Wednesday Mar 27, 2013

Don’t Sweat Them UIs: Cloud Makes Them All Part of the Service

For me, the most powerful UX pivot point that the cloud platform offers developers is flexibility and scalability to build optimized and contextual solutions, reflecting how users' roles, tasks, goals, environments, and devices--their context of use, if you like--can vary. With Platform as a Service (PaaS) or cloud development, the old client-server assumptive days of developers writing UIs on top of each operating system and then making calls to static and dynamic link libraries are gone. Instead, with the cloud, developers use services and APIs, Lego-like, and use such integrations to assemble contextual applications. This difference is explained far more eloquently, and expanded on, in this Engine Yard Cloud Out Loud podcast.

So, what do we mean by optimized and contextual UIs? Well, think about how you might use LinkedIn, for example. A power update to your LinkedIn profile such as adding abstracts for latest publications or completing your profile might be done on your PC using the LinkedIn website. Browsing through your contacts, groups or news features might be done with swipe gestures on the LinkedIn app on your tablet. Accepting a LinkedIn invitation to connect via email can be done on your smart phone with a few taps and you can see updates at a glance too.

Different UIs, different context of use

LinkedIn Different UIs, different context of use. All optimized. (photo: Ultan O'Broin)

We don’t have to think about these different LinkedIn usage scenarios devices. We just do it because the interactions have been understood and designed for. We know they all rotate around our profile's details as the source of truth. We perform the different tasks on different devices intuitively, as our context demands. That's the whole point of a great UX, I guess, commonsense ways of ensuring users don't have to think! Same principle applies to enterprise applications, really.

For developers, this offers great opportunities too to enable great UX from the Cloud by relying on APIs and service oriented architecture. By using integrated UI services and leveraging design guidance such as UX design patterns and guidelines and not sweating about writing new UIs from scratch for every device, developers and partners can spend more time on issues such as security, performance, integration, scalability, speed, all the stuff that's critical to business, while anticipating changes in UX that will come for sure. For customers, such cloud-based enablement means continued ROIs by using existing data while extending the UX of existing apps and providing new experiences too to make users even more productive.

Credit for LinkedIn analogy to Jeffrey Pease.

Monday Jan 07, 2013

All the Aces, All the Faces. Oracle ADF, UX PTS Workshop: Building Fusion Usable Apps & More

December 2012 saw the completion of a pilot for a two-day workshop event aimed at enabling the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) community of developers and partners to build great-looking usable apps using ADF and the Applications User Experience (UX) design patterns and other usability guidance.


Workshop logo

Read about the inspiration for this joint event between ADF, UX and the key role of the Platform Technology Solutions (PTS) team on Misha Vaughan’s Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog: "Building Great-Looking, Usable Apps: A two-day workshop applying Oracle’s best UX practices in ADF". Just check out the names and faces from that group of global attendees and see if you know anyone!


Misha Vaughan

Making it all happen in style: UX workshop rainmaker and communications maven, Misha Vaughan.

A train-the-trainer workshop, it brought together a broad set of key stakeholders (Oracle UX, ADF, PTS, partners) and focused on the transfer of Oracle Applications usability best practices to application developers toolkits so that they can easily build Fusion apps and solutions that satisfy users and benefit businesses.

The workshop agenda featured ADF building sessions on a couple of Fusion task flows, the background to the "Feng Shui" of UX, another engaging wireframing exercise, a very cool session on visual design, and more. An agenda informed by the best in Oracle UX science, consumer ICT trends and expectations, and leveraging the developer productivity enhancing capability of ADF and reflecting the realities of being part of the Oracle partner ecosystem providing solutions to customers now and in the future.

The feedback from the pilot attendees was overwhelmingly positive and the course content is being iterated (as all great UX is) presently to finetune it for further deliveries. Besides learning how to build some very cool and in-demand stuff with ADF, the workshop was also a super relationship-building opportunity, and a chance for Oracle and partners to showcase their latest and greatest capabilities and offerings. What a fun event too!

Best of all for the ADF community the workshop is going global in 2013. Stay tuned to the VoX blog, Usable Apps website and your usual ADF and partner enablement channels for announcements.

Tuesday Oct 30, 2012

Oracle Launches Mobile Applications User Experience Design Patterns

OK, you heard Joe Huang (@JoeHuang_Oracle) Product Manager for Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) Mobile. If you're an ADF developer, or a Java (yeah, Java in iOS!) developer, well now you're a mobile developer as well. And, using the newly launched Applications User Experience (UX) team's Mobile UX Design Patterns, you're a UX developer rockstar too, offering users so much more than just cool functionality.


Mobile Design Pattern for Inline Actions

Mobile design requires a different way of thinking. Use Oracle’s mobile design patterns to design iPhone, Android, or browser-based smartphone apps. Oracle's sharing these cutting edge mobile design patterns and their baked-in, scientifically proven usability to enable Oracle customers and partners to build mobile apps quickly.

The design patterns are common solutions that developers can easily apply across all application suites. Crafted by the UX team's insight into Oracle Fusion Middleware, the patterns are designed to work with the mobile technology provided by the Oracle Application Development Framework.

Other great UX-related information on using ADF Mobile to design task flows and the development experience on offer are on the ADF EMG podcast series. Check out FXAer Brian 'Bex' Huff (@bex of Bezzotech talking about ADF Mobile in podcast number 6 and also number 8 which has great tips about getting going with Android and iOS mobile app development from Stephen Johnson (@sjintegretas).

Monday Aug 27, 2012

InSync12 and Australia Visits: UX is Global, Regional, Everywhere!

I attended the Australian Oracle User Group (AUSOUG) and Quest International User Group's InSync12 event in Melbourne, Australia: the user group conference for Oracle products in the ANZ region. I demoed Oracle Fusion Applications and then presented how Oracle crafted the world class Fusion Apps user experience (UX). I explained about the Oracle user experience design pattern strategy of uptake for all apps, not just Fusion, and what our UX pattern externalization strategy means for customers, partners, and ADF developers.

A great conference, lots of energy, the InSync12 highlights for me were Oracle's Senior Vice President Cliff Godwin’s fast-moving Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) roadshow with the killer Oracle Endeca user experience uptake, and Oracle ADF product outreachmeister Chris Muir’s (@chriscmuir) session on Oracle ADF Mobile solution and his hands-on mobile app development showing how existing ADF/JDev skills can build a secure, code once-deploy-to-many-device hybrid app solution in minutes.

Cliff Godwin shows off the Endeca integration with EBS

Cliff Godwin shows off the Oracle Endeca integration with Oracle E-Business Suite.

Chris Muir talked the talk and then walked the walked with ADF Mobile

Chris Muir talked the talk and then walked the walked with Oracle ADF Mobile.

Applications UX was mixing it up with the crowd at InSync12 too, showing off cool mobile UX solutions, using iPads to gather feedback on future UX designs and innovations from conference attendees, and engaging with EBS, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft apps customers and partners. User conferences such as InSync12 are an important part of our Oracle Applications UX user-centered design process, giving real apps users the opportunity to make real inputs and a way for us to watch and to listen to their needs and wants and get views on current and emerging UX too.

While in Melbourne, I also visited impressive Oracle partner, Callista for a major ADF and UX pow-wow, and was the er, star of a very proactive event hosted by another partner Park Lane Information Technology (coordinated by Bambi Price (@bambiprice) of ODTUG) where I explained what UX is about, and how partner and customers can engage, participate and deploy that Applications UX scientific insight to advantage for their entire business.

I also paired up with Oracle Australia in Sydney to visit key customers while there, and back at Oracle in Melbourne I spoke with sales consultants and account managers about regional opportunities and UX strategy, and came away with an understanding of what makes the Oracle market tick in Australia.

Mobile worker solution development and user experience is hot news in Australia, and this was a great opportunity to team up with Chris Muir and show how the alignment of the twin stars of UX design patterns and ADF technology enables developers to make great-looking, usable apps that really sparkle. Our UX design patterns--or functional (UI) patterns, to use the developer world language--means that developers now have not only a great tool set to build apps on Oracle ADF/FMW but proven, tested usability solutions to solve common problems they can apply in the IDE too.

In all, a whirlwind UX visit, packed with events and delivery opportunities, and all too short a time in the wonderful city of Melbourne. I need to get back there soon! For those who need a reminder, there's a website explaining how to get involved with, and participate in, Applications User Experience (including the Oracle Usability Advisory Board) events and programs.

Thank you to AUSOUG, Quest, InSync, Callista, Park Lane IT, everyone at Oracle Australia, Chris Muir, and all the other people who came together to make this a productive visit.

Stay tuned for more UX developments and engagements in the region on the Oracle VoX blog and Usable Apps website too!

Saturday Aug 18, 2012

Top 10 Things To Read If You’re a Fusion Applications Developer

By Tim Dubois, Applications User Experience Architect (Bio)

Tim Dubois, rallying and orienting apps developers everywhere towards that great apps user experience.

This is a guest post by senior Applications User Experience team member, Tim Dubois. Tim really knows how to rally Fusion Applications developers to productively build a great apps user experience. Here, he fast tracks your onboarding to success...

Oracle Fusion Middleware (FMW) represents a very powerful set of tools that enable you to build applications. Finding all of the relevant documentation, training material, or help can feel like a daunting task. Now, whether you are trying to find the latest Oracle JDeveloper to download, installation instructions, or the hottest Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) tips, you can check out some of the most common and useful links below to get you started.


Oracle provides apps devs with design, technology, tools, and training to take a great apps user experience from blueprint to reality.


Oracle provide apps devs with design, technology, tools, and training to take apps user experiences from blueprint to reality.

1. One of the first things to check out is the ADF Collateral Tour. This recording will walk you though the sites and explain how to get started, where to find information, and recommended next steps.

2. A great link to bookmark as a top link is the Oracle Technology Network's (OTN) Documentation Portal at http://docs.oracle.com. From here you can get to many necessary links, such as:


For e-learning or tutorials, check out:


Looking for more information on Fusion Applications? Go here:


And, if you have further questions, there are also great community resources on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media available to assist you. Here are a few of the most relevant ones:

3. ADF Enterprise Methodology Group (ADF EMG). Covers best practices and methodologies for ADF enterprise apps development.

4. JDeveloper and ADF Community. Facebook, Twitter, Google Groups, and more channels and conversations.

5. ORA:FMW Fusion Middleware blog. Discusses SOA suite, ADF, Oracle Service Bus (OSB), Oracle WebCenter, and BPM issues.

6. ADF Code Corner Oracle JDeveloper OTN Harvest blog. Frank Nimphius blogs a selection of the best topics on Oracle JDeveloper OTN forum.

7. Oracle ADF Tips and Techniques blog. Murali Papana discusses ADF tips and techniques.

8. Java/Oracle SOA Blog. Syndicated feed of Java, JDeveloper, Oracle Enterprise Pack for Eclipse, and Oracle OSB/SOA suite information.

9. Beginning Java & SOA Development blog. Rommel Pino's blog about beginning Java and SOA development.

10. Activity, Gateway, Event. SOA/BPM on FMW blog. Niall Commiskey blog about SOA/BPM on Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Are you developing apps using FMW and ADF? Any additional bookmarked, favorited or Google+'d resources you think apps devs would find valuable? Find the comments to let us know about them...


About Tim Dubois
Tim Dubois is an Architect in the Oracle Applications User Experience group, focusing on extensibility and customization, development productivity, and next-generation user experience interactions. Previously, he worked as a Director in Fusion Functional Setup Manager and Business Intelligence. Tim has been with Oracle for over 13 years and has a strong understanding of both the functional and technical architecture of the application suite.

Tuesday Jul 31, 2012

Developer Community Outreach: Nuancing that Usability Design Pattern Message

When user experience (UX) professionals talk about design patterns, it's wise to nuance the term, and qualify it. These patterns are proven, usability best practices and solutions for common problems. When developers talk about design patterns, they're referring to software development architecture or coding patterns based on frameworks or languages, and implemented through their development environment.

I was reminded of this during our initial soft launch of the Oracle Fusion Applications design patterns, and in my own research on Stackoverflow and in the Irish software development community.

In the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) world, we have to contend with lots of patterns, starting with the underlying Model View Controller (or MVC) pattern, Java Enterprise Edition patterns for ADF Business Components, and lots of others that ADF developers use daily to make life easier. Check the ADF Enterprise Methodology Group (ADF EMG) Google Group forum and Oracle ADF Code Corner for some great insights into what code design patterns are used, how, and why.

And then, of course, we have that antipattern business to contend with, too!

So, dev outreach folks, know your audience and adopt terminology and messaging appropriately upfront. Otherwise, be prepared to spend some time in the translation business or answering questions about code.

Personally, I think usability best practices and guidelines for developers works well. However, when we do refer to design patterns in the UX sense, then we need to make sure the context is clear and qualify the term.

Thursday Jul 19, 2012

Great Looking Apps and Websites with Oracle ADF: My Oracle Support

With Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) you can make not only cool-looking and performing apps for the desktop and mobile, but websites, internets, intranets, and portals too!

Check out the My Oracle Support portal, now built with ADF!


My Oracle Support

Here're some more cool ADF-based websites too!

And, there's more coming...

Oracle Applications User Experience is working hard with the ADF and Platform Technology Services to deliver usability guidance based on our user experience design patterns and usability best practices implemented through ADF. More information about this, and more, is on the Voice of User Experience for Applications blog.

Developers--everywhere--stay tuned!

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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