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

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.

Tuesday Dec 09, 2014

User Experience y desarrollo enfocado al contexto: Shape and ShipIt Design Jam

Desarrollador de Experiencias de Usuario (User Experience Developer), Sarahi Mireles escribe:

El pasado 4 y 5 de Noviembre, tuve la oportunidad de participar en el Shape and ShipIt Design Jam interno que se llevo a cabo en Oracle HQ. Ahí, diferentes miembros del equipo de User Experience nos reunimos para investigar e innovar soluciones móviles empresariales.

¿El objetivo de todo esto? Conocer más sobre el concepto de desarrollo enfocado al contexto, lo que da como resultado una interacción más natural e intuitiva entre el usuario y las soluciones empresariales que utiliza día con día.

Participantes Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, Tony Orciuoli, y Thao Nguyen [foto: Karen Scipi]

Estuvimos trabajando en equipos durante dos días, y debo decir que fue muy divertido (¿quién dice que el trabajo no puede ser divertido?). En ese tiempo hicimos lluvia de ideas, las afinamos, hicimos nuestros propios wireframes basados en casos de uso y finalmente comenzamos a codificar.

articipantes Luis Galeana, Julian Orr, Raymond Xie, Thao Nguyen, y Anthony Lai [foto: Karen Scipi]

Participantes Luis Galeana, Julian Orr, Raymond Xie, Thao Nguyen, y Anthony Lai [foto: Karen Scipi]

¿El resultado? Soluciones empresariales fáciles de entender, de usar y relevantes, brindando al usuario la información necesaria en el momento más oportuno, lo que se ve reflejado en una experiencia de usuario simplemente increíble.

Equipo ASCII_kerz! presentando su solución a los jueces (jueces (sentados) Jeremy Ashley y Bill Kraus; participantes (de pie) Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, y Tony Orciuoli) [foto: Karen Scipi]

Equipo ASCII_kerz! presentando su solución a los jueces (jueces (sentados) Jeremy Ashley y Bill Kraus; participantes (de pie) Cindy Fong, Sarahi Mireles, y Tony Orciuoli) [foto: Karen Scipi]

Si quieres conocer más acerca de Oracle Applications User Experience visita el sitio de Usable Apps, y el blog theappslab.com para conocer más acerca de lo que el equipo de Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) está haciendo. Y por supuesto, sí quieres conocer más acerca del Oracle MDC (México Development Center) echa un vistazo a nuestra página de Facebook.

Saturday Nov 22, 2014

From Coffee Table to Cloud at a Glance: Free Oracle Applications Cloud UX eBook Available

Your free eBook, Oracle Applications Cloud User Experiences: Trends and Strategy, is now available. Go to tinyurl.com/UXstrategy to register and download the PDF.   

This is a colorful, beautifully illustrated, and simply written document that shows and tells you everything you need to know about the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience. From strategy and design philosophy to current innovation and emergent trends, the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team has it covered. 

Oracle Applications Cloud User Experiences: Trends and Strategy

Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Oracle Applications User Experience Vice President, tell you just what you need to use that Oracle UX message to increase your cloud business. 

So, what's in it for partners and developers? As you scan through the eBook, you'll discover as innovation and ideation comes to life using Oracle technology toolkit and the guidance shared on the Usable Apps website, the OUAX outreach enables you to build similar awesome cloud user experiences. You can use the eBook to confidently explain key cloud UX concepts to your customers and to jointly inspire new business ideas and solutions.

And hey, it's a great resource to share with anyone interested in design, technology, and building things with a user experience too!

Extending the User Interface

We enable business users and developers to build and tailor simplified user experiences for the Oracle Applications Cloud productively, in ways that make sense for their customers.

The Cloud is Our Platform

The cloud is our platform. You can also design optimized, contextual user experiences easily, using familiar, core elements across experiences. 

Watch out for more eBooks from OAUX. Stay tuned to the usual channels.

For now, enjoy! 

Friday Nov 14, 2014

Today, We Are All Partners: Oracle UX Design Lab for PaaS

To ideate with our partners to create user experience (UX) enablement that delivers, we first empathize with how partner development teams go about their business. By understanding their world, we can rock it.

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Communications and Outreach team has just executed on a very successful internal event called the UX Design Lab for PaaS. The event's attendees adopted the role of partners delivering typical simplified UI (SUI) SaaS solutions using PaaS.

PaaS4SaaS event banner

This new kind of event used a new visual style agenda designed by the team.

We’ve got that partner message cloud and clear: SUI and PaaS are differentiators. And, we know how the cloud has changed everything, including user experience (UX). Partners need to build UX solutions in the cloud, quickly and easily, to meet those ever-demanding customer expectations.

Sticky notes to UX science: Baked-in developer enablement

User experience is baked into the simplicity of our enablement for busy partner developers.

So, a group of our own software architects, UX designers, Oracle ADF developers, platform experts, and other partner enablers, took typical PaaS and SaaS use cases and designed and built solutions using our Simplified UI Rapid Development Kit (based on Oracle ADF). They then deployed their applications using the Oracle Java Cloud platform services.

PaaS4SaaS use cases from paper to cloud explored

From paper to cloud. The event tested the PaaS4SaaS process from “All I want to do is... ” use cases to more complex solutions for Oracle Sales, HCM, ERP Cloud, and more.

This was a strategic event with Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley), Vice President of OAUX as executive sponsor. Furthermore, 20% of attendees had “Vice President” (or higher) in their titles reflecting the importance that Oracle puts on this kind of partner enablement. What’s more, they got down to business with the design and the development tools too.

Karen Scipi, Jeremy Ashley, and Anthony S Lai explore the Ring

Jeremy Ashley (center) explores gesture-based interactions with Karen Scipi (@karenscipi) (left) and Anthony Lai (@anthonyslai) (right) during the event.

Our next step is to evaluate our experience and validate the outcome of the event with partners themselves. We're fine-tuning our partner communications and outreach with more awesome PaaS4SaaS resources, already proven for developers and ready to win business.

The occasion was an opportunity to try out ways of organizing partner events, so we added fitness and wellness breaks, fun activities, and tailored the event to reflect the diversity of the tech community.

David Haimes and Misha Vaughan in the minutetowinit challenge facilitated by Brandon of Reach Fitness

Minute-To-Win-It. Attendee wellness and engagement was one focus of the event. David Haimes (@dhaimes) and Misha Vaughan (@mishavaughan) display their dexterity with all matters cloud, facilitated by the Oracle HQ Reach Fitness team.

We also looked at ways of communicating UX in a simple, effective way, one that resonates with busy developers, such as using a Jobs To Be Done framework applied to agile simplified UI user requirements gathering and wireframing.

Julian Orr and Ultan O'Broin and the Jobs To Be Done Approach

Julian Orr (left) and Ultan Ó Broin (@ultan) fronting the #JTBD approach.

As this was an internal event, I can’t disclose use case details, of course. But, I will reveal that we are soon hosting one partner onsite for high-touch simplified UI design and development best practices to add to their existing Oracle ADF and Oracle Fusion Middleware knowledge. We'll fast-track that partner to rapidly build a solution that will grow their cloud business and add real value to the Oracle Applications Cloud partner ecosystem.

You could be the next partner. So, if you are an eager partner in North America or EMEA and have compelling simplified UI Oracle Applications Cloud use cases that fit the PaaS model, reach out to us through the usual channels.

More pictures of the event are available on the Usable Apps Instagram account and Twitter account timeline.

Friday Nov 07, 2014

Emphasis on Practical Usability Research at HFES Annual Meeting in Chicago

By Anna Wichansky

Senior Director, Oracle Applications User Experience

HFES 2014 Meeting in Chicago

The 2014 International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) was recently held in Chicago, on October 27-31, 2014. This conference deals with all the latest research and issues in the field of human factors, the study of human-machine systems. Some 1450 professionals in human factors, user experience (UX), and related fields attended the event.

Anna Wichansky and Ultan O’Broin (@usableapps) of the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team presented a half-day workshop on How to Create User Requirements for Software to HFES members and students, including industry consultants and end-user customers. This is their third presentation of the workshop, which features a highly interactive format with small groups engaged in hands-on role-playing exercises.

In this unique workshop, students prepared a business case about a fictitious auto parts company requiring a financial software upgrade to a more efficient, effective, and satisfying application. They worked in small groups and played the roles of UX consultant, user, and stakeholders in the implementation. Ultan and Anna facilitated the groups, played stakeholder roles as needed, and presented relevant concepts and methods for setting UX requirements based on the NIST IR 7432 Common Industry Format for Requirements. Students left with a completed template of user requirements for the workshop business case.

Context of Use: The fundamental layer of user requirements. Picture of people coding together

Understanding the context of use (the who, what, where, how, and with whom) dimension of software user requirements gathering is fundamental to a successful implementation. The HFES workshop explored context of use thoroughly as an underlying layer of the Common Industry Format for Usability Requirements.

In other highlights of the conference, Deborah Hersman, President and CEO of the U.S. National Safety Council and former head of the National Transportation Safety Board, gave an invited speech on the importance of human factors in promoting safety. One particular theme was computer-distracted operators of transportation vehicles. She related examples of the Northwest Airlines pilots who overflew their destination while reading rosters on a laptop, a texting engineer responsible for a train collision in Chatsworth, California, and the Delaware River tug boat mate in charge of towing a barge that collided with another vessel because he was distracted by his cell phone. Her clear message is that we need to use technology thoughtfully to ensure the benefits outweigh any detrimental effects. Automated cars, for example, could have many benefits in providing a very safe ride, possibly decreasing the effects of driver distraction, fatigue, and aging on highway accidents.

The fastest growing technical group in HFES is Healthcare, with many papers and sessions presented on testing medical devices, the design and human factors of electronic medical records, and online consumer information systems for patient compliance and support.

A symposium on research being conducted to support the NASA manned extra-planetary missions was also presented, with many relevant findings for life here on Earth, including the effects of sleep deprivation and sleep inertia (when you are suddenly awakened in the middle of sleep) on human performance.

BMW presented research on the optimal design for augmented displays in automated driving scenarios. The research found that drivers’ reactions to the displayed alerts and warnings as they attempted to avoid hazards in simulated driving tasks were often unpredictable, depending on features of the visual design.

About the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society logo

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is a 4500-member professional organization dedicated to the study of human-machine systems. Anna Wichansky is a Fellow of the HFES.

Related Information

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.

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. 

Monday Jul 14, 2014

Oracle Social Network: Enabling Employee Engagement with Oracle Cloud Services

Julien Laforêt (@julienlaforet), Procurement Sales Consultant, Oracle Social Network Business Leader, and User Experience Sales Ambassador tells us how the Oracle Social Network Cloud Service enables employee engagement and helps attract and maintain talent.

A recent Gallup poll revealed that 70% of employees surveyed disliked their jobs or were so completely disengaged that even incentives and extras were not sufficient to improve how they felt about work.

Disengaged employees means trouble for businesses in many areas

Can't contribute, won't contribute. Disengaged employees means the entire business suffers.

This statistic is important because we know that employees who are disengaged:

  • Do not exceed growth goals 
  • Rarely contribute to innovation  
  • Frequently limit their productivity 
  • Often share their thoughts and feelings on social media internally and externally, which contributes to negative publicity about the company 
  • Sometimes, they leave the company, meaning a loss of investment, incurred cost of replacement, and so on 

But, engaged and happy employees participate in ways that often yields more opportunities for the company itself to be successful, and opens the door to other talented people who are attracted to similar  high levels of work satisfaction.

Social media is a key that may help improve employee satisfaction and engagement. In this blog, we look at how to use it to enable positive employee engagement and results.

Communicating Internally

For any employee, growing their skills and knowledge, promoting their expertise and their successes, and collaborating across teams and networks in the company are important activities. These foster community and collaboration, a feeling of belonging to something larger than their current projects.

Most of the time, these kinds of growth opportunities and acknowledgements have only been possible in small social circles, for example, direct-line managers and immediate colleagues. How do you promote your employees to people in other regions or services?

Oracle Social Network allows people to connect and share in scalable, effective ways. It allows employees to create networks and:

  • Showcase their value and share their successes and expertise  
  • Participate in the life of the company: create, innovate, participate, share, improve  
  • Reduce the time spent managing emails and performing administrative tasks

Oracle Social Network Cloud Service

Showcasing Value and Sharing Successes

With public conversations on Oracle Social Network, an employee can create knowledge communities where all employees can contribute. Participating is easier than ever as employees uses the Oracle Social Network global search to quickly find people and conversations that align with their areas of interest, and then follow those people or join those conversations at any time.

Creating and Innovating

Oracle Social Network makes collaboration easy, reinforcing employees, their knowledge, and contributions as assets to a company. With employees creating, innovating, or proposing ideas, companies are more successful, employees feel valued, and unique talents of contributors are showcased in teams engaged in product innovation and competitor-killing ideas.

Nike, Inc. follows a similar model for their customers. Customers can propose designs for shoes, and the best “liked” designs might be awarded and launched in production, encourages customer engagement. Applied to employees, the model reveals that creative thinking and innovation is not limited to the R&D department in your company. Developing better products and refining processes and innovation through collaboration social process is game changer in a competitive business world.

Reducing Time Spent Managing Administrative Tasks

Oracle Social Network allows contributors to publish information to their walls and in conversations dedicated to a topic, where only followers and conversation members interested in the conversation participate. Unlike email notes distributed widely, using Oracle Social Network to publish information on walls instead allows employees to manage information overload and flooded inboxes. Information is published in dedicated identifiable conversations, easily located by employees who are empowered to join in. The conversation history is accessible to newcomers so that they can find everything that has been said earlier, a practice that prevents knowledge from being lost when employees leave a company, and it enables new employees to ramp up quickly.

Only Oracle Social Network allows private, secure conversations to be initiated directly from business applications and enables two-way tracking: from Oracle Social Network conversations to the original transaction and data in the application, and from the application to conversations related to a transaction or related data.

Initiating an OSN Conversation from an Application task flow

Initiating an OSN Conversation from inside an Oracle Applications Cloud task flow 

This practice removes the administrative overhead of exchanging information outside of the application's transactions, which occurs in disconnected silos, such as conversations between the requester and the buyer, project or transaction summary emails, reminders, and so on. Conversations in Oracle Social Network are contextual.

Employees can participate in business transaction-related conversations securely, too. Conversations may be private and information can be exchanged securely and in confidence among members of those conversations authorized to have such access.

OSN on simplified UI

Oracle Social Network is a great solution for tablets too. Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 simplified UI shown. 

When you start using Oracle Social Network, you just might find yourself asking, “How did we run our business before Oracle Social Network?” Just like smartphones revolutionized our everyday lives, Oracle Social Network will revolutionize your everyday work-life for the better.

Monday Jul 07, 2014

Designing a Naturally Conversational User Experience for the User Interface

By Georgia Price and Karen Scipi

Think about the software applications you like most. Why do you like them? How do they make you feel? What is your experience like when you use them? The most successful user interfaces—those that delight users—focus equally on the intersection of visual, interaction, and language design.

Visual and interaction design get a lot of play in the enterprise software development environment. Yet language design directly impacts a user’s ability to complete tasks. The use and arrangement of general words, specialized terms, and phrases on the UI promote a naturally conversational voice and tone and inform and induce user actions.

Simply put, the words, terms, and phrases that we promote on a UI either facilitate or hinder the user experience and either delight or frustrate the user.

As Oracle Applications User Experience language designers, we took this message on the road last month as featured speakers at the Society for Technical Communications Summit, where we presented two papers: Designing Effective User Interface Content and The Unadorned Truth About Terminology Management: Initiatives, Practices, and Melodrama.

Society for Technical Communication Summit logo

If attendance is any indication, our message resonated with many. More than 115 people gathered to hear us talk about how designing language for the UI is just as important when building effective, simplified user experiences as creating the right interactions and choosing the right images, icons, colors, and fonts. Dozens lined up after our talks to ask questions and to learn more, making us realize that many others who build software applications  are also grappling with how to design language to enable more simplified user experiences.

Perhaps we can pique your interest! Over the coming weeks, we'll share our thoughts and experiences on language design. Stay tuned to the Usable Apps blog to learn more about what language design is and how we use words, terms, and phrases, as well as voice and tone, to help build simplified user experiences and easy-to-understand UIs.

Wednesday May 28, 2014

Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8 Customization: Your User Interface, Your Text

Introducing the User Interface Text Editor

In Oracle Applications Cloud Release 8, there’s an addition to the customization tool set, called the User Interface Text Editor  (UITE). When signed in with an application administrator role, users launch this new editing feature from the Navigator's Tools > Customization > User Interface Text menu option.

See how the editor is in there with other customization tools?

User Interface Text is launched from the Navigator

User Interface Text Editor is launched from the Navigator Customization menu

Applications customers need a way to make changes to the text that appears in the UI, without having to initiate an IT project. Business users can now easily change labels on fields, for example. Using a composer and activated sandbox, these users can take advantage of the Oracle Metadata Services (MDS), add a key to a text resource bundle, and then type in their preferred label and its description (as a best practice for further work, I’d recommend always completing that description).

Oracle Composer used to change field labels

Changing a simplified UI field label using Oracle Composer

In Release 8, the UITE enables business users to easily change UI text on a much wider basis. As with composers, the UITE requires an activated sandbox where users can make their changes safely, before committing them for others to see.

The UITE is used for editing UI text that comes from Oracle ADF resource bundles or from the Message Dictionary (or FND_MESSAGE_% tables, if you’re old enough to remember such things).

Functionally, the Message Dictionary is used for the text that appears in business rule-type error, warning or information messages, or as a text source when ADF resource bundles cannot be used. In the UITE, these Message Dictionary texts are referred to as Multi-part Validation Messages.  

If the text comes from ADF resource bundles, then it’s categorized as User Interface Text in the UITE. This category refers to the text that appears in embedded help in the UI or in simple error, warning, confirmation, or information messages.

The embedded help types used in the application are explained in an Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience (UX) design pattern set. The message types have a UX design pattern set too.

Using UITE 

The UITE enables users to search and replace text in UI strings using case sensitive options, as well as by type. Users select singular and plural options for text changes, should they apply.

Searching and replacing text in UIT

Searching and replacing text in the UITE

The UITE also provides users with a way to preview and manage changes on an exclusion basis, before committing to the final result. There might, for example, be situations where a phrase or word needs to remain different from how it’s generally used in the application, depending on the context.

Previewing tech changes before saving

Previewing replacement text changes. Changes can be excluded where required.

Multi-Part Messages

The Message Dictionary table architecture has been inherited from Oracle E-Business Suite days. However, there are important differences in the Oracle Applications Cloud version, notably the additional message text components, as explained in the UX Design Patterns.

Message Dictionary text has a broad range of uses as indicated, and it can also be reserved for internal application use, for use by PL/SQL and C programs, and so on. Message Dictionary text may even concatenate at run time, where required.

The UITE handles the flexibility of such text architecture by enabling users to drill down on each message and see how it’s constructed in total. That way, users can ensure that any text changes being made are consistent throughout the different message parts.

Multipart messages in UI

Multi-part (Message Dictionary) message components in the UITE

Message Dictionary messages may also use supportability related numbers, the ones that appear appended to the message text in the application’s UI. However, should you have the requirement to remove these numbers from users' view, the UITE is not the tool for the job. Instead, see my blog about using the Manage Messages UI.

Thursday Apr 17, 2014

The Drive To Visualize Data: Dashboards

Introduction: Cars and Context

Like many people of a certain age, my first exposure to the term dashboard was when I heard my dad using it when driving the car. He referred to it as “the dash”.

Dad’s “dash” was an analog affair that told him the car’s speed, the miles traveled, the engine oil level and temperature, if he had enough gas in the tank, and a few other little bits of basic information. It was all whirring dials, trembling needle pointers on clock-style faces, switches to toggle on and off, a couple of sliders, and little lights that blinked when there was trouble.

Drivers in those days needed to pay attention, all the time, to their dashboards.

Ford dashboard from the 1970s

Old school car dashboards: quaint and charming. And a lot of work. (Source: WikiMedia Commons)

Dashboards in cars, and how drivers use them, are different now. The days of a dashboard with switches to flick or dials to turn are gone.

Today, a family car generates hundreds of megabytes of data every second. Most of this data is discarded immediately, and is not useful to the driver, but some is and may even be life saving. Technology makes sense of the surging data so that drivers can respond easily to important information because it’s presented to them in a timely, easily consumed, and actionable way.

Car dashboards are now closer to the “glass cockpit” world that fighter jet pilots experience. Cars have tiny sensors, even cameras, and other technology inside and outside the vehicle that detect and serve up striking digital visualizations about the health of the car and driver performance. Drivers are empowered to be “situationally aware” about what’s going on (what us UXers would call “context”), as they listen to or watch for signals and cues and respond to them naturally, using voice, for example.

Some car dashboards even use heads-up displays, projecting real-time information onto the windshield. Drivers know what’s going on with their car without taking their eyes off the road.

Chevrolet Camaro Heads-up Display

Chevrolet Corvette Heads-up Display (Source: www.chevrolet.com)

Dashboard design itself is now the essence of simplicity and cutting edge technology, and stylish with it too, arising passions about what makes a great interface inside a car. It’s all part of creating an experience to engage drivers for competitive advantage in a tight automobile market.

Tesla Model S Dashboard

Tesla Model S Dashboard (Source: www.teslamotors.com)

The Emergence of Digital Dashboards User Experience

When it comes to software applications and websites, dashboards are around us everywhere too. We’re all long familiar with how such dashboards work and how to use them, beginning with the pioneering My Yahoo! portal that popularized the use of the “My” pronoun in web page titles, right through to today’s wearable apps dashboards that are a meisterwerk of information visualization, integrating social media and gamification along the way.

Fitbit Dashboard (Author's own)

FitBit Dashboard (Source: Author)

An enterprise application dashboard is a one-stop shop of information. It’s a page made up of portlets or regions, chunking up related information into displays of graphs, charts, and graphics of different kinds. Dashboards visualize a breadth of information that spans a whole range of activities in a functional area.

Dashboards aggregate data into meaningful visual displays and cues, using processor horsepower at the backend to do the work that users used to do with notepads, calculators or spreadsheets to find what out what’s changed or in need of attention.

Dashboards enable users to prioritize work and to manage exceptions by taking light-weight actions immediately from the page, or to drill down to explore and do more in a transactional or analytics work area, if necessary.

The dashboard concept remains a core part of the enterprise applications user experience, particularly for work roles that rely on monitoring of information, providing reports on performance, or needing a range of information to make well-timed and high-level decisions.

Developing Dashboards

In work, we now also have to deal with that other torrent of data we hear about: big data. Dashboards are ideal ways to make sense of this data and to represent the implications of its analysis to a viewer, bringing insight to users rather than the other way around.

To this end, Oracle provides enterprise application developers with the Oracle ADF Data Visualization Tools (DVT) components to build dashboards using data in the cloud, and with design guidance in the form of the Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle Endeca and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition UI patterns and guidelines for making great-looking dashboards.

Fusion Apps Desktop UI Dashboard

Typical Oracle Fusion Applications Desktop UI Dashboard (Source: Oracle)

Beyond Desktop Dashboards…

Dashboards’ origins as a desktop UI concept obviously predated the “swipe and pinch” world of mobility, today’s cross-device, flexible way of working with shared data in the cloud. Sure, we still have a need for what dashboards were originally about. But, we now need new ways for big data to be organized and visualized. We need solutions that reflect our changing work situations--our context --so that we that we can act on the information quickly, using a tablet or a smart phone, or whatever’s optimal. And, we need new ways of describing this dashboard user experience.

Enter the era of “glance, scan, and commit”, a concept that we will explore in a future Usable Apps blog.

Twilio: Democratizing Communications to Build a Better User Experience in the Oracle Cloud

Oracle has a powerful partner ecosystem in the Oracle Cloud, adding value to our applications in many areas. Enabling partners to integrate with our cloud applications is key to Oracle’s “Extending SaaS through PaaS” approach. Sharing our expertise with partners, which helps them to productively build a great user experience (UX), is a major drive of Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) outreach.

One of the latest additions to the Oracle PartnerNetwork  is the very cool and happening Twilio. Followers of the AppsLab know the OAUX team loves exploring the UX possibilities of Twilio-based voice and SMS integrations. I took a trip to Twilio's San Francisco HQ to ask David Wacker (@dlwacker) of Twilio Channel Sales and Partnerships to find out more about the whys and hows of integrating in the cloud and simplifying user experience...

Being in the cloud offers the potential to make a major difference with a superior UX. The days of cumbersome, on-premise installations and horrible UX are gone. Now scalable, cloud-based applications, customizable and reflecting each customer’s business, are changing the UX across datacenter management, CRM, marketing automation, and ERP, all driven through how we power communications.

Twilio is a cloud-based communications platform that offers a powerful, open API for building communications applications, what Twilio refers to as "democratizing access" to communication in a traditionally complex and expensive world of telephony.

Using Twilio, developers can easily access the means to create robust communications integrations, fundamentally changing the UX landscape for applications users in the cloud. Twilio’s open API framework means developers can utilize prebuilt solutions in the Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, and Oracle Sales Cloud. Developers can build such UX integrations productively, without the cost and effort normally associated with such projects.

David pointed out a few ways how Twilio enhanced the user experience for Oracle application users, such as the Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, and Oracle Sales Cloud.

Twilio’s seamless integration to the Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua) means that users can just drag and drop the Twilio Cloud Connector onto a marketing campaign canvas to provide for outbound SMS, MMS (multimedia messaging), and voice calls. This delivers a great multichannel user experience, such as for mobile marketing campaigns with pictures or QR coupon codes.

Twilio Cloud Connector

Dragging the Twilio Cloud Connector onto a campaign canvas easily adds Twilio SMS, MMS, and voice to marketing campaigns.

Twilio's embedding of SMS and voice capabilities right into the Oracle Service Cloud (RightNow) means a superior customer experience built in a scalable, flexible way. A service agent can use click-to-call to phone an end customer, automatically creating the event on their system and then recording the call, for example. An SMS capability can also enable customers to chat with service agents using SMS on their phones instead of web chat, if preferred, and more.

Twilio Click-to-Call

Click-to-call for customer engagement, which allows customers to call inbound more effectively.

Twilio's integration into the Oracle Sales Cloud, drives efficiency by simplifying the UX. Twilio uses the Oracle Sales Cloud native CTI toolbar to track and record phone calls, allowing for seamless conference calls, and all integrated to drive sales productivity. For example, a sales rep can use Twilio’s click-to-call to contact opportunities, automated dialing, or conference line bridges powered by Twilio, creating events and logging activities easily within the Oracle Sales Cloud.

Twilio integrated with Oracle Sales Cloud

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) toolbar for easy access to inbound and outbound dialing in Oracle Sales Cloud powered by Twilio.

David tells me that “Twilio’s integration possibilities are endless. That's the best part about working with developers in the Twilio and Oracle communities; finding new ways to solve user problems, unconstrained by technology or traditional project limitations. I’m excited to explore new and unique ways that the Oracle developer community and Twilio can change the UX landscape in the Oracle Cloud.”

Those are some great UX insights from David, and there are more to come. The OAUX team will be working with Twilio over the coming months, so stay tuned to your usual outreach and communications channels for news and events.

Twilio is also exhibiting at, and sponsoring, Oracle CloudWorld in Chicago on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Stop by the Twilio booth to learn more (or to just say, Hi!), and give the Usable Apps blog a shout-out.

Thursday Feb 13, 2014

Learning to Build a Wearables User Experience from Mickey Mouse

Using wearable technology in work is a hot topic, offering possibilities of increased productivity for businesses by augmenting and automating the tasks of the wearer. 

The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team recently ran a wearables design jam at Oracle’s HQ in Redwood Shores. This pilot event was for Oracle employees to learn how to design wearables for the enterprise and to develop an outreach program for customers and partners to share in the lessons learned in building such solutions.

Wearables at Work: Pebble Ideas Fuel Innovation at Oracle

Wearables at work: Use cases are emerging that add real business value 


Design jam teams were given an overview of the latest on wearables technologies and uses in the consumer and enterprise space. Cool apps already developed by OAUX for Google Glass heads-up display and the Pebble smart watch where demoed, live.

To power the teams understanding of wearables fundamentals and to inspire quick results, teams watched videos about the Disney Glow with the Show technology (yes, that's the Mickey Mouse angle) and about how rapid prototyping using household items lead to a game-changing, heads-up display device.

Currently popular wearables are built using different technologies, but use design concepts that work well across devices and make for productive building, such as the small screen card paradigm for information display.  Design jam teams were provided with UX guidelines that reflected enterprise build methodologies and usage requirements, a reminder that UX is now not just about how you wink; it’s about how you work. So, with this wearables learning in mind, the hands-on design began!


DIY Wearables Design Kit

You wear it well—design jam DIY toolkits being put to good use

The design jam was a non-coding event. Instead, teams were equipped with DIY toolboxes and given free reign to design a wearable that was as innovative or as “out there” as they wish with just two caveats. Firstly, it had to solve an identified enterprise problem and secondly, it had to be buildable with, or integrated with, Oracle technology. The result was amazing creativity quickly shown by teams, reflecting the diversity and talent of Oracle employees worldwide.

Team Air Glove Design Jam Wearable Creativity!

Oracle design jam team Air Glove solution featured heads-up display glasses, sensory gloves, and a special “Skunk Works” sensor (indicated by a WiFi-enabled skunk stencil). 

The design jam approach is a great way to learn about wearables and for newly hired employees to connect socially and professionally with co-workers in a fun way. And, there was a business focus too. Teams nuanced their wearable designs for the enterprise world, exploring how to integrate solutions with other applications and data in the cloud, for example. 

All designs were outstanding. After OAUX VP Jeremy Ashley gave an update on the latest wearables technology and opportunities, the team with the most promising design was rewarded by each member receiving an inexpensive, yet tasteful, wearable technology prize. 

The lessons from the wearables design jam and other user experience insight will be used refine our wearables enablement and expertise. That knowledge will be shared with our customers and partners to build wearables solutions too.

So, watch out for wearables enablement events coming your way! Stay tuned to the Usable Apps website and VOX blog, and follow @usableapps on Twitter.

Wednesday Jan 08, 2014

Designing the Language Experience of the User Interface

When you think about any user interface (UI) guideline and you hear “language of the user,” what do you think?

  • I should be able to understand the words I see on the UI.
  • The words I see on the UI should be meaningful to the work that I do.
  • The words I see on the UI should be translatable and localizable.

The usability of business applications has evolved, and business applications have become more consumer-focused. The average user’s understanding of business applications has evolved as well. Technology and know-how now allow us to build contextual user experiences into applications and to design language experiences for the UI—with style, tone, terms, words, and phrases—that resonate with real users and their real, every day work experiences in the real world, across the globe.

For example, on the Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud My Details page, notice how the sections are organized, how they use real-world terms in headings and field labels, and how they use real content, such as personal and biographical details instead of placeholder text, which cannot be evaluated for its meaning or translation or localization needs.

Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud My Details page

Choosing which terms, words, and phrases to include on the UI is as important as choosing the right terms to use in code. In code and on the UI, the terms and words should be accurate in context and enable the successful completion of a task in context, whether the context is the processing of an event in the code or the user adding information to a contact record on a form in the UI.

37signals book, Getting Real, dedicates a short essay, Copywriting is Interface Design, to the importance of copywriting in UI design and how important every single word choice on is for the UI.

There are also numerous resources that support that choosing terms, words, and phrases for the UI that accurately represent real-world concepts in their source language often enables the translation and localization experiences. For examples, see Ultan Ó Broin’s Blogos entry Working Out Context in the Enterprise: Localize That! and Verónica González de la Rosa and Antoine Lefeuvre’s slideshare ‘Translation is UX’ Manifesto.

So how do we design a rich, context-aware UI language experience for today’s user?

  • We use accurate terms to represent concepts that are well-established in the real world by real users. These are the terms that users use frequently, terms such as team or shopping cart.
  • We use terms consistently to represent the same concepts across applications. We wouldn’t use location in one place and party site in another to represent the same concept, or save and submit to represent the same concept.
  • When we need to use these terms in context of phrases on the UI, we do so with a style and tone that resonates with users and yet is still translatable and localizable. This means that we don’t introduce nonsensical words or instant messaging-speak. We offer phrasing that is simple and clear: Add a new customer record.
  • We stop surfacing the language of the application on the UI, for example, code-specific terms. When we use a term like worker in the code as an abstraction or a superclass to represent the concept that a person can assume the role of “employee” or “contractor” in the system, this use makes sense in context of where and how it is used in code. When we surface the term worker on the UI to represent either or both roles, we introduce a context-independent use of this concept and one that when tested, we learn is not necessarily translatable or localizable in such a context.

Jakob Nielsen in his 1995 article 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design identified a need for this practice of using language choices that resonate with real users: “The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.”

A simplified UI is simple to build, simple to extend, and simple to use. Use and context awareness require us to build applications that focus equally on code, visual design, and language (UI) design. Every page that we surface to the user should make sense to the user in context of his work and the real world. The practice of designing the language that is used on the UI offers us an extraordinary opportunity to evolve how we communicate with users to enable their work everywhere.

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