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.
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
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.
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.
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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