Monday Dec 08, 2014

Capturing that Applications User Experience: What Happens Offline Is As Important as Online

Communicating why UX is important is all about a good story, one preferably backed by facts and one that ends in a conclusion that resonates with the user!

At a recent Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) roadshow in London, OAUX VP Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) told the audience of customers and partners how most sales reps still liked to write down opportunity and other sales details at the time using paper and pen. True to form, a glance around the room revealed that insight to be true!

Capture. Simple way to get information into the cloud

Capture: A simple and consistent way to get data into the cloud, reflecting the flexibility of the way we work today.

It's also a reminder that when it comes to UX design, an empathy with what happens offline is as important as what happens online.

This behavior has been observed in ethnographic studies of real reps, of course. In addition to the fact that sales reps can have a dislike of enterprise apps (with good reason in the past) and will use anything necessary to close that deal, there is strong evidence to suggest that the act of writing things down aids recall later.

Yet, sales information still needs to be entered into the applications cloud as part of the overall sales process for reps to eventually close the deal. Enter Capture, an easy way to get that information into the cloud.

Capture is one of the four common actions we design for that delivers a consistent experience across devices using the same data in the cloud. So, if a rep writes something down, hey, they can quickly use Capture to get those details into the enterprise system over the next coffee after their meeting!

You can read more about Capture and how it fits into our UX approach in the free Oracle Applications User Experience Strategy and Trends eBook.

Saturday Aug 31, 2013

Design Patterns as Grand Theft AUX? Come See Us At OOW13 and Find Out!

"Good artists borrow, great artists steal" so the saying goes. Smart artists have to do neither, and builders of great-looking usable apps with the Oracle Application Development Framework don't either. Using the freely available Oracle Applications User Experience design patterns and guidelines to develop and tailor your own applications and integrations in the cloud is guilt free. Yes, we have given them away! We want you to have them so you can use those ADF resources to focus on harder things!

Tailoring at Henry Poole and Co., London, England

Tailoring at Henry Poole and Co., London, England (Image from Wikipedia Commons)

UX design patterns are all about developer productivity in the cloud. Developers don't have to think about usability when developing apps, and the users of the apps won't need to think when it comes to using them either. Usability is baked into the ADF components and templates that patterns are based on and we've also proven how the organization of those components (or patterns) can solve common enterprise usability problems in a reusable way for developers. Yes, we've tested how the developer productivity with UX design patterns is realized as return on investment by built apps used by real workers doing real tasks in real situations, office and street, so we know they work!

Patterns are part of an overall tailoring solution for the cloud that Oracle Applications User Experience (AUX) provides to customers, partners, and the ADF build community represented by our friends in the ADF EMG and ODTUG. At Oracle OpenWorld 2013 we've got a great panel that will explain the approach and what it means for apps user experience, applications ROI, and customer and partner development productivity. Come along and learn more from myself, Tim Dubois, Killian Evers, and the irrepressible Floyd Teter as we show and tell about Oracle Fusion Applications: Tailoring Your User Experience in the Cloud.

And don't forget the other UX presentations and opportunities to input to future applications and find out more about our usability labs too! Full details are on the Usable Apps website.

Sunday Aug 18, 2013

ADF Mobile & UX Design Patterns: Online or Offline, You're Never Too Remote For Great Mobile Field Service

Oracle customers and partners will love the Oracle University demonstration of the Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 Mobile Field Service mobile app as much as the users! The app is a great example of how the baked-in, proven usability of the Oracle mobile application UX design patterns can be implemented using Oracle ADF Mobile to build a full-featured, easy-to-work-with, mobile app for mobile field technicians, one that’s integrated with the rest of the suite.


Mobile field service technicians want to use modern and compelling smartphone apps as much as the rest of us! Home Springboard shown. Mobile field service technicians want to use modern and compelling smartphone apps as much as the rest of us! Google Maps integration shown.

Mobile field service technicians want to use modern and compelling smartphone apps and features as much as the rest of us!

Watch the demo and you will see mobile UX design patterns such as Actions, Create, Forms, Lists, Navigation, and more, in action. Oracle ADF developers can use UX design patterns productively to build cutting-edge mobile apps, integrating them with different device capabilities such as cameras, barcode readers, GPS, and so on, using the Oracle ADF Mobile “code-once” approach.


Oracle ADF Mobile's hybrid architecture means the local storage capability enables offline and online working as one seamless task regardless of connectivity.

Oracle ADF Mobile's hybrid architecture means the local storage capability enables offline and online working as one seamless task regardless of connectivity.

This combination of UX and ADF implementation represents a continued return on investment for applications owners, moving a job role we would not normally consider demanding of modern and compelling experiences from Oracle Lite and Windows Mobile to a higher level of user satisfaction and productivity. The consumerization of IT in the enterprise and arrival of a younger workforce means we can no longer make assumptions about the UX requirements for any job role.




Actions menu on iOSActions menu on Android

Oracle ADF Mobile's code-once hybrid solution means a consistent UX across devices and device-level native interactions and features (Left to right: iOs and Android devices showing Actions menu)

Now, Oracle partners, customers, and Oracle ADF enterprise methodology developers can apply their Oracle toolkit know-how to go beyond functionality-only solutions for business to providing optimized mobile experiences that enterprise workers are familiar with from their personal technology world and can use with zero training.

The free UX design patterns, for desktop and mobile UIs, offer a productive way for licensers of all Oracle’s applications, not just Oracle Fusion Applications, to realize more return on their investment. And, as we simplify the message with further shared UX insight, the customer and partner roadmap for more business benefits and user satisfaction is extended further, so stay tuned!

Monday Jul 22, 2013

Researching UX in Favorite Places: Consumer Tech's in Business

I’ve been out and about doing usability research in the wild (or ethnography, to give it the posh UX name) in some favorite places: in coffee shops and on fishing boats. Both are places of work on the go or remote working (there are some very successful strategies out there to get the best out of these types of workers too, as Apple's example shows). I wanted to discover more about the applications side, what devices were used, what other tools were used, what tasks are being done, and how what was going on around all the users affected things. In other words, I was exploring the context of use side of user requirements gathering.


Half Moon Bay, California: Fishing Boat captain using Square on iPhone for mobile payments

I’ve written about the concept of the "coffice" elsewhere, but it's worth bearing in mind, as pointed out by Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times out that this "trend" of working from coffee shops (or houses) is 350 years old, originating (probably) in London in the 1650’s when coffee shops became places of trade for ship insurance, sugar, human hair even, and so on. The energy has changed now with today's patrons staring silently into laptop and tablet devices, where previously there was much human conservation. That is not to say that collaboration and exchange between users doesn’t exist though. It clearly does, but technology has changed its nature, as text and tech replaces talk, though there is some evidence that a certain level of background ambient noise does enable productivity! The data exchanged and tasks in evidence or course, pivot through the cloud, and happen across other devices and locations too. So, "work" can happen as and when needed.

As for fishing boats, well come early morning you can now see mobile payment solutions such as Square in action with captains taking payments on the spot with their iPhones, checking the latest Yelp check-ins about their vessel, and sending Instagrammed pictures of catches to their customers using their smart phones from the deck. Again, CRM in action, notably with a reliance on wireless data exchange that didn’t always work ,with lost connections from deep within vessel hulls and when out at sea. Offline versions anyone? And I wonder if they should invest in waterproof phones too!

My kind of research! Watch this space for more places and events. The consumerization of information technology influences our working lives all the time, and UX needs to research user requirements and design accordingly. We're all UX designers now...

This is what I love so much about being a UX pro. You can see it in action all around you, and have fun observing and thinking about how new solutions to problems might be. Besides, I could never let a creative challenge from Misha Vaughan to use my other passions as part of the UX story go by!

Sunday May 12, 2013

Building Oracle Partner Fusion Apps UI Integrations in the Cloud with UX Patterns & Guidelines

Oracle has a powerful and rich partner ecosystem that offer many value-add solutions for users of our applications. To get the most of integrating these solutions with Fusion and other applications, ISV developers need to go beyond functionality and provide a great UX too. The basis of this UX is a consistent and streamlined navigation and a productivity-based task completion user interface (UI) between applications; one that is as seamless and transparent to the users as possible. This means much more than "look and feel".

By using the Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience Design Patterns and Guidelines developers can now easily provide the same elegant navigation 'touch points' that Fusion applications. No need to sweat over designing new usability solutions! Here is a quick overview of a couple of UI options when integrating Fusion applications and other applications.

Remember to read up on the best toolkit to apply these touchpoints and what your preferred deployment can support, but for Desktop UIs you can get going right away applying these integrations using the Application Composer. Check out the information on extensibility on the Fusion Applications Developer Relations blog.

So, let's assume our UI use case is to integrate a Fusion CRM opportunity with a quote or price configuration solution, and see how we might use the UX design patterns and guidelines when designing UI integrations.

The simplest integration point afford no context for users, so is really a quick solution or one used when there is no context needed, no requirement to exchange data, and there is no specified object being configured. To implement, add a link from the relevant functional area in the global Navigator to the solution concerned. In this case, we have added a link called Quotes under the Sales area.


Global Area Navigator


Fusion Application UI Global Area Navigator

Your key design resource here is the guidance we provide about the applications Navigation Model.

A much better, contextual and object-specific integration would be to leverage a task-based flow and exchange data between Fusion and the other application. You can do this using the tasks area in the UI Shell to create and manage tasks, a page-level button to inititate an action without navigating away, and a tab with an iFramed UI mashup of data showing the results of the data exchange with the other application. In the following screen mockups you can see the Create Quote and Manage Quotes links in the Tasks Pane, the Quote page-level action button and then a tab with Quotes illustrating this kind of UI.


Tasks Pane with Create and Manage Actions


Fusion Application UI Tasks Pane with Manage and Create Links


Page Actions Button and Tab


Fusion Application UI Page Actions Quote Button and Quotes Tab with UI Mashup of Table Data

The key design resources for this higher-level integration are the UX guidelines on the Navigation model, UI Shell template, Tasks Pane, Page Actions, and Work Areas information on tabs.

Typically with such integrations, you can then take this much further and also use saved search and collaboration guidelines too to provide a richer UX. You can find design information about those interactions, and more, on the Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience Design Patterns and Guidelines website.

The Applications UX team is working closely with our ADF and Platform Technology Solutions colleagues to enable partners and customers to build great-looking usable partner integrations for the Desktop and Simplified UIs on-premise and in the cloud, so stay tuned for news and coverage of our outreach workshops and more resources.

Saturday May 26, 2012

Oracle Applications UX Gamification Worldwide All Hands Day

The Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) group recently hosted the #gamifyOracle Oracle Applications Gamification Worldwide User Experience Design Jam at the Oracle HQ in Redwood Shores, California. This was a big, fun-filled innovation day for all Applications UX members, other invited Oracle contributors (from Oracle's Education and Research Industry Business Unit, Oracle Product Support, Oracle Technology Network, and so on) and external guests from our Fusion User Experience Advocates (FXA) program. And this firestarter (as I was the one inspired to provoke him into attending through @gamifyOracle, I take responsibility for him entering into the spirit of things in such style).

Hello World developer expertise badge used during event

Would be af:HelloWorld ADF component developer expertise badge used during the gamification process. Teams obtained this badge when they had sufficient technical nous in evidence at the jam.

The event itself started with introduction to gamification--nuanced and positioned for the world of work--and then a design jam. Teams (named after various well-know game characters) of participants with mixed backgrounds and expertise were each given a business flow or task and challenged to gamify it to maximize user engagement, participation, and productivity. Tasks from the CRM, Financials, HCM, Projects and Portfolio Management, and SCM worlds of work in the office, and on the go, received the best of the insight and science treatment that Applications UX brings to Oracle, and the results were stunning. Design deliverables were UX designs (wireframes and prototypes).

The process itself was gamified using an Applications UX-developed web app made up of a team management dashboard, a leaderboard, an information board, and a UI used by event administrators to monitor and reward each team's performance (see, even the gamification is gamified in Oracle).

Admins (I was one) scored teams on their use of game principles and game components throughout the day, resulting in earned points and badges, while extra kudos could be gained by teams themselves by checking in, going the extra mile, showing out of the box style thinking, and bringing their expertise to life in their design.

Teams hard at work during the #gamifyOracle design jam.

Teams hard at work during the #gamifyOracle design jam. Photograph: Martin Taylor (@theothermartin).

A fun but productive day, as all entered into the spirit, as I went around I was impressed by the earnest nature of the UX design efforts, the sparkling output, and the eagerness of teams to compete with each other. The day was punctuated by a cool set of videos with thumping sound tracks, featuring Oracle folks talking about the role of gamification in the enterprise, and what gamification is and isn’t.

Hammering home the point about the market relevance of gamification, the final stage of the team was a Dragons Den-type scenario where each team demonstrated their concept to the collective gathering who then played the role of crowdsourced venture capitalists, using another Applications UX-developed web app to invest virtual currency (did you see what we just did there?) in each design.

Showing off gamified enterprise app flow to the ersatz venture capitalists present

Showing off a gamified enterprise app flow to the ersatz venture capitalists present. Photograph: Ultan O’Broin.

The winning team? An inspired effort from the Bowser team. And of course, it had an external member, Oracle ACE Director Edward Roske (@eroske), who had a double celebration as it was also his birthday. Proves the point about the FXA program bringing something fresh to our table (kudos to Misha Vaughan for invitations): a fresh energy, a fresh set of ideas, and a fresh perspective.

Team Bowser was the winner, and was awarded this inexpensive yet tasteful trophy.

Team Bowser was the winner, and was awarded this inexpensive yet tasteful trophy. Photograph: Edward Roske (@eroske).

In all, a great way to learn about gamification, build team spirit, and create an innovative, contemporary user experience in a very agile way. Don’t be surprised if some of these eventually come to life on your desktop or mobile device soon.

Badges to Laurie Pattison (@lsptahoe), Erika Webb (@erikanollwebb), and everyone who organized the event, and especially to the attendees, travelling from all over Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America to gamify Oracle applications.

About

Oracle Apps Cloud UX assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps dev community, helping them to design and deliver usable apps using PaaS4SaaS.

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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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