Thursday Jan 12, 2012

UK OUG Birmingham December 2011: Lessons Well Learned

Better late than never, a quick reflection on my attendance at the UK Oracle User Group Conference held in the ICC in Birmingham in December 2011.

UK OUG logo. UK Oracle User Group. Serving the Oracle Community


While there I spoke to an especially privileged audience about the Oracle Fusion Applications User Assistance. There was a strong Applications User Experience (Apps-UX) presence at the event overall, with other sessions from the Apps-UX team about Fusion Apps, Middleware, and so on, and a range of usability testing events going on in the background too.

Takeaways


  • Remind me never to confuse ICC with NEC again. Or, at least, to rely more on Google Maps to verify a recommendation from a corporate travel system that suggests a hotel in Solihull as an option, for example.
  • Loved the UK OUG conference mobile app. Very handy for making decisions about which sessions to attend and keeping track of developments. Wonder if we could use the in-built notifications for soliciting more testers at our usability sessions next time?

    UKOUG mobile app


  • Spend some timing picking your sessions. The UK OUG folks do an incredible job providing such a range of content running in parallel. Making decisions between sessions on the spot can be a tall order, so maybe set some objectives upfront about what your want to learn from the conference, overall.

    I wanted to focus in on apps implementation and usability. In seems to me that many of our partners and customers realize the importance of usability and how it contributes to an apps implementation’s success, but we (Oracle) can optimize this opportunity by providing usability expertise, resources, and guidance that works at the system implementor level. This isn’t about turning system implementors into UX professionals with all the trappings (dem highfalutin MacBook Airs and Graces, if you like), but rather it’s about enabling their capability to treat usability as part of the business requirements and easily deliver on implementation ROI without extra resources or overheads.

    So, the languages we use when discussing user experience (or usability), the materials we provide, the relationships we build all, themselves, need to be highly usable (that is, efficient, effective, and satisfying) by implementors. The stories I heard ar UK OUG 2011 about the superb applications flexibility and functionality being offset when users are forgotten (oh, let's stop using that term and call ‘em by their real names or job titles instead) and who then complain to implementors “But, all I wanted was...” was worth the attendance alone in terms of opportunity presented.


In all, a great event, rich in offerings, way too much for me to take all in at times, but I got what I came for: insights into how usability fits into apps implementation picture and the building new relationships with members of the Oracle community while cementing others. Great to catch up with the UK OUG players and other Fusion Apps UX Advocates too.

Looking forward to my next outing (I hope) at the UK OUG Ireland conference in March 2012.

UK OUG Ireland Conference 2012


Thank you, UK OUG team.

Wednesday Mar 30, 2011

Apps-UX at the Aviva with OUG Ireland

I attended the Oracle User Group Ireland meet in Dublin today, invited by new OUG UK (and Ireland) chair  Debra Lilley. There was a jam-packed agenda with lots to interest the 200 attendees made up of Oracle partners, users, developers, and others.

aviva.jpg

Some Aviva attendees polishing their pitch.

I was particularly interested in the big picture-setting keyword by Oracle's Ireland country manager Paul O'Riordan (who had very positive things to say about Oracle apps UX too), and of course the sessions on applications, especially the demo of Oracle Fusion Applications that I knew Debra was going to give (Debra is a Fusion Apps UX Advocate). I was on hand to chat with attendees about how the Oracle Applications User Experience team (Apps-UX) team goes about its work. You can read more about that on the usableapps website. Suffice to say that Liam Nolan (apps development director in Ireland) did a smashing job talking about all the apps, how apps customers should deal with upgrade and maintenance issues, and introducing Oracle Fusion Applications.

Debra handled the Fusion Apps demo like a Eurovision winner - with great enthusiasm and a punchy delivery (no miming was allowed), really getting that UX message across. Afterwards, some of the attendees were interested in the UX process and what it meant for them as customers and partners. Design patterns were a hot topic, there was good insight into natural user interfaces (iPad, basically), and surprise, surprise, error messages were mentioned as something customers could use guidance on (they picked the right guy to turn up, then). Having Grant Ronald from ADF Product Management there helped complete the design to realization picture. In all, an accessible, value-add event with plenty of opportunity to network with smart people, acquire some new skills, share knowledge, and learn from the experience of others. Watch out for the next one in Ireland as it is well worth going to. How super to see the Irish flying the flag for Oracle in Europe, too. We can do it, y'know. Hashtag was #oug_ire11.

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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