Saturday Sep 17, 2011

Comics at DITA Europe 2011

Oracle will be at the DITA Europe 2011 conference in Prague in November, presenting on Using Comics to Present DITA Concepts. Although the conference abstract doesn't mention it, Gayathri Balasubramanian was a key player in making this happen, too.

The team recently concluded some usability testing on using comics compared to the more, eh traditional formats to explain the key concepts behind the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) to a global audience of technical writers coming from a range of authoring backgrounds (non-structured and structured, DITA, DocBook, and other).

Comics test under way in Oracle usability lab in Redwood Shores, California

Comics test under way in a usability lab in Oracle Redwood Shores, California. Oracle boasts a superb usability lab setup and tours are possible. Photograph: Ultan O'Broin

So come along and find out more at the conference!

You can read more about the use of DITA for Oracle Fusion Applications help on the usable apps blog.

Tuesday Apr 13, 2010

iPad and User Assistance

What possibilities does the iPad over for user assistance in the enterprise space? We will research the possibilities but I can see a number of possibilities already for remote workers who need access to trouble-shooting information on-site, implementers who need reference information and diagrams, business analysts or technical users accessing reports and dashboards for metrics or issues, functional users who need org charts and other data visualizations, and so on. It could also open up more possibilities for collaborative problem solving.

User assistance content can take advantage of the device's superb display, graphics capability, connectivity, and long battery life. The possibility of opening up more innovative user assistance (UA) solutions (such as the opportunities afforded by the natural UI or maximizing graphical UA possibilities like comics) is an exciting one for everyone in the UX space. Aligned to this possibility we need to research how users would use the device as they work.

Thursday Nov 26, 2009

Comical User Experience

Really enjoyed this superb article in UX Matters "Visual Methods of Communicating Structure, Relationship, and Flow". A well written and nicely structured article, it also touches on one of my favorite areas for exploration as a form of user assistance - comics. I would concur with the author's thoughts:

"... visual methods and their respective tools do not get much attention, and many writers don't use them with the same comfort level they do tools that let them manipulate words."

Some of you might be familiar with comics as user assistance in the form of the Googlebook if you've downloaded the Google Chrome Browser. If not then take a look. It strikes me though that many of these visualization approaches really are just transformations of textual information, presented pictorially. There is a role for tools in helping here. We're all not brilliant visual artists - but there shouldn't be a need to be.

I can see a place for comics as a form of user assistance for some user roles and tasks, and it's something I intend to research further with the UX team. I would love to hear your opinions on this too!

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.

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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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