Monday Dec 16, 2013

Tailoring the Tailoring Through Listening: Simplified UI Outreach

The Oracle Applications user Experience (UX) Communications and Outreach team held a pilot workshop in the UK for Oracle partners, independent software vendors (ISVs) and Oracle's own solution consultants (SCs) to test drive the enablement guidance for the tailoring of the Simplified User Interfaces (UIs) for our cloud applications in forthcoming releases.

We wanted to get feedback on what content is required, its structure, and the optimal delivery formats for guidance on customizing and extending the simplified UIs for our cloud applications, Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud. Showing examples of what guidance we might deliver, getting feedback on it, and then listening to what partners, ISVs and SCs needed to meet their all-important use cases across a range of categories is part of getting the right toolkit of resources into the right hands at the right time.

At the pilot event, we first explained the simplified UI design philosophy, demonstrated the HCM and Sales applications themselves, explained how and which flows might be chosen to fit that paradigm and what UX design patterns, component guidelines and page templates Oracle uses to build such flows. Then we explored jointly the best way to share the Oracle insight and toolkit with external stakeholders (partners, customers, and the Oracle Application Development Framework development community) in an easily consumable way to enable their productive tailoring of such simplified UIs.

Simplified UI Guidance: Feedback Collected using StickyNotes and Colored Dots

Attendees watched and listened, and as well as providing verbal feedback, recorded more on large-scale posters of existing outreach and proposed guidance for tailoring of our simplified UIs. 

We covered common use cases and requested more from the field, showed off how composers can support such scenarios for the Oracle HCM Cloud and Sales Cloud, and what Oracle ADF components and templates are used to build, customize and extend the user experience. We entered a discussion with attendees on the best formats for consuming our shared guidance and how we can work together keep that guidance fresh as the frequency of releases increases and more use cases emerge. 

A valuable exercise, we are now analysing the feedback from the event, we'll hone the resources and home in on those targets! Exciting workshop, lots of energy, and exciting times coming too we can all participate in. So, stay tuned to the Voice of User Experience blog and to @usableapps on Twitter for the latest and greatest UX team announcements about tailoring the simplified UI.

Finally, if you're a partner or developer interested in contributing use cases or thoughts on our enablement, then find the comments!

Sunday Mar 17, 2013

Siebel Open UI on Full Throttle with Uma Welingkar: Free, Shared Resources

By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User Experience

The Siebel team has been hard at work delivering a platform for Siebel customers to tailor their end users’ applications experience. To this end, the team's just posted a bunch of super-helpful training documents, for free, for any Siebel Tools user.

Alexander Hansal of the Siebel Essentials blog did a lovely job of laying out the motivations (user experience, simplicity, and usability) behind Siebel Open UI. But this post is about the other story, the tools story. A good tools story on UX is always near and dear to my heart, so I talked with Uma Welingkar, Senior Director of Siebel Product Management, to find out what’s behind the release of the content.

Siebel Open UI TOI site

Siebel Open UI Transfer of Information (TOI) is available on Oracle University, a public channel. No login is required, and anyone can access the information.

Misha Vaughan: Why did you decide to make this Siebel content available?

Uma Welingkar:  Just to give background, we put these TOIs out for internal use. We realized that we had a lot of customers clamoring for this additional information, to get started with Open UI.  So we put these out on Oracle University (OU). The TOIs are not complete, but there is enough information to get you started installing, configuring, and making little changes.

In Open UI, we changed the framework from a compile time to a run time model.  It allows customers to re-skin the UI on top of Siebel. The questions we got internally were the same questions customers were asking, because they wanted to go deeper than what we had in our documentation. So we decided to pull some of the information together. We took our own product management and engineering content, it’s not beautiful, but it’s great for our customers to pick up and get started with. We've seen an Open UI forum on LinkedIn where partners and customers are sharing together.

We talk about the technical aspects, as well as some insight into how to make the changes. For example, how to make changes around the UI controls, how to build mobile applications, and about style sheets, as well. We realized the first thing they needed to do was install the innovation pack. We decided to put it all together, the steps of installing the fix pack, and then next was a document on the specific function of the UI. We have seen a huge uptake of this, 400 hits a week right now, for each piece of collateral. We are seeing a constant uptake on these pieces. These are free presentations hosted through OU, as well as the recording of the presentation. They're self-study modules.

MV:  There is an Open UI Functional Overview presentation available. What kind of detail should folks expect to see if they dip into this?

UW:  This presentation talks about the functionality that was changed, for example:

  • List of values.
  • How the description field behaves in Open UI compared with the High Interactivity (HI) UI.
  • How smart script behaves.
  • The changes that we did to the call telephony interface (CTI) toolbar.

Calculator control in Open UI

Siebel 8.1.1.9 Open UI with calculator control.

MV: There is also an Open UI Deployment and Architecture Overview presentation. Can you give us a preview of what’s in this?

UW:   We talk about what has changed in the UI framework: How does it work?  How does it render? What changes you have to make. How they work together, the High Interactivity UI (ActiveX) and Open UI? What were the underlying framework changes? There are some slides specifically on the architecture before and after, and how the changes to the architecture help our customers.
Siebel ActiveX and Open UI compared

Side-by-side comparison of Siebel High Interactivity UI (ActiveX) with Siebel Open UI (click to enlarge).
Open UI's simplification and look and feel is optimized for user interaction across different browsers, and is enabled for tailoring to very high degree by customers and integrators.

MV: There is a presentation on Siebel mobile applications functionality. Can you tell me more about this one?

UW:   We have a new item on our Siebel price list. The new Siebel mobile application covers sales, service, consumer goods, and pharma. So, the functional TOI covers what is part of the product and the different processes that are enabled as well as how to configure additional views.  

We have built out-of-the box views for running on the mobile applications. It will also cover how you extend it, for fields or views, and build functionality that users are looking for. It's very similar to configuring a Siebel application on a desktop; it gives you all those pieces as well.

Siebel Open UI on iPad
 Siebel Sales iPad app built with Open UI.

MV:  What about the Siebel Open UI Calendar Functional Overview presentation?

UW:  The Siebel calendar has been revamped with the Open UI. We have built a lot more utility around the calendar options.  It covers both functionally what is available in the product now, as well as what can be done to configure it.  


Open UI Calendar

Calendar has been revamped with Siebel Open UI. An event driven UX, legends, and great locale customizations and user preference settings are available.

MV: How are customers responding to Open UI?

UW: A lot of customers across the different areas are starting to use Open UI in the U.S. and APAC. They have taken 8.1.1.9, to run both HI and Open UI at the same time. A lot of their production users can be on HI, and then they can move a subset of users to Open UI.  

Within the first week, we had 1,000 downloads of the product when we put the patch up for Open UI. There has been a lot of anticipation around this.   

MV: Can you talk about your enterprise applications history?

UW: I am originally from the Siebel acquisition.  I was at Siebel in 1997; I grew up with Siebel.  I have been with the product since Release 3.0. The one thing that I have seen is a lot of customers who have grown with us as well. Almost every customer that I talk to is so excited about the new UI. It’s gratifying to be able to hear that, especially being with the product for so long. 

Want to learn more about Siebel Open UI? 

See all the free courses available on Oracle University on Siebel Open UI.

There is also the accessibility features discussed in the Open UI Usability and Accessibility presentation (accessibility features are amongst the most powerful in Open UI).

Check out the Siebel Essentials Blog for lots more juicy tidbits on Open UI.

Attend the live, virtual training event April 10, 2013 10am-5pm (EDT).

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