Friday Feb 20, 2015

Oracle Design Jam takes a look at the Future of Information

By Sarahi Mireles and Kathy Miedema, Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach

From Kathy...

In keeping with a new emphasis and investment from Oracle on exploring emerging technology for ways to encourage the evolution of the Oracle user experience, the UX Innovation Events (@InnovateOracle) team held a design jam for Oracle employees in early February.

Since embracing their charter in Fall 2014, the team -- a branch of the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) team -- has organized and held a rapid succession of design jams. The design jam focused on the future of information design.

Verbal Karate Chop: The Team. (L-R) Tony Orciuoli, Sarahi Mireles, Sasha Boyko, Rob Hernandez (Kathy Miedema not pictured)

Verbal Karate Chop, the team: (L-R) Tony Orciuoli, Sarahi Mireles, Sasha Boyko, Rob Hernandez, and Kathy Miedema (not pictured) 

It’s worth pointing out how exciting it is to be part of an organization that encourages a free flow of thinking and creativity by supporting events like these. Our team met a few times before the event to kick-start our brainstorming, and then took off an entire day to participate in this event.

We were well-supported during the event too – we had room to collaborate, materials to help us develop ideas, mentors to help guide us, food to keep us fueled.

Our team, Verbal Karate Chop, designed a product that builds on the technology behind Oracle Voice, pulling in information around a particular keyword or phrase to create meetings, help prepare for meetings, and even start a meeting hands-free if you happen to be driving in your car, for example.

Sarahi can better describe what it’s like to participate as a developer and build an idea like this on a tight deadline. Before turning it over to her, I’m happy to announce that our idea won both the People’s Choice award and the Best Use of Audio/Video award. This was my first time participating in such an event – what a thrill it was!

Innovate and diversify. Getting the message out: Kathy Miedema and Sarahi Mireles

Innovate and diversify. Getting the message out: Kathy Miedema and Sarahi Mireles

... and from Sarahi

As a developer, I find it really fun going to a design jam. The best part after the brain-storming is starting to build your prototype. This can be something really simple or something quite complex, and that actually depends on the time you have and how fast are you able to play with whatever tool you are using.

Time was actually the key factor for this design jam. Having only a couple of hours to build your entire idea is what really makes your adrenaline surge.

We started putting together all our ideas, and then we began to draw the general design of the whole idea (I’m glad we had two designers on our team!), and after that, we built it.

From a non-designer point of view, I have to say that we designed some cool UIs after a couple of hours of pushing our brains to the maximum. And it was awesome to build out those ideas.

If you have the opportunity to join a design jam, do it! It’s also the best way to learn from other developers and non-developers, and to explore all kinds of crazy ideas for innovation in the enterprise.

Verbal Karate Chop. The User Experience: People’s Choice and the Best Use of Audio/Video awards

Verbal Karate Chop, the user experience: People’s Choice and Best Use of Audio/Video awards

Explore more 

Find out more about this Oracle Applications User Experience design jam and about other events on the UX Innovation Events blog, and follow event happenings on Twitter.

The overall results of the design jam are here.

To discover more about the emerging technology and trends that drive the Oracle Applications User Experience strategy, get the free eBook from Vice President, Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley). 

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.

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

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