Saturday Feb 21, 2015

Oracle PaaS4SaaS UX Enablement with Certus Solutions: Valid Business Proposition

Oracle’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering is a huge opportunity for Oracle partners. Using PaaS4SaaS  for extending the Oracle Applications Cloud and building simplified UI solutions are powerful differentiators combined. Add in user experience (UX), and it's a competitive must-have move for business. The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) communications and outreach team has been on the road enabling partners to make this competitive potential real.

Our first PaaS4SaaS enablement in 2015 was a three-day, hands-on design and development event with Certus Solutions, held at the Oracle London City office in the UK.

An awesome range of UX and technology skills from OAUX and partners was brought to bear on realizing a Cloud solution; attendees self-organizing and working seamlessly together in small agile teams.

All the stakeholders work it out. L-R: Caroline Moloney (Certus Solutions), Lancy Silveira (OAUX), Mascha van Oosterhout (eProseed), Julian Orr (OAUX). Background: Debra Lilley (Certus Solutions) and Amit Kumar Bhowmick

All the stakeholders. Certus Solutions, eProseed and OAUX developers and designers collaborate. (L-R) Caroline Moloney (Certus Solutions), Lancy Silveira (OAUX), Mascha van Oosterhout (eProseed), and Julian Orr (OAUX). In the background are Debra Lilley (Certus Solutions) and Amit Kumar Bhowmick (OAUX).

Certus Solutions has partnered with eProseed to accelerate its PaaS offerings for extending the Oracle HCM Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud, and participants from both companies were at the event*. Facilitated by the OAUX design and development chops, this powerhouse of a team wireframed a great business solution for the Oracle Applications Cloud, built it using the simplified UI RDK, and deployed the result using the Oracle Java Cloud Service SaaS-Extension (JCS-SX) PaaS offering.

Forget everything you knew about enterprise software UI design. Julian Orr (OAUX) keeps it simple.

Keepin' it simple. Julian Orr (OAUX) explains the essence of the simplified UI design. 

The event was a learning experience for all: OAUX got to walk in partner shoes. Certus Solutions and eProseed found out how to identify PaaS4SaaS business opportunities. All experienced the technical side of Oracle ADF-based Oracle Applications Cloud development and PaaS deployment. Such an exchange of empathy meant everyone discovered how to work together.

Demonstrating the straightforward nature of JCS-SX deployment,  Debra Lilley (@debralilley), Vice President of Certus Solutions Cloud Services, and OAUX designated speaker, was in the thick of the development action, deploying a prototype to the cloud like a pro while declaring “I'm not technical®” (more details about this will be revealed at a future Oracle event)!

The team working side-by-side: L-R: Bruno Neves Alves (eProseed), Amit Kumar Bhowmick (OAUX), Debra Lilley (Certus Solutions), Lancy Silveira (OAUX), and Lonneke Dikmans (eProseed)

Learning while doing. Agile, activity based work, side-by-side. (L-R) Bruno Neves Alves (eProseed), Amit Kumar Bhowmick (OAUX), Debra Lilley (Certus Solutions), Lancy Silveira (OAUX), and Lonneke Dikmans (eProseed).

The inimitable Debra closed the event, saying how the event moved Certus Solution’s Cloud business to a new high on the capability scale, and provided further vindication of Certus Solutions' business directions, including their strategic partnering with eProseed. You can read more from Debra about the event in her article "Partner Column: Extending Your SaaS Applications with PaaS" on the Oracle Fusion Middleware community blog. 

Reflecting on the event, OAUX felt that the PaaS4SaaS partner enablement strategy based on the simplified UI RDK and Oracle Cloud technology skills is hitting the right mark in the Oracle partner ecosystem. So, it was validation all round.

If you are a Gold or Platinum Oracle Applications Cloud partner that wants in on our ongoing PaaS and SaaS journey, seeking to validate that decision to take your business to the Cloud and to demonstrate confidence to customers, then reach out to us through the usual channels. 

* You can read about the OAUX eProceed PaaS and Oracle Alta UI enablement event in the Netherlands here

Friday Feb 20, 2015

Oracle Design Jam takes a look at the Future of Information

By Sarahi Mireles and Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach

From Kathy...

In keeping with a new emphasis and investment from Oracle on exploring emerging technology for ways to encourage the evolution of the Oracle user experience, the UX Innovation Events (@InnovateOracle) team held a design jam for Oracle employees in early February.

Since embracing their charter in Fall 2014, the team -- a branch of the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) team -- has organized and held a rapid succession of design jams. The design jam focused on the future of information design.

Verbal Karate Chop: The Team. (L-R) Tony Orciuoli, Sarahi Mireles, Sasha Boyko, Rob Hernandez (Kathy Miedema not pictured)

Verbal Karate Chop, the team: (L-R) Tony Orciuoli, Sarahi Mireles, Sasha Boyko, Rob Hernandez, and Kathy Miedema (not pictured) 

It’s worth pointing out how exciting it is to be part of an organization that encourages a free flow of thinking and creativity by supporting events like these. Our team met a few times before the event to kick-start our brainstorming, and then took off an entire day to participate in this event.

We were well-supported during the event too – we had room to collaborate, materials to help us develop ideas, mentors to help guide us, food to keep us fueled.

Our team, Verbal Karate Chop, designed a product that builds on the technology behind Oracle Voice, pulling in information around a particular keyword or phrase to create meetings, help prepare for meetings, and even start a meeting hands-free if you happen to be driving in your car, for example.

Sarahi can better describe what it’s like to participate as a developer and build an idea like this on a tight deadline. Before turning it over to her, I’m happy to announce that our idea won both the People’s Choice award and the Best Use of Audio/Video award. This was my first time participating in such an event – what a thrill it was!

Innovate and diversify. Getting the message out: Kathy Miedema and Sarahi Mireles

Innovate and diversify. Getting the message out: Kathy Miedema and Sarahi Mireles

... and from Sarahi

As a developer, I find it really fun going to a design jam. The best part after the brain-storming is starting to build your prototype. This can be something really simple or something quite complex, and that actually depends on the time you have and how fast are you able to play with whatever tool you are using.

Time was actually the key factor for this design jam. Having only a couple of hours to build your entire idea is what really makes your adrenaline surge.

We started putting together all our ideas, and then we began to draw the general design of the whole idea (I’m glad we had two designers on our team!), and after that, we built it.

From a non-designer point of view, I have to say that we designed some cool UIs after a couple of hours of pushing our brains to the maximum. And it was awesome to build out those ideas.

If you have the opportunity to join a design jam, do it! It’s also the best way to learn from other developers and non-developers, and to explore all kinds of crazy ideas for innovation in the enterprise.

Verbal Karate Chop. The User Experience: People’s Choice and the Best Use of Audio/Video awards

Verbal Karate Chop, the user experience: People’s Choice and Best Use of Audio/Video awards

Explore more 

Find out more about this Oracle Applications User Experience design jam and about other events on the UX Innovation Events blog, and follow event happenings on Twitter.

The overall results of the design jam are here.

To discover more about the emerging technology and trends that drive the Oracle Applications User Experience strategy, get the free eBook from Vice President, Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley). 

Saturday Feb 07, 2015

Oracle PaaS and UX: Keepin' it <af:simple/> with Oracle Alta UI and eProseed

Empathy, ideation, and enterprise: three principles we keep at the heart of our partner PaaS and SaaS enablement. All three aligned at the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience PaaS event with eProseed in the Netherlands.

How?

By finding the pulse of real people and the requirement to work flexibly, by exchanging ideas about new ways of working using the cloud, digital technology and autonomous organization, and by agreeing on a design solution that resonated with all; one that could be built in a secure and scalable way using Oracle technology, and making business sense.

The result was the delivery of a powerful experience that Erik Veldhoen (@erikveldhoen), architect of activity-based working, saw as a milestone progression towards innovative business models and how people get things done.

Erik Veldhoen goes into the cloud with glance, scan, commit; seamlessly allied with his vision of using technology as a powerful instrument for people to organize their lives and work in a better, virtual space.

Erik Veldhoen goes into the cloud with the design philosophy of glance, scan, commit; seamlessly melding with his vision of using technology as a powerful instrument for people to organize their lives and work in a better, virtual space.

The cloud has changed everything, and user experience is no exception. Make no mistake; it's “Game Over” for traditional ways of selling software and for people accepting less than compelling user experiences in work. User experience is a competitive must-have, and a capability to deliver a rockin’ UX using PaaS is the partner differentiator.

Julian Orr of OAUX and eProseed UX consultant Mascha Van Oosterhout work together on applying design patterns to wireframes.

Julian Orr of Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) and eProseed UX consultant Mascha van Oosterhout work together on applying design patterns to wireframes for maximum productivity and reusability.

OAUX's goal was to enable eProseed to deliver on a business proposition using UX and PaaS. Exact use case details and images of screens cannot be disclosed. But, if you were at this innovative event, held in Oracle Nederland in Utrecht, you’d have witnessed:

  • The awesome eProseed UX design and wireframing enablement; a best practice to communicate design amongst stakeholders, get their agreement, and eliminate surprises later when coding starts.
  • The bringing together of key stakeholders around the use case: partner UX and development teams, customer, customer advocacy, Oracle Nederland technology sales, and the OAUX team.  
  • The rapid building of a simplified user experience that realizes activity-based working, based on glance, scan, commit design philosophy. This enables people to organize, act, and report on their work autonomously and easily.

The vision of Erik Veldhoen’s new way of working virtually using technology and the cloud melding magically with the OAUX design philosophy and strategies of simplicity, mobility, and extensibility.  

eProseed Managing Partner, Luc Bors (@lucb_) with UX Developer Lancy Silveira (@LancyS) showing off Luc’s Oracle Mobile Application Framework Developer Guide (Oracle Press), available now.

eProseed Managing Partner, Luc Bors (@lucb_) with UX Developer Lancy Silveira (@LancyS), showing off Luc’s Oracle Mobile Application Framework Developer Guide (Oracle Press), available now.

  • The application of user experience design patterns to the wireframes created by eProseed. The patterns leverage Oracle ADF components and eProseed now has reusable, common solutions at hand, ready for the next business opportunity. 
  • The deployment of the solution using PaaS. The designing, building and deploying of non-English language UIs is another workshop first. 
eProseed Managing Partner Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) and eProseed SOA developer Thanasis Tegos work through the necessary backend development.
eProseed Managing Partner Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) and eProseed SOA developer Thanasis Tegos work through the SOA backend development together.
  • A display of agile-style development, design iterations, and flexible working over three days. We adopted our own “new way of working", one of minimal management and supervision. Everyone at the event worked together, as one team, self-organizing and staying focused on the end result
That's quite a breadth of activity and achievement. And, if you were there, you’d also have heard words like “vision realized”, “simplicity”, and “audit trail” used together in the room; all music to an enterprise UXer's ears, and an example of how our three outreach principles came to life. 

eProseed Managing Partner, Lonneke Dikmans, tweeted as the event concluded:

VERY cool workshop implementing activity based working #awb using Oracle #ACM Alta UI - ADF and the Oracle #UX design patterns

UX and PaaS is the new cool!

The workshop is part of an ongoing story as  eProseed iterates the design and development and takes things to the next stage in the business cycle.

Stay tuned for more insights from this event but also for coverage of the other recent partner PaaS4SaaS enablement events in the UK and in the U.S.

Are you a Gold or Platinum level partner in the Oracle Applications Cloud business, seeking that UX and PaaS differentiator? Do ideas of empathy, ideation, and enterprise resonate with your organization?

Get in touch.

Wednesday Jan 07, 2015

Fit for Work: A Team Experience of Wearable Technology

By Sandra Lee (@sandralee0415)

What happens when co-workers try out wearable technology? Misha Vaughan (@mishavaughan), Director of Oracle Applications Communications and Outreach, explored just that.

“Instead of a general perspective, I wanted the team to have a personal experience of wearable technology”, said Misha. So, she gave each member of her team a Fitbit Flex activity tracker to use. The exercise proved insightful, with team members providing useful personal and enterprise-related feedback on device usage.

Fitbit Flex Awaits

Your Fitbit Flex awaits [Photo: Sandra Lee]

Team Dynamic and Initial Reactions

It was a free choice for team members to wear the Fitbit device or not. Those that did were inspired and enjoyed comparing activities and goals. Shannon Whiteman, Communication Operations and Online Training Manager, loved the competitive aspect. “If I saw someone had 100 more steps than I did, I’d take the stairs and walk an extra 101 steps to beat them.” Kathy Miedema, Senior Market Research Analyst, noted that the Fitbit “really motivated and validated my personal fitness activity”.

Fitbit Dashboard for Ultan O'Broin

Example of recorded activity: Ultan O’Broin’s (@usableapps) Fitbit dashboard

The exercise also provided observations on team dynamics in the workplace. Some chose not to wear the device whether for personal reasons, set-up issues, or lack of time; a reminder that although fun to try, such devices are not for everyone, and that’s OK.

The Fashion Perspective

Sarahi Mireles, User Experience Developer in Mexico, tried the Fitbit, but it didn’t fit her lifestyle, saying that “the interest is there [for wearables in general], but the design attraction is lacking.” Sarahi feels the ideal fitness tracker for her world is one with interchangeable looks, so she can wear it to work and to dinner. This typical user need is where fashion designers like Tory Burch offer value to technology developers, in this case partnering with Fitbit to make devices look more like beautiful bracelets and necklaces.

Tory Burch bracelet for Fitbit

Tory Burch for Fitbit metal-hinged bracelet

The Enterprise Employee Investment

Fitness plays a role in work/life balance, and health, happiness, and productivity are intrinsically linked. Overall, wellness contributes to the bottom line in a big way. Oracle is focused on such solutions too, researching user experiences that best engage, promote and support employee wellness.

Oracle HCM Cloud Wellness Page Prototype

Oracle HCM Cloud: Employee Wellness page prototype

Externally, at HCM World for example, Oracle's interest in this space offered analysts and customers complimentary Fitbit Zip devices for a voluntary wellness competition; the winner receiving a donation to the American Cancer Society.

Karen Scipi (@karenscipi), Senior Usability Engineer, reflected that companies like Oracle, in facilitating the use of the fitness device, are placing importance on employee health and fitness as an “employee investment.” Healthier individuals are happier and therefore more productive employees.

Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of Applications User Experience, already leads his team in embracing wellness within the workplace, participating in the American Heart Association Bay Walk, for example. He explained how encouraging and measuring activity during the working day, whether through walking meetings or using activity trackers, is a meaningful way to identify with the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience strategy too.  

Jeremy described how sensors in activity trackersalong with smart watches, heads-up displays, smart phones, and beaconsare part of the Internet of Things: that ubiquitous connectivity of technology and the Cloud that realize daily experiences for today's enterprise users to empathize with.

Your Data and the Enterprise Bottom Line

From the business perspective, employee activity data gathered from corporate wellness programs could lead to negotiated discounts and rewards for users from health care companies, for example; one possible incentive to enterprise adoption. Gamification, the encouraging of team members to engage and interact in collaborative and productive ways in work using challenges and competitions, is another strategy for workplace wellness programs uptake.

Ultan O’Broin, Director of User Experience, who travels globally out of Ireland, noted that although he personally hasn’t experienced any negative reactions to wearable technology, the issue of privacy of the data gathered, especially in Europe, is a huge concern.  

Data accuracy, permitting employees to voluntarily opt in or out of fitness and wellness programs, privacy issues, and what to do with that data once its collected, all need to reassure users and customers alike. Having HR involved in tracking, storing and using employee activity data is an enterprise dimension being explored.

User Experience Trends

Smart watch usage is on the rise, combining ability to unobtrusively track activity with other glanceable UI capabilities. Analysts now predict a shift in usage patterns as smart watches begin to replace fitness bands, but time will tell in this fast-moving space.

Regardless of your wearable device of choice, and the fashion, personal privacy, employee data, and corporate deployment considerations we’ve explored, wearable technology and wellness programs are enterprise happenings that are here to stay. It’s time to get on board and think about how your business can benefit.

Perhaps your team could follow Misha’s great initiative and explore wearable technology user experience for yourselves? Let us know in the comments!

You can read more about Oracle Applications User Experience team’s innovation and exploration of wearable technology on the Usable Apps Storify social story.

How Effective is Blogging for Software Developer Outreach?

By Joe Dumas, Oracle Applications User Experience

When you blog, are you reaching the right audience? Is blogging an effective way to spread your message? These are some of the questions that the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Communications and Outreach team asked me to help answer.

The team made the Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook available for free on the web. They announced its availability on the Usable Apps blog.

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

Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook in use.

The eBook contains user experience design guidance and examples for building the Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UI. The target audience was developers building applications with Oracle ADF in the Oracle Java Cloud Service. To download the eBook (in a tablet-friendly format of choice), developers registered their name and email address on the eBook landing page.

To gather the information for analysis, I created a short online survey of questions and, using that database of thousands of email addresses, invited those registered users to complete the survey, without either obligation or incentive.

Of course, developers might have heard about the eBook in other ways, such as attending an OAUX workshop or visiting the Usable Apps website.

However, when I tabulated the survey results, more than half of the respondents had found out about the eBook from the blog.

Furthermore, I found that of those who used the book extensively, some 70% said they had first heard about it from the blog.

I also found that the survey respondents were mostly the very people for whom the book was intended. 70% of respondents made user interface design decisions for applications development teams, and all either worked for Oracle Partners or were applications development consultants for Oracle products.

I’ll explore in a further blog article about what parts of the eBook developers found most useful and other insights. But, as a taster, I can let you know now about receiving positive comments again and again about developers being “thrilled” with the content.

In these days of pervasive social media and other communications channels and a debate about the effectiveness of different online platforms, these findings show that blogs are indeed an effective way to reach out to a target audience, especially one committed to finding ways to work faster and smarter.

Do you communicate with developers or other information technology professionals using a blog? How often do you blog, and why? Share your experience in the comments.

For more eBook goodness from OAUX, download the Oracle Applications Cloud UX Strategy and Trends eBook too. More details are on the Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog.

Tuesday Dec 09, 2014

User Experience y desarrollo enfocado al contexto: Shape and ShipIt Design Jam

Desarrollador de Experiencias de Usuario (User Experience Developer), Sarahi Mireles escribe:

El pasado 4 y 5 de Noviembre, tuve la oportunidad de participar en el Shape and ShipIt Design Jam interno que se llevo a cabo en Oracle HQ. Ahí, diferentes miembros del equipo de User Experience nos reunimos para investigar e innovar soluciones móviles empresariales.

¿El objetivo de todo esto? Conocer más sobre el concepto de desarrollo enfocado al contexto, lo que da como resultado una interacción más natural e intuitiva entre el usuario y las soluciones empresariales que utiliza día con día.

Participantes Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, Tony Orciuoli, y Thao Nguyen [foto: Karen Scipi]

Estuvimos trabajando en equipos durante dos días, y debo decir que fue muy divertido (¿quién dice que el trabajo no puede ser divertido?). En ese tiempo hicimos lluvia de ideas, las afinamos, hicimos nuestros propios wireframes basados en casos de uso y finalmente comenzamos a codificar.

articipantes Luis Galeana, Julian Orr, Raymond Xie, Thao Nguyen, y Anthony Lai [foto: Karen Scipi]

Participantes Luis Galeana, Julian Orr, Raymond Xie, Thao Nguyen, y Anthony Lai [foto: Karen Scipi]

¿El resultado? Soluciones empresariales fáciles de entender, de usar y relevantes, brindando al usuario la información necesaria en el momento más oportuno, lo que se ve reflejado en una experiencia de usuario simplemente increíble.

Equipo ASCII_kerz! presentando su solución a los jueces (jueces (sentados) Jeremy Ashley y Bill Kraus; participantes (de pie) Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, y Tony Orciuoli) [foto: Karen Scipi]

Equipo ASCII_kerz! presentando su solución a los jueces (jueces (sentados) Jeremy Ashley y Bill Kraus; participantes (de pie) Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, y Tony Orciuoli) [foto: Karen Scipi]

Si quieres conocer más acerca de Oracle Applications User Experience visita el sitio de Usable Apps, y el blog theappslab.com para conocer más acerca de lo que el equipo de Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) está haciendo. Y por supuesto, sí quieres conocer más acerca del Oracle MDC (México Development Center) echa un vistazo a nuestra página de Facebook.

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.

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