Saturday Feb 21, 2015

Oracle PaaS4SaaS UX Enablement with Certus Solutions: Valid Business Proposition

Oracle’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) 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, which was 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 with 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. It was validation all around.

If you are a Gold or Platinum Oracle Applications Cloud partner that wants in on our ongoing PaaS and SaaS journey and 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

Monday Dec 16, 2013

Designing the Oracle Voice User Experience: Oracle Shares the Lessons

Brent White, User Experience Architect in the Oracle Mobile Applications User Experience team, explains how voice technology has become popular for mobile users and how Oracle has met this opportunity to make enterprise users more productive too. By combining user experience insight and technologies, Oracle Voice has come to life for Oracle Sales Cloud customers. Brent now shares the lessons of designing voice-based task flows in the enterprise.

Voice technologies have now gained steam for mobile users, and growing numbers of consumers are becoming comfortable talking to machines. Some of us already regularly dictate a note, execute a call, or make a search by voice, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Voice has become a hands-free interface that goes well beyond a simple input mechanism and offers solutions to real design problems in the enterprise, as well as the consumer space.

Oracle’s Mobile User Experience (UX) team has been exploring voice technologies as they evolved. Our interest intensified with the release of Siri intelligent voice assistant on the Apple iPhone in 2011. By converging several technologies, Oracle has designed a mobile voice solution for our Oracle Sales Cloud customers, Oracle Voice.  And, more is to come!


Oracle Voice enables users to talk to the Oracle Sales Cloud; speaking naturally to view, edit, and add notes to customer opportunities. Whereas Siri enables users to interact with personal data on their phones such as contacts, settings and calendar, the focus of Oracle Voice is to enable users to interact with their enterprise sales data as part of an overall task flow.

Oracle Voice UI

Oracle Voice user interface. A clear UI and underlying technology that recognizes the names of important objects in the task flow are some of Oracle's shared UX design insights.

The UX team invested in technology and user research over the last two years to refine the product, testing it internally with the Oracle salesforce, and externally too with sales reps as they perform real tasks in real situations. Along the way, the team identified key guidelines for the optimal usage of voice in the enterprise. Here are some of the things learned:
  1. More and more sales reps are using voice technologies to get their work done productively. Expect enterprise use cases to increase.
  2. Voice to text is only part of the technical solution. Natural language processing (or NLP) and understanding users’ context are important related technologies that we had to develop in order to provide a voice solution. 
  3. Understand what enterprise users do, the when and the where, of being mobile. Support only such users most frequent and basic tasks. Voice is not for everything. 
  4. Make voice usage a hands-free operation. And don’t forget any legal requirements, for example when driving.
  5. Voice recognition must understand user data, such as the names of important objects in their task flows and the relationships between the objects. For example, voice must recognize the input of proper names, such as customer names, that are part of the sales cloud. 
  6. Users will want to use voice-based search to find key information. For instance, users will want to just say the name of a customer in order to see opportunity details returned. Provide for fast search and a way to integrate the results.
  7. Make the UI clear so that users know what task flow is being completed. Misrecognitions of voice inputs do happen, so provide an ability to correct misrecognitions easily and to continue. 
  8. Keep voice interaction flows short. Remember, a human is talking to a machine that understands enterprise data but hardly anything else, until it learns it. It is not a normal human conversation (yet!) so flows must be as succinct and efficient as possible. 
  9. Although some users may have had only basic experiences with voice recognition in the past, most users that we bring into our usability labs are now surprised at how well the current-state of the-art technology works and helps them to complete simple activities much more quickly (such as when dictating by voice rather than typing a note). With voice recognition accuracy improving steadily, be positioned to respond to more new scenarios of use by having your voice UX roadmap ready.
  10. Add some personality to the voice interaction. Experiment with sounds for the microphone interaction and the opportunities offered by the many natural-to-machine type voice outputs now available. Personality and emotion  adds to the voice user experience. Careful use of humor and an aspect of fun has its place in augmenting productivity on the go. 
We’re sharing these insights so that partners and customers can further appreciate and also explore further how Oracle Voice can make their users more productive and how it can be integrated across enterprise applications and data in the cloud. 

We’d like to hear your voice on the use of Oracle Voice and related technology and its usage in the enterprise. Please send us your comments, because we’re listening

Sunday Oct 20, 2013

Making it GREAT! Oracle Partners Building Apps Workshop with UX and ADF in UK

Yes, making is what it's all about, with Oracle partners doing the making of great looking usable apps with the Oracle Applications Development Framework (ADF) and user experience (UX) toolkit at our workshop in the UK. And what an energy-packed and productive event at the Oracle UK (Thames Valley Park) location it was. Partners learned the fundamentals of enterprise applications UX, why it's important, all about visual design, how to wireframe designs, and then how to build their already-proven designs in ADF.

There was a day dedicated to mobile apps, learning about mobile design principles, free mobile UX and ADF resources from Oracle, and then trying it out. The workshop wrapped up with the latest Release 7 Simplified UIs, Mobilytics, and other innovations from Oracle, and a live demo of a very neat ADF Mobile Android app built by an Oracle contractor. And, what a fun two days both Grant Ronald of ADF and myself had in running the workshop with such a great audience, too!

I particularly enjoyed the wireframing and visual design sessions' interaction; and seeing some outstanding work done by partners. Of note from the UK workshop were innovative design features not seen before; making me all the happier as developers brought their own ideas from the world of consumer technology, applying strong themes of mobility, simplicity, and social to the building of work apps with enterprise development methodology. 

Partner wireframe exercise. Applying mobile design principles and UX design patterns means you're already productively making great usable apps! Next, over to Oracle ADF Mobile with it!

Partner wireframe exercise. Applying mobile design principles and UX design patterns to wireframes means you're already productively making great usable apps! Next, over to Oracle ADF Mobile with the solution!

Two simple examples from the design session for a mobile field service app illustrated this trend: Participants realized how the UX and device functionality of the super UK-based Hailo app could influence their designs (the London cabbie influence, maybe?), and the way they now used maps, cameras, barcode scanners and microphones on their smartphones could be adapted for tasks in work too. Of course, ADF Mobile has the device integration solutions to help too! I wonder will similar U.S. workshops in Silicon Valley see an Uber UX influence? (LOL!)

That we also had partners experienced with Oracle Forms who could now offer a roadmap from Forms to Simplified UI and Mobile using ADF, and do it through through the cloud, really made this particular workshop go "ZING!!!" for me.

Many thanks to the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) team for organizing this event with us, and to the representatives of the Oracle partners that showed up and participated so well. That's what I love about this outreach. It's a two-way, solid value-add for all.

Interested? Why would partners and developers with ADF skills sign up for this workshop?

Here's why:

Learn to use the Oracle Applications User Experience design patterns as the usability building blocks for applications development in Oracle Application Development Framework. The workshop enables attendees to build modern and visually compelling desktop and mobile applications that look and behave like Oracle Applications Cloud Service*, integrated with your partner applications, whether for new, or co-existing applications deployments. Partners learn to offer customers and clients more than just coded functionality; instead they can offer a complete user experience with a roadmap for continuing ROI from licensed applications while creating more business and attracting the kudos of other makers of apps as they're wowed by the evidence.

So, if you're a partner and interested in attending one of these workshops and benefitting from such learning, as well as having a platform to show off some of your own work, stay well tuned to your OPN channels, to this blog, the VoX blog, and to the @usableapps Twitter account too.

Can't wait? For developers and partners, some key mobile resources to explore now

* Oracle Applications Cloud Service is the product line name for software as service (SaaS) and On Demand versions of Oracle Fusion Applications.

Wednesday Oct 02, 2013

Oracle Publishes PeopleSoft User Experience Guidelines

Mrudula Sreekanth, Oracle Applications User Experience, tells us about sharing the latest PeopleSoft User Experience guidance.

The PeopleSoft Applications User Experience team is excited to announce the release of the PeopleSoft User Experience (UX) Guidelines. These UX Guidelines contain information about using key PeopleSoft components to create highly usable, efficient, and productive experiences for Oracle customers.

Oracle Applications User Experience PeopleSoft UX Guidelines

PeopleSoft UX Guidelines and Principles to Create a Great User Experience 

Several PeopleSoft customers participated in a survey in December 2012, which helped us identify the following topics, all covered in the first release of the guidelines.

Why Do We Need UX Guidelines?

With PeopleTools 8.53 and PeopleSoft Applications 9.2, you see more modern and visually appealing features being delivered by PeopleSoft. With the help of these UX guidelines, customers and partners can not only design and tailor their own user experience but also ensure consistency with the features designed by PeopleSoft. 

The UX guidelines explain each topic in detail, display relevant images, and provide usage guidelines. 

UX Guidelines Examples

The following image explains what a WorkCenter is and the advantages of using it.

WorkCenter image

UX How's and Why's of PeopleSoft WorkCenter 

The image below shows a train with sub-steps which takes users through complex tasks, one step at a time.

Train (Guided Process) Image

Train Steps Covered in the Guided Process Guideline

The next image shows the usage guidelines for Pivot Grids. Relevant usage guidelines have been provided for all the other topics as well.  

Pivot Grids Image

Pivot Grid Usage Explained   

The PeopleSoft UX Guidelines enable customers to design and tailor the ultimate user experience for their organization. Following the guidelines ensures consistency across applications. The guidelines also help in choosing the right pattern for any scenario.

Send any feedback and suggestions on the PeopleSoft UX guidelines directly to the PeopleSoft UX team using the comments feature below, your input will be forwarded to Mrudula.

Monday Jul 01, 2013

Applications User Experience Fundamentals

Understanding what user experience means in the modern work environment is central to building great-looking usable applications on the desktop or mobile devices. What better place to start a series of blog posts on Oracle Applications User Experience enablement of customers and partners than by sharing what the term really means, writes UX team member Karen Scipi.

Applications UX have gained valuable insights into developing a user experience that reflects the experience of today’s worker. We have observed real workers performing real tasks in real work environments, and we have developed a set of new standards of application design that have been scientifically proven to be beneficial to enable today’s workers. We share this expertise to enable our customers and partners to benefit from our insights and to further their return on investment when building Oracle applications.

So, What is User Experience?


The user interface (UI) is about the appearance afforded to users by the layout of widgets (such as icons, fields, buttons, and more) and by visual aspects such as colors, typographic choices, and so on. The UI presents the “look and feel” of the application that conveys a particular message and information to users to make decisions. It reflects, in essence, the most immediate aspects of usability we can now all relate to. 

User experience, on the other hand, is about understanding the whole context of the world of work, about how workers go about completing tasks, crossing all sorts of boundaries along the way. It is a study of how business processes and workers goals coincide, how users work with technology or other tools to get their jobs done, their interactions with other users, and their responses to the technical, physical, and cultural environment around them.

Applications user experience is about completing tasks in context, crossing traditional boundaries

User experience is all about how users work—their work environments, office layouts, desk tools, types of devices, their working day, and more. Even their job aids, such as sticky notes, offer insight for UX innovation.

User experience matters because businesses need to be efficient, work must be productive, and users now demand to be satisfied by the applications they work with. In simple terms, tasks finished quickly and accurately means  organizational effectiveness, efficiency and worker satisfaction. Workers are more than willing to use the application again, the next day.

Design Principles for the Enterprise Worker

The consumerization of information technology has raised the bar for enterprise applications. Applications must be consistent, simple, intuitive, but above all contextual, reflecting how and when workers work, in the office or on the go. For example, the Google search experience with its type-ahead keyword-prompting feature is how workers expect to be able to discover enterprise information, too.
Type-ahead in PeopleSoft 9.1. Consumer expectation realized in Enterprise Apps
Type-ahead in PeopleSoft 9.1

To build software that enables workers to be productive, our design principles meet modern work requirements about consistency, with well-organized, context-driven information, geared for a working world of discovery and collaboration. Our applications behave in a simple, web and app-like personalized way just like the Amazon, Google, and Apple versions that workers use at home or on the go. We must also reflect workers’ needs for application flexibility and well-loved enterprise practices such as using popular desktop tools like Microsoft Excel or Outlook as the job requires.

Building User Experience Productively

The building blocks of Oracle Fusion Applications are the user experience design patterns. Based on Oracle Fusion Middleware technology used to build Oracle Fusion Applications, the patterns are reusable solutions to common usability challenges that Oracle Application Development Framework developers typically face as they build applications, extensions, and integrations. Developers use the patterns as part of their Oracle toolkits to realize great usability consistently in a productive way.

Steve Miranda Quote: Apps must be fast, usable, and code is always on. Developers take note!

Our design pattern creation process is informed by user experience research and science, an understanding of our technology’s capabilities, the demands for simplification and intuitiveness from users, and the best of Oracle’s acquisitions strategy (an injection of smart people and smart innovation). The patterns are supported by usage guidelines and are tested in our labs and assembled into a library of proven resources we used to build own Oracle Fusion Applications and other Oracle applications user experiences. The design patterns library is now available to the Oracle ADF community and to our partners and customers, for free.

Developers with Oracle ADF skills and other technology skills can now offer more than just coding and functionality and still use the best in enterprise methodologies to ensure that a great user experience is easily applied, scaled, and maintained, whether it be for SaaS or on-premise deployments for Oracle Fusion Applications, for applications coexistence, or for partner integration scenarios. 

Floyd Teter on using Design Patterns and ADF Essentials

Oracle partners and customers already using our design patterns to build solutions and win business in smart and productive ways are now sharing their experiences and insights on pattern use to benefit your entire business.

Applications UX is going global with the message and the means. Our hands-on user experience enablement through Oracle ADF  is expanding. So, stay tuned to Misha Vaughan's Voice of User Experience (VOX) blog and follow along on Twitter at @usableapps for news of outreach events and other learning opportunities.

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