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.

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.

More Apple Watch glance designs are on Instagram

Monday Sep 08, 2014

Fashionable Tech

By Sandra Lee (@SandraLee0415), Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach Team

“You don’t have to be first; you just have to be better” is a marketing phrase I’ve heard over the years, and it really is true. Take social media hero Facebook. Sure, Myspace and Friendster came first, but Facebook quickly made its way to the top. This trend happens in almost every market that fills a void without consumers even knowing it.

Such is the case with wearable technology.

By now, we are all familiar with the leading wearable devices like Google Glass and Fitbit, but some haven’t caught on in the general public as much as developer and marketing executives would have liked. The lack of buy-in has a lot to do with price, but ease of use plays a part, too. There’s no question that we, as a technology-needy society, want our devices to be fast, efficient, and attractive, while providing real-life benefits. We’ve got socks that give us real-time health stats, collars that track your puppy’s every move, and bands that let you know when your newborn baby is about to wake up. And these are just the beginning.

The one trend in wearables that I’m really excited about is fashion. Geeky glasses and pocket protectors are being replaced by sleek jackets, statement necklaces, and beautiful rings. It takes the saying “he put a ring on it” to a whole new level.

Below are some new ones that might really be game changers:

Cuff

Cuff

This beautiful piece of jewelry doubles as an activity tracker and phone notification system. But what I like most about the Cuff is that it can keep you safe. Being aware of your surroundings is a great start, but I love the feature that actually alerts people if you ever feel threatened walking to your car at night. At prices starting at just $50, it’s one that’s easy to get on board with.

Ringly

Ringly

Keeping in touch with important people has never been more beautiful. Whether you’re in a quiet museum or cheering on the San Francisco 49ers in a loud stadium, this ring will vibrate softly, alerting you to a phone call, text, or important upcoming event.

Epiphany Eyewear

Epiphany Eyewear

These glasses are the perfect kind of nerdy because the cool part is hidden. Camera and HD video recording capabilities let you use these glasses as shades or as prescription glasses.

Will these three featured wearables be the game changers the wearable technology industry has been looking for? And what will the impact be of more fashion and style-conscious wearable technology on enterprise adoption?

What do you think?

Join the Oracle Applications User Experience team and friends on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, for the Oracle Wearable Technology Meetup at the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) Lounge at Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and let us know your thoughts in person. Don your best wearables and discuss the finer points of enterprise use cases, APIs, integrations, user experience, fashion and style considerations for creating wearable tech, and lots more!

While supplies last, there’ll be inexpensive, yet tasteful, gifts for attendees sporting wearable tech.

For more on wearable technology and OAUX, see our Usable Apps story at https://storify.com/usableapps/wearables.

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?

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 Mar 20, 2014

Oracle Developer Diversity Realized
How to Get Started in a Career in Tech

Oracle takes very seriously the pursuit of creating a diverse group of people who work in technology. We have the Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) and Women in Technology programs, for example. Externally, the Oracle user group community has Women in IT (WIT) initiatives, such as the ones run by RMOUG and UKOUG.

I’m always on the look out for smart people, of all types, ages, cultures, and experiences, who are shining examples of how a diversity of people working together in tech means we all win.

Jeff Caldwell and Sarahi Mirelese

Oracle is committed to diversity. Oracle Product Management VP Jeff Caldwell with Sarahi Mireles at a Building Great-Looking Usable Apps workshop in Mexico City, D.F.

After reading a great online conversation about women in tech, I checked out Rails Girls, Black Girls Code, and Girls Who Code. I wanted to know how young women start to pursue a career in tech. So I chatted with Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles) in the UX team who shared her experiences.

Sarahi is a front-end developer based in the Mexico Development Center in Guadalajara, working on the Usable Apps website. Sarahi is a key part of communicating our UX messages and enablement to Oracle ADF developers, partners, and customers, worldwide.

Sarahi knows about the importance of role models as examples and getting people talking together about diversity. "Talking about my work and interest in tech helps change the way coworkers and others see women in tech and clears up misconceptions. The conversation encourages other women to become interested in IT, too."

What does Sarahi recommend to others like her who are interested in technology?

"Technology is awesome! It lets you be creative, it’s a great challenge for the mind, and it encourages you to explore new areas. I would recommend a tech path that takes you into the visual and practical areas first, like animations and photo and video editing. Checking out a simple course on robotics can be incredible fun, too. Then, if you think you’ve got a good feel for tech and what you can do with it, develop that interest with programming, math, and science study options in school."

What kinds of interests do you need to have to work in tech?

"There are lots of other skills that lead to jobs in tech: design, arts, music, video, photography, as well as web development and mobile app development. If you’re into solving problems or have crazy thoughts about apps for your phone that will be useful for your daily tasks, well there’s an opportunity to turn those ideas into a great career in technology, too. What you need is already in your head."

So what got Sarahi started on the path to her career in tech?

"I got interested in tech when I was in elementary school, trying to record songs in Windows ‘95 with a friend. I then discovered web design through Myspace; it came with lots of possibilities for personalizing the way your pages looked by using HTML and CSS. By the time I was ready for high school, I knew I was heading for the tech world, so I chose a science and math-focused school."

What tech impresses and inspires Sarahi?

"I'm very impressed by apps I can use everyday to help me to save time or get something done quickly. Mobile apps like Waze, for example, let me get somewhere faster, whether I'm here in Guadalajara or in San Francisco."

Ultan O'Broin and Sarahi Mirelese

Sarahi is interested in wearable tech. Seen here with Ultan O’Broin (@ultan) getting ready for a wearables design jam.

"I like apps like Dollarbird to track monthly expenses, WhatsApp to stay connected, and Foursquare to find a place to hang out–it works just great in Mexico. I'm interested how wearable tech makes life easier too, such as how Google Glass translates text automatically by looking at it or takes pictures or videos of what’s right in front of you."

"For exercising, a combination of MapMyRide and PowerTap is great for cycling. I like VocalizeU because I can use my iPhone to warm up my vocal cords for singing class. And then I can use recipe apps like Epicurious to discover how to make tasty stuff from what I have left in the fridge."

Thanks Sarahi! What an inspiration to others! You’ve given others some great ideas for getting started on the path to a career in tech. What a a great example of diversity in action in the technology industry.

Watch out for more information about WIT and OWL, and catch up with Sarahi and the rest of the UX team at outreach events by following @usableapps on Twitter and checking in regularly on the Usable Apps blogs and website.

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