Saturday Jun 27, 2015

Apple Watch Impressions with Jeremy Ashley: Time for the Best User Experience in the Enterprise Cloud

In part two of a three-part series, Ultan O'Broin (@usableapps) talks with Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) about his impressions of the Apple Watch and other insights during a day in the life of a Group Vice President in Oracle. Read part one.

"Perhaps it's an English thing,” says Oracle Applications User Experience Group Vice President, Jeremy Ashley, "but just being able to keep eye contact with someone when we're talking means I can pay closer attention to people."

Group Vice President Jeremy Ashley: Inspiring Cloud UX in Oracle

Jeremy Ashley: Inspiring user experience leadership of strategy, science, and storytelling.

"A glance at my Apple Watch and I know immediately if something is important. I can decide if I need to respond or it can wait. I don't have to pull out my smartphone for that."

This story of combining the personal convenience of wearable technology with empathy for people is typical of the man who sets the vision for the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience (UX).

It’s just one of Jeremy's impressions of the iWatch, as it's known. Now that he's used the Apple Watch for a while since we first chatted, I wanted to find out about his experience and what it all means for enterprise UX.

iWatch iMpressions

"I just love the sheer build quality of the watch; so utterly Apple," Jeremy begins. His industrial design background surfaces, bringing together traditions of functionality, classic craftsmanship, and exuberance for innovation: "Sweet. I can even use it to tell the time!"

A bloke with an eye for pixel-level detail, Jeremy has explored how to get the best from the Apple Watch, right down to the exact precision needed for the force touch action on the built-in Maps app. He's crafted a mix of apps and favorite glances to suit his world, such as for battery life, his calendar, and stocks. He admires the simplicity and visualizations of the built-in Activity app too, swiping the watch face to see his latest progress as we talk in his office full of what's hot in technology and a selection of clocks and traditional woodworking tools.

Microtransactions at a glance from the wrist

Microtransactions at a glance from the wrist delight the wearer and make life—and work—more convenient.

"The watch really shows how the idea of context automates the routine and looks after the little things that make life easier and delight you in simple ways, such as not having to swipe a credit card to pay for coffee."

In the enterprise world, these kinds of little experiences, or "microtransactions" as Jeremy calls them, translate to wearer convenience when working. For example:

  • Automatically recording the time spent and location of a field service job
  • Accepting terms and conditions when attending a confidential demo meeting as you check in at reception
  • Adding data to the cloud, such as updating a win probability as you walk away from a sales engagement
  • Seeing at a glance that a supply chain fulfillment is complete

Oracle Glance and the Enterprise

Oracle's concept of glance is device agnostic and reflects a key UX strategy—mobility—or how we work flexibly today: across devices, pivoting around secure enterprise data in the Oracle Cloud.

"Smartwatches are like mobile dialog boxes," Jeremy explains. "They start that user conversation with the cloud in simple, 'in-the-moment,' deeply contextual ways. Glance and the cloud together automatically detect and deliver the who, what, and where of microtransactions, yet because it's all on a watch, the experience remains personal and familiar. That really resonates with wearers."

The smartwatch is a personal and familiar paradigm in the enterprise too

Jeremy Ashley: The smartwatch is a personal and familiar paradigm that also resonates in the enterprise.

Jeremy shared some thoughts on where such innovation is heading:

"The Apple Watch won't replace the smartphone, for now. We still need that identifier device—a kind of personal beacon or chip, if you like—that lets us make an elegant 'handoff' from a glance on our wrist to a scan for denser levels of information or to a commit to doing less frequent tasks on other devices. The watch just isn't designed for all that."

Activity app Stand goal glances on Apple Watch

Apple Watch Activity glances for stand goal progress

A perfect example of Oracle Cloud UX strategy and design philosophy together. Jeremy glances back at his Activity app and sees his new stand goal progress. That standing desk is paying off!

But, innovating user experience in Oracle is an activity that definitely does not stand still. We'll explore how such innovation and design progress pays off for enterprise users in a future blog post.

Got Time Now?

Discover more:  

Sunday Apr 19, 2015

Oracle HCM Cloud and the iGeneration: Not Your Parents’ Applications

Harder Than You Think” is one awesome rap anthem by Public Enemy (I’ve always suspected Flavor Flav was a wearable technology innovator with that clock).

There’s a particular line in the song that resonates soundly with the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) capacity for empathy: to "bear witness". Witness to real people doing real tasks in real places. I used the line to open my session on Future User Experience (UX) at the Oracle HCM Day 2015 at Oracle Nederland in Utrecht.

Public Enemy: Harder Than You Think (Click to play)

Public Enemy: Harder Than You Think 

UX is harder than you think too, but our job is to make things easy for Oracle Applications Cloud users by simplifying things; hiding the complexity of technology and making convoluted business processes fade away.

The theme of HCM Day was the iGeneration: those technology-versed young adults about to enter the workforce with expectations and attitudes about job permanence and how talent is recruited and managed that have shattered the employment model status quo. So, to explain the OAUX fit with their world, I jumped right into Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd’s “Welcome to Nobody Cares” HCM World keynote, research and insights into younger generations' use of technology, how work apps are more than a pretty face; and then in to Oracle HCM Cloud, stealing a line from U2 about everything you know (about enterprise software) being wrong, along the way.

The Oracle Applications Cloud UX message for the iGeneration can be summed up as:

  1. We care. Winning in HCM is strategic for Oracle.
  2. This is not your parent’s software (Not that they wanted crapplications, either).
  3. Tech-savvy people need tech-savvy workplaces.
  4. User experience is a competitive must-have.
  5. The cloud has changed everything. Vendor and partner complacency about how people and business use software is dead. 
  6. Making things "Apple Easy" (h/t Richard Twelvetrees [@rg12t]) is no longer merely a dream for enterprise applications users thanks to simplicity and a design philosophy of Glance, Scan, Commit.
Tech-savvy people need tech-savvy workplaces: UX Apple Easy

The Message 

To keep the performance real I offered a glimpse of what UX might come the iGeneration's way too. I shared some innovative concepts from the OAUX AppsLab team (@theappslab), our mobile Cloud apps, and the Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud designs for the forthcoming Apple Watch. I then showed live proof-of-concept demos of a glanceable UI for time entry microtransactions (using a Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch and location detection for mega convenience) and of Oracle Taleo interview evaluations and phone screener text (SMS) messaging built using Oracle partner Twilio's cloud API.

Glance UI on Smartwatch

Glance UI time entry on Motorola Moto 360

Oracle Taleo Texting (SMS)

Oracle Taleo Texting (SMS)

HCM Day was a great event, with over 130 attendees (including some 90 customers). It was a cool, fun, fast-paced learning event and an opportunity to build more relationships across the Benelux area. I was really wowed by the heads-up displays and 3D printing by main partner Deloitte too!

Glance UX 3D Print by Deloitte

3D Print by Deloitte 

Special thanks to Conny Groen in 't Woud (Marketing Manager Applications, HCM Benelux) and Henry Barenholz (Senior Director, HCM Leader Benelux and Nordics) for asking me to share our insight and innovation at a brilliantly organized and orchestrated happening.

You can see more of the cool stuff I showed off at HCM Day in the free Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Trends and Strategy eBook.

Remember, it’s not how you swipe or click. It’s how you work. Tell your parents.

The iGeneration already knows.

A Werken.FM podcast of the day is now available (in Dutch). 

Saturday Mar 28, 2015

A Glance at Smartwatches in the Enterprise: A Moment in Time Experience

Ultan O’Broin (@usableapps) talks to Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Vice President Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) about designing apps for that smartwatch, and every other smartwatch, too. This is a three-part series of blog posts. Read part two.

Nobody wants their device to disrupt them from what they are doing or to have to move to another one to continue working. Keeping users in the moment of their tasks—independent of the devices they’re using—is central to any great user experience.

The ability to apply our Oracle Applications Cloud design philosophy to the smartwatch demonstrates an ideal realization of the “glance” method, keeping users in that moment: Making the complex simple, flexible, intuitive, and most of all, convenient. OAUX recognizes the need for smartwatch wearers to experience that “right here, right now” feeling, the one in which you have just what you need, just when you need it.

The wearable technology space is currently focused on smartwatches. We’re excited by Apple’s announcement about their smartwatch, and we’re even more thrilled to now show you our proof of concept glance designs for the Oracle Applications Cloud on the Apple Watch. We want to hear your reaction! 

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud on Apple Watch

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud on Apple Watch


Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud on Apple Watch

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud on Apple Watch

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud on Apple Watch

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud on Apple Watch

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud for Apple Watch proof of concept designs

For the smartwatch specifically, VP Jeremy Ashley explained how our glance approach applies to smartwatch wearers, regardless of their choice of device:

“The most common wearable user interaction is to glance at something. The watch works as the wearer’s mini dialog box to the cloud, making microtransactions convenient on the wrist, and presenting the right information to the wearer at the right time. How quickly and easily someone can do something actually useful is the key activity."

Glance brings cloud interaction to wearers in a personal way, requesting and not demanding attention, while eliminating a need to switch to other devices to “dig in,” or to even have to pull a smartphone out of the pocket to respond.

“To continue the journey to completing a task using glance is as simple and natural as telling the time on your wrist”, says Jeremy.

Being able to glance down at your wrist at a stylish smartwatch experience—one that provides super-handy ways to engage with gems of information— enhances working in the cloud in powerful and productive ways, whether you’re a sales rep walking from your car to an opportunity engagement confidently glancing at the latest competitive news, or a field technician swiping across a watchface to securely record time on a remote job.

Glancing at a UI is the optimal wearable experience for the OAUX mobility strategy, where the cloud, not the device, is our platform. This means you can see our device-agnostic glance design at work not only on an Apple Watch, but on Android Wear, Pebble, and other devices, too.

Glance on Android Wear Samsung Gear Live and Pebble

Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud proof of concept apps on Android Wear Samsung Gear Live and Pebble

Designing a Glanceable Platform

The path to our glance designs began with OAUX research into every kind of smartwatch we could get on our wrists so that we could study their possibilities, experience how they felt, how they looked, and how they complemented everyday work and life activities. Then we combined ideas and experiences with Oracle Cloud technology to deliver a simplified design strategy that we can apply across devices. As a result, our UI designs are consistent and familiar to users as they work flexibly in the cloud, regardless of their device, type of operating system, or form factor.

This is not about designing for any one specific smartwatch. It’s a platform-agnostic approach to wearable technology that enables Oracle customers to get that awesome glanceable, cloud-enabled experience on their wearable of choice.

Why Smartwatches?

Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch, Pebble, and Android Wear devices have resonated strongly with innovators and consumers of wearable technology. The smartwatch succeeds because we’re already familiar and comfortable with using wristwatches, and they’re practical and easy to use.

From first relying on the sun to tell the time, to looking up at town hall clocks, to taking out pocket watches, and then being able to glance at our wrists to tell the time, we’ve seen an evolution in glanceable technology analogous to the miniaturization of computing from large mainframes to personal, mobile devices for consumers.

Just like enterprise apps, watches have already been designed for many specializations and roles, be they military, sport, medical, fashion, and so on. So the evolution of the smartwatch into an accepted workplace application is built on a firm foundation.

More Information

Again, OAUX is there, on trend, ready and offering a solution grounded in innovation and design expertise, one that responds to how we work today in the cloud.

In future articles, we’ll explore more examples that showcase how we’re applying the glance approach to wearable technology, and we’ll look at design considerations in more detail. You can read more about our Oracle Applications Cloud design philosophy and other trends and innovations that influence our thinking in our free eBook.

Check the Usable Apps website for events where you can experience our smartwatch and other innovations for real, read our Storify feature on wearable technology, and see our YouTube videos about our UX design philosophy and strategy.

We'll follow up with Jeremy in a future blog post about his impressions of the Apple Watch after he's used it for a while. 

More Apple Watch glance designs are on Instagram

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.

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?

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!

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