Apple Watch Impressions with Jeremy Ashley: Time for the Best User Experience in the Enterprise Cloud
In part two of a three-part series, Ultan O'Broin (@usableapps) talks with Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) about his impressions of the Apple Watch and other insights during a day in the life of a Group Vice President in Oracle. Read part one.
"Perhaps it's an English thing,” says Oracle Applications User Experience Group Vice President, Jeremy Ashley, "but just being able to keep eye contact with someone when we're talking means I can pay closer attention to people."
Jeremy Ashley: Inspiring user experience leadership of strategy, science, and storytelling.
"A glance at my Apple Watch and I know immediately if something is important. I can decide if I need to respond or it can wait. I don't have to pull out my smartphone for that."
This story of combining the personal convenience of wearable technology with empathy for people is typical of the man who sets the vision for the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience (UX).
It’s just one of Jeremy's impressions of the iWatch, as it's known. Now that he's used the Apple Watch for a while since we first chatted, I wanted to find out about his experience and what it all means for enterprise UX.
"I just love the sheer build quality of the watch; so utterly Apple," Jeremy begins. His industrial design background surfaces, bringing together traditions of functionality, classic craftsmanship, and exuberance for innovation: "Sweet. I can even use it to tell the time!"
A bloke with an eye for pixel-level detail, Jeremy has explored how to get the best from the Apple Watch, right down to the exact precision needed for the force touch action on the built-in Maps app. He's crafted a mix of apps and favorite glances to suit his world, such as for battery life, his calendar, and stocks. He admires the simplicity and visualizations of the built-in Activity app too, swiping the watch face to see his latest progress as we talk in his office full of what's hot in technology and a selection of clocks and traditional woodworking tools.
Microtransactions at a glance from the wrist delight the wearer and make life—and work—more convenient.
"The watch really shows how the idea of context automates the routine and looks after the little things that make life easier and delight you in simple ways, such as not having to swipe a credit card to pay for coffee."
In the enterprise world, these kinds of little experiences, or "microtransactions" as Jeremy calls them, translate to wearer convenience when working. For example:
- Automatically recording the time spent and location of a field service job
- Accepting terms and conditions when attending a confidential demo meeting as you check in at reception
- Adding data to the cloud, such as updating a win probability as you walk away from a sales engagement
- Seeing at a glance that a supply chain fulfillment is complete
Oracle Glance and the Enterprise
"Smartwatches are like mobile dialog boxes," Jeremy explains. "They start that user conversation with the cloud in simple, 'in-the-moment,' deeply contextual ways. Glance and the cloud together automatically detect and deliver the who, what, and where of microtransactions, yet because it's all on a watch, the experience remains personal and familiar. That really resonates with wearers."
Jeremy Ashley: The smartwatch is a personal and familiar paradigm that also resonates in the enterprise.
Jeremy shared some thoughts on where such innovation is heading:
"The Apple Watch won't replace the smartphone, for now. We still need that identifier device—a kind of personal beacon or chip, if you like—that lets us make an elegant 'handoff' from a glance on our wrist to a scan for denser levels of information or to a commit to doing less frequent tasks on other devices. The watch just isn't designed for all that."
Apple Watch Activity glances for stand goal progress
But, innovating user experience in Oracle is an activity that definitely does not stand still. We'll explore how such innovation and design progress pays off for enterprise users in a future blog post.
Got Time Now?
- A Glance at Smartwatches in the Enterprise: A Moment in Time Experience
- A Framework for Wearables, Glance
- Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Trends and Strategy eBook
Robots—software, really—continue to revolutionize enterprise finance departments. Automation is replacing traditional financial roles and transforming others, offering even more innovative opportunities in the enterprise.
Accounts payable clerks, accounts receivable specialists, inventory control admins, and more enterprise positions, are being automated completely, freeing up headcount for new roles to deliver more business effectiveness. The Oracle Applications Cloud user experience (UX) strategy reflects these kinds of trends and innovates accordingly.
And yet, the birth of such financial innovation was in the least likely, most un-sci-fi place, you might imagine: the teashops of post-World War II Great Britain. In 1951, British catering giant J Lyons & Co. kick-started ERP as we now know it by introducing the first enterprise computer: LEO (Lyons Electronic Office).
Computing was not new, of course. What was innovative was how Lyons used it in business. Starting with the replacement of dull, repetitive tasks performed by clerks collecting and entering data, LEO went on to manage the Lyons payroll, the catering supply chain, and more.
LEO led the world in business computing at the time, and gave rise to today’s systems engineering. And all because of a dream of one day being able to add up the receipts for Lyons's iced buns in the teashops of Great Britain.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) user experience (UX) is no longer just icing on the cake. It's central to user happiness and business productivity, satisfying that ever-ravenous appetite for consumer-like apps in the enterprise. UX is now that must-have item on the menu of enterprise cloud software adoption.
Number-munching: David Haimes glances across the Oracle ERP Cloud UX over the best of Oracle HQ catering.
I chatted with David Haimes (@dhaimes), Senior Director of Oracle Applications Product Development and all-things Financials Cloud UX champ, about financial departments moving from cupcakes to computers and now to the cloud.
Over the best of Oracle HQ Building 300 bakery cakes, David explained:
“That mundane, day-to-day work of calculations has been transformed by enterprise software. Now finance departments do things automatically, faster, and with fewer errors. Oracle ERP Cloud enhances daily activities, enabling departments to analyze data for profit, revenue, and cash flow insights for business planning and financial forecasting, and to manage by exception.
For example, with the Oracle ERP Cloud visualizations of financial data, finance departments can easily spot trends and opportunities to run the business better. At a glance, a department can see those outliers and exceptions that may be threats and deal with them before they become real problems.”
What's going on here? At a glance, period close, revenue, expenses, and more questions are answered for the finance department using Oracle ERP Cloud.
David demonstrated how the Oracle ERP Cloud user experience enables higher-value finance department activities using the Glance, Scan, Commit design philosophy. At a glance, from one page an analyst can see what’s going on with a company’s finances, what needs attention, and then scan for more detail and commit to act on it easily, if necessary.
Oracle ERP Cloud user experience is no amuse-bouche, but the main course for CIOs and decision makers, saving their businesses time and labor costs. With the median number of full-time financial employees falling in big companies by about 40% since 2004, there are now about 70 finance people needed for every $1 billion of revenue, according to consultants, the Hackett Group. It's all about ROI. Oracle ERP Cloud serves up a great recipe for user satisfaction (key ingredients: zero training, talent attraction, and retention) too.
Oracle ERP Cloud watchface on Android Wear smartwatch. With financial data in the cloud, the glance design philosophy enables finance departments to work seamlessly across devices.
We’ve already busted that myth that financial departments are far from social, and now another stereotypical view of accountancy is up-ended. Emerging financial roles have become sexy, the analysts required for today’s financial departments are hot talent demanding higher remuneration.
This is one sweet story about Oracle Cloud ERP and an awesome baked-in UX: automating the routine; enabling a eminently more interesting world of work for real people previously dismissed as being disinterested in such things; delivering benefits across the entire business; and being easily customized to suit any business taste.
Now, who wouldn’t want a slice of that action?
Time for Tea?
Take some time to explore the Oracle ERP Cloud user experience more with our online resources.
And, watch out for some tasty ERP Cloud sessions at Oracle OpenWorld 2015.
David Haimes blogs on the Oracle Intercompany Financials Blog.
* With apologies to Mr. K.
But how do PaaS and IoT work together? Is there a user experience (UX) dimension? And, what should Oracle Applications Cloud partners be thinking about for SaaS?
The IoT train is arriving at your platform. Prepare to board.
PaaS and IoT
The PaaS business proposition might be summarized as "Bring Your Code" to a very productive way to innovate and build custom app and integrations. IoT relies on ubiquitous connectivity across devices of all sorts, with the “things” exchanging bits of data along the way.
Platform as a Service offers awesome ideas for rapidly innovating, developing, and deploying scalable applications.
"These 'things' don’t need UIs. For PaaS, all they need is a web API", says Mark. “Developers need to think about how IoT devices talk to SaaS applications using APIs and about what kind of PaaS infrastructure is needed to support building these kind of solutions."
"Oracle is up there, with an IoT platform to simplify building IoT solutions. Developers now need now to adopt an approach of not writing UIs, but writing UI services: APIs are part of the Cloud UX toolkit."IoT in the Enterprise: Connecting the Data
To illustrate what all this might mean for customer solutions, let's assume we have a use case to track items across a supply chain using the cloud.
IoT is all about the data. Using IoT we can gather the data unobtrusively and in a deeply contextual way using devices across the IoT spectrum: beacons, proximity sensors, wearable tech of all sorts, drones, and so on. We can detect where the item is in the supply chain, when it’s expected at its destination, who will receive it, when it arrives, and so on. The item’s digital signature in the Internet of Things becomes data in the cloud.
There are lots of other rich possibilities for PaaS and IoT. Check out this Forbes OracleVoice article, for example.
PaaS for SaaS and IoT
PaaS with SaaS is also a perfect combination to rapidly innovate and keep pace in a fast-moving, competitive space of cloud applications solutions.
SaaS is not done in a vacuum in the enterprise world of integrations, and is an innovation accelerator in its own right, but with PaaS and IoT added into the technology mix, we have an alignment of technology stars that are a solution provider’s dream.
We can use APIs to integrate IoT data in our supply chain example, but we can also use PaaS to build a bespoke app with a dashboard UI for an inventory administrator to correct any outliers or integrate our supply chain with a freight company’s system. For SaaS, we can now also integrate the data with, say, Oracle ERP Cloud, using the Oracle Java Cloud Service SaaS Extension (JCS-SX).
APIs as UX Design
Where does this leave UX? UX takes on increased power as a key differentiator for partners in the PaaS, SaaS, and IoT space. The UX mix of science and empathy makes the complications of all that technology and the machinations of enterprise business processes fade away for users in a delightful way and deliver ROI for customer decision makers.
Developers: Pivot and learn to ♥ APIs. At the heart of the Cloud UX toolkit to win business.
So, the user experience for a task flow build using API connectivity must still be designed to be compelling and to provide value. And, when UIs are required, they must still be designed in an optimal way, reflecting the UX mobility strategy, even if that means making the UI invisible to users.
For example, going back to our use case, we would glance at a notification on a smartwatch letting us know that our item has entered the supply chain or that it’s been received. The data comes from contextual sensors and is communicated in a convenient, micro-transactional way on our wrists.
Oracle Partner UX Enablement
Web APIs are the new Cloud UX for connecting data and devices. That APIs are UX design is not really a new idea, but what is emerging now are new business opportunities for partners who exploring are PaaS, SaaS, and IoT innovation.
Be sure of one thing: The Oracle Applications User Experience team takes a strategic view of Cloud UX enablement for partners. Whether it is PaaS, SaaS, or IoT, our enablement is there to help you take your business to a higher level.
For partners who say "Bring It On", you know where to find us and what our enablement requirements are.
Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles), User Experience Developer on the Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach team, shares her exciting experience and thoughts about SmashingConf in Los Angeles.
The views were amazing, the people were fun, and the conference was even more exciting than I expected.
More than 300 people, including front-end developers, designers, and user experience (UX) experts attended, all eager to hear what 15 different speakers had to say about user experience, design tactics, performance optimization, responsive design, the future of the web, and other interesting topics.
The conference started with a really cool opening in 3D (glasses included) and a talk from Steve Souders (@souders) about design and performance and what happens when designers and developers don't work together. It might look a little like the image below:
User experience is not only about design; it is also about performance. And actually, speed is the key reason why most people decide to either keep looking at a website or to close their browser window. As Patty Toland (@pattytoland) said in her talk, “How we define and deliver: responsive design": "Your analytics won't tell you who left your site before it showed up. If you have never considered performance before, it may be a good time to start thinking of it.”
One of my biggest takeaways from the conference is that user experience has everything to do about the guy sitting in the chair designing the experience. Samantha Warren (@samanthatoy) sums up my thoughts nicely: “As UX designers, or UX developers we have to think like a guerrilla: flexible, fast and persistent. Do the work you love with the tools you know. There's not an absolute way or tool to get something done.”
Those are just a few of the things that I loved the most from the amazing web wisdom in the room.
You’ll see how some of the things I learned at SmashingConf will help make your experience using the Oracle Usable Apps website even faster and more responsive in the future. And, if you’re a developer, stay tuned to hear about how we integrate better performance, responsive design, and UX across our online presence.
Just back from our fantastic Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) communications outreach events in Asia. The VoX blog has great recaps of the highlights and takeaways from two tremendous events in Singapore and Beijing.
Oracle Applications Cloud user experience in Asia: Enabling a local user experience. Empowering global capabilities.
The second day in each location comprised of a deep-dive workshop about the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience extensibility and PaaS4SaaS capabilities. Together, they’re a powerful competitive differentiator that empowers customers and partners to really make that cloud their own.
It’s worth calling out the comments of co-worker Greg Nerpouni (@gnerpouni) again. Greg really nails the excitement and enthusiasm for what we shared when he says:
"The extensibility and PaaS4SaaS stations were mobbed by our Chinese and Korean partners, especially when they realized the combined power of our extensibility and PaaS4SaaS capabilities. At the extensibility station, they saw tangible ways to increase end user participation and overall success of their cloud rollout for our mutual customers. And at the PaaS4SaaS station, they saw immediate value in being able to leverage the UX rapid development kit to emulate Oracle’s user experience in their own PaaS implementations - and seamlessly integrate their PaaS applications into Oracle Cloud Applications."
Greg stylin' the Cloud UX extensibility deep-dive action in Singapore. (Singapore image via Shy Meei Siow [@shymeeisiow])
Now, the “Why Should I Care?” business propositions for the OAUX PaaS4SaaS Oracle Partner enablement and the requirements for same are clear (read them again). If you've seen our roadshow you'll know that part of my PaaS4Saas story includes “the wisdom of the cloud crowd”.
That wisdom is PaaS and SaaS insight and knowledge from Oracle Partner leaders such as Debra Lilley (@debralilley) of Certus Solutions, who have proven the business proposition, and from cloud influencers and shapers such as Mark Hurd (@markvhurd) and Steve Miranda (@stevenrmiranda).
The latest addition to the celestial book of wisdom comes from Oracle CIO, Mark Sunday. Mark, explaining that enterprise applications aren't a siloed concept, underpins the need for partners to integrate fast and how SaaS with PaaS is a must-have differentiator when he declares, in his own inimitable way (using HCM by way of example):
“Absolutely without a doubt, the integration of a suite always wins... I think it’s more important than any given function. If you think HCM stands alone as a silo inside of an enterprise, you’re nuts.”
If you're a partner, therefore I think you’d be somewhat remiss not to take up on opportunities for enablement to make PaaS4SaaS happen for you too!
Storytelling that UX. Winning more business with our Cloud enablement. (Beijing image via Shy Meei Siow)
So, if you’re a partner in the Asia region (or elsewhere for that matter) that wants to go places, start that enablement conversation by following @usableapps on Twitter or reach out to us through your Oracle Alliances and Channels or Oracle PartnerNetwork contacts.
Come on Beijing, you know you want that enablement! (Beijing image via Shy Meei Siow)
Oh, did I mention I did some running in Beijing, by the way of UX research into smartwatches?
I attended the Oracle HCM Cloud Partner Enablement Summit near Milan, Italy to explain the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) enablement strategy of using Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) to extend the Oracle Applications Cloud. We enable partners to offer their customers even more: a great user experience across the Software as a Service (SaaS) applications portfolio. We call this PaaS4SaaS.
The central part of my charter is to drive an OAUX PaaS4SaaS strategy that resonates with the business needs of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) and our own sales enablement worldwide, but with the EMEA region as focus.
We have a great team that delivers Oracle PaaS and SaaS enablement and direct deal support, scaling our outreach message and running events so that the proven resources to win more business get into the hands of our partners and our sales teams.
The OAUX team PaaS4SaaS enablement is based on a rapid development kit (RDK) strategy of simple development, design, and business materials. After a few hours, partners walk away from one of our events with Cloud solutions they can sell to customers.
Let me explain more broadly why our PaaS4SaaS approach is a partner differentiator and a competitive must-have, and about how you can be in on the action!
During the event in Italy, I deployed live a tablet-first Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UI from the RDK to the Oracle Java Cloud Service - SaaS Extension (JCS-SX), demonstrating that our apps are not only simple to use, but easy to build, and therefore easy for partners to sell.
Make no mistake; PaaS4SaaS is the partner differentiator when it comes to competing in the cloud. Our enablement means partners can:
- Build Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UIs productively using Oracle PaaS and SaaS.
- Offer customization and integration confidence to customers in the cloud: they’ll get the same great user experience that Oracle delivers out of the box.
- Identify new reusable business opportunities in the cloud and win more deals.
- Accelerate innovation and SaaS adoption and increase the range of value-add PaaS solutions offered to customers.
- Sharpen sales and consulting strategies using the user experience message, and take your position in the partner world to a new level.
But don’t just take it from me, check out the wisdom of the cloud, and what our partners, the press, and Oracle’s leadership team have to say about PaaS and SaaS:
- PaaS and SaaS Perfect: Partners bring innovation to the Oracle ecosystem and run it on Oracle’s Cloud (Debra Lilley [@debralilley], Vice President Certus Cloud Services, Certus Solutions)
- "PaaS for SaaS will emerge as the de-facto way to extend Oracle Applications in a safe, manageable, and cost-effective way" (Debra Lilley)
- By Oracle OpenWorld 2015 (October) 95% of Oracle products will be in the Cloud (Mark Hurd [@markvhurd], co-CEO Oracle Corporation)
- PaaS opportunity even bigger than SaaS (Forbes OracleVoice [@forbes])
- On the Oracle Cloud—"an out-of-the-box, standardized environment to start building the application or deploying the application or data in an hour" (Mike Lehman, Vice President, Product Management, Oracle Corporation)
- Partners can better tailor their applications to customers’ needs and, in general, make them better and faster (Steve Miranda [@stevenrmiranda], Executive Vice President, Applications Development, Oracle Corporation)
Here are the partner requirements to start that conversation with you about OAUX enablement:
- Do you have use cases for PaaS and the Oracle Applications Cloud?
- Do you want user experience (UX) as the partner differentiator?
- Are you an Oracle Applications Cloud (ERP, HCM, Sales) partner who wants to lead and influence?
- Do you have Oracle ADF, Oracle Fusion Middleware, SOA, Cloud or other development skills in-house or by way of an alliance?
- Are you willing to participate jointly in Oracle outreach and communications about your enablement and the outcome?
For more information on our PaaS4SaaS enablement, check out these links:
- Oracle.com/UsableApps > Build a simplified UI
- Oracle UX PaaS4SaaS Enablement with Certus Solutions
- Making the Cloud Your Own (AppsConnect recording, access required)
- OPN Oracle Fusion (Cloud) Applications UX Specialization (Access required)
- OPN Oracle Cloud Applications UX Extensibility Specialization
Julian Orr (@Orr_UX), Senior Usability Engineer in the Oracle Applications User Experience Communications and Outreach team reflects on the OAUG Collaborate 15 conference.
Much like the very real sand cloud that enveloped Las Vegas during this year’s OAUG Collaborate 15, the conference itself is getting drawn deeper into the Oracle Cloud, as more Oracle applications lift off and soar towards the Oracle Applications Cloud user experience and look and feel.
I co-presented three sessions with Oracle Cloud Applications partners at the conference. All three sessions focused on how to extend and complement the functionality of the Oracle Applications Cloud using a combination of PaaS for SaaS (or PaaS4SaaS as we call it). Common themes included:
- PaaS is an agile, effective means used to extend SaaS cloud applications as proven by our partners.
- Oracle PaaS is not just used to extend SaaS functionality, but it’s also used to extend the user experience benefits of the Oracle Applications Cloud simplified UI to your users.
- Applying best practices helps users reap the many benefits of the simplified user experience.
In the Oracle Fusion Middleware for the Cloud panel session, Sandeep Banerjie, Senior Director, Oracle Product Management, did a great job of setting the table with comprehensive coverage about Oracle Cloud current and future offerings.
(L-R) Sandeep Banerjie, Julian Orr, and Basheer Khan at the Oracle Fusion Middleware for the Cloud panel [Photo by Natasha K. Rogers (@NatashaKotovsky)]
I used my time to describe how the Oracle Applications User Experience team worked with Basheer Khan, (@bkhan) CEO of Knex Technology and OAUX Speaker, and its customers in an intensive onsite design workshop to rapidly develop a simplified approach for accurately assigning a constantly changing cadre of new hires to project resources to enable accurate management and accounting. Basheer followed my coverage of the simplified design process with a live demo the PaaS application that we co-designed.
The panel was well received, with a few nods for involvement of end users in the design process and demonstrated success in PaaS rapid development. The majority of the questions we addressed were focused on cloud security features.
Debra Lilley extols the Oracle Partner business value of using PaaS for SaaS solutions.
In the two sessions about using Oracle PaaS to Extend Oracle Cloud Applications, I joined Debra Lilley (@debralilley), Vice President of Cloud Services at Certus Solutions, Oracle ACE Director, and OAUX Speaker; and Ian Carline, Executive Vice President - Product Development at Certus Solutions, to discuss the design workshop we conducted with Certus to use PaaS to extend the Oracle HCM Cloud cloud functionality.
Debra and Ian did powerful jobs of stressing the absolute need and value of having a consistent user experience across PaaS and SaaS applications. My part of the presentation emphasized how to achieve a simplified user experience by focusing on these three things:
- Homework: Review and understand the design philosophy of the Oracle simplified UI, presented in expanded detail with examples in the free Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook.
- Design work: Before coding begins, employ a simplified design process that involves use-case review with end users and user advocates, sketching, and wireframing.
- Code work: Leverage the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Rapid Development Kit to accelerate development.
Following the presentation, much of the discussion centered on how to determine which use cases would make prime candidates for PaaS4SaaS projects.
As more partners and customers start designing and building PaaS solutions for the Oracle Applications Cloud SaaS offerings, I expect we will see that questions will begin to focus more and more on user experience. If it is not already, it will become, clear that to differentiate and win business in the cloud partners building and customizing enterprise apps need to compete on user experience as well as functionality.
Interested in lifting off your business?
- Try the Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Rapid Development Kit yourself.
- Find out where Oracle Applications User Experience outreach will be next and talk with us.
By Floyd Teter, Director, Strategy Group, Oracle Higher Education Practice at Sierra-Cedar, Inc., and guest contributor
A few months back, I received an interesting request from my Oracle Applications User Experience sensei, Ultan O’Broin (Mr. @usableapps). Ultan asked me to read and share opinions on the book Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience (Jeff Gothelf with Josh Seiden). I read a few reviews myself and got excited about what Gothelf was trying to do: build a framework for applying Lean principles to user experience (UX) design. I agreed to give it a go.
Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf with Josh Seiden
First, let’s be a bit more specific about the book. The intent is not just to apply broad Lean or Agile principles (Gothelf references both, sometimes interchangeably); the real intent is to apply the Scrum methodology to UX. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan and heavily engaged with both Scrum and UX, so I was excited to dive in.
The meat of the book is divided into three sections: Introduction and Principles, Process, and Making It Work. Each section contains multiple chapters.
In the first section, Gothelf lays out the argument for Lean UX: internet-based software distribution, lower barriers to market entry, continuous integration, agile software development, continuous deployment—all activities that put pressure on teams to shorten cycles to release product early and often, critical to meeting the faster innovation cycles in the SaaS and PaaS world.
Gothelf proposes Lean UX as a deeply collaborative and cross-functional method that enables teams to build a shared understanding about UX design by focusing on objective goals rather than being distracted by deliverables and documents. Having presented this argument, Gothelf then discusses the three foundations of Lean UX: design thinking, agile software development, and the Lean Startup method of build-measure-learn feedback loops, originally founded by Eric Ries.
Design thinking, as defined by design firm IDEO CEO and president Tim Brown, is “innovation powered by . . . direct observation of what people want and need in their lives and what they like or dislike about the way particular products are made, packaged, marketed, sold and supported . . . a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” That’s a real mouthful, but it comes down to designing elegant and simple solutions that people will want to use.
Gothelf defines Agile methods by reviewing the Agile core values and utilizing Scrum to apply these core values. This is not new, but it was good to see Gothelf sign up for using Scrum in UX design. Makes sense.
Finally, Gothelf promotes build-measure-feedback loops. I’m still mostly onboard here, although my preferred viewpoint is a build-observe-learn approach (with observe being mostly watching and listening).
Throughout Part I, which is really a discussion of principles and theory, I’m thinking Gothelf could be my twin brother from a different mother. We’re both singing off the same sheet of music. Part II does seem to be more of a “difficult second album” though.
In Part II, Gothelf applies the principles discussed in Part I, a journey where the metaphorical wheels begin to come off the tour bus. Lean UX relies heavily on written deliverables and formal structure for starting up a UX design effort:
- A hypothesis statement, with assumptions, hypotheses, outcomes, personas, and features
- A problem statement, with product and/or system goals, problem description, and a description of an explicit request for improvement that doesn’t dictate a specific solution
- A business assumptions worksheet, including prioritized assumptions
- A recommendation for written subhypotheses
- A written declaration of metrics to be used along with current state of each metric
- A written list of features matched to groups of user personas
After we’re done with writing (he comments “finally!”), Gothelf proceeds to lay out some pretty formal structure for design studio sessions, including time-boxing presentation and critique, iteration and refinement, and team idea generation. Gothelf also argues for creating a style guide prior to design (as opposed to building concurrently as you progress and learn).
This is the point where Lean UX stopped making complete sense in my world. Agile and Scrum make a point of minimizing written deliverables, especially anything that might be a barrier to getting started with the actual design and build work; the idea being the sooner you get into feedback loops, the quicker you’ll deliver a product of outstanding quality. Gothelf acknowledges this in Part I, yet his recommended process is based on the opposite. Gothelf continues with the formality and structure throughout Parts II and III.
I’m now hard-wired against formality in development; software development cycles in the cloud almost demand that. Partners and developers need to create real solutions fast—formality presents the risk of getting wrapped up in management processes that distract from the essential tasks required to design, innovate and build rapidly.
A final point of contention for me comes with how feedback loops are addressed. These loops are mentioned a founding principle of Lean UX in Part I, yet there is almost no discussion of how to leverage their value (by observing and learning). How do you elicit feedback? How is feedback filtered for relevance and priority? What techniques are used to assure the user that he/she was heard . . . which, in turn, elicits even more feedback. Discussion? Tips? Techniques? Zip. Zero. Bupkis. Notta. Nothing.
My own applied techniques? I suggest following the discover-design-deploy approach on the Oracle UX Direct website.
Discover-design-deploy approach from UX Direct
Begin by recording the required features on Scrum story cards, cutting to the essence of what’s important from your discovery stage. I’d then follow the Scrum process for estimating and prioritizing features prior to starting the first design sprint. Now, I’ve tried lots of virtual Scrum boards for geographically-dispersed project teams to keep track of everything, but Trello remains a favorite. Sprint productivity can be further accelerated by use of UX design patterns and guidelines so that developers can focus in on technical areas.
Trello virtual Scrum board
In summary: The book presents great conceptual ideas, but the approach and implementation didn’t rock my world of delivering on enterprise applications UX today. It left me hoping for more.
My point of view would be to stay away from structural overheads and formality, and stay truer to Agile concepts. I’d recommend a mix tape The Elements of Scrum (Chris Sims and Hillary Louise Johnson) and the simple discover-design, and deploy approach to UX on the Usable Apps website.
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You’ll quickly build simple, elegant solutions.
Read more Floyd Teter insights on ORCLVille.
“Harder Than You Think” is one awesome rap anthem by Public Enemy (I’ve always suspected Flavor Flav was a wearable technology innovator with that clock).
There’s a particular line in the song that resonates soundly with the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) capacity for empathy: to "bear witness". Witness to real people doing real tasks in real places. I used the line to open my session on Future User Experience (UX) at the Oracle HCM Day 2015 at Oracle Nederland in Utrecht.
Public Enemy: Harder Than You Think
UX is harder than you think too, but our job is to make things easy for Oracle Applications Cloud users by simplifying things; hiding the complexity of technology and making convoluted business processes fade away.
The theme of HCM Day was the iGeneration: those technology-versed young adults about to enter the workforce with expectations and attitudes about job permanence and how talent is recruited and managed that have shattered the employment model status quo. So, to explain the OAUX fit with their world, I jumped right into Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd’s “Welcome to Nobody Cares” HCM World keynote, research and insights into younger generations' use of technology, how work apps are more than a pretty face; and then in to Oracle HCM Cloud, stealing a line from U2 about everything you know (about enterprise software) being wrong, along the way.
The Oracle Applications Cloud UX message for the iGeneration can be summed up as:
- We care. Winning in HCM is strategic for Oracle.
- This is not your parent’s software (Not that they wanted crapplications, either).
- Tech-savvy people need tech-savvy workplaces.
- User experience is a competitive must-have.
- The cloud has changed everything. Vendor and partner complacency about how people and business use software is dead.
- Making things "Apple Easy" (h/t Richard Twelvetrees [@rg12t]) is no longer merely a dream for enterprise applications users thanks to simplicity and a design philosophy of Glance, Scan, Commit.
To keep the performance real I offered a glimpse of what UX might come the iGeneration's way too. I shared some innovative concepts from the OAUX AppsLab team (@theappslab), our mobile Cloud apps, and the Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle ERP Cloud designs for the forthcoming Apple Watch. I then showed live proof-of-concept demos of a glanceable UI for time entry microtransactions (using a Motorola Moto 360 smartwatch and location detection for mega convenience) and of Oracle Taleo interview evaluations and phone screener text (SMS) messaging built using Oracle partner Twilio's cloud API.
Glance UI time entry on Motorola Moto 360
Oracle Taleo Texting (SMS)
HCM Day was a great event, with over 130 attendees (including some 90 customers). It was a cool, fun, fast-paced learning event and an opportunity to build more relationships across the Benelux area. I was really wowed by the heads-up displays and 3D printing by main partner Deloitte too!
3D Print by Deloitte
Special thanks to Conny Groen in 't Woud (Marketing Manager Applications, HCM Benelux) and Henry Barenholz (Senior Director, HCM Leader Benelux and Nordics) for asking me to share our insight and innovation at a brilliantly organized and orchestrated happening.
You can see more of the cool stuff I showed off at HCM Day in the free Oracle Applications Cloud User Experience Trends and Strategy eBook.
Remember, it’s not how you swipe or click. It’s how you work. Tell your parents.
The iGeneration already knows.
A Werken.FM podcast of the day is now available (in Dutch).
By Debra Lilley, guest contributor
Debra Lilley (@debralilley), Oracle ACE Director and Vice President of Certus Cloud Services at Certus Solutions, offers her reflections on the PaaS4SaaS workshop that took place in January 2015 in London*.
I know this posting is a bit late, but at the end of January I took part in a proof of concept workshop for PaaS4SaaS, and it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since.
When I was thinking about moving to Certus, one of the things that attracted me was their intent to write extensions for Oracle Cloud Applications using the just announced PaaS4SaaS solution.
I attended Oracle Open World with an open mind and tried to learn as much as I could about the solutions. The Larry Ellison (Oracle Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer) demo was really impressive but then Oracle has always been a brilliant marketing company.
I came back to the UK and set about validating what was available, some of the components Database and Java Cloud had been available for a while but I wanted or would want to also use the Process and Integration Cloud offerings.
As regular readers of my blog will know, I am an Oracle Applications User Experience advocate and am very committed to the user experience work that goes into Oracle Cloud Applications. Extensions delivered by Certus will have this same user experience, and I made this video on behalf of Certus.
Click here to watch Debra's YouTube video.
The user experience team has been given funding by Thomas Kurian, Oracle President, Product Development, who is personally committed to making PaaS4SaaS work, to carry out a number of proof of concept workshops with Oracle partners. The Oracle Applications UX team asked Certus to be part of this. Certus has not been a development company, and so in the same way customers come to us because we are the best at implementing cloud applications, we looked for a partner to help us with development. We selected eProseed who have the same commitment to UX as we do.
The workshop took place in London at the end of January with four people from each of Oracle Applications UX, eProseed, and Certus taking part. We worked through a use case taken from an existing application from one of our customers who is considering modernizing this and moving it to the cloud. In three days we were able to build a working application and prove to ourselves that when the customer says “go,” we will be able to deliver what they need.
Oracle Applications UX team have in their blog already covered the workshop and I have also written about it in the Oracle Fusion Middleware blog I am a guest author for. The following month I took part in the Partner SOA Community Forum in Budapest when we had the opportunity to work with product management teams of both the Process and Integration Cloud offerings and further validate our approach, understanding the possibilities and the constraints. The Oracle Applications UX team also had a stand there.
Lonneke Dikmans (@lonnekedikmans) Managing Partner eProseed Nederland and Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions
I was very pleased on behalf of both Certus and eProseed to accept the first Community Cloud award. These awards are a bit like the Oscars and awarded to individuals Lonneke Dikmans from eProseed and myself, however we had a similar thank you to all those involved in our acceptance speech.
The Community Leader Jürgen Kress (@soacommunity) said:
“I awarded my first SOA Community Outstanding Contribution for Cloud to Debra Lilley of Certus Solutions and Lonneke Dikmans of eProseed because they not only took on board the messaging of PaaS4SaaS from the last Oracle Open World, but also their collaboration between an Applications partner and a Middleware partner, sought out answers and training and with Oracle Development giving feedback and validating their approach in this area. All good things but bringing that back to the community and sharing is the outstanding contribution.”
I have written a White Paper, which will be published for Collaborate in a few weeks and Certus along with Oracle Applications UX will be presenting this twice both for OAUG and Quest. I’ve also had an article published in this month’s Profit Magazine.
Thank you to the Oracle Applications UX team and the SOA Community. I’m still not technical enough to do this but I am technical enough to understand that PaaS4SaaS is a game changer and will continue to be seeing more and more in our community.
* This article was originally published here.
Ultan O’Broin (@usableapps) talks to Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) Vice President Jeremy Ashley (@jrwashley) about designing apps for that smartwatch, and every other smartwatch, too. This is a three-part series of blog posts. Read part two.
Nobody wants their device to disrupt them from what they are doing or to have to move to another one to continue working. Keeping users in the moment of their tasks—independent of the devices they’re using—is central to any great user experience.
The ability to apply our Oracle Applications Cloud design philosophy to the smartwatch demonstrates an ideal realization of the “glance” method, keeping users in that moment: Making the complex simple, flexible, intuitive, and most of all, convenient. OAUX recognizes the need for smartwatch wearers to experience that “right here, right now” feeling, the one in which you have just what you need, just when you need it.
The wearable technology space is currently focused on smartwatches. We’re excited by Apple’s announcement about their smartwatch, and we’re even more thrilled to now show you our proof of concept glance designs for the Oracle Applications Cloud on the Apple Watch. We want to hear your reaction!
Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud for Apple Watch proof of concept designs
For the smartwatch specifically, VP Jeremy Ashley explained how our glance approach applies to smartwatch wearers, regardless of their choice of device:
“The most common wearable user interaction is to glance at something. The watch works as the wearer’s mini dialog box to the cloud, making microtransactions convenient on the wrist, and presenting the right information to the wearer at the right time. How quickly and easily someone can do something actually useful is the key activity."
Glance brings cloud interaction to wearers in a personal way, requesting and not demanding attention, while eliminating a need to switch to other devices to “dig in,” or to even have to pull a smartphone out of the pocket to respond.
“To continue the journey to completing a task using glance is as simple and natural as telling the time on your wrist”, says Jeremy.
Being able to glance down at your wrist at a stylish smartwatch experience—one that provides super-handy ways to engage with gems of information— enhances working in the cloud in powerful and productive ways, whether you’re a sales rep walking from your car to an opportunity engagement confidently glancing at the latest competitive news, or a field technician swiping across a watchface to securely record time on a remote job.
Glancing at a UI is the optimal wearable experience for the OAUX mobility strategy, where the cloud, not the device, is our platform. This means you can see our device-agnostic glance design at work not only on an Apple Watch, but on Android Wear, Pebble, and other devices, too.
Glance for Oracle Applications Cloud proof of concept apps on Android Wear Samsung Gear Live and Pebble
Designing a Glanceable Platform
The path to our glance designs began with OAUX research into every kind of smartwatch we could get on our wrists so that we could study their possibilities, experience how they felt, how they looked, and how they complemented everyday work and life activities. Then we combined ideas and experiences with Oracle Cloud technology to deliver a simplified design strategy that we can apply across devices. As a result, our UI designs are consistent and familiar to users as they work flexibly in the cloud, regardless of their device, type of operating system, or form factor.
This is not about designing for any one specific smartwatch. It’s a platform-agnostic approach to wearable technology that enables Oracle customers to get that awesome glanceable, cloud-enabled experience on their wearable of choice.
Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch, Pebble, and Android Wear devices have resonated strongly with innovators and consumers of wearable technology. The smartwatch succeeds because we’re already familiar and comfortable with using wristwatches, and they’re practical and easy to use.
From first relying on the sun to tell the time, to looking up at town hall clocks, to taking out pocket watches, and then being able to glance at our wrists to tell the time, we’ve seen an evolution in glanceable technology analogous to the miniaturization of computing from large mainframes to personal, mobile devices for consumers.
Just like enterprise apps, watches have already been designed for many specializations and roles, be they military, sport, medical, fashion, and so on. So the evolution of the smartwatch into an accepted workplace application is built on a firm foundation.
Again, OAUX is there, on trend, ready and offering a solution grounded in innovation and design expertise, one that responds to how we work today in the cloud.
In future articles, we’ll explore more examples that showcase how we’re applying the glance approach to wearable technology, and we’ll look at design considerations in more detail. You can read more about our Oracle Applications Cloud design philosophy and other trends and innovations that influence our thinking in our free eBook.
Check the Usable Apps website for events where you can experience our smartwatch and other innovations for real, read our Storify feature on wearable technology, and see our YouTube videos about our UX design philosophy and strategy.
We'll follow up with Jeremy in a future blog post about his impressions of the Apple Watch after he's used it for a while.
More Apple Watch glance designs are on Instagram.
Oracle FMW Partner Community Forum 2015: The Oracle Applications Cloud UX Rapid Development Kit Goes to Hungary!
Vlad Babu (@vladbabu), Oracle Applications Cloud Pre-Sales UX Champ, files a report about his Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) while attending the recent Oracle Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum 2015 in Budapest, Hungary.
Over 200 Oracle Partners from the Oracle Fusion Middleware (FMW) area stepped away from their projects in early March 2015 to take part in a groundbreaking event in Budapest, Hungary: the Oracle Fusion Middleware Partner Community Forum 2015. For some time, this two-day event had been just a glimmer in the eye of Jürgen Kress (@soacommunity), Senior Manager SOA/FMW Partner Programs EMEA. However, with the unprecedented success of the partner programs and community growth in recent years, he really felt compelled to make this event happen. And he did!
Andrew Sutherland, Senior Vice President Business Development - Technology License & Systems EMEA, and Amit Zavery (@azavery), Senior Vice President, Integration Products, were the keynote speakers. They inspired the audience when they spoke about Digital Disruption and how Oracle is soaring to success with Integration Cloud Services offerings, such as Oracle Cloud Platform (Platform as a Service [PaaS]).
Tweet from Debra Lilley: Pervasiveness of UX to Cloud successThe user experience (UX) presence at the event struck a chord with Debra Lilley (@debralilley), (Vice President of Certus Cloud Services), who remarked on how important the all-encompassing Oracle Applications User Experience Simplified User Experience Rapid Development Kit (RDK) is for enabling great partner development for the cloud experience. Yes, integration and PaaS4SaaS are key partner differentiators going forward!
Tweet from Vlad Babu: PTS Code Accelerator Kit and Oracle Applications UX design patterns eBook
So, how can partners truly leverage their investment in Oracle Fusion Middleware? Use the RDK. Oracle Partners were really excited by and empowered when they used the RDK for designing and coding a simplified UI for the Oracle Applications Cloud. The RDK contains all the information you’ll need before you even start coding, such as easy-to-use RDK wireframing stencils. The YouTube guidance offers great productivity features when creating new extensions in PaaS or developing from scratch a brand new, custom application using Oracle ADF technology.
Tweet from Debra Lilley: Integration is key to SaaS.
For example, Certus Solutions leveraged the RDK Simplified User Experience Design Patterns eBook that covers simplified UI design patterns and the ADF-based code templates in the RDK to develop a new extension for the Oracle HCM Cloud. The result? Certus Solutions received the FMW Community Cloud Award for outstanding work in validating PaaS4SaaS with the Usable Apps team!
Tweet from Debra Lilley: Announcing that Certus Solutions received the FMW Community Cloud Award
Experiencing the motivation and innovation from successful partners, this event proved to be a unique and rewarding chance to interact with key Oracle Partners. This event was truly a fantastic two-day event to remember. Here’s to the next opportunity to wear the OAUX colors with pride!
Tweet from Debra Lilley: Simplicity, Extensibility, Mobile worn with pride.
For more information, I encourage you to visit the Usable Apps website where you’ll find lots of essential information about designing and building new simplified UIs for the Oracle Applications Cloud.
Your reward is waiting.