Saturday Nov 22, 2014

From Coffee Table to Cloud at a Glance: Free Oracle Applications Cloud UX eBook Available

Your free eBook, Oracle Applications Cloud User Experiences: Trends and Strategy, is now available. Go to tinyurl.com/UXstrategy to register and download the PDF.   

This is a colorful, beautifully illustrated, and simply written document that shows and tells you everything you need to know about the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience. From strategy and design philosophy to current innovation and emergent trends, the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team has it covered. 

Oracle Applications Cloud User Experiences: Trends and Strategy

Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Oracle Applications User Experience Vice President, tell you just what you need to use that Oracle UX message to increase your cloud business. 

So, what's in it for partners and developers? As you scan through the eBook, you'll discover as innovation and ideation comes to life using Oracle technology toolkit and the guidance shared on the Usable Apps website, the OUAX outreach enables you to build similar awesome cloud user experiences. You can use the eBook to confidently explain key cloud UX concepts to your customers and to jointly inspire new business ideas and solutions.

And hey, it's a great resource to share with anyone interested in design, technology, and building things with a user experience too!

Extending the User Interface

We enable business users and developers to build and tailor simplified user experiences for the Oracle Applications Cloud productively, in ways that make sense for their customers.

The Cloud is Our Platform

The cloud is our platform. You can also design optimized, contextual user experiences easily, using familiar, core elements across experiences. 

Watch out for more eBooks from OAUX. Stay tuned to the usual channels.

For now, enjoy! 

Thursday Nov 20, 2014

Concept to Code: Shaping and Shipping Innovative User Experience Solutions for the Enterprise

It was an exciting event here at Oracle Headquarters as our User Experience AppsLab (@theappslab) Director Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) recently hosted an internal design jam called Shape and ShipIt. Fifteen top-notch members of the newly expanded team got together for two days with a packed schedule to research and innovate cutting-edge enterprise solutions, write use cases, create wireframes, and build and code solutions. They didn’t let us down.

The goal: Collaborate and rapidly design practical, contextual, mobile Oracle Applications Cloud solutions that address real-world user needs and deliver enterprise solutions that are streamlined, natural, and intuitive user experiences.

The result: Success! Four new stellar user experience solutions were delivered to take forward to product development teams working on future Oracle Application Cloud simplified user interface releases.

Design jam event banner

Design jam event banner

While I cannot share the concepts or solutions with you as they are under strict lock and key, I can share our markers of the event’s success with you.

The event was split into two days:

  • Day 1: A “shape” day during which participants received invaluable guidance from Bill Kraus on the role of context and user experience, then researched and shaped their ideas through use cases and wireframes.
  • Day 2: A “ship” day during which participants coded, reviewed, tested, and presented their solutions to a panel of judges that included Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of the Oracle Applications User Experience team.

It was a packed two days full of ideas, teamwork, and impressive presentations.

Photo: Participants Anthony Lai, Bill Kraus, and Luis Galeana [photo: Sandra Lee]

Participants Anthony Lai, Bill Kraus, and Luis Galeana [photo: Sandra Lee (@SandraLee0415)]

The participants formed four small teams that comprised managers, architects, researchers, developers, and interaction designers whose specific perspectives proved to be invaluable to the tasks at hand. Their blend of complementary skills enabled the much needed collaboration and innovation.

Photo: Diversity drives more innovation at Oracle. Participants Mark Vilrokx, Osvaldo Villagrana, Raymond Xie Julia Blyumen, and Joyce Ohgi hard at work. [photo: Karen Scipi]

Diversity drives more innovation at Oracle. Participants Mark Vilrokx, Osvaldo Villagrana, Raymond Xie Julia Blyumen, and Joyce Ohgi hard at work. [photo: Karen Scipi (@KarenScipi)]

Although participants were charged with a short timeframe for such an assignment, they were quick to adapt and refine their concepts and produce solutions that could be delivered and presented in two days. Individual team agility was imperative for designing and delivering solutions within a two-day timeframe.

Participants were encouraged to brainstorm and design in ways that suited them. Whether it was sitting at tables with crayons, paper, notebooks and laptops, or hosting walking meetings outside, the participants were able to discuss concepts and ideate in their own, flexible ways.

Photo: Brainstorming with notebooks and pens: Cindy Fong and Tony Orciuoli [photo: Sandra Lee]

Brainstorming with notebooks and pens: Cindy Fong and Tony Orciuoli [photo: Sandra Lee]

Photo: Brainstorming with laptops: Noel Portugal and Ben Bendig [photo: Karen Scipi]

Brainstorming with laptops: Noel Portugal and Ben Bendig 
[photo: Karen Scipi]

As with all of our simplified user interface design efforts, participants kept a “context produces magic” perspective front and center throughout their activities. In the end, team results yielded responsive, streamlined, context-driven user experience solutions that were simple yet powerful.

Healthy “brain food” and activity breaks were encouraged, and both kept participants engaged and focused on the important tasks at hand. Salads, veggies, dips, pastas, wraps, and sometimes a chocolate chip cookie (for the much needed sugar high) were on the menu. The activity break of choice was an occasional competitive game of table tennis at the Oracle Fitness Center, just a stone’s throw from the event location. The balance of think-mode and break-mode worked out just right for participants.

Photo: Healthful sustenance: Lunch salads [photo: Karen Scipi]

Healthful sustenance: Lunch salads [photo: Karen Scipi]

Our biggest marker of success, though, was how wrong we were. Yes. Wrong. While we expected one team’s enterprise solution to clearly stand out from among all of the others, we were pleasantly surprised as all four were equally impressive, viable, and well-received by the design jam judges. Four submissions, four winners. Nice job!

Photo: Participants (standing) Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, and Tony Orciuoli present their enterprise solution to the panel of judges (seated): Jake Kuramoto, Jatin Thaker, Tim Dubois, Jeremy Ashley, and Bill Kraus [photo: Karen Scipi]

Participants (standing) Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, and Tony Orciuoli present their enterprise solution to the panel of judges (seated): Jake Kuramoto, Jatin Thaker, Tim Dubois, Jeremy Ashley, and Bill Kraus [photo: Karen Scipi]

Stay tuned to the Usable Apps Blog to learn more about such events and what happens to the innovative user experiences that emerge!

Friday Nov 14, 2014

Today, We Are All Partners: Oracle UX Design Lab for PaaS

To ideate with our partners to create user experience (UX) enablement that delivers, we first empathize with how partner development teams go about their business. By understanding their world, we can rock it.

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Communications and Outreach team has just executed on a very successful internal event called the UX Design Lab for PaaS. The event's attendees adopted the role of partners delivering typical simplified UI (SUI) SaaS solutions using PaaS.

PaaS4SaaS event banner

This new kind of event used a new visual style agenda designed by the team.

We’ve got that partner message cloud and clear: SUI and PaaS are differentiators. And, we know how the cloud has changed everything, including user experience (UX). Partners need to build UX solutions in the cloud, quickly and easily, to meet those ever-demanding customer expectations.

Sticky notes to UX science: Baked-in developer enablement

User experience is baked into the simplicity of our enablement for busy partner developers.

So, a group of our own software architects, UX designers, Oracle ADF developers, platform experts, and other partner enablers, took typical PaaS and SaaS use cases and designed and built solutions using our Simplified UI Rapid Development Kit (based on Oracle ADF). They then deployed their applications using the Oracle Java Cloud platform services.

PaaS4SaaS use cases from paper to cloud explored

From paper to cloud. The event tested the PaaS4SaaS process from “All I want to do is... ” use cases to more complex solutions for Oracle Sales, HCM, ERP Cloud, and more.

This was a strategic event with Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of OAUX as executive sponsor. Furthermore, 20% of attendees had “Vice President” (or higher) in their titles reflecting the importance that Oracle puts on this kind of partner enablement. What’s more, they got down to business with the design and the development tools too.

Karen Scipi, Jeremy Ashley, and Anthony S Lai explore the Ring

Jeremy Ashley (center) explores gesture-based interactions with Karen Scipi (@karenscipi) (left) and Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai) (right) during the event.

Our next step is to evaluate our experience and validate the outcome of the event with partners themselves. We're fine-tuning our partner communications and outreach with more awesome PaaS4SaaS resources, already proven for developers and ready to win business.

The occasion was an opportunity to try out ways of organizing partner events, so we added fitness and wellness breaks, fun activities, and tailored the event to reflect the diversity of the tech community.

David Haimes and Misha Vaughan in the minutetowinit challenge facilitated by Brandon of Reach Fitness

Minute-To-Win-It. Attendee wellness and engagement was one focus of the event. David Haimes (@dhaimes) and Misha Vaughan (@mishavaughan) display their dexterity with all matters cloud, facilitated by the Oracle HQ Reach Fitness team.

We also looked at ways of communicating UX in a simple, effective way, one that resonates with busy developers, such as using a Jobs To Be Done framework applied to agile simplified UI user requirements gathering and wireframing.

Julian Orr and Ultan O'Broin and the Jobs To Be Done Approach

Julian Orr (left) and Ultan Ó Broin (@ultan) fronting the #JTBD approach.

As this was an internal event, I can’t disclose use case details, of course. But, I will reveal that we are soon hosting one partner onsite for high-touch simplified UI design and development best practices to add to their existing Oracle ADF and Oracle Fusion Middleware knowledge. We'll fast-track that partner to rapidly build a solution that will grow their cloud business and add real value to the Oracle Applications Cloud partner ecosystem.

You could be the next partner. So, if you are an eager partner in North America or EMEA and have compelling simplified UI Oracle Applications Cloud use cases that fit the PaaS model, reach out to us through the usual channels.

More pictures of the event are available on the Usable Apps Instagram account and Twitter account timeline.

Friday Nov 07, 2014

Emphasis on Practical Usability Research at HFES Annual Meeting in Chicago

By Anna Wichansky

Senior Director, Oracle Applications User Experience

HFES 2014 Meeting in Chicago

The 2014 International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) was recently held in Chicago, on October 27-31, 2014. This conference deals with all the latest research and issues in the field of human factors, the study of human-machine systems. Some 1450 professionals in human factors, user experience (UX), and related fields attended the event.

Anna Wichansky and Ultan O’Broin (@usableapps) of the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team presented a half-day workshop on How to Create User Requirements for Software to HFES members and students, including industry consultants and end-user customers. This is their third presentation of the workshop, which features a highly interactive format with small groups engaged in hands-on role-playing exercises.

In this unique workshop, students prepared a business case about a fictitious auto parts company requiring a financial software upgrade to a more efficient, effective, and satisfying application. They worked in small groups and played the roles of UX consultant, user, and stakeholders in the implementation. Ultan and Anna facilitated the groups, played stakeholder roles as needed, and presented relevant concepts and methods for setting UX requirements based on the NIST IR 7432 Common Industry Format for Requirements. Students left with a completed template of user requirements for the workshop business case.

Context of Use: The fundamental layer of user requirements. Picture of people coding together

Understanding the context of use (the who, what, where, how, and with whom) dimension of software user requirements gathering is fundamental to a successful implementation. The HFES workshop explored context of use thoroughly as an underlying layer of the Common Industry Format for Usability Requirements.

In other highlights of the conference, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the U.S. National Safety Council and former head of the National Transportation Safety Board, gave an invited speech on the importance of human factors in promoting safety. One particular theme was computer-distracted operators of transportation vehicles. She related examples of the Northwest Airlines pilots who overflew their destination while reading rosters on a laptop, a texting engineer responsible for a train collision in Chatsworth, California, and the Delaware River tug boat mate in charge of towing a barge that collided with another vessel because he was distracted by his cell phone. Her clear message is that we need to use technology thoughtfully to ensure the benefits outweigh any detrimental effects. Automated cars, for example, could have many benefits in providing a very safe ride, possibly decreasing the effects of driver distraction, fatigue, and aging on highway accidents.

The fastest growing technical group in HFES is Healthcare, with many papers and sessions presented on testing medical devices, the design and human factors of electronic medical records, and online consumer information systems for patient compliance and support.

A symposium on research being conducted to support the NASA manned extra-planetary missions was also presented, with many relevant findings for life here on Earth, including the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep inertia (when you are suddenly awakened in the middle of sleep) on human performance.

BMW presented research on the optimal design for augmented displays in automated driving scenarios. The research found that drivers’ reactions to the displayed alerts and warnings as they attempted to avoid hazards in simulated driving tasks were often unpredictable, depending on features of the visual design.

About the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society logo

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is a 4500-member professional organization dedicated to the study of human-machine systems. Anna Wichansky is a Fellow of the HFES.

Related Information

Monday Sep 08, 2014

Fashionable Tech

By Sandra Lee (@SandraLee0415), Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach Team

“You don’t have to be first; you just have to be better” is a marketing phrase I’ve heard over the years, and it really is true. Take social media hero Facebook. Sure, Myspace and Friendster came first, but Facebook quickly made its way to the top. This trend happens in almost every market that fills a void without consumers even knowing it.

Such is the case with wearable technology.

By now, we are all familiar with the leading wearable devices like Google Glass and Fitbit, but some haven’t caught on in the general public as much as developer and marketing executives would have liked. The lack of buy-in has a lot to do with price, but ease of use plays a part, too. There’s no question that we, as a technology-needy society, want our devices to be fast, efficient, and attractive, while providing real-life benefits. We’ve got socks that give us real-time health stats, collars that track your puppy’s every move, and bands that let you know when your newborn baby is about to wake up. And these are just the beginning.

The one trend in wearables that I’m really excited about is fashion. Geeky glasses and pocket protectors are being replaced by sleek jackets, statement necklaces, and beautiful rings. It takes the saying “he put a ring on it” to a whole new level.

Below are some new ones that might really be game changers:

Cuff

Cuff

This beautiful piece of jewelry doubles as an activity tracker and phone notification system. But what I like most about the Cuff is that it can keep you safe. Being aware of your surroundings is a great start, but I love the feature that actually alerts people if you ever feel threatened walking to your car at night. At prices starting at just $50, it’s one that’s easy to get on board with.

Ringly

Ringly

Keeping in touch with important people has never been more beautiful. Whether you’re in a quiet museum or cheering on the San Francisco 49ers in a loud stadium, this ring will vibrate softly, alerting you to a phone call, text, or important upcoming event.

Epiphany Eyewear

Epiphany Eyewear

These glasses are the perfect kind of nerdy because the cool part is hidden. Camera and HD video recording capabilities let you use these glasses as shades or as prescription glasses.

Will these three featured wearables be the game changers the wearable technology industry has been looking for? And what will the impact be of more fashion and style-conscious wearable technology on enterprise adoption?

What do you think?

Join the Oracle Applications User Experience team and friends on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, for the Oracle Wearable Technology Meetup at the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) Lounge at Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and let us know your thoughts in person. Don your best wearables and discuss the finer points of enterprise use cases, APIs, integrations, user experience, fashion and style considerations for creating wearable tech, and lots more!

While supplies last, there’ll be inexpensive, yet tasteful, gifts for attendees sporting wearable tech.

For more on wearable technology and OAUX, see our Usable Apps story at https://storify.com/usableapps/wearables.

Saturday Aug 30, 2014

Simplified UI Rapid Development Kit Sends Oracle Partners Soaring in the Oracle Applications Cloud

A glimpse into the action at the Oracle HCM Cloud Building Simplified UIs workshop with Hitachi Consulting by Georgia Price (@writeprecise

Building stylish, modern, and simplified UIs just got a whole lot easier. That’s thanks to a new kit developed by the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team that’s now available for all from the Usable Apps website.

The Oracle Applications Cloud Simplified User Interface Rapid Development Kit is a collection of code samples from the Oracle Platform Technology Solutions (PTS) Code Accelerator Kit, coded page templates and Oracle ADF components, wireframe stencils and examples, coding best practices, and user experience design patterns and guidance. It’s designed to help Oracle partners and developers quickly build—in a matter of hours—simplified UIs for their Oracle Applications Cloud use cases using Oracle ADF page types and components.

Simplified UI eBook

A key component of the simplified UI Rapid Development Kit—the Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook—in use. Pic: Sasha Boyko

The kit was put to the test last week by a group of Hitachi Consulting Services team members at an inaugural workshop on building simplified UIs for the Oracle HCM Cloud that was hosted by the OAUX team in the Oracle headquarters usability labs.

The results: impressive.

During the workshop, a broad range of participants—Hitachi Consulting VPs, senior managers, developers, designers, and architects—learned about the simplified UI design basics of glance, scan, commit and how to identify use cases for their business. Then, they collaboratively designed and built—from wireframe to actual code—three lightweight, tablet-first, intuitive solutions that simplify common, every day HCM tasks.

Sona Manzo (@sonajmanzo), Hitachi Consulting VP leading the company’s Oracle HCM Cloud practice, said, “This workshop was a fantastic opportunity for our team to come together and use the new Rapid Development Kit’s tool s and techniques to build actual solutions that meet specific customer use cases. We were able to take what was conceptual to a whole different level.”

Sona Manzo of Hitachi Consulting

Great leadership. Hitachi Consulting's Sona Manzo gets the whole team into the spirit of building simplified UIs. Pic: Martin Taylor

Workshop organizer and host Ultan O’Broin (@ultan), Director, OAUX, was pleased with the outcome as well: “That a key Oracle HCM Cloud solution partner came away with three wireframed or built simplified UIs and now understands what remains to be done to take that work to completion as a polished, deployed solution is a big win for all.”

Anna and Ultan Facilitate at the Workshop

OAUX Principal Interaction Designer Anna Budovsky (left) and Ultan O'Broin (right) facilitate Hitachi Consulting team members in working out solutions for customer use cases. Pics: Martin Taylor

Equally importantly, said Ultan, is what the OAUX team learned about “what such an Oracle partner needs to do or be able to do next to be successful.”

According to Misha Vaughan (@mishavaughan), Director of the OAUX Communications and Outreach team, folks are lining up to attend other building simplified UI workshops.

“The Oracle Applications Cloud partner community is catching wind of the new simplified UI rapid development kit. I'm delighted by the enthusiasm for the kit. If a partner is designing a cloud UI, they should be building with this kit,” said Misha.

Ultan isn’t surprised by the response. “The workshop and kit respond to a world that’s demanding easy ways to build superior, flexible, and yet simple enterprise user experiences using data in the cloud.”

The Oracle Applications Cloud Simplified User Interface Rapid Development Kit will now be featured at Oracle OpenWorld 2014 OAUX events and in OAUX communications and outreach worldwide. 

Wednesday Aug 27, 2014

Dress Code 2.0: Wearable Tech Meetup at the OTN Lounge at Oracle OpenWorld 2014

What? Dress Code 2.0: Wearable Tech Meetup at the OTN Lounge at Oracle OpenWorld 2014

When? Tuesday, 30-September-2014, 4-6 PM

Partners! Customers! Java geeks! Developers everywhere! Lend me your (er, wearable tech) ears!

Get your best wearables technology gear on and come hang out with the Oracle Applications User Experience team and friends at the OTN Lounge Wearables Technology Meetup at Oracle OpenWorld 2014.

Oracle Apps UX and OTN augmenting and automating work with innnovation and the cloud
  • See live demos of Oracle ideation and proof of concept wearable technology—smart watches, heads-up displays, sensors, and other devices and UIs—all integrated with the Oracle Java Cloud.
  • Try our wearable gadgets for size, and chat with the team about using OTN resources to design and build your own solutions.
  • Show us your own wearables and discuss the finer points of use cases, APIs, integrations, UX design, and fashion and style considerations for wearable tech development, and lots more!

Inexpensive yet tasteful gifts for attendees sporting wearable tech, while supplies last!

Note: A 2014 Oracle OpenWorld or JavaOne conference badge is required for admittance to the OTN Lounge. 

More?

Tuesday Jul 15, 2014

Portrait of a Technology Artist: Smart Cropping

By Joe Goldberg, Ph.D., CPE, Chief Research Scientist, Oracle Applications User Experience

Sometimes it’s the little things that make or break a user experience.

Consider a common scenario: You’ve just found the perfect image of yourself and uploaded it to your employee profile page. After a page refresh, your headshot is cropped to fit the vertical aspect ratio of its container frame. The only problem: The right side of your face is now missing because the technology cropped the upper left of the image. Unless you want to be mistaken for a Cyclops, you now must manually re-crop in Photoshop, or whatever’s handy, and upload again, hoping for better results.

U.S. Dept of State Online Passport Application Picture Cropping Tool

Personal images are used widely in applications on the web, from social media profiles to human capital management portraits and public sector IDs. Note this tool from the U.S. Department of State’s passport application website.

What’s needed is a way to crop headshots so that faces remain fully intact.

Smart Cropping does just that. This Oracle Applications User Experience prototype feature automatically finds a person’s face in an image and then pads and crops the image to a desired aspect ratio so that the face is at the center of the cropped image. The technology that underlies Smart Cropping is OpenCV, an open-source computer vision library now being used extensively in consumer applications, such as cameras and cars.

OpenCV uses Haar Cascades from previously trained decision tree-based classifiers to rapidly find the coordinates of any faces in an image. This computer vision technology is transparent to the end user, who now enjoys perfect face cropping.

Smartcropping feature correctly detects and centers the image for the optimal portrait

The image on the left shows a headshot that is horizontally centered, but vertically above the image’s center. The image on the right shows the output of the Smart Cropping feature, where the image is both horizontally and vertically centered.

OpenCV is a great example of how the energies of the open source development community, scientific UX insight, and consumerization of technology come together to meet user expectations about how things should work in an easy and familiar way to solve a common problem. This alignment of the social and scientific stars underwrites the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) design principles.

Visit the Usable Apps website to find out more about how you can participate in shaping our UX and how to build great solutions using the same techniques and science that OUAX uses.

Interested in discovering more?

Monday Jul 14, 2014

Oracle Social Network: Enabling Employee Engagement with Oracle Cloud Services

Julien Laforêt (@julienlaforet), Procurement Sales Consultant, Oracle Social Network Business Leader, and User Experience Sales Ambassador tells us how the Oracle Social Network Cloud Service enables employee engagement and helps attract and maintain talent.

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 70% of employees surveyed disliked their jobs or were so completely disengaged that even incentives and extras were not sufficient to improve how they felt about work.

Disengaged employees means trouble for businesses in many areas

Can't contribute, won't contribute. Disengaged employees means the entire business suffers.

This statistic is important because we know that employees who are disengaged:

  • Do not exceed growth goals 
  • Rarely contribute to innovation  
  • Frequently limit their productivity 
  • Often share their thoughts and feelings on social media internally and externally, which contributes to negative publicity about the company 
  • Sometimes, they leave the company, meaning a loss of investment, incurred cost of replacement, and so on 

But, engaged and happy employees participate in ways that often yields more opportunities for the company itself to be successful, and opens the door to other talented people who are attracted to similar  high levels of work satisfaction.

Social media is a key that may help improve employee satisfaction and engagement. In this blog, we look at how to use it to enable positive employee engagement and results.

Communicating Internally

For any employee, growing their skills and knowledge, promoting their expertise and their successes, and collaborating across teams and networks in the company are important activities. These foster community and collaboration, a feeling of belonging to something larger than their current projects.

Most of the time, these kinds of growth opportunities and acknowledgements have only been possible in small social circles, for example, direct-line managers and immediate colleagues. How do you promote your employees to people in other regions or services?

Oracle Social Network allows people to connect and share in scalable, effective ways. It allows employees to create networks and:

  • Showcase their value and share their successes and expertise  
  • Participate in the life of the company: create, innovate, participate, share, improve  
  • Reduce the time spent managing emails and performing administrative tasks

Oracle Social Network Cloud Service

Showcasing Value and Sharing Successes

With public conversations on Oracle Social Network, an employee can create knowledge communities where all employees can contribute. Participating is easier than ever as employees uses the Oracle Social Network global search to quickly find people and conversations that align with their areas of interest, and then follow those people or join those conversations at any time.

Creating and Innovating

Oracle Social Network makes collaboration easy, reinforcing employees, their knowledge, and contributions as assets to a company. With employees creating, innovating, or proposing ideas, companies are more successful, employees feel valued, and unique talents of contributors are showcased in teams engaged in product innovation and competitor-killing ideas.

Nike, Inc. follows a similar model for their customers. Customers can propose designs for shoes, and the best “liked” designs might be awarded and launched in production, encourages customer engagement. Applied to employees, the model reveals that creative thinking and innovation is not limited to the R&D department in your company. Developing better products and refining processes and innovation through collaboration social process is game changer in a competitive business world.

Reducing Time Spent Managing Administrative Tasks

Oracle Social Network allows contributors to publish information to their walls and in conversations dedicated to a topic, where only followers and conversation members interested in the conversation participate. Unlike email notes distributed widely, using Oracle Social Network to publish information on walls instead allows employees to manage information overload and flooded inboxes. Information is published in dedicated identifiable conversations, easily located by employees who are empowered to join in. The conversation history is accessible to newcomers so that they can find everything that has been said earlier, a practice that prevents knowledge from being lost when employees leave a company, and it enables new employees to ramp up quickly.

Only Oracle Social Network allows private, secure conversations to be initiated directly from business applications and enables two-way tracking: from Oracle Social Network conversations to the original transaction and data in the application, and from the application to conversations related to a transaction or related data.

Initiating an OSN Conversation from an Application task flow

Initiating an OSN Conversation from inside an Oracle Applications Cloud task flow 

This practice removes the administrative overhead of exchanging information outside of the application's transactions, which occurs in disconnected silos, such as conversations between the requester and the buyer, project or transaction summary emails, reminders, and so on. Conversations in Oracle Social Network are contextual.

Employees can participate in business transaction-related conversations securely, too. Conversations may be private and information can be exchanged securely and in confidence among members of those conversations authorized to have such access.

OSN on simplified UI

Oracle Social Network is a great solution for tablets too. Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 simplified UI shown. 

When you start using Oracle Social Network, you just might find yourself asking, “How did we run our business before Oracle Social Network?” Just like smartphones revolutionized our everyday lives, Oracle Social Network will revolutionize your everyday work-life for the better.

Monday Jul 07, 2014

Designing a Naturally Conversational User Experience for the User Interface

By Georgia Price and Karen Scipi

Think about the software applications you like most. Why do you like them? How do they make you feel? What is your experience like when you use them? The most successful user interfaces—those that delight users—focus equally on the intersection of visual, interaction, and language design.

Visual and interaction design get a lot of play in the enterprise software development environment. Yet language design directly impacts a user’s ability to complete tasks. The use and arrangement of general words, specialized terms, and phrases on the UI promote a naturally conversational voice and tone and inform and induce user actions.

Simply put, the words, terms, and phrases that we promote on a UI either facilitate or hinder the user experience and either delight or frustrate the user.

As Oracle Applications User Experience language designers, we took this message on the road last month as featured speakers at the Society for Technical Communications Summit, where we presented two papers: Designing Effective User Interface Content and The Unadorned Truth About Terminology Management: Initiatives, Practices, and Melodrama.

Society for Technical Communication Summit logo

If attendance is any indication, our message resonated with many. More than 115 people gathered to hear us talk about how designing language for the UI is just as important when building effective, simplified user experiences as creating the right interactions and choosing the right images, icons, colors, and fonts. Dozens lined up after our talks to ask questions and to learn more, making us realize that many others who build software applications  are also grappling with how to design language to enable more simplified user experiences.

Perhaps we can pique your interest! Over the coming weeks, we'll share our thoughts and experiences on language design. Stay tuned to the Usable Apps blog to learn more about what language design is and how we use words, terms, and phrases, as well as voice and tone, to help build simplified user experiences and easy-to-understand UIs.

Saturday May 31, 2014

General Availability: Simplified User Experience Design Patterns eBook

Karen Scipi (@karenscipi) writes:

The Oracle Applications User Experience team is delighted to announce that our Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook is available for free.

Working with publishers McGraw-Hill, we're making our eBook available in EPUB, MOBI, and PDF versions.

Simplified UI eBook

The Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook

The eBook illustrates the same user experience (UX) design patterns and page types and components guidelines that Oracle uses to build simplified user interfaces (UIs) for the Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud.

Click to register and download your free copy of the eBook

UX design patterns and guidelines offer big wins for applications builders because they're proven and reusable solutions applied using Oracle technology. Our eBook enables developers to build a compelling user experience consistently, boosting developer productivity, and shortening the overall time to put a modern user experience into the hands of users.

Developers use the eBook to build their own SUIs
Developers use the eBook to build their own simplified UIs with Oracle Application Developer Framework (ADF) and Oracle JDeveloper

Oracle partners, customers and the Oracle ADF community can now share in the Oracle Applications User Experience science and design expertise behind those awesome simplified UIs in the Oracle Applications Cloud, and begin to build their own great simplified UIs too!

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 Customization: Your User Interface, Your Text

Introducing the User Interface Text Editor

In Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8, there’s an addition to the customization tool set, called the User Interface Text Editor  (UITE). When signed in with an application administrator role, users launch this new editing feature from the Navigator's Tools > Customization > User Interface Text menu option.

See how the editor is in there with other customization tools?

User Interface Text is launched from the Navigator

User Interface Text Editor is launched from the Navigator Customization menu

Applications customers need a way to make changes to the text that appears in the UI, without having to initiate an IT project. Business users can now easily change labels on fields, for example. Using a composer and activated sandbox, these users can take advantage of the Oracle Metadata Services (MDS), add a key to a text resource bundle, and then type in their preferred label and its description (as a best practice for further work, I’d recommend always completing that description).

Oracle Composer used to change field labels

Changing a simplified UI field label using Oracle Composer

In Release 8, the UITE enables business users to easily change UI text on a much wider basis. As with composers, the UITE requires an activated sandbox where users can make their changes safely, before committing them for others to see.

The UITE is used for editing UI text that comes from Oracle ADF resource bundles or from the Message Dictionary (or FND_MESSAGE_% tables, if you’re old enough to remember such things).

Functionally, the Message Dictionary is used for the text that appears in business rule-type error, warning or information messages, or as a text source when ADF resource bundles cannot be used. In the UITE, these Message Dictionary texts are referred to as Multi-part Validation Messages.  

If the text comes from ADF resource bundles, then it’s categorized as User Interface Text in the UITE. This category refers to the text that appears in embedded help in the UI or in simple error, warning, confirmation, or information messages.

The embedded help types used in the application are explained in an Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience (UX) design pattern set. The message types have a UX design pattern set too.

Using UITE 

The UITE enables users to search and replace text in UI strings using case sensitive options, as well as by type. Users select singular and plural options for text changes, should they apply.

Searching and replacing text in UIT

Searching and replacing text in the UITE

The UITE also provides users with a way to preview and manage changes on an exclusion basis, before committing to the final result. There might, for example, be situations where a phrase or word needs to remain different from how it’s generally used in the application, depending on the context.

Previewing tech changes before saving

Previewing replacement text changes. Changes can be excluded where required.

Multi-Part Messages

The Message Dictionary table architecture has been inherited from Oracle E-Business Suite days. However, there are important differences in the Oracle Applications Cloud version, notably the additional message text components, as explained in the UX Design Patterns.

Message Dictionary text has a broad range of uses as indicated, and it can also be reserved for internal application use, for use by PL/SQL and C programs, and so on. Message Dictionary text may even concatenate at run time, where required.

The UITE handles the flexibility of such text architecture by enabling users to drill down on each message and see how it’s constructed in total. That way, users can ensure that any text changes being made are consistent throughout the different message parts.

Multipart messages in UI

Multi-part (Message Dictionary) message components in the UITE

Message Dictionary messages may also use supportability related numbers, the ones that appear appended to the message text in the application’s UI. However, should you have the requirement to remove these numbers from users' view, the UITE is not the tool for the job. Instead, see my blog about using the Manage Messages UI.

Sunday May 25, 2014

Oracle ADF and Simplified UI Apps: I18n Feng Shui on Display

I demoed the Hebrew language version of Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8 live in Israel recently. The crowd was yet again wowed by the simplified UI (SUI).

I’ve now spent some time playing around with most of the 23 language versions, or the NLS (Natural Language Support) versions as we call them, available in Release 8.

Hebrew language Oracle Sales Cloud UI Release 8

Hebrew Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8

The simplified UI is built using 100% Oracle ADF. This framework is a great productivity solution for building tablet and mobility-driven apps in the cloud for users in countries and regions that use natural languages other than English.

Oracle ADF’s internationalization (i18n) relies on built-in Java and Unicode,  packing in such i18n goodness as Bi-Di (or bi-directional) flipping of pages, locale-enabled resource bundles, date and time support, and so on.

Spanish and Hebrew Simplified UIs Bi-Directional Components Compared

Comparing Spanish (left) and Hebrew Bi-Di (right) page components in the simplified UI.
Note the change in the direction of the arrows and alignment of the text.

So, developers who need to build global apps don’t have to do anything special when using Oracle ADF components. That's all thanks to baked-in UX Feng Shui, as Grant Ronald of the ADF team would say to the UK Oracle User Group.

Find out more  about  ADF i18n from Frédéric Desbiens (@blueberrycoder) on the ADF Architecture TV channel and check out the details in the Developer's Guide.

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Oracle Voice and Oracle Applications Cloud Simplified UIs in Israel

Just back from the Israel Oracle User Group (ilOUG) Business Day 2014 held near Tel Aviv.

I delivered a keynote on the Oracle Voice mobile app for the Oracle Sales Cloud. Later, I showed how to customize the Release 8 simplified UIs (SUIs) and how to build similar SUIs in the Oracle Applications Cloud with UX design guidance.

Israel is an inspiring location in which to talk about tech, leading the way with awesome mobile voice innovations such as Waze, so I empathized easily with the local audience.

Oracle Voice App Mobile UI

Oracle Voice Mobile App

My keynote began with an overview of advances in voice user experience, and how the technology has become a very hot accelerator to closing more sales deals. This lead to my live demo, performing typical sales tasks using the Oracle Voice mobile app in a Siri-like (and fun) way with  sales data in the cloud. I then shared the Oracle UX principles for designing a great voice user experience (VoX, anyone?).

Later, I also showed how business users can customize the Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud Release 8 simplified UIs using composer tools, without writing a single line of code. My live show included the Hebrew language version of the Release 8 SUI, a first time demoed, I believe.

Hebrew Oracle Sales Cloud Simplified UI

 Hebrew Simplified UI Oracle HCM Cloud

Hebrew Oracle Cloud simplified UI

Hebrew Simplified UI Oracle Sales Cloud

I kept the SUI session short and simple (that’s the idea!) and then showed how Oracle ADF developers can go further and build their own SUIs in a few hours by using our free eBook on SUI UX design patterns, Oracle ADF components and page type guidelines.

Oracle UX eBook

Figure 4: ebook in Use. Got Yours

I ended the session by offering more resources for ilOUGers to explore, including how to get involved with the Oracle Usability Advisory Board, now active in the region.

A great event, and I was sorry I couldn’t spend more time in Israel. But, I was pleased with using live demos and with using lots of local Israeli and Hebrew examples. I think the Business Day attendees were happy with the performance too.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back in Israel doing live app, local-flavored, outreach to another eager and engaged audience.

Special thanks to ilOUG’s Rami Margalit and to Ami Aharonovich for organizing the day and providing helpful local insight.

Saturday Apr 26, 2014

Conferencia OWL: Día Internacional de la Mujer

Our How to Get Started in a Career in Tech piece was well received worldwide. As a follow-up piece, I asked Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles) to share more about an Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) event held in Mexico to inspire more women to explore and excel in different roles in the information technology field.

Sarahi writes:

El pasado 10 de Marzo, Día Internacional de la Mujer se llevó a cabo un evento para todas las mujeres de Oracle por parte de Oracle Women Leadership (OWL).

La visión de la fundación OWL es crecer y llegar a las futuras generaciones, así como desarrollar mujeres líderes y tener un mayor alcance a la comunidad de mujeres en el ramo de TI.

Leticia Moguel Paz, directora de vantas de Mary Kay

Figura 1. Leticia Moguel Paz, directora de ventas Mary Kay

Leticia Moguel Paz, directora de ventas de Mary Kay, nos dio una conferencia muy amena a todas las mujeres Oracle en la que nos retó a: creer en nosotras mismas, tener iniciativa, prepararnos, practicar para ser mejores, perseverar, nunca dejar de aprender, ser mujeres de carácter, rodearnos de personas positivas, y tomar nuevas responsabilidades que nos impulsen a crecer.

“Lo importante no es lo que te sucede sino como reaccionas a lo que te sucede.” Estas fueron las palabras de Lety al hablar acerca de la toma de decisiones. En cuanto a ser mujeres exitosas, Lety dijo “Tenemos éxito cuando nos vencemos a nosotros mismos.”

Todas las mujeres del MDC Oracle en el evento

Figura 2. Todas las mujeres del MDC Oracle en el evento 

Fue un excelente desayuno y sin duda una excelente conferencia que a mí me dejó con muchos retos. Si quieres saber más acerca de OWL, puedes leer aquí una pequeña reseña de sus comienzos.

[English Translation]

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