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.

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!

Saturday Dec 21, 2013

Heads Up on Displays: Exploring Google Glass Globally

As a global Google Glass Explorer, I was drawn to the HuffPo's "Google Glass: Qué Guay!" article about reactions to Google Glass in Spain. I wondered about that Urban Dictionary entry (not safe for résumés) too, as I haven’t experienced such feedback. We have Explorers in Oracle, I thought it would be interesting to hear from some about what reactions they’d encountered the around the world.

London #throughglass

London pictured through Google Glass (pic: Ultan O'Broin) 

I’m indebted to co-workers Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai), Marta Rauch (@martarauch) and Noel Portugal (@noelportugal) for sharing their experiences. Not scientific in any way, this is 'after-the-fact' guerilla-style Glass user experience (UX) ethnography, is purely qualitative, and for fun, as we move towards the creation of Heads-Up Display (HUD) UX guidance.

Out and About with Glass

@noelportugal

Noel Portugal demos Fusion CRM App on Glass

Noel Portugal demos Oracle CRM app on Glass (pic: Ultan O'Broin)

Mexico

Most people do a quick stare but are hesitant to ask about Glass. Questions came from everyone, from taxi drivers to airport gate staff. They always include, "How much do they cost?" When showing someone how Glass works, others always gathered around to catch our conversation.

United Kingdom

Again, people were hesitant to ask. On the London train I immediately felt the gaze of passengers and overheard some guys saying, "It’s Google Glass!” Finally, one approached and I demoed Glass.

In Mexico, and the UK, I was asked if Glass was going to "take off”. My response was classic UX - “it depends” - especially, if the price comes down. If Google enhances it further, I see a future with a lot of Glass around me.

@anthonyslai

Anthony S Lai

Anthony Lai (pic: Misha Vaughan)

San Francisco Bay Area

Most people know about Glass, but not a lot of details. They’re genuinely interested, and this is increasing as more Explorers appear. There’s a small amount of negative reaction to Glass (I had one bad experience), but I’d say this is because others haven’t had personal experience of Glass (yet) and privacy concerns.

China

In Beijing, people were interested when they saw Glass, but very few knew about its existence. On the street, people would gaze at you for a second, but then look away to avoid embarrassment (a cultural thing). One man in his 60s knew about Glass and asked me if I liked it or not. There was only one other occasion when I was asked on the street.

I had similar experiences in Hong Kong as in Beijing.

@martarauch

Marta Rauch

Marta Rauch (pic courtesy: Marta Rauch) 

California

Everyone who tried on Glass thought it amazing. The most common response was “Cool!”, asking when and where they could get their own, and of course, how much it cost. The current high price is an issue for many.

At live events and conferences, the audience wants to try Glass and to be photographed wearing it. People are impressed by the Glassware apps available already (including the Oracle apps). They like the features and enjoy exploring by themselves. Typically, they’ll try a Google search and take pictures and videos. Some will even try a “Google Glass-bomb” by asking Glass something they think it won’t be able to answer, but Glass does pretty well with correct responses.

I am also asked when prescription lenses will be available, and if Glass is compatible with iPhones.

At Yosemite National Park, I wore Glass to take videos of the mountains, and tourists and rangers noticed and asked to try it. I also wore Glass to a NASA moon launch at NASA Ames Research Center to get some Glass images of the event. I was so surrounded by inquisitive geeks that I had to take Glass off and get the video with my mobile phone!

@ultan

Ultan O'Broin Selfie

Ultan O'Broin (pic: Selfie) 

Ireland

In Dublin stores, staff all wanted to try my Glass. They would first ask what it was and when I offered if they wanted to try, all accepted. Shopping therefore took a while, but everyone was knocked out by the experience. They wanted their own - until they heard about the price. Everyone got the hang of using the Glass gestures, but a few were confused and wondered why Glass needed gestures as well as voice input. Nobody had any privacy concerns. Many were quick to take pictures without asking the subjects (making me very nervous). Again, the prescription lenses questions came up.

Few adults knew the name Glass. They had a vague awareness of its existence, but they’d call it Google Glasses or even The Google Eye. However, kids all knew the correct name, and what Glass could do. I didn’t allow kids to try it, nervous about getting parental consent. I had a hard enough time getting Glass back off my nine-year old to continue “digital native” research, he loved it! College students knew what Glass was, approached me, trying it out with a “wow!” reaction.

I showed Glass in my local computer store and the owner identified a use case for working remotely on a service request (for hands-free location and directions to a site and knowledge lookup). In another store, someone said it would be ideal for hyper local ads about special offers nearby.

UK

Similar experiences in London as Dublin, even in big departmental stores. Sales assistants were ready with questions and eager to try Glass. I breezed into one famous store normally very leery of camera-toting tourists, but without problems. More questions came about prescription lenses, availability, and price.

I wore Glass on the Tube. In the close quarters of a packed train, I overheard passengers whispering “Google Glass”, but nobody asked me anything. I did hear that using Glass must be a cool way to watch music videos when stuck on the Underground!

In Manchester, I didn’t turn a single head.

San Francisco Bay Area

Lots of people identified Glass and asked questions. My favorite approach was “Excuse me, Sir, but I'm from Louisiana, and I have never seen a thing before like that on your head….”.  

In San Francisco, on Black Friday, I saw the twinkle of about a dozen Glass displays on Explorers as darkness fell. In a sunglasses store, I was their third Explorer that day. The staff was ready with “no, we don’t make lenses for it!”(They tried on my Glass anyway).

General Tips on Sharing the Glass Goodness

Our Explorers all liked and used the Android-only (at time of writing) MyGlass app’s screencast features for demoing Glass to others. Screen casting saves on passing Glass around to everyone and encourages participation as the crowd gathers. If someone asks about your Glass, then it’s polite and professional to answer, and offer if they’d like to try, when possible. Get their views, and thank them. Check with guardians first if kids approach and ask about trying Glass.

Cultural and Language Dimensions

Analysis of cultural dimensions to information and communications technology usually draws on the work of Geert Hofstede and Edward T Hall. That’s for later, and perhaps we can even construct new models. In addition to the ways our Explorers noticed how people approached around the world, here’s a few other global considerations.

In China and Mexico, we noticed that the Glass English-accented voice could present issues for non-native English speakers when communicating using voice commands. Also, anyone speaking in softer tones, Chinese women for example, may not be heard that easily by Glass. Ambient or background noise doesn’t help.

When demoing, Explorers were also asked whether you could change the Glass UI language to Spanish or another language (not right now).

The voice-to-text audio seemed to mangle non-English names (in Irish for example), but impressively, Glass learned how to get them right after repeated attempts. Acronyms could also confuse Glass initially, especially domain-specific ones (Saying UX first being shown as “You X”, but then pronounced correctly).

Keep an Eye  on the Enterprise

The word is out about Glass. HUDs will take off in a bigger way in 2014, and although Glass is the most well-known HUD in the U.S., and becoming so in Europe, there are others out there. Consumer expectations will influence the enterprise UX of HUDs longer term, but enterprise use cases have been identified that make sense to build now.

More Explorers Immiment

More Glass Explorers are coming, so expect more interest and use cases (Pic: Ultan O'Broin) 

Enterprise UX is all about context and stakeholders, so exploring reactions of more than just end users is valuable. Although this was a “fun” exercise, our Explorers’ insights will help inform methodologies for more scientific UX research and practical guidance to enable enterprise users to work more efficiently with HUDs.

So, Oracle customers and partners, stay tuned to the VOX blog and Twitter (@usableapps) for UX information and outreach about the HUD trend. You can participate in the building of wearable solutions to make businesses more productive.

More Information

Wednesday Jul 31, 2013

User Interface | Design Considerations

When it comes to creating superior applications, the central design considerations remain the same, no matter whether you’re building interfaces for desktop or mobile workers. Karen Scipi explores user interface (UI) design for enterprise applications, an area even more prescient as cloud-based applications offer opportunities for optimized UIs of different types using the same data. 

You must understand who your workers are, what work they do, and the functionality that will most enable them and their productivity in their specific work environments.  

  • A desktop user interface refers to an interface that’s optimized for tasks that are performed over extended periods of time, usually in an office.  
  • A simplified user interface refers to an interface that’s optimized quick access, high-volume, self-service tasks that can be completed on any device and from any location.

For example, the task flow for an accounts payable clerk who typically works in an office would differ from the sales manager who travels and works mostly on his mobile device. Which user interface design would work best in each of these scenarios? The answer depends on several heuristics and data points.

When considering which user interface to design, think about multiple aspects of the workers, their roles, and their tasks. 

Workers

Consider how workers’ experiences can vary. Keep in mind that the one-size-fits-all analogy doesn’t work when it comes to designing a user interface. 
Even those who use desktop interface functionality for the majority of their tasks can benefit from simplified user interface flows. But getting a sense of who your workers are and how they are working most of the time will help you better understand what Oracle Fusion Applications functionality they will most benefit from and which user interface might better enable their work and productivity. 

When you think about workers’ experiences, ask yourself questions like these:

  • Where in the world do these workers work? 
  • What do workers’ work environments look like? For example, do they work primarily in an office, on a train, or in a warehouse?
  • With whom do the workers engage, and how to they engage with others? For example, do they use collaboration tools or social media?

For example:

 Worker Role  Typical Work Environment
 Order Processor  Office
 Sales Representative  On the go

Tasks

Identify tasks that are central to workers’ roles. But what constitutes a central task? Central tasks are typically the 10% of tasks that 90% of the workers spend 90% of their time performing.

When you think about worker tasks, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What specific tasks do workers’ perform? 
  • Are the tasks self-service tasks for all workers?
  • Which tasks are central to workers’ roles?
  • How do workers perform these tasks? 
  • How frequently are these tasks performed?
  • Do the tasks require short or long periods of time to complete?
  • Do the tasks require significant or minimal data entry activities?
  • Where do workers work? On a bus, a train, in a warehouse?
  • Based on workers’ roles, work environments, and tasks, which applications, devices, and tools best support their work? 

For example:

Worker Role  Typical Work Environment  Typical Work Tasks Example Applications, Devices, and Tools
 Order Processor  Office Data entry

  • Order management and email applications
  • Computer with keyboard
  • Phone

 Sales Representative  On the go Engages with existing and prospective customers to maintain and establish relationships and to sell products and services

  • CRM and email applications
  • Mobile and tablet devices
  • Phone, collaboration, social media tools

Information and information design

When you think about information and design considerations for different types of information, ask yourself questions like these:

  • What types of information, such as customer or vendor records, accounting data, trends, issues, news, ratings, and so on do workers need access to? 
  • How would information best be displayed to enable the interpretation of it? In a workbook, in a form, in a list, in an analytic? 
  • What key information does the worker need in a specific task flow?
  • Can the information be simplified by reducing data and features, or by eliminating corner cases that are displayed in the user interface?

For example:

 Worker Role  Typical Work Environment Examples of Information and Information Display Types
 Order Processor  Office

  • Existing and new customer order records
  • Forms, lists, workbooks

 Sales Representative  On the go

  • Existing and new customer records, including customer contact, ratings, and qualification information
  • Sales, trends, and issues analytics
  • Lists, notes

Interested in learning more?

See:

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