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.

ADF Devs: Your Maximum Mobile ERPness Is Here

I recently received a question from a boutique Oracle ADF development shop on the other side of the equator about how they could get started taking their ERP mobile apps' UI to the latest and greatest.

Oracle Alta UI: A modern mobile and browser application design system

Oracle Alta UI: A modern mobile and browser application design system.

No problem! Here's how: Check out the Oracle Alta UI website from the Oracle ADF team. It's a great developer solution for design and building of modern UIs on smartphone and tablet using ADF.

And, for support, leverage the ADF EMG forum, another community-based resource that shares awesome developer insights into productively building mobile apps for the enterprise.

Happy ERPing!

Sunday Jul 28, 2013

Keep Taking the Tablets. Early Adopter UX Developer Type Wanted

Here's a free "how to" guide from Oracle Applications User Experience published on OTN that will excite designers, developers, and project managers and get them productively building great tablet solutions with enterprise-level methodologies (are you listening ADF EMG [Application Development Framework Enterprise Methodology Group]?).

If you're embarking on a tablet application design project, then start out with our interactive Oracle Applications User Experience Tablet Guide iBook (yes, you need an iPad).


Develop cool optimized tablet solutions to leverage your cloud applications data with Applications UX's resources.

There's a great conversation on the ADF EMG group about this new resource. And we have a request of our ADF development community: If you're a mobile developer on a tablet project, developing for a native O/S or (preferably, natch) with Oracle ADF Mobile or ADF Faces, who wants to evaluate the guide and provide feedback and examples of how you've used it to build solutions, then let us know using the comments. We can feature your work and findings, if you wish.


Oracle Applications User Experience Tablet Guide

Oracle Applications User Experience Tablet Guide: Early adopter developer wanted.

If you must, well there's a PDF version too.

The outreach continues! Watch out for more announcements of events and happenings to enable developers and other stakeholders in the applications development world to build great looking usable apps on mobile and other devices by checking in regularly on the Voice of User Experience (VoX) blog and following along on Twitter at @usableapps.

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!

Tuesday Apr 02, 2013

UX Design Pattern Spotting with Fusion Mobile Expenses

One of the great things about demoing cool stuff for Oracle Applications User Experience is that you're entering a world of discovery of guess what? Even more cool stuff! I was showing off the Fusion Mobile Expenses app live recently and explaining how our UX Design Patterns make for developer productivity and satisfied users. A developer hand shot up in the audience and asked me to point out which patterns were being invoked as I stepped though the mobile tasks. What a super question and a great demo value-add to include in future!




Fusion Mobile Expenses video on the Usable Apps YouTube channel

You can see the patterns at work easily. Look at the rockin' Fusion Mobile Expenses video, for example, and within one minute you can see a bunch of the publicly available Mobile UX Design Patterns in action. There you have the Springboard Navigation pattern (that screen at about 19 seconds in), the Page Header and the Input Form patterns (at about 40 seconds), and so on.

Shown live, the Fusion Expenses mobile app reveals even more patterns, such as the List pattern, my favorite the Actions pattern, and others.


List and Actions Pattern


List and Actions patterns in use together in Fusion Mobile Expenses.


So, come along to my next UX outing on building great mobile apps with Oracle Applications User Experience reusable design solutions and see the patterns used and explained in context. Don't miss this opportunity by staying tuned to the events and outreach page on the Usable Apps website. I might even start giving out prizes to the audience if you can name the patterns when they come to life in the apps shown!

If you want to read more about using design patterns for mobile apps in business, then head on over to the Vennster blog.

Altogether now: "Taxi! 25 Dollars!

Thursday Mar 28, 2013

Showtime! FUSE and Friends at OBUG Connect 2013

Just back from Oracle Benelux User Group's (OBUG) Connect 2013 where, together with Jeffrey Pease, Oracle Applications Labs VP, we demoed “FUSE”. FUSE is an internal name really, one that got away and has stuck; but make no mistake, it was Oracle Fusion Applications that we showed!

FUSE is a browser-based, cross-device, simplified and lightweight UX for self-service, casual and frequently performed tasks. Built using Oracle ADF, rendered in HTML5 with CSS3, and leveraging cloud infrastructure, this UI is optimized for navigation and action, action, action.

Jeffrey with the new face of Oracle Fusion Applications (HCM) on iPad

Jeffrey with the new face of Oracle Fusion Applications on iPad, projected live onto the big screen.
Ultan at the controls. (photo: Ultan O'Broin)

Intuitive, intelligent, and integrated with other Fusion UI optimizations, what the audience saw was a UX informed by COIT and BYOD trends, and designed to meet the high expectations about modern apps that our users communicate to us. It was awe-inspiring to see the sleek UX put through its paces on an iPad and projected onto the huge movie screen at Connect 2013’s Kinepolis cinema center location.

So, watch out for news of this new face of Fusion Applications coming to events and browsers near you.

iPads and Apps in Your Hands

Jeffrey also demoed the fantastic mobile analytic apps for sales leaders called Mobilytics, live in the session too. So, in about 45 mins, we showed off four demos on iPad, MacBook Air, and Chromebook, did some Q & A, and let the audience come up and play with apps on the tablet. A very lively and interactive session. No PowerPoint karaoke there!

Jeffrey wows with mobile sales cloud analytics

Jeffrey wows with Mobilytics, live from his iPad. (photo: Ultan O'Broin)

Mobile UX Design Patterns are in Business

Later in the day, along with Fusion User Experience Advocate (FXA) Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) of Vennster, we presented on Mobile UX Design Patterns. We called out how these design patterns enabled productive building of apps by customers and partners which combined with the security and code-once model of Mobile ADF make this the perfect solution for enterprise apps deployment. You can read more about our presentation on the Vennster blog.

The OBUG Connect conference in 2013 was a great event. Don’t miss it next year and watch out for more events from OBUG (@OBUG_ORG) too, an organization that continues to go from strength to strength. Bring your popcorn.

Shout-outs for Oracle UX Design Patterns

Here come some Oracle partner blogs about publicly-available Oracle UX design patterns. Each explains why and how customers and partners are taking to Oracle's free usability resources to help build modern enterprise apps' UIs, just like Oracle does. So, if you need advocacy for UX design patterns in your development team, well, these blogs are a great start.

Application developers can be more productive by using these reusable common solutions to usability head scratchers with their Oracle toolkit (Oracle ADF, MDS, SOA, and so on), that same toolkit enables smart architectural decisions and business decisions to be made about data assets too. There is continued ROI for your Oracle apps investment as you develop and customize solutions and as users demand more, and different, ways of working. You can improve existing apps usability, extend new Fusion implementations UX, and develop stunning mobile UIs, as UX securely pivots through the cloud using services and APIs, with optimized UIs reflects the context of different users' roles, tasks, and how they work.

The first blog (actually in two parts) is via ORCLVille from Fusion User Experience Advocate (FXA) Floyd Teter (@fteter) of EiS Technologies. Featuring Oracle ADF Essentials, ADF functional patterns and Oracle Applications UX Direct, Floyd starts with a taster of how these resources can bring a great UI to life.


UI designed with ADF Essentials and functional patterns

UI designed with ADF Essentials, ADF functional patterns, and UX Direct guidance

Floyd then reveals some more to whet our appetite for what he will fully reveal at Collaborate 13.

The second is a more technical one from myself on the Usable Apps blog about partner Innowave Technology's approach of using UI abstraction, services, and Fusion desktop UX design patterns to cut time and cost for an EBS solution while delivering a compelling UX that can be easily extended in future. Some great quotes from FXA Basheer Khan, CEO, there if any C-level execs need convincing about the UX design pattern proposition!

The third is from Vennster managing partner, Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans), also an FXA and co-author of a great book on making SOA simple too. Lonneke writes about going mobile in business, using UX design patterns, the role of services, and the underlying design need of understanding the nature of how mobile users work with apps. I presented with Lonneke at OBUG Connect 2013 on the subject where she also demoed the mobile design patterns themselves.

Update (May 2013)
And the story continues, with those ever-design conscious Danes adding to the advocacy! Here's another FXA, Sten Vesterli @stenvesterli of Scott/Tiger A/S on how to be productive when designing apps, by way of a nice anecdote from home: Smart People Use UX Design Patterns. From the same country I heard a great report about how one ADF development partner had used our UX design patterns in a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) to win a deal by emphasizing how consistency and best practices implemented in a design ensured great usability and rapid onboarding of users across the organization. Bear that in mind the next time you're out to win business!

And Floyd Teter has just attended a great hands-on ADF and UX workshop in Oracle HQ and has an awesome post called UX ADF Design Patterns - Connect The Dots that says it all about developer productivity (see that 75% figure!).

So, check out these great endorsements for the Oracle UX resources and insights shared with partners, customers and development community. If you have your own story, then send it to me using the comments. And, watch out for more design pattern and usability best practice outreach to the development community too!

About

Oracle applications user experience (UX) assistance. UX and development outreach of all sorts to the apps dev community, helping to design and deliver usable apps in the cloud.

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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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