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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Thursday Apr 17, 2014

Twilio: Democratizing Communications to Build a Better User Experience in the Oracle Cloud

Oracle has a powerful partner ecosystem in the Oracle Cloud, adding value to our applications in many areas. Enabling partners to integrate with our cloud applications is key to Oracle’s “Extending SaaS through PaaS” approach. Sharing our expertise with partners, which helps them to productively build a great user experience (UX), is a major drive of Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) outreach.

One of the latest additions to the Oracle PartnerNetwork  is the very cool and happening Twilio. Followers of the AppsLab know the OAUX team loves exploring the UX possibilities of Twilio-based voice and SMS integrations. I took a trip to Twilio's San Francisco HQ to ask David Wacker (@dlwacker) of Twilio Channel Sales and Partnerships to find out more about the whys and hows of integrating in the cloud and simplifying user experience...

Being in the cloud offers the potential to make a major difference with a superior UX. The days of cumbersome, on-premise installations and horrible UX are gone. Now scalable, cloud-based applications, customizable and reflecting each customer’s business, are changing the UX across datacenter management, CRM, marketing automation, and ERP, all driven through how we power communications.

Twilio is a cloud-based communications platform that offers a powerful, open API for building communications applications, what Twilio refers to as "democratizing access" to communication in a traditionally complex and expensive world of telephony.

Using Twilio, developers can easily access the means to create robust communications integrations, fundamentally changing the UX landscape for applications users in the cloud. Twilio’s open API framework means developers can utilize prebuilt solutions in the Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, and Oracle Sales Cloud. Developers can build such UX integrations productively, without the cost and effort normally associated with such projects.

David pointed out a few ways how Twilio enhanced the user experience for Oracle application users, such as the Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, and Oracle Sales Cloud.

Twilio’s seamless integration to the Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua) means that users can just drag and drop the Twilio Cloud Connector onto a marketing campaign canvas to provide for outbound SMS, MMS (multimedia messaging), and voice calls. This delivers a great multichannel user experience, such as for mobile marketing campaigns with pictures or QR coupon codes.

Twilio Cloud Connector

Dragging the Twilio Cloud Connector onto a campaign canvas easily adds Twilio SMS, MMS, and voice to marketing campaigns.

Twilio's embedding of SMS and voice capabilities right into the Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow) means a superior customer experience built in a scalable, flexible way. A service agent can use click-to-call to phone an end customer, automatically creating the event on their system and then recording the call, for example. An SMS capability can also enable customers to chat with service agents using SMS on their phones instead of web chat, if preferred, and more.

Twilio Click-to-Call

Click-to-call for customer engagement, which allows customers to call inbound more effectively.

Twilio's integration into the Oracle Sales Cloud, drives efficiency by simplifying the UX. Twilio uses the Oracle Sales Cloud native CTI toolbar to track and record phone calls, allowing for seamless conference calls, and all integrated to drive sales productivity. For example, a sales rep can use Twilio’s click-to-call to contact opportunities, automated dialing, or conference line bridges powered by Twilio, creating events and logging activities easily within the Oracle Sales Cloud.

Twilio integrated with Oracle Sales Cloud

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) toolbar for easy access to inbound and outbound dialing in Oracle Sales Cloud powered by Twilio.

David tells me that “Twilio’s integration possibilities are endless. That's the best part about working with developers in the Twilio and Oracle communities; finding new ways to solve user problems, unconstrained by technology or traditional project limitations. I’m excited to explore new and unique ways that the Oracle developer community and Twilio can change the UX landscape in the Oracle Cloud.”

Those are some great UX insights from David, and there are more to come. The OAUX team will be working with Twilio over the coming months, so stay tuned to your usual outreach and communications channels for news and events.

Twilio is also exhibiting at, and sponsoring, Oracle CloudWorld in Chicago on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Stop by the Twilio booth to learn more (or to just say, Hi!), and give the Usable Apps blog a shout-out.

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