Saturday Jun 27, 2015

Your First KiSS: Learning 2 ♥ #IoT UX with APIs

Services: that’s really what’s at the heart of the IoT (Internet of Things) device conversation and what makes the user experience (UX) design of IoT different. 

Think of your first KISS (Killer Integration Services, Simple) as the beginning of a love affair with ubiquitous connectivity of devices and data exchange through the cloud. 

I recorded this Two Minute Tech Tip (2MTT) with Mr. OTNArchBeat (@OTNArchBeat), Bob Rhubart, to explain more about where developers now need to place their affections in the cloud.

The O'Reilly ebook Experience Design addresses IoT, explains how services are at the heart of the IoT user experience, and outlines other differences too. 

Those services are made available via web APIs and developers and designers now need to approach UX by building UI services for task flows and fluid connectivity and not build hard-coded UIs. 

APIs are a form of UX design, and the future of developers implementing UX, as Jared Spool (@jmspool) would say. 

Learn to love APIs as UX design for the cloud
Oyster Card for transport in London. No card actually necessary!

This UX Mag article summarizes the basics you need to know about what’s different about UX design for IoT. The London Oyster Travel Card is a great example of the IoT UX: You don’t even need the card to travel, you can use NFC and tap your smartphone at the ticket barrier to get to the trains, for example. 

With that data is in the cloud and devices are connected, you’re good to go. Some of those “things” of course, don’t even have a UI! 

You can read more about services and how APIs are UX design for IoT, PaaS, and SaaS on the Usable Apps blog

Devs, it's time to heart APIs if you’re not already Oracle Cloud smitten.

How End Users, CIOs, & Sales Reps Can Have Their ERP Cake & Eat It: Oracle Cloud UX

Cakes seem to be a popular storytelling vehicle in the enterprise user experience world. Hardly surprising, really.

Sales program cakes at Congress FY16 event

Cupcakes for the Cloud: Seen at the Oracle Direct Sales Congress for FY16 in Dublin, Ireland

The very genesis of ERP, for example, was in the tea and cakes business in the UK after WWII. Since then, ERP user experience (UX) has evolved in ways that tell one tasty story about how innovation in the enterprise keeps the entire business sweet.  

Making that ERP UX cake story.

Making that Oracle ERP Cloud UX cake story on location: David Haimes (@dhaimes), Senior Director, Oracle Applications Product Development , and Karen Scipi (@karenscipi), Principal UX Engineer.

I came across more killer cakes at the Oracle Direct Sales Congress FY16 event in Dublin where I had been invited to tell the UX story to eager and passionate sales folks from across Europe about how to use the "must-have" message in their work. The cakes reminded me that delivering on end-user satisfaction and business productivity are messages that decision-makers want to hear. It’s all about ROI and UX is the way to bake that deal-maker in.

UX is a competitive must-have in the Cloud for sure, but remember: you must know your audience.

CIOs and other decision-makers want to see and demonstrate an ROI on their Cloud applications, and satisfied users and a more productive business are a great return that transfers well to corporate stakeholders, analysts, and FY reports. And--because we can build optimized UIs from data in the Oracle Cloud using web services, being agnostic of the devices themselves--we can also offer those decision-makers a roadmap of UX evolution using their data.

You can read more about how the Oracle ERP Cloud UX makes for happy users and decision-makers on the Usable Apps blog.   

And, of course, the story is about cakes

Monday Jun 01, 2015

On the Road with Apps UX: Oracle PaaS4SaaS Partner Enablement is Worldwide

Just back from a very successful outreach mission in Asia where I got to demo our PaaS4SaaS enablement at Oracle Applications User Experience expos and also deliver deep-dive PaaS4SaaS (that means using Oracle Platform as a Service to extend or build Oracle Applications Cloud [Software as a Service] solutions) workshops to an eager, enthusiastic, and energized Oracle Applications Cloud partner audience.

Ultan in Singapore

New headshot from Singapore. Looking forward to a return visit to deliver more enablement.

Lest you were in any doubt, the Oracle Applications User Experience (UX) events in Singapore and Beijing serve as a timely reminder that not only is our PaaS4SaaS UX enablement for Oracle Partners is global, and our toolkit is internationalized and supports localization requirements for different countries and regions worldwide.

Rapid Development Kit in Simplified Chinese

The Oracle Applications User Experience PaaS4SaaS enablement is based on simplified UI rapid development kit strategy. Partners in Beijing and Singapore saw the kit deployed live to an Oracle Java Cloud Service-SaaS Extension service. Try the kit yourself here.

Check out the Usable Apps blog post Deep-diving Oracle UX PaaS4SaaS Enablement in Asia and the VoX blog posts Showing the Oracle Applications User Experience Roadmap to Oracle's Asia Partners and Laying Out the Oracle Applications User Experience Strategy for Partners in Beijing for more details. 

The business propositions of PaaS4SaaS cannot be ignored by any Oracle Applications Cloud partner eager to get ahead. The blog posts contain the requirements and call to action details if you're interested in acting.

Saturday Dec 28, 2013

APIs are User Experience Design Too

The developer's favorite UX guru and industry champion, Jared Spool, nails today's way of providing great user experiences in his User Interface Engineering (UIE) article "APIs: The Future is Now".

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a platform for user experience too, offering the prospect of a seamless user experience (UX) between applications and services. UX designers are emerging as the enablers of great user experiences in the cloud, all built using LEGO-like building blocks of application programming interfaces (APIs). Those other building blocks, UX design patterns bring those integrated experiences to life making design and development for cloud solutions more productive than ever.

Jared continues with his UIE insight:

To make APIs work, they need a design. The method of designing an API isn’t that different from any other user interface project, except the users are fellow developers and designers.

We’re seeing a branch of UX design emerging that deals with creating easy to use and maintain APIs. They provide documentation, sandbox tools for testing functions, example code, and simple maintenance models for getting the API integrated and running quickly and effectively.

It won’t be too long before our own organizations need to ask what could we build as an API for our own stuff? As designers, we can play a role in helping make our core competencies a integral part of
other applications.

Check out Jared's use of Twilio's cloud communication services as an example of how APIs solve problems for users. Twilio is also a service that makes total sense in the Oracle enterprise world of connecting people and information together when, where, and how it's needed.

Twilio integration with RightNow using PaaS

Twilio example integration using PaaS

Twilio is part of an ecosystem of partners that Oracle works with to provide value-add solutions for its applications. It's part of a strategy of delivering SaaS through PaaS so that applications and partners can tailor and integrate applications to increase return on investment for customers. Customers and partners can deliver even more compelling and modern user experiences to make enterprise employees more productive and satisfied with the tools they have to do their jobs, all using a common source of truth in the cloud.

The Oracle Applications User Experience outreach and communications team provides customers, partners, and enterprise applications developments with the toolkits and guidance to build such experiences in the cloud more simply and more productively than ever.

Stay tuned to the Oracle VOX (Voice of User Experience) blog and @usableapps on Twitter for news of the latest outreach in 2014!

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.


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.


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), PaaS,SaaS, design patterns, tailoring, Cloud, dev productivity, language quality, mobile apps, Oracle FMW and ADF, and a lot more.


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