender imbalance in the tech world. While today’s grassroots efforts, such as Black Girls Code and CoderDojo, are fantastic, we need to proactively create a next generation of tech women, or we will simply continue having this same conversation.

Sinead Murphy’s “commitment to change” gave me hope that the momentum towards such change is increasing: “As part of an initiative we’re [Web Summit] running to even the gender ratio at our events, we’re giving 10,000 complimentary tickets to our events to women in the tech industry across the world – we hope that it will, in some small way, contribute to solving the problem." The Web Summit will invite “10,000 female entrepreneurs as [Web Summit] guests in 2016.” The Women In Tech Summit will be held in Lisbon next year.

An equally remarkable commitment was announced at Oracle OpenWorld 2015. Oracle CEO Safra Catz announced Oracle’s plan to build a new public school, d.tech, saying, “I’ve realised it’s absolutely critical that big companies like ours […] to do something because when you look at the statistics, you realise there are simply not enough women in the pipeline in the math and science education areas.” For more about this new high school, read the diginomica article, Oracle OpenWorld 2015 - Safra Catz on the tech industry's female talent pipeline problem.”

Clearly these are excellent examples of forward movement. But we—ALL women who work in tech, as well as our male colleagues—have the opportunity to step up and do more. The challenge of drawing more women into all types of tech roles—no matter the job title—belongs to each and every one of us. What will you do?

Learn more about Oracle’s WIT in these inspiring stories. And be sure to check out the Oracle Women in Technology Program.

Monday Sep 21, 2015

Licht Is Uit? eProseed Shines the Light on IoT and Design Patterns with TopCasuS

At the Oracle government and innovation event held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Oracle partner eProseed demoed a public sector solution that brought together the Internet of Things (IoT) and Activity Based Working (hat tip: Erik Veldhoen [@erikveldhoen]) to enhance business processes for customers: TopCasuS.  Oracle Applications User Experience design patterns and guidance helped eProseed to build a great solution in a productive and consistent way. eProseed NL managing partner, Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) explains more.

Overheid en Innovatie

Tijdens de Oracle Overheid en Innovatie beurs liet eProseed met hun oplossing voor gemeenten en centrale overheid zien hoe je met behulp van Internet of Things (IoT) bedrijfsprocessen kan optimaliseren en verbeteren. TopCasuS is gebaseerd op Gemma 2.0 principes en het concept ‘activity based working’. Dit betekent dat de gebruiker toegang heeft tot de juist informatie op het juiste moment.

TopCasuS UI using Oracle Alta UI

TopCasuS gebruikt Oracle Alta UI 

Op dit moment zijn de volgende modules beschikbaar:

  • Sociaal domein. Enterprise-grade oplossing voor gemeenten die hen ondersteunt bij het uitvoeren van de drie decentralisaties;
  • Openbare ruimte. Module die gemeenten helpt de openbare gemeente schoon, heel en veilig te houden;
  • Shared services. Module voor gemeenten die fuseren of een shared service aan het inrichten zijn.

Licht Is Uit

De openbare ruimte wordt niet alleen schoon, heel en veilig gehouden met behulp van regulier onderhoud, maar ook door te reageren op meldingen. De meldingen kunnen worden gedaan door burgers via een app of the gemeentelijke website, door ambtenaren en ketenpartners en door gebruik te maken van IoT technieken.

Luc and Lonneke demo at the event

Lonneke en Luc op het evenement met Licht Is Uit

Tijdens het evenement demonstreerden ze het volgende scenario:

  1. Een lichtsensor in een fietstunnel meet de hoeveelheid licht in de tunnel. Mensen voelen zich veilig in een verlichte tunnel. 
  2. Als de tunnel donker is, bijvoorbeeld omdat het licht stuk is, wordt een notificatie verzonden naar het meldingen buitenruimte proces. 
  3. De ambtenaar die verantwoordelijk is voor het gebied van de fietstunnel ontvangt een notificatie dat er een nieuwe zaak is gestart en hij pakt deze op, op dezelfde manier als wanneer een burger of college de melding gedaan zou hebben.

English Language Version

The eProseed TopCasuS solution is based on Gemma 2.0 principles and Erik Veldhoen's (@erikveldhoen) concept of Activity Based Working. This means that the user has access to the right information at the right time. Right now, the following modules are available:

  • Social services. Enterprise grade solution for municipalities (Dutch local government) to support the implementation of new laws about youth care, work, and decentralized social support.
  • Public domain. Module to help municipalities to keep public services and the environment safe, clean, and working properly.
  • Shared services. Module to support municipalities when merging and when they need to implement shared services.

Licht Is Uit (Light Is Out) Demo

Keeping public areas safe, clean, and working properly is carried out by regular servicing, but also by the local authority's reaction to the prompt notifications of issues with their services. These notifications can be triggered by a citizen reporting an issue using a mobile app or a website or by a local authority employee or contractor noticing an issue. But now it can also be reported automatically using the IoT. At the Rotterdam event, eProseed NL CTO and managing partner Luc Bors (@lucb_) demoed with Lonneke how sensors detect an issue and let the local authority know about a problem:

  1. A sensor in a bike tunnel measures the amount of light in the tunnel. Pedestrians and cyclists can go safely through the tunnel.
  2. If a light bulb in the tunnel fails, or something else causes the tunnel to become dark, the sensor detects the change in lighting conditions and a notification is automatically sent to the local authority, creating a new case in their service system.
  3. The local authority employee responsible for the tunnel maintenance receives a notification that a new case has been started, can then assess the situation and process it, just as if a citizen had filed the issue. 

Watch out for more solutions that partners can build productively with reusable UX design patterns and Oracle technology and for demos of the solutions at an event near you soon.

Read more about our eProseed UX enablement event in Utrecht, too.  

Thursday Sep 17, 2015

Oracle Partners ♥ UX Innovation Events

I have just returned from a great Apps UX Innovation Events Internet of Things (IoT) hackathon held in Oracle Nederland in Utrecht (I was acting in a judicial capacity). This was the first of such events organized in cooperation with an Oracle partner, in this case eProseed

eProseed Managing Partner Lonneke Dikmans

Design patterns maven: eProseed managing partner, SOA, BPM and UX champ, Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikans) at the hackathon. Always ready to fashion a business solution in a smart, reusable way.

You can read more about what went on at the event on other blogs, but from an Oracle partner enablement perspective (my main role), this kind of participation means a partner can:  

  • Learn hands-on about the latest Oracle technology from Oracle experts in person. This event provided opportunities to dive deep into Oracle Mobile Cloud Service, Oracle IoT Cloud, Oracle Mobile Application Framework, Oracle SOA Suite, and more, to explore building awesome contextual and connected solutions across a range of devices and tech.
  • Bring a team together in one place to work on business problems, to exchange ideas, and to build relationships with the "go-to" people in Oracle's technology and user experience teams.  
  • Demonstrate their design and development expertise and show real Oracle technology leadership to potential customers, to the Oracle PartnerNetwork, and to the educational, development, and innovation ecosystem.

That an eProseed team was declared the winners of the hackathon and that eProseed scored high on all three benefits above is just sweet!

eProseed NL team demo parking solution

The eProseed NL team shows off its winning "painless parking" IoT solution.

Many thanks to eProseed for bringing a team from across Europe and for working with Apps UX Innovation Events to make this event such a success for everyone there!

Stay tuned for more events on the Apps UX Innovation Events blog and watch out for news of the FY16 PaaS4SaaS UX enablement for Oracle partners on this blog.

Pictures from the IoT hackathon are on the Usable Apps Instagram account

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