Oracle Usability Advisory Board, Europe
By Ultan O'Broin-Oracle on May 28, 2010
Earlier this month, I attended the first Oracle Usability Advisory Board meeting in Europe (held on Oracle's big campus in Thames Valley Park (TVP, Reading, in the UK). My main initial interest here, initially of course, was to listen to customer and partner experiences and requirements in the area of "applications user experience":http://usableapps.oracle.com (UX) - focusing in on the user assistance side of that, natch.
However, given my background in the language, translation and internationalization world, I was also keen to watch out for issues in those areas that impact on the UX. Information quality is fundamentally a user experience issue, after all - regardless of which natural language it ends up in. I met some great people at TVP and took away some powerful UX thoughts about where might go with the area of language in the UI, localizations, and other cultural issues. One area of special interest to me is language as part of the user experience.
By "language" I mean terminology and style of wording you see in user interfaces, error messages and help. Is this language reflective of how people really work and are used to? What is its relationship to competitiveness and productivity? What about customization and extensibility? An area rich in research potential for UX, I think. And why do many automatically assume everyone in Europe's happy with English (especially U.S. English) content? For some, it's a very serious issue! And why shouldn't it be? In terms of the web and selling, the importance of language is well explained by the Common Sense Advisory article "Can't Read, Won't Buy".
Debra Lilley of Fujitsu (an Oracle partner), who also attended, has some good coverage of the event. On to the next one! In the meantime, I will be following up with the attendees to explore some ideas further.