Sunday Apr 24, 2016

UX in a Heartbeat: Emotion and Happenin' Haptics on the Apple Watch

We know that user experience (UX) is increasingly an emotional concept and we need to design accordingly

UX is about how people feel about using applications. User experience design also enables us to express emotion too: Just look at the growth in popularity of emoji for example.

Here’s another emotional design feature I like: the Digital Touch capability on the Apple Watch that lets you share your own very heartbeat with another Apple Watch user. Not only does the person selected from your contact list see your heartbeat, but as it’s a haptic alert, they get to feel it too!

Apple Watch Digital Touch heartbeat exchange with my son, Fionn

As someone who travels a lot  on business and is away from a young son, I love this heartbeat feature. It makes me feel close to someone who is in reality very far away. 

Although being a Skype Dad doesn’t really cut as a way to stay in touch with my son, this little “in the moment” and deeply personal digital expression of my emotion helps me feel much better when away. It really means a lot to me.

It’s such a warm feeling to see and feel my son’s heartbeat on my wrist in return.

Saturday Apr 23, 2016

Your New Favourite Band? Watch Straps Get Smart

At last wearable technology makers are getting it: The fashion or style dimension of wearable tech (or #fashtech) is critical to user acceptance and market success. 

All the wearable tech majors are at it now, hiring fashionistas left, right, and center to consult on, design, and flash their products in public. The hot wearabletech space at the moment is, of course, smartwatches. Seemingly everyone is offering a device (Swiss Army?) and now must consider the impact of how fashionable the thing looks. 

But, whether these players are getting the balance between chic and geek right is another question. At least we are moving in the right direction: away from the wardrobe malfunction era!

Apple Watch bands

The recent launch of a new range of fashionable bands for the Apple Watch made me ponder: How come I saw nobody queuing overnight outside the Apple Store in Stanford to get the first ones? OK, I jest a little, but clearly people feel they can live without a new range of straps that don’t really add anything new.

Apple Watch bands

How might this be addressed? Well, consider the amount of UX real estate that is going a-begging for fashion or functional enhancement on a smartwatch band or strap compared to the device’s watchface itself. It’s a simply staggering oversight from a design perspective.

But innovation is at hand. 

Some people see the possibilities and potential of a smart strap or band. 

MainTool, Wotch, uBirds Unique, Samsung Tiptalk, Montblanc Timewalker, and more, are here. 

You will see watch bands become not only more fashionable but more functional -  smarter - in 2016.

As the CEO of MainTool says: “Let’s have the tech you want find a way to work around the watch you love.”

Watch that space on your wrist.

Sunday Dec 27, 2015

#PaaS4SaaS: Digital Branding in the Cloud with UX. Beyond Marketing

I'm chuffed with my article on Forbes OracleVoice: 3 Tech Must Dos For A Smoother User Experience. It's getting quite a lot of attention.

And why wouldn't it?!

PaaS4SaaS business propositions
PaaS4SaaS: The business propositions. Already, Oracle partners such as Certus Solutions and eProseed (shown) have taken advantage of our UX enablement. Here's how you can do the same.

A simple, modern user experience delivered in the cloud using PaaS is a must-have in the digital economy. Branding is beyond mere marketing. It touches on the emotional side of the user relationship with beautiful things, making users want to do more, discover more, engage more, buy more...

Speaking of moving beyond marketing, check out what Debra Lilley (@debralilley), VP of Cloud Services at our partner Certus Solutions has to say (Debra also features in the OracleVoice piece).

It's clear from the readership figures of Debra's Oracle Profit Magazine PaaS4SaaS articles that Oracle's PaaS4SaaS solutions are of great interest to the cloud partner ecosystem.

Awesome things are coming of the PaaS4SaaS UX enablement now offered to the Oracle PartnerNetwork.

Here's how you can begin to win more business with our enablement.

Stay tuned. Happy Holidays!

Saturday Jun 27, 2015

Jules of the Oracle Cloud: Wiring Developers' Use Cases to UX PaaS4SaaS Productivity

Two killer videos to watch. Together.

First up, Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience PaaS and SaaS enablement outreacher Julian "Jules" Orr (@Orr_UX) on how to select the right use case for PaaS4SaaS using the #JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) approach.

This video is part of the OTNArchBeat (@OTNArchBeat) Two Minute Tech Tip (2MTT) series.

Second, we have Oracle partner Hitachi Consulting talking about wireframing customer cloud solutions using OAUX enablement and what that means for shortening the HCM SaaS innovation cycle and increasing business.

No idea who the guy in the ETRO (@EtroOfficial) suit is. Damn hipsters.

Of course, the two videos are perfect together. Just like PaaS and SaaS.

You can read more about the Hitachi Consulting enablement on the Usable Apps blog.

Your First KiSS: Learning 2 ♥ #IoT UX with APIs

Services: that’s really what’s at the heart of the IoT (Internet of Things) device conversation and what makes the user experience (UX) design of IoT different. 

Think of your first KISS (Killer Integration Services, Simple) as the beginning of a love affair with ubiquitous connectivity of devices and data exchange through the cloud. 

I recorded this Two Minute Tech Tip (2MTT) with Mr. OTNArchBeat (@OTNArchBeat), Bob Rhubart, to explain more about where developers now need to place their affections in the cloud.

The O'Reilly ebook Experience Design addresses IoT, explains how services are at the heart of the IoT user experience, and outlines other differences too. 

Those services are made available via web APIs and developers and designers now need to approach UX by building UI services for task flows and fluid connectivity and not build hard-coded UIs. 

APIs are a form of UX design, and the future of developers implementing UX, as Jared Spool (@jmspool) would say. 

Learn to love APIs as UX design for the cloud
Oyster Card for transport in London. No card actually necessary!

This UX Mag article summarizes the basics you need to know about what’s different about UX design for IoT. The London Oyster Travel Card is a great example of the IoT UX: You don’t even need the card to travel, you can use NFC and tap your smartphone at the ticket barrier to get to the trains, for example. 

With that data is in the cloud and devices are connected, you’re good to go. Some of those “things” of course, don’t even have a UI! 

You can read more about services and how APIs are UX design for IoT, PaaS, and SaaS on the Usable Apps blog

Devs, it's time to heart APIs if you’re not already Oracle Cloud smitten.

How End Users, CIOs, & Sales Reps Can Have Their ERP Cake & Eat It: Oracle Cloud UX

Cakes seem to be a popular storytelling vehicle in the enterprise user experience world. Hardly surprising, really.

Sales program cakes at Congress FY16 event

Cupcakes for the Cloud: Seen at the Oracle Direct Sales Congress for FY16 in Dublin, Ireland

The very genesis of ERP, for example, was in the tea and cakes business in the UK after WWII. Since then, ERP user experience (UX) has evolved in ways that tell one tasty story about how innovation in the enterprise keeps the entire business sweet.  

Making that ERP UX cake story.

Making that Oracle ERP Cloud UX cake story on location: David Haimes (@dhaimes), Senior Director, Oracle Applications Product Development , and Karen Scipi (@karenscipi), Principal UX Engineer.

I came across more killer cakes at the Oracle Direct Sales Congress FY16 event in Dublin where I had been invited to tell the UX story to eager and passionate sales folks from across Europe about how to use the "must-have" message in their work. The cakes reminded me that delivering on end-user satisfaction and business productivity are messages that decision-makers want to hear. It’s all about ROI and UX is the way to bake that deal-maker in.

UX is a competitive must-have in the Cloud for sure, but remember: you must know your audience.

CIOs and other decision-makers want to see and demonstrate an ROI on their Cloud applications, and satisfied users and a more productive business are a great return that transfers well to corporate stakeholders, analysts, and FY reports. And--because we can build optimized UIs from data in the Oracle Cloud using web services, being agnostic of the devices themselves--we can also offer those decision-makers a roadmap of UX evolution using their data.

You can read more about how the Oracle ERP Cloud UX makes for happy users and decision-makers on the Usable Apps blog.   

And, of course, the story is about cakes

Monday Jun 01, 2015

On the Road with Apps UX: Oracle PaaS4SaaS Partner Enablement is Worldwide

Just back from a very successful outreach mission in Asia where I got to demo our PaaS4SaaS enablement at Oracle Applications User Experience expos and also deliver deep-dive PaaS4SaaS (that means using Oracle Platform as a Service to extend or build Oracle Applications Cloud [Software as a Service] solutions) workshops to an eager, enthusiastic, and energized Oracle Applications Cloud partner audience.

Ultan in Singapore

New headshot from Singapore. Looking forward to a return visit to deliver more enablement.

Lest you were in any doubt, the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) events in Singapore and Beijing serve as a timely reminder that not only is our PaaS4SaaS UX enablement for Oracle Partners is global, and our toolkit is internationalized and supports localization requirements for different countries and regions worldwide.

Rapid Development Kit in Simplified Chinese

The Oracle Applications User Experience PaaS4SaaS enablement is based on simplified UI rapid development kit strategy. Partners in Beijing and Singapore saw the kit deployed live to an Oracle Java Cloud Service-SaaS Extension service. Try the kit yourself here.

Check out the Usable Apps blog post Deep-diving Oracle UX PaaS4SaaS Enablement in Asia and the VoX blog posts Showing the Oracle Applications User Experience Roadmap to Oracle's Asia Partners and Laying Out the Oracle Applications User Experience Strategy for Partners in Beijing for more details. 

The business propositions of PaaS4SaaS cannot be ignored by any Oracle Applications Cloud partner eager to get ahead. The blog posts contain the requirements and call to action details if you're interested in acting.


Oracle Apps Cloud UX assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps dev community, helping them to design and deliver usable apps using PaaS4SaaS.


Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @ultan

See my other Oracle blog about product globalization too: Not Lost in Translation

Interests: User experience (UX), PaaS,SaaS, design patterns, tailoring, Cloud, dev productivity, language quality, mobile apps, Oracle FMW and ADF, and a lot more.


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