Newly Released PeopleTools 8.50 Focuses on User Experience

Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience

Kathy Miedema



PeopleTools 8.50, which provides features and new technology to PeopleSoft applications and was just released in September 2009, delivers a fresh, contemporary user experience that includes many new user productivity enhancements, demonstrating Oracle's continued commitment to strengthening the PeopleSoft brand and product suite.

PeopleTools offers customers a way to update their PeopleSoft applications with the most current technology, says Jeff Robbins, Senior Director of PeopleTools Strategy at PeopleSoft. "PeopleTools 8.50 really focused on usability because of Oracle Applications Unlimited's commitment to continue to sell PeopleSoft applications," Robbins said. "And because we're going to continue to invest in and sell PeopleSoft applications -- even to brand-new customers, not just to people who are already using PeopleSoft -- we needed to be able to compete in the marketplace with niche vendors who have utilized the latest UI technologies in a brand-new application. In order to compete, we really had to address how we construct our pages, and how we build our applications from the perspective of usability. We had to address some of these areas so that we could deliver, to the marketplace, applications that look as current as our competitors. We took that opportunity to really focus 8.50 on overall usability, and incorporate some of these capabilities into our framework for building applications."

At Oracle OpenWorld in October 2009, the interest in PeopleTools 8.50 was very apparent. Hundreds of customers attended a session focusing on its new features, including what kind of user experience could be expected.

New features include navigational tools on the main menu, such as a recently-used list, "breadcrumbs" that help a user track where she has been in an application, and type-ahead lists. Improved customization and control of PeopleSoft grids also help boost productivity with features like a new ability to scroll through grids (tables), resize columns, drag and drop columns, freeze columns, and sort them.


Figure 1: Users can expand their view of a grid, or table, in PeopleTools 8.50, using the zoom function. The new feature is part of the improved control and customization now available in PeopleTools 8.50.

User experience team members also worked to improve the look and feel of PeopleTools 8.50, said Harris Kravatz, Oracle User Experience Manager. "With the new version, we were able to provide a fresher and more modern user experience. We were also able to provide users with more screen real estate by redesigning the menu."


Figure 2: The contemporary look and feel of the newly released PeopleTools 8.50 includes a subtle color combination, more appealing graphics, and animated progress status.


Figure 3: With the new related-content feature, PeopleTools 8.50 users can easily access discussions or links related to the task they are working on.

The new related-content feature provides easy-to-access collaboration tools such as wikis, blogs, tagging, and analytics.

Robbins said the changes users will see in PeopleTools 8.50 will allow them to customize other PeopleSoft applications, and boost productivity for users there as well.

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