Today – Wednesday 27th of September – saw close to 50 people gathering for the OAUX (Oracle Applications User Experience) Strategy Day. Some attendees joined from remote locations on three continents, while most of us had assembled in the UX Spaces Lab at Oracle’s Redwood Shores HQ – equipped with some interesting video and audio equipment.
Some important themes for this day:
- The key message of Simplicity, Mobility and Extensibility is continued; simplicity means: a user experience that is to the point, only drawing a user’s attention to relevant items, only presenting meaningful data and allowing a task to be handled most efficiently.
In order to achieve this simplicity, quite a bit of smartness is required: User context interpreted by smart apps lead to Simple UX, with Chat, Voice Input and Conversational UIs.and fully automated processes at the pinnacle. Machine learning is at the heart of this smartness – deriving information from the context, presenting relevant choices en defaults based on both context and historical patterns
- Enterprise Mobility is a key element in the user experience – with a consistent experience yet tailored to the device (one size does not fit all at all) and the ability to start tasks on one device and continue with them on different devices and a later point in time. The experience should be light on data. Only show the absolute essential information.
- The latest Oracle Cloud Applications Release – R13 – has some evolution in the UX and UI.
- Conversational UI for the Enterprise is rapidly becoming relevant. Conversational UI for the enterprise complements and replaces current Web&Mobile UI – for quick, simple, mini transaction and smart capture. The OAUX team discerns four categories of interactions that conversational interfaces are initially most likely to be used for: Do (quick decisions, approvals, data submission), Lookup (get information), Go To (use conversation as starting point for a deeplink context rich navigation to a dedicated application component) and Decision Making (provide recommendations and guidance to users).
Some examples of conversational UIs – low threshold user to system interaction for simple questions,requests, actions and submissions
Jeremy Ashley introduced the term JIT UI – just in time UI: widgets (buttons, selection lists) that are mixed in with the text based conversational UI (aka chat) to allow easy interaction when relevant; this could also include dynamically generated visualizations for more complex presentation of data.
The OAUX makes an RDK (Rapid Development Kit) available for Conversational UI – or actually the first half of the RDK – the part that deals with designing the conversational UI. The part about the actual implementation will follow with the launch of the Oracle Intelligent Bot Cloud Service and associated technology and tooling.
This new RDK can be found at : https://t.co/m7AuSBJw5J . It contains many guidelines on designing conversations – about how to address users, what information and interaction to provide.
- Another brand new RDK is soon to be released for Oracle JET – aligned with JET 4.0, that is to be released next week at Oracle OpenWorld 2017. This RDK support development of Oracle JET rich client applications with the same look and feel as the R13 ADF based Oracle SaaS apps. Assuming that there will be a long period of coexistence between ADF based frontends and Oracle JET powered user interfaces, it seems important to be able to develop an experience in JET that is very similar to the one users already are used to in the existing SaaS applications.
Additionally, the JET RDK will provide guidelines on how to developer JET applications. These guidelines were created in collaboration between the SaaS foundation and development teams, the JET product development team and the OAUX team. They are primarily targeted at Oracle’s own development teams that embrace JET for building SaaS App components and other developers creating extensions on top of Oracle SaaS. However, these guidelines are very useful for any development team that is using JET for developing any applications. The guidance provided by the RDK resources – as well as potentially the reusable components provided as part of the RDK – embodies best experiences and the intent of the JET team and provides a relevant headstart to teams that otherwise have to invent their own wheels.
Here is a screenshot of the sample JET application (R13 style) provided with the RDK:
- Updates – aligned with Cloud Apps Release 13 – are released for MAF and ADF. Go to https://github.com/oracle/apps-cloud-ui-kit to find all resources
Here is a screenshot of the ADF demo application provided with the ADF RDK:
There is a move away from using icons to interact with the application for navigation – more towards search & notifications. The ability to tailor the look & feel (theming, logo, heading, integrate external UIs) has improved substantially.
Some other observations
Any data in a user interface has to be justified. Why should it be there? What will you use it for? What happens if it is not shown? Less is more (or at least: better)
Different generations of users prefer different styles of navigation & interaction; ideally the UX is personalized to cater for that.
An overview of all activities of the OAUX team during Oracle OpenWorld 2017: