The Oracle Applications User Experience team is delighted to announce that our Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook is available for free.
The Simplified User Experience Design Patterns for the Oracle Applications Cloud Service eBook
We’re sharing the same user experience design patterns, and their supporting guidance on page types and Oracle ADF components that Oracle uses to build simplified user interfaces (UIs) for the Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud, with you so that you can build your own simplified UI solutions.
Design patterns offer big wins for applications builders because they are proven, reusable, and based on Oracle technology. They enable developers, partners, and customers to design and build the best user experiences consistently, shortening the application's development cycle, boosting designer and developer productivity, and lowering the overall time and cost of building a great user experience.
Now, Oracle partners, customers and the Oracle ADF community can share further in the Oracle Applications User Experience science and design expertise that brought the acclaimed simplified UIs to the Cloud and they can build their own UIs, simply and productively too!
Oracle takes very seriously the pursuit of creating a diverse group of people who work in technology. We have the Oracle Women’s Leadership (OWL) and Women in Technology programs, for example. Externally, the Oracle user group community has Women in IT (WIT) initiatives, such as the ones run by RMOUG and UKOUG.
I’m always on the look out for smart people, of all types, ages, cultures, and experiences, who are shining examples of how a diversity of people working together in tech means we all win.
Oracle is committed to diversity. Oracle Product Management VP Jeff Caldwell with Sarahi Mireles at a Building Great-Looking Usable Apps workshop in Mexico City, D.F.
After reading a great online conversation about women in tech, I checked out Rails Girls, Black Girls Code, and Girls Who Code. I wanted to know how young women start to pursue a career in tech. So I chatted with Sarahi Mireles (@sarahimireles) in the UX team who shared her experiences.
Sarahi is a front-end developer based in the Mexico Development Center in Guadalajara, working on the Usable Apps website. Sarahi is a key part of communicating our UX messages and enablement to Oracle ADF developers, partners, and customers, worldwide.
Sarahi knows about the importance of role models as examples and getting people talking together about diversity. "Talking about my work and interest in tech helps change the way coworkers and others see women in tech and clears up misconceptions. The conversation encourages other women to become interested in IT, too."What does Sarahi recommend to others like her who are interested in technology?
"Technology is awesome! It lets you be creative, it’s a great challenge for the mind, and it encourages you to explore new areas. I would recommend a tech path that takes you into the visual and practical areas first, like animations and photo and video editing. Checking out a simple course on robotics can be incredible fun, too. Then, if you think you’ve got a good feel for tech and what you can do with it, develop that interest with programming, math, and science study options in school."What kinds of interests do you need to have to work in tech?
"There are lots of other skills that lead to jobs in tech: design, arts, music, video, photography, as well as web development and mobile app development. If you’re into solving problems or have crazy thoughts about apps for your phone that will be useful for your daily tasks, well there’s an opportunity to turn those ideas into a great career in technology, too. What you need is already in your head."So what got Sarahi started on the path to her career in tech?
"I got interested in tech when I was in elementary school, trying to record songs in Windows ‘95 with a friend. I then discovered web design through Myspace; it came with lots of possibilities for personalizing the way your pages looked by using HTML and CSS. By the time I was ready for high school, I knew I was heading for the tech world, so I chose a science and math-focused school."
What tech impresses and inspires Sarahi?
"I'm very impressed by apps I can use everyday to help me to save time or get something done quickly. Mobile apps like Waze, for example, let me get somewhere faster, whether I'm here in Guadalajara or in San Francisco."
Sarahi is interested in wearable tech. Seen here with Ultan O’Broin (@ultan) getting ready for a wearables design jam.
"I like apps like Dollarbird to track monthly expenses, WhatsApp to stay connected, and Foursquare to find a place to hang out–it works just great in Mexico. I'm interested how wearable tech makes life easier too, such as how Google Glass translates text automatically by looking at it or takes pictures or videos of what’s right in front of you."
"For exercising, a combination of MapMyRide and PowerTap is great for cycling. I like VocalizeU because I can use my iPhone to warm up my vocal cords for singing class. And then I can use recipe apps like Epicurious to discover how to make tasty stuff from what I have left in the fridge."
Thanks Sarahi! What an inspiration to others! You’ve given others some great ideas for getting started on the path to a career in tech. What a a great example of diversity in action in the technology industry.
Watch out for more information about WIT and OWL, and catch up with Sarahi and the rest of the UX team at outreach events by following @usableapps on Twitter and checking in regularly on the Usable Apps blogs and website.
Watching my Oracle co-workers, a diverse crowd that spans a wide range of ages and cultures and with a myriad of skills and experiences to share, gives me a window into modern ways of working that others have to pay to observe. Sure, we don’t have a beach volleyball court on the Oracle HQ campus (works for me, as I don’t do shorts). But we do have a beautiful lake.
Oracle’s Redwood Shores HQ campus is clustered around a spectacular lake, affectionately referred to as 'Lake Larry' by the locals.
It’s around that lake that David Haimes, a Senior Director in Oracle Financials Applications Product Development, changed the way he manages his team by introducing walking meetings. I caught up with him to learn more.A reasonably active chap to start (by U.S. standards), David was already swimming in the evenings and running at weekends. Then, his wife gave him a FitBit. With that little sensor on the wrist recording his daily activity stats, one glance at the FitBit dashboard analytics revealed those workdays when his activity levels were flatlining. Now, there was an opportunity to put some peaks back into those charts if he could figure out a way to merge work and play.
David recalled hearing about walking meetings on NPR and being impressed with the health and work benefits delivered. He read the good things Kaiser Permanente (disclosure: an Oracle customer) shared about the practice, and saw the YouTube video about it too.
So, come January 2014, David introduced walking meetings for his directs, walking around Lake Larry for their one-on-ones. The results are pretty impressive.
Keepin' it simple. David Haimes (@dhaimes), and Oracle partner UX champ Floyd Teter (@fteter) of IO Consulting, walk the walk and talk the talk of today’s applications at Oracle HQ.
David’s blogged about his experiences to an eager audience, explaining how walking meetings enabled higher rates of problem solving and creativity in the team. Freed from the confined atmosphere of a building or office and out in the (usually) sunny Silicon Valley environment, he’s found that “meetings are more productive…we can actually talk through those issues we need to discuss, think about them clearly and agree on actions”. And, those ‘let’s-take-a-walk’ moments are also a perfect way to broach tricky subjects that might be harder to bring up across a desk or on email.
Not only that. His daily mileage has gone from 2 to 3 miles a day to 4 to 6 miles a day!
Inspired by David’s initiative, co-workers in Oracle are starting their own walking meetings, too. Fans of this new “mobile” approach to workforce management name check Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg as early adopters, and there’s even a walking meetings hashtag. But, walking meetings are not just a cool thing to do. They come with business benefits.
So, what could this mean for applications UX?
David records ideas and actions during his walking meetings using iPhone apps and voice technology. Plenty of mobile tools are out there already to choose from, and we will surely see new wearables emerge for unobtrusively capturing notes and ideas as people move about.
However, I don’t think it’s the technology foot that we need to put forward first. It’s the context—people at work connecting with each other across traditional boundaries to creatively solve shared challenges. That is the opportunity—how to enable people to connect and collaborate even more effectively—that we might look to enhance. The best wearable technology fits the user, and not the other way around. That’s the step we need to take to start innovating from how we observe how, such as taking walking meetings.
FitBit dashboard: Work-based opportunities for such data are emerging.
Then, there’s that FitBit (and similar devices). There are rich possibilities for what we might do with such data gathered seamlessly by sensors and then served up as dashboard analytics on a smart phone for immediate action or on a desktop for more in-depth analysis. Think about what this sort of aggregated data might mean for how we measure and manage corporate healthcare, wellness programs, employee availability, productivity, and so on.
Walk this way!
The Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) team recently ran a wearables design jam at Oracle’s HQ in Redwood Shores. This pilot event was for Oracle employees to learn how to design wearables for the enterprise and to develop an outreach program for customers and partners to share in the lessons learned in building such solutions.
Wearables at work: Use cases are emerging that add real business value
Design jam teams were given an overview of the latest on wearables technologies and uses in the consumer and enterprise space. Cool apps already developed by OUAX for Google Glass heads-up display and the Pebble smart watch where demoed, live.
To power the teams understanding of wearables fundamentals and to inspire quick results, teams watched videos about the Disney Glow with the Show technology (yes, that's the Mickey Mouse angle) and about how rapid prototyping using household items lead to a game-changing, heads-up display device.
Currently popular wearables are built using different technologies, but use design concepts that work well across devices and make for productive building, such as the small screen card paradigm for information display. Design jam teams were provided with UX guidelines that reflected enterprise build methodologies and usage requirements, a reminder that UX is now not just about how you wink; it’s about how you work. So, with this wearables learning in mind, the hands-on design began!
You wear it well—design jam DIY toolkits being put to good use
The design jam was a non-coding event. Instead, teams were equipped with DIY toolboxes and given free reign to design a wearable that was as innovative or as “out there” as they wish with just two caveats. Firstly, it had to solve an identified enterprise problem and secondly, it had to be buildable with, or integrated with, Oracle technology. The result was amazing creativity quickly shown by teams, reflecting the diversity and talent of Oracle employees worldwide.
Oracle design jam team Air Glove solution featured heads-up display glasses, sensory gloves, and a special “Skunk Works” sensor (indicated by a WiFi-enabled skunk stencil).
The design jam approach is a great way to learn about wearables and for newly hired employees to connect socially and professionally with co-workers in a fun way. And, there was a business focus too. Teams nuanced their wearable designs for the enterprise world, exploring how to integrate solutions with other applications and data in the cloud, for example.
All designs were outstanding. After OAUX VP Jeremy Ashley gave an update on the latest wearables technology and opportunities, the team with the most promising design was rewarded by each member receiving an inexpensive, yet tasteful, wearable technology prize.
The lessons from the wearables design jam and other user experience insight will be used refine our wearables enablement and expertise. That knowledge will be shared with our customers and partners to build wearables solutions too.
So, watch out for wearables enablement events coming your way! Stay tuned to the Usable Apps website and VOX blog, and follow @usableapps on Twitter.
Seems that baby boomers are now Instagram-ing, WhatsApp-ing and SnapChat-ing just like younger Digital Natives do. How widespread those apps are in the enterprise is another matter, but it’s a reminder never to make assumptions about apps users. Yet, certain job titles do sometimes conjure up a mental picture of how we think some people actually work.
Mention “accountant”, and you might visualize a gray picture of quiet, introspective types, heads down in books and spreadsheets, papers flying, calculators working overtime, phones to their ears begging cash from customers and wiring funds to suppliers, while accounting for all the money. Not terribly social, then? The polar opposite of those freewheeling “Mad Men” sales rep CRM types, out meeting and greeting, getting their message across to make that sale, perhaps? In fact, the finance department is a hive of social activity.
Accountants. “Life in the fast lane” is contextual. But social activity in the finance department happens at a pace few other jobs experience. And they use applications too…
I spoke with David Haimes, Senior Director in Oracle Financials Applications, about the social side of the finance department. David understands the reality of his applications users. “Their most critical time is the 5-10 days after period close when everything has to be closed out and reported”, David told me. “There’s a huge amount of effort and social interaction going on”.
During the close process, David said teams need to exchange information and make decisions as quickly as possible and still satisfy business and legal requirements. Accounting teams were early adopters and heavy users of instant messaging, email distribution lists (with Microsoft Excel spreadsheet attachments), wikis, file sharing workspaces, and of course, the old fashioned telephone. But these tools were external to the financial application and data. The user experience was disjointed. Who works well in a silo? And, there was no audit trail. David has seen accounting teams copying and pasting emails into documents and attaching them to meet that audit requirement.
“The finance department has to make sure everything is correct and legal,” David said. “They’re reporting not just to internal management, but to Wall Street, to tax authorities, and to other legislative bodies. And, since the Sarbanes-Oxley act, CEOs are legally responsible for the correctness of the accounts,” David reminded me. That’s pressure.
Things are even more hectic when you consider the nature of the enterprise financial department today, with its distributed team members with shared service centers offshore and everyone working in different countries and time zones. Everyone needs to communicate and collaborate efficiently, yet securely and transparently.
That’s where Oracle Social Network is a financial department win.
- Oracle Social Network conversations are tied to business objects and transactions, enabling finance teams to easily share and collaborate in a role-based way.
- Oracle Social Network conversations are auditable (which is “usually the first question I’m asked,” says David).
- Oracle Social Network conversations are searchable.
- Oracle Social Network is secure, with users with the right permissions working together on information stored in an Oracle database.
- Oracle Social Network is integrated with Oracle Financials applications, so the user experience is streamlined.
“[Oracle Social Network] is a game changer in the finance department,” says David, not just for the closing period but also for daily financial activity. And, Oracle Social Network is available as a cloud service, with iOS and Android mobile apps versions too.
A close process conversation using Oracle Social Network integrated with Oracle Fusion Financials—an enterprise social user experience for the finance department that’s secure and efficient.
With the Oracle Social Network user experience in the finance department, Oracle also satisfies today’s workforce that expects social networking tools to be as much a part of their work lives as their personal lives. Said David: “Younger users are already familiar with how social networking sites work and how they’re easy to use, and that’s the sort of user experience we need to reflect. It’s demanded.”
Having a social networking application as part of the job makes hiring and onboarding easier too, offering benefits right across the enterprise. And it’s not only Digital Natives or Millennials who easily take to integrated social networking in work. Even senior users now see the benefits.
Socializing the finance department with Oracle technology is an example of how a great user experience can engage workers, accelerate performance and efficiency, deliver productivity for business while meeting the consumer technology demands of end users, and satisfy the requirements of stakeholder user groups such as other departments, auditing and security teams, tax authorities, reporting agencies, shareholders, and so on.
Read more about socializing the finance department on the Oracle Applications blog and David’s blog (a bookmark must) too. And, check out what the Oracle Social Network Cloud Service now offers and how it benefits your users and business.
The folks on the AMIS team have always knocked me out whenever they cross my path at conferences, user group meetings, and events such as Oracle OpenWorld. Their participation is always in demand. With their deep know-how about Oracle technology and a commitment to the business benefits of user experience, AMIS really “gets it.”
AMIS is a leading powerhouse when it comes to building solutions using Oracle Applications Development Framework (ADF) and is always eager to learn more about how to expand its possibilities and offer more. For these reasons, it was no surprise to see AMIS at the Oracle Applications User Experience (OAUX) expo held at OpenWorld 2013. Oracle ACE Director and AMIS Services CTO Lucas Jellema commented after the event:
“The expo provided out of the box thinking and inspiration with regards to the interaction between business users and computers and IT systems in general. It suggested approaches that are both realistic as well as fun. It also instilled a certain confidence that Oracle is really onto something with UX, and we are betting our money on the right horse.”
This March, OAUX and AMIS will take their relationship to a higher level, bringing a user experience and technology expo event to Nieuwegein in the Netherlands and sharing with others the latest thinking and concepts on user interface design and user experience.
Simplicity, mobility, and the extensibility of applications, all built with Oracle technology, along with the latest device trends and integrations in the cloud will be some of the innovations that demonstrate the OUAX vision and strategy at the AMIS-hosted expo.
Oracle customers, partners, industry experts, and invited guests will get to see the latest user experience innovations built using Oracle technology that provides modern and compelling applications to enable today's workers to be more productive than ever.
This event is about engaging with, and inspiring, a broad set of stakeholders in the enterprise information technology ecosystem by showing off the result of Oracle’s investment in UX and the thought leadership, passion, and vision that drives the simplicity, mobility, and extensibility of applications used in today’s enterprises.
AMIS will also share what it takes to be a leading Oracle knowledge partner, what this partnership means for partner business and for clients seeking solutions with Oracle ADF, and what it takes to be a respected voice in the enterprise methodology world of applications development.
See you in the Netherlands. Who knows what secrets will be revealed about the future of UX and Oracle technology!
When you think about any user interface (UI) guideline and you hear “language of the user,” what do you think?
- I should be able to understand the words I see on the UI.
- The words I see on the UI should be meaningful to the work that I do.
- The words I see on the UI should be translatable and localizable.
The usability of business applications has evolved, and business applications have become more consumer-focused. The average user’s understanding of business applications has evolved as well. Technology and know-how now allow us to build contextual user experiences into applications and to design language experiences for the UI—with style, tone, terms, words, and phrases—that resonate with real users and their real, every day work experiences in the real world, across the globe.
For example, on the Oracle Human Capital Management Cloud My Details page, notice how the sections are organized, how they use real-world terms in headings and field labels, and how they use real content, such as personal and biographical details instead of placeholder text, which cannot be evaluated for its meaning or translation or localization needs.
Choosing which terms, words, and phrases to include on the UI is as important as choosing the right terms to use in code. In code and on the UI, the terms and words should be accurate in context and enable the successful completion of a task in context, whether the context is the processing of an event in the code or the user adding information to a contact record on a form in the UI.
37signals book, Getting Real, dedicates a short essay, Copywriting is Interface Design, to the importance of copywriting in UI design and how important every single word choice on is for the UI.
There are also numerous resources that support that choosing terms, words, and phrases for the UI that accurately represent real-world concepts in their source language often enables the translation and localization experiences. For examples, see Ultan Ó Broin’s Blogos entry Working Out Context in the Enterprise: Localize That! and Verónica González de la Rosa and Antoine Lefeuvre’s slideshare ‘Translation is UX’ Manifesto.
So how do we design a rich, context-aware UI language experience for today’s user?
- We use accurate terms to represent concepts that are well-established in the real world by real users. These are the terms that users use frequently, terms such as team or shopping cart.
- We use terms consistently to represent the same concepts across applications. We wouldn’t use location in one place and party site in another to represent the same concept, or save and submit to represent the same concept.
- When we need to use these terms in context of phrases on the UI, we do so with a style and tone that resonates with users and yet is still translatable and localizable. This means that we don’t introduce nonsensical words or instant messaging-speak. We offer phrasing that is simple and clear: Add a new customer record.
- We stop surfacing the language of the application on the UI, for example, code-specific terms. When we use a term like worker in the code as an abstraction or a superclass to represent the concept that a person can assume the role of “employee” or “contractor” in the system, this use makes sense in context of where and how it is used in code. When we surface the term worker on the UI to represent either or both roles, we introduce a context-independent use of this concept and one that when tested, we learn is not necessarily translatable or localizable in such a context.
Jakob Nielsen in his 1995 article 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design identified a need for this practice of using language choices that resonate with real users: “The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.”
A simplified UI is simple to build, simple to extend, and simple to use. Use and context awareness require us to build applications that focus equally on code, visual design, and language (UI) design. Every page that we surface to the user should make sense to the user in context of his work and the real world. The practice of designing the language that is used on the UI offers us an extraordinary opportunity to evolve how we communicate with users to enable their work everywhere.