Sunday Feb 16, 2014

It's Not How You Wink, It's How You Work

What might wearable technology user experience guidance look like? Well, we're sharpening up the guidelines and trying them out them out at wearables design jams, internally to Oracle for now.

The first Oracle UX design jam was held in January. This was a pilot event to try out some ideas for delivering wearables design enablement to a wider audience. It was a very successful event that showed off our own innovations and harnessed the smarts of a diverse audience drawn from across Oracle, worldwide.


Wearables design jam idea
Creative wearables design for enterprise problem. Design jam teams had to a) solve an enterprise problem with a wearables solution, and b) do it by integrating the device with Oracle technology.


Ultan demonstrating Necomimi Brainwave Ears Cat Ears
Ultan demonstrating Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears. A must-have for all wearables evangelists.

Customers and partners stay tuned. Follow along on the VOX blog and the Usable Apps website for news of outreach events. Follow along with @usableapps on Twitter too.

Saturday Dec 28, 2013

Copy is Interface Design

A superb blog in form and content, outlining why "Copy is Interface" by Daniel Burka. Every developer of user interfaces should memorize the list of best practices. If you haven't got writing skills, then find someone who has, or hire someone, if possible, and and apply any available guidelines, carefully.

Language (tone, style, and terminology) in the user interface (UI) is a critical part of an application's user experience. Getting the language right from the beginning of the development process ensures that it stays right. Of course, language must be tested iteratively, too. But, getting language wrong at the beginning, or adopting the Lorem Ipsum approach, well... the Swiss cheese model of language defects tells it all...






Swiss Cheese Model of Language Defects. Source: Des Traynor's User Interface Engineering "Microcopy" presentation.


Oracle partners and customers are working closely with the Oracle Applications User Experience team to identify the optimal toolkit to ensure that when they need to tailor the language in the user interface of their applications, they can do so simply and without the need for a major IT project or budget catastrophe. And, for enterprise applications developers who need guidance and practical resources on key UI terminology and their context so that they can build their own optimized Cloud UIs (be they desktop, simplified, or mobile) well, that kind of guidance is being discussed and readied too.

At the recent Oracle Applications User Experience communications and outreach team's Oracle Partner Advisory Board inaugural meeting in the UK, the importance of language quality in the UX was underscored. Not just in English, but in other natural languages too.

37 Signals' Getting Real gets the importance contribution that language makes to UX with the chapter called "Copywriting is Interface Design", and the Translation is UX website reminds us that UX is global and language excellence must reflect that, too.

For those interested in how language needs to be nuanced for the enterprise UX, and some of the approaches that can be taken, check out the Blogos article, "Working Out Context in the Enterprise: Localize That!".

Stay tuned for more on language as UX enablement from the outreach and communications team in 2014.

APIs are User Experience Design Too

The developer's favorite UX guru and industry champion, Jared Spool, nails today's way of providing great user experiences in his User Interface Engineering (UIE) article "APIs: The Future is Now".

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a platform for user experience too, offering the prospect of a seamless user experience (UX) between applications and services. UX designers are emerging as the enablers of great user experiences in the cloud, all built using LEGO-like building blocks of application programming interfaces (APIs). Those other building blocks, UX design patterns bring those integrated experiences to life making design and development for cloud solutions more productive than ever.

Jared continues with his UIE insight:


To make APIs work, they need a design. The method of designing an API isn’t that different from any other user interface project, except the users are fellow developers and designers.

We’re seeing a branch of UX design emerging that deals with creating easy to use and maintain APIs. They provide documentation, sandbox tools for testing functions, example code, and simple maintenance models for getting the API integrated and running quickly and effectively.

It won’t be too long before our own organizations need to ask what could we build as an API for our own stuff? As designers, we can play a role in helping make our core competencies a integral part of
other applications.

Check out Jared's use of Twilio's cloud communication services as an example of how APIs solve problems for users. Twilio is also a service that makes total sense in the Oracle enterprise world of connecting people and information together when, where, and how it's needed.


Twilio integration with RightNow using PaaS


Twilio example integration using PaaS

Twilio is part of an ecosystem of partners that Oracle works with to provide value-add solutions for its applications. It's part of a strategy of delivering SaaS through PaaS so that applications and partners can tailor and integrate applications to increase return on investment for customers. Customers and partners can deliver even more compelling and modern user experiences to make enterprise employees more productive and satisfied with the tools they have to do their jobs, all using a common source of truth in the cloud.

The Oracle Applications User Experience outreach and communications team provides customers, partners, and enterprise applications developments with the toolkits and guidance to build such experiences in the cloud more simply and more productively than ever.

Stay tuned to the Oracle VOX (Voice of User Experience) blog and @usableapps on Twitter for news of the latest outreach in 2014!

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Dress Code 2.0: Wearables

It used to be that enterprises had this thing called a dress code to "inform" employees about what they could and couldn't wear in work. That's all changed these days, largely.

But now, enterprises need to react to what technology their employees will wear when working. Enterprises are about to take advantage of how the latest trend in technology, "wearables", will transform work and make workers smarter and enable them to complete their tasks more easily.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/76/Google_Glass_detail.jpg/640px-Google_Glass_detail.jpg

The term "wearables" itself, for me, is too broad. We also have the Quantified Self arrivistes, and talk of "little data" or "the personal API" to contend with, so I'd prefer to think of wearables, in the enterprise context, as another optimized UI, part of an overall user experience.

Wearable technology, this way, might be best analyzed as being for a certain set of users to do certain tasks using certain devices. Using cloud-based data as the source of truth, all can be exchanged between other users and devices, meeting business objectives by solving business problems in an efficient, effective, and satisfying way (that's called "usability", folks).

We are past the fad stage, and real business cases are being identified (as this Wall Street Journal article, "Wearable Gadgets Transform How Companies Do Business" points out). Putting together the opportunities for integration of applications at the consumer level and those business services appearing, we can see an emergent technology and user experience roadmap for workers to be even more productive.

This is a fascinating area, and ironically IMO, again it seems that the enterprise offers more potential for realistic value-adds and faster adoption for wearables than the personal space does. Admittedly, it can be as hard to separate personal and work technologies from each other these days as it is to separate your work clothes from leisure wear, but does that really matter?

Talk of wearables is still dominated by a narrow range of devices, namely Google Glass and various smart watches, and most usage we see and hear about is of a healthcare, sporting, fitness, or just exploratory and fun nature.

However, thinking about wearables from a problem-solving perspective and taking in disparate technologies and use cases from the personal, enterprise, startup and open-source world is a more fruitful exploration, I think. And, we need to think beyond glasses and watches too, and think about what services, APIs, sensors, OpenCV (Open Source Computer Vision), voice, and more, can offer with integration and interconnectivity in the cloud.

The Oracle Applications User Experience team is up on the wearables technology and enterprise potential, so stay tuned. We've already shown off some early use cases in the CRM space for Google Glass, but there is a lot more coming.

We will bring a whole new dimension to the notion of "dress code" in work. Your participation and insight as Oracle customers and partners, and as users of our applications, has an open invitation, as always, to inform our innovations.

Exciting times.

Read more about wearables and the Applications User Experience team on Misha Vaughan's (@mishavaughan) VOX Blog.

Thursday Oct 31, 2013

UK Pilot Event: Fusion Applications Release 8 Simplified UI: Extensibility & Customization of User Experience

Oracle partner with the credentials to go? Interested? Of course you are! But read on to understand the what, why, where, and the who of this event to ensure that this great opportunity is the right fit for you before signing up. There will be some demand for this one, so hurry!

What: A one-day workshop where Applications User Experience will preview the proposed content for communicating the user experience (UX) tool kit intended for the next release of Oracle's Cloud Applications. We will walk through the content, explain our approach and tell you about our activities for communicating to partners and customers how to customize and extend their Release 8 user experiences for Oracle's Sales and HCM Cloud Applications with composers and the Oracle Application Development Framework toolkit.

When and Where: Dec. 11, 2013 @ Oracle UK in Thames Valley Park. Again: This event is held in person in the UK. So ensure you can travel if you sign up!

Why: We are responding to Oracle partner interest about extending and customizing Simplified UIs for Release 7, and we will be use the upcoming release as our springboard for getting a powerful productivity and satisfaction message out to the Oracle ADF enterprise methodology development community, Fusion customer implementation and tailoring teams and to our Oracle partner ecosystem.

This event will also be an opportunity for attendees to give Oracle feedback on the approach too, ensuring our messaging and resources meets your business needs or if there is something else needed to get up and running fast!

Who: The ideal participants for this workshop are those involved in system implementation roles for HCM and Sales Cloud Applications Release 8, as well as seasoned ADF developers who have been developing, tailoring and integrating solutions for Oracle Fusion Applications generally. But hey, if you have more "niche" applications use cases in these areas, we're listening to you too (but contact us first - details below). And yes, yes, yes Cloud is part of the discussion!

How to Register: Use this URL: http://bit.ly/UXEXTUK13

If you have questions, then send them along right away to misha.vaughan@oracle.com.

Deadline: Please RSVP by November 8, 2013.

Thursday Oct 03, 2013

Simple to Use, Simple to Design, Simple to Build at UKOUG Apps 13

Come to the UK Oracle User Group's Applications Conference 2013 in London and see Kristin Desmond and myself deliver a powerful message about Tailoring Your Applications User Experiences in the Cloud.


Simplified UI: Simple to Use, Simple to Design, Simple to Build


Simplified UI: Simple to Use, Simple to Design, Simple to Build


Featuring the Release 7 Simplified User Interface experience for our cloud applications, we'll show you how to enable your business to take charge of tailoring your own modern and compelling UI that delivers on usability without needing the IT department, how you can design a new great user experience and partner integrations using UX design patterns, and how you won't have to write a line of code to build any of this. And all in the cloud. A must for partners and customers alike!

See you there!

And there's more from the Applications User Experience team at that event too. Check out the other UX sessions too. Don't miss 'em!

Why Be Shy About Applications User Experience? Be Shameless like @ultan

Utterly shameless piece of self-promotion by way of a great video made by the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) team: Me talking about the how's and why's of user experience and my work in Oracle, hopefully communicated in a way that developers and builders of great-looking usable apps will relate to!

I was honored to be part of this tour and being asked spread the development and technical aspects of using UX Design Pattern and Guidelines message in person to customers, partners and developers in six countries.





Ultan Ó Broin - User Experience - Oracle OTN TOUR America Latina

The video was made during the Mexican part of the OTN Latinoamérica Tour of 2013.

A complete gallery of great videos from the different countries visited on the tour; featuring members of the local user groups and OTN rockstars is available too. Check them out! Looking at the gallery alone really conveys a tremendous sense of range, depth, diversity, as well as the flexibility of Oracle technology users worldwide. Plus there are some real characters in there. Some of them even speaking English (next year I promise to deliver in Spanish)!

Kudos to the OTN team for the production work and to all the local user groups.

About

Oracle applications user experience (UX) assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps community, helping to design and deliver usable apps.

Profile

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), user centered design, design patterns, tailoring, BYOD, dev relations, language quality, mobile apps, Oracle FMW and ADF, and a lot more.

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