Friday Jun 22, 2012

Oracle Fusion Apps Functional UI Design Patterns Available For Devs Worldwide

The Oracle Fusion Applications user experience design patterns are published! These new, reusable usability solutions and best-practices, which will join the Oracle dashboard patterns and guidelines that are already available online, are used by Oracle to artfully bring to life a new standard in the user experience, or UX, of enterprise applications. Now, the Oracle applications development community can benefit from the science behind the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience, too.


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The design patterns are based on Oracle ADF components and easily implemented in Oracle JDeveloper.

These Oracle Fusion Applications UX Design Patterns, or blueprints, enable Oracle applications developers and system implementers everywhere to leverage professional usability insight when:


  • tailoring an Oracle Fusion application,
  • creating coexistence solutions that existing users will be delighted with, thus enabling graceful user transitions to Oracle Fusion Applications down the road, or
  • designing exciting, new, highly usable applications in the cloud or on-premise.

Based on the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) components, the Oracle Fusion Applications patterns and guidelines are proven with real users and in the Applications UX usability labs, so you can get right to work coding productivity-enhancing designs that provide an advantage for your entire business.

What’s the best way to get started? We’ve made that easy, too. The Design Filter Tool (DeFT) selects the best pattern for your user type and task. Simply adapt your selection for your own task flow and content, and you’re on your way to a really great applications user experience.

More Oracle applications design patterns and training are coming your way in the future. To provide feedback on the sets that are currently available, let me know in the comments!.

Friday Mar 09, 2012

Wo Ist Mein Handy? Securing Data on Mobile Devices with Oracle ADF Mobile

Our user research tells us that security of devices and mobile devices and data is a major issue that needs to be addressed before an enterprise will embark on a serious mobile strategy. This is not surprising. Certainly, it’s disruptive when you lose a personal device, but the loss of a device with critical or confidential enterprise data is much more serious. The evidence that data will be compromised from lost or stolen mobile devices is very real, according to Symantec studies.


Wo ist mein handy? Stephen Fry. Copyright BBC. All rights acknowledged.

Concerns about losability have been with us for a while. A serious UX issue for sure, HCI research even considers losability/findability of mobile devices a mobile usability heuristic, à la Jakob Nielsen.

Since mobile devices often get lost, adequate measures such as encryption of the data should be taken to minimize loss. If the device is misplaced, the device, system or application should make it easy to find it back.

Bertini, E., Gabrielli, S. and Kimani S. (2006). Appropriating and assessing heuristics for mobile computing. AVI '06 Proceedings of the working conference on advanced visual interfaces.


Many devices now come with a remote wipe capability. BlackBerry has enterprise-level security. Others have an easy way to track the device’s location too (Apple's iCloud, for example). However, that’s not enough for mobile app data and usage security. Oracle ADF Mobile has the solution.

ADF Mobile's use of communication encryption, authentication through identity management, and use of access control APIs -- combined with support of native O/S device security--meets the needs of enterprises by addressing those security concerns that might hold up a mobile strategy implementation.

Watch out for more UX aspects of using ADF Mobile and other mobile UX resources on this blog, soon!

What Are Design Patterns? Proven, Reusable Usability Solutions

Just back from speaking about cross-platform design patterns at the Oracle Applications User Experience (Applications-UX) training event in Munich, Germany (March 6 and 7, 2012). The Oracle EMEA sales audience (yes, the UX Samba is worldwide) heard all about how Applications-UX research and design expertise created these building blocks for a new standard in enterprise applications user experience, how they are used by Oracle's developers, and what they mean for Oracle applications users, customers, and partners too.

What Are Design Patterns?

Design patterns are reusable user experience solutions to common problems or tasks in enterprise software. Using design patterns means our internal developers have proven, easy-to-follow design guidance implemented with Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) and Fusion Middleware (FMW) components. The development process can scale, and the result is highly usable and consistent user experiences in our apps.

We can also make those patterns available to customers and partners who take Oracle applications usability even further by creating new usable solutions when they tailor our apps. Check out these Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 10g and 11g design patterns, for example.

Design Patterns Explained

When speaking to non-UX audiences, it’s important to grab their attention early, speak in plain language, and use examples that they can relate to. In the case of design patterns, I could have told them about Christopher Alexander and A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (1977) and how design patterns became popular in software and web development. But they might not remember that or know how to apply it!

A sales audience wants to know about a competitive message about how design patterns help apps users navigate a virtual world easily, and how this knowledge can be used by to develop and extend usable apps. Using everyday examples that we are all familiar with, and adding in local flavors, gets the message across.

Item in Amazon.de shopping cart before signing in

Searching for and adding items to Amazon shopping cart before signing in.

Bahn.de web site date picker

Using a DBahn date picker to automatically selects a date in the right format.

Google maps typeahead feature in search fields

Typing add in Google Maps is faster that selecting options from a list of values or waiting for search results.

So, to help illustrate, I used the “lazy registration” (that is, you can do your shopping and sign in or create an account later) on Amazon.de, the date picker on the Deutsche Bahn web site, the typeahead feature in Google Maps destination search, and a few other well-worn patterns that we now use on the web without even thinking!

Looking forward to the next opportunity to tell the Applications-UX design pattern story and to finding local examples that work for the audience too.

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.

Wednesday Feb 09, 2011

User Experience Guidance for Developers: Anti-Patterns

Picked this up from a recent Dublin Google Technology User Group meeting: Android App Mistakes: Avoiding the Anti-Patterns by Mark Murphy of CommonsWare. Interesting approach of "anti-patterns" aimed at mobile developers (in this case Android), looking at the best way to use code and what's in the SDK while combining it with UX guidance (the premise being the developer does the lot).

anti-patterns message about forcing wrong UI

Interestingly, the idea came through that developers need to stop trying to make one O/S behave like another--on UX grounds. Also, pretty clear that a web-based paradigm is being promoting for Android (translators tell me that translating an Android app reminded them of translating web pages, too). Haven't see the "anti"-approach before, developer cookbooks, and design patterns, sure. Check out the slideshare presentation.

Sunday Sep 19, 2010

What Do Users Want Most From User Assistance? Affirmation and Confirmation

Matthew Ellison, at the UA Europe 2010 conference, presented some fascinating results from a user assistance research project undertaken with the University of Portsmouth (full details will be in the December 2010 issue of Communicator magazine).

What users wanted most (47%) was affirmation and confirmation types of user assistance. This is almost twice what they wanted of the "How do I...?" stuff. Naturally, there are always some caveats that come into play when interpreting these kinds of findings for your own business. However, based on my own observations and Applications User Experience team research, the need to inform users in advance as to consequences of their actions, how data is used, and so on, and then confirm their actions or application responses, is broadly in line with enterprise user assistance requirements too.

In Oracle Fusion Applications user assistance, we already have writing patterns that allow us to easily write DITA-based online help topics informing users in advance about consequences of decisions. However, we also provide this information contextually within the task flow using embedded help on editable fields, warning messages, and then confirming results and actions using confirmation messages. Using embedded help and messages together like this enhances productivity as the user can immediately be informed of the consequences of their actions and then see a confirmation when done, enhancing productivity.

The Application Developer Framework (ADF) Faces component demos (available for download here) show what field-level embedded help is possible (for example, see the shortDesc property on the inputText component as shown in figure 1), as well as how warning (figure 2) and confirmation (figure 3) types of messages work (see the Messages component).

shortdesc_note_inputText.png

Figure 1: Embedded Help in Note Window on Editable Field

warning.png

Figure 2: Warning Message

confirmation.png

Figure 3: Confirmation Message

Check out the demos and just see what a rich user experience is possible!

Monday Nov 09, 2009

Welcome to the User Assistance Experience

In this blog, I'll cover all sorts of issues relating to what we call "user assistance" in Oracle Apps - messages (all sorts, errors, warnings, and more), embedded help, and nonembedded help, demos, and more and how users collaborate with each other to help themselves. I'll focus especially on the design and deployment of user assistance, and how is relates to user experience in general.

For now you might like to check out a recent usableapps posting about the use of writing patterns.

PatternDiagram-.jpg

This is just one of the exciting approaches that Oracle uses to the design of user assistance components.

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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