Walmart and Fusion Apps
By ultan o'broin on Jun 27, 2011
Photograph: Misha Vaughan
I attended Fusion Apps (yes, I know I am supposed to say "Oracle Fusion Applications", but stuffy old style guides are a turn-off in interwebs conversations) User Experience Advocate (FXA) training in Long Beach, California last week; a suitable location as ODTUG KSCOPE 11 was kicking off and key players were in the area. As a member of Oracle's Apps-UX team I know the Fusion Apps messaging, natch, and done some other Fusion Apps go-to-market content work too. For the messaging details themselves, see Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) great blog, by the way. However, I wanted some 'formal' training combined with the opportunity to meet and learn from people already out there delivering those messages.
The idea in me reaching out to Misha Vaughan, Apps-UX FXA maven, to get me onto this training was that in addition to my UX knowledge, I could leverage my location in EMEA and hit up customer events more quickly and easily. Those local user groups do like to hear the voice of locals too you know (so I need to work on that mid-Atlantic accent). I'm looking forward to such opportunities.
The training was all smashing stuff, just the right level of detail, delivered professionally and with great style and humor. I was especially honored to be paired off for my er, coaching with Debra Lilley (@debralilley), who shared with everyone all kinds of tips and insights from her experiences of delivering the message and demo. For me, that was the real power of the FXA event--the communal, conversational aspect--the meeting up with people who had done all this for real, the sharing in their experiences, while learning along with other newbies. Sorry, but that all-important social aspect doesn't work so well with remote meetings.
Katie Candland (Apps-UX) gave us a great tour of the Fusion Apps demo and included some useful presentational tips too (any excuse to buy that iPad). It's clear to me that the Fusion Apps messaging and demos really come alive with real-world examples that local application users will recognize, and I picked up some "yes, that's my job made easier" scene-stealers from Debra and Karen Brownfield too, to add to the great ones already provided.
This power of examples shouldn't surprise anyone, they've long been a mainstay of applications user assistance, popular with users. We'll offer customers different types of example topics in the Fusion Apps online help too (stay tuned), and we know from research how important those 3S's (stories, scenarios, and simulations) are to users when they consume and apply information. Well, we've got the simulation, now it's time for more stories and scenarios.
If you get a chance to participate in an FXA event (whether you are an Oracle employee or otherwise), I'd encourage it. It's committing your time and energy for sure, but I got real bang for the buck from it for my everyday job too. Listening to the room's feedback on the application demo really brought our internal design work to life, and I picked up on some things that I need to follow up on (like how you alphabetically sort stuff in other languages). User experience is after all, about users.
What will I be doing next, and what would I like to see happen?
- Obviously, I need to develop my story-telling links with the people I met in Long Beach and do some practicing with the materials, and then get out there and deliver them at a suitable location. The demo is what it is right now, and that's a super-rich demo that I know everyone will want to see and ask questions about.
- Then, as mentioned by attendees at the FXA event, follow up on those translated and localized messages for EMEA (and APAC), that deal with different statutory or reporting requirements of the target markets. Given my background I would say that, wouldn't I? However, language is part of the UX, and international revenue is greater than US-only revenue for Oracle, so yes dear, we all need to get over the fact that enterprise apps users don't all speak, or want to speak, American-English.
- Most importantly perhaps, the continued development of a strong messaging community between Oracle and partners and customers where we can swap and share those FXA messaging stories and scenarios about Fusion Apps in a conversational way. The more the better, a combination of online and face-to-face meetings.
I must also mention the great dinner after the event at Parker's Lighthouse, and the fun myself and Andrew Gilmour (Apps-UX) had at our end of the table talking about just about everything except Fusion Apps with Ronald Van Luttikhuizen and Ben Prusinski (who now understands the difference between Cork and Dublin people. I hope).
Thanks to all the Apps-UXers who helped bring the FXA training to town, and to Debra and all the others that I am too jetlagged to mention right who were instrumental in making it happen for me. Here's to the next one.
And the Walmart angle?
That was me doing my Robert Scoble (ScO'bilizer?)-style guerilla smart phone research in Walmart in Long Beach, before the FXA event. It's all about stories for me. You can read more about it on the appslab blog (see the comments).