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  • Schmelp Portal, Help Portal: Oracle Fusion Applications Help Online

    - by ultan o'broin
    Yes, the Oracle Fusion Applications Help (or "Help Portal" to us insiders) is now available. Click the link fusionhelp.oracle.com and check it out! Oracle Fusion Applications Help user interface If you're developing your own help for Fusion Apps, then you can use the newly published Oracle Fusion Help User Interface Guidelines to understand the best usage. These guidelines are also a handy way to get to the embedded help design patterns for Oracle Fusion Applications, now also available. To customize and extend the help content itself no longer requires the engagement of your IT Department or expensive project work. Customers can now use the Manage Custom Help capability to edit or add whatever content they need, make it secure and searchable, and develop a community around it too. You can see more of that capability in this slideshare.net presentation from UKOUG Ireland 2012 about the Oracle Fusion Applications User Assistance and Support Ecosystem by Ultan O'Broin and Richard Bingham. Manage Custom Help capability To understand the science and craft that went into the creation and delivery of the "Help Portal" (cardiac arrests all round in Legal and Marketing Depts), then check out this great white paper by Ultan O'Broin and Laurie Pattison: Putting the User into Oracle Fusion Applications User Assistance. So, what's with this "Help Portal" name? Well, that's an internal (that is, internal to Oracle) name only and we should all really call it by the correct product listing name: Oracle Fusion Applications Help. To be honest, I don't care what you call it as long as it is useful. However, these internal names can be problematic when talking with support or the licensing people. For years, we referred casually to the Oracle Applications Help or Oracle Applications Help System that ships with the Oracle E-Business Suite products as "iHelp". Then, somebody went and bought Siebel. Game over.

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  • Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience Design Patterns: Feeling the Love after Launch

    - by mvaughan
    By Misha Vaughan, Oracle Applications User ExperienceIn the first video by the Oracle Applications User Experience team on the Oracle Partner Network, Vice President Jeremy Ashley said that Oracle is looking to expand the ecosystem of support for Oracle’s applications customers as they begin to assess their investment and adoption of Oracle Fusion Applications. Oracle has made a massive investment to maintain the benefits of the Fusion Applications User Experience. This summer, the Applications User Experience team released the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience design patterns.Design patterns help create consistent experiences across devices.The launch has been very well received:Angelo Santagata, Senior Principal Technologist and Fusion Middleware evangelist for Oracle,  wrote this to the system integrator community: “The web site is the result of many years of Oracle R&D into user interface design for Fusion Applications and features a really cool web app which allows you to visualise the UI components in action.”  Grant Ronald, Director of Product Management, Application Development Framework (ADF) said: “It’s a science I don't understand, but now I don't have to ... Now you can learn from the UX experience of Fusion Applications.”Frank Nimphius, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle (ADF) wrote about the launch of the design patterns for the ADF Code Corner, and Jürgen Kress, Senior Manager EMEA Alliances & Channels for Fusion MiddleWare and Service Oriented Architecture, (SOA), shared the news with his Partner Community. Oracle Twitter followers also helped spread the message about the design patterns launch: [email protected] – Brian Huff, founder and Chief Software Architect for Bezzotech, and Oracle ACE Director:“Nifty! The Oracle Fusion UX team just released new ADF design patterns.”@maiko_rocha, Maiko Rocha, Oracle Consulting Solutions Architect and Oracle FMW engineer: “Haven't seen any other vendor offer such comprehensive UX Design Patterns catalog for free!”@zirous_chad, Chad Thompson, Senior Solutions Architect for Zirous, Inc. and ADF Developer:Wow - @ultan and company did a great job with the Fusion UX PatternsWhat is a user experience design pattern?A user experience design pattern is a re-usable, usability tested functional blueprint for a particular user experience.  Some examples are guided processes, shopping carts, and search and search results.  Ultan O’Broin discusses the top design patterns every developer should know.The patterns that were just released are based on thousands of hours of end-user field studies, state-of-the-art user interface assessments, and usability testing.  To be clear, these are functional design patterns, not technical design patterns that developers may be used to working with.  Because we know there is a gap, we are putting together some training that will help close that gap.Who should care?This is an offering targeted primarily at Application Development Framework (ADF) developers. If you are faced with the following questions regarding Fusion Applications, you will want to know and learn more:•    How do I build something that looks like Fusion Applications?•    How do I build a next-generation application?•    How do I extend a Fusion Application and maintain the user experience?•    I don’t want to re-invent the wheel on the user interface, so where do I start?•    I need to build something that will eventually co-exist with Fusion Applications. How do I do that?These questions are relevant to partners with an ADF competency, individual practitioners, or small consultancies with an ADF specialization, and customers who are trying to shift their IT staff over to supporting Fusion Applications.Where you can find out more?OnlineOur Fusion User Experience design patterns maven is Ultan O’Broin. The Oracle Partner Network is helping our team bring this first e-seminar to you in order to go into a more detail on what this means and how to take advantage of it:? Webinar: Build a Better User Experience with Oracle: Oracle Fusion Applications Functional Design PatternsSept 20, 2012 , 10:30am-11:30am PacificDial-In:  1. 877-664-9137 / Passcode 102546?International:  706-634-9619  http://www.intercall.com/national/oracleuniversity/gdnam.htmlAccess the Live Event Or Via Webconference Access http://ouweb.webex.com  ?and enter this session number: 598036234At a Usergroup eventThe Fusion User Experience Advocates (FXA) are also going to be getting some deep-dive training on this content and can share it with local user groups.At OpenWorld Ultan O’Broin               Chris MuirIf you will be at OpenWorld this year, our own Ultan O’Broin will be visiting the ADF demopod to say hello, thanks to Shay Shmeltzer, Senior Group Manager for ADF outbound communication and at the OTN lounge: Monday 10-10:45, Tuesday 2:15-2:45, Wednesday 2:15-3:30 ?  Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle ADF,  Moscone South, Right - S-207? “ADF Meet and Greett”, OTN Lounge, Wednesday 4:30 And I cannot talk about OpenWorld and ADF without mentioning Chris Muir’s ADF EMG event: the Year After the Year Of the ADF Developer – Sunday, Sept 30 of OpenWorld. Chris has played host to Ultan and the Applications user experience message for his online community and is now a seasoned UX expert.Expect to see additional announcements about expanded and training on similar topics in the future.

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  • OUG Ireland Conference 2011 Rock Star Attendance *

    - by ultan o'broin
    Yes folks, the Oracle User Group (OUG) Ireland Conference is almost upon us again, synch your calendars up for Wednesday 30-Mar-2011 (how do you like that NLS-compliant date format?), in the Aviva Stadium (that's “Landsdowne Road” to most of us locals) in Dublin. So come along and take in the best of local knowledge, listen to world-leading speakers, and hear customer stories of interest to the Irish Oracle community. And see me. There will be a keynote presentation by Paul O’Riordan, Technology Director and Country Leader, Oracle Ireland and over 20 sessions to choose from, including ones on Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle E-Business Suite, Fusion Middleware, SQL, Apex, and Business Intelligence. I can't wait for the sessions on Fusion Applications by Liam Nolan and Fusion Middleware and Apps by Debra Lilley. I will also be there if you have any follow-up questions about the Oracle Fusion Applications user experience (UX), how the UX team works, and what the UX means for how you work.  So don't be shy. I'll also try and tweet my observations from the day as we go along. You can follow me (@ultan) or the hashtag #oug_ire11. Note that end users and students (that's you lot) can attend the conference for free. Full sign-up details for all are on the OUG Ireland website. * Yes, I know Michael Bublé played there. Put that behind you, this will be much cooler. Technorati Tags: Oracle Fusion Applications,Fusion,UX,user experience,OUG,E-Business Suite,Apex,SQL,Middleware

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  • Tweeting about Oracle Applications Usability: Points to Consider

    - by ultan o'broin
    Here are a few pointers to anyone interested in tweeting about Oracle Applications usability or user experience (UX). These are based on my own experiences and practice, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle, of course (touché, see the footer). If you are an Oracle employee and tweet about our offerings, then read up and follow the corporate social media policy. For the record, I tweet under the following account names: @ultan, @localization, @gamifyOracle, and @usableapps. The last two are supposedly Oracle subject-dedicated, but I mix it up on occassion. Fill out your Twitter account profile, and add a profile picture too. Disclose your interest. Don’t leave either the profile or image blank if you want to be taken seriously (or followed by me). Don’t tweet from a locked down Twitter account, as the message cannot be circulated to anyone who doesn't follow you. Open up the account if you really want to get that UX message out. Stay on message. The usable apps website, Misha Vaughan's VoX blog, and the Oracle Applications blog are good sources of UX messages and information, but you can find many other product team, individual, and corporate-wide sources with a little bit of searching. Set up a Google Alert with pertinent related keywords to get a daily digest of new information right in your inbox. Be original about it. Add your own insight and wit to the message, were relevant. Just circulating and RTing stock headlines adds no value to your effort or to the reader, and is somewhat lazy, in my opinion. Leave room for RTing of your tweet. So, don’t max out those 140 characters. Keep it under 130 if you want to be RTed without modification (or at all-I am not a fan of modifying tweets [MT], way too much effort for the medium). Remove articles and punctuation marks and use fragments, abbreviations, and so on at will to keep the tweet short enough, but leave keywords intact, as people search on those. Follow any Fusion UX Advocates who are on Twitter too (you can search for these names), and not just Oracle employees. Don't just follow people you like or think like you, or those who you think like you or are like-minded. Take a look at who is following or being followed by other tweeters and er, follow up. Create and socialize others to use an easily remembered or typed hashtag, or use what’s already popularized (for an event or conference, for example). We used #gamifyOracle for the applications UX gamification design jam, and other popular applications UX ones are #fusionapps and #usableapps (or at least I’m trying to popularize it). But, before you start the messaging, if you want to keep a record of the hashtag traffic, then set it up with an archiving service. Twitter’s own tweet lifespan is short. Don't mix up hashtags (#) with Twitter handles (@) that have the same name. Sending a tweet to @gamifyOracle will just be seen by @gamifyOracle (me) and any followers we have in common. Sending it to #gamifyOracle is seen by anyone following or searching for that hashtag. No dissing the competition. But there is no rule about not following them on Twitter to see the market reactions to Oracle announcements and this can even let you can tailor your own message accordingly. Don’t be boring. Mix it up a bit. Every 10th or so tweet, divert into other areas of interest, personal ones, even. No constant “I just received K+ in this and that” or “I just checked into wherever” on foursquare pouring into the Twittersteam, please. I just don’t care and will probably unfollow such people pretty quickly. And now, your Twitter tips and experiences with this subject? Them go in the comments...

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  • Conversation as User Assistance

    - by ultan o'broin
    Applications User Experience members (Erika Web, Laurie Pattison, and I) attended the User Assistance Europe Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. We were impressed with the thought leadership and practical application of ideas in Anne Gentle's keynote address "Social Web Strategies for Documentation". After the conference, we spoke with Anne to explore the ideas further. Anne Gentle (left) with Applications User Experience Senior Director Laurie Pattison In Anne's book called Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, she explains how user assistance is undergoing a seismic shift. The direction is away from the old print manuals and online help concept towards a web-based, user community-driven solution using social media tools. User experience professionals now have a vast range of such tools to start and nurture this "conversation": blogs, wikis, forums, social networking sites, microblogging systems, image and video sharing sites, virtual worlds, podcasts, instant messaging, mashups, and so on. That user communities are a rich source of user assistance is not a surprise, but the extent of available assistance is. For example, we know from the Consortium for Service Innovation that there has been an 'explosion' of user-generated content on the web. User-initiated community conversations provide as much as 30 times the number of official help desk solutions for consortium members! The growing reliance on user community solutions is clearly a user experience issue. Anne says that user assistance as conversation "means getting closer to users and helping them perform well. User-centered design has been touted as one of the most important ideas developed in the last 20 years of workplace writing. Now writers can take the idea of user-centered design a step further by starting conversations with users and enabling user assistance in interactions." Some of Anne's favorite examples of this paradigm shift from the world of traditional documentation to community conversation include: Writer Bob Bringhurst's blog about Adobe InDesign and InCopy products and Adobe's community help The Microsoft Development Network Community Center ·The former Sun (now Oracle) OpenDS wiki, NetBeans Ruby and other community approaches to engage diverse audiences using screencasts, wikis, and blogs. Cisco's customer support wiki, EMC's community, as well as Symantec and Intuit's approaches The efforts of Ubuntu, Mozilla, and the FLOSS community generally Adobe Writer Bob Bringhurst's Blog Oracle is not without a user community conversation too. Besides the community discussions and blogs around documentation offerings, we have the My Oracle Support Community forums, Oracle Technology Network (OTN) communities, wiki, blogs, and so on. We have the great work done by our user groups and customer councils. Employees like David Haimes reach out, and enthusiastic non-employee gurus like Chet Justice (OracleNerd), Floyd Teter and Eddie Awad provide great "how-to" information too. But what does this paradigm shift mean for existing technical writers as users turn away from the traditional printable PDF manual deliverables? We asked Anne after the conference. The writer role becomes one of conversation initiator or enabler. The role evolves, along with the process, as the users define their concept of user assistance and terms of engagement with the product instead of having it pre-determined. It is largely a case now of "inventing the job while you're doing it, instead of being hired for it" Anne said. There is less emphasis on formal titles. Anne mentions that her own title "Content Stacker" at OpenStack; others use titles such as "Content Curator" or "Community Lead". However, the role remains one essentially about communications, "but of a new type--interacting with users, moderating, curating content, instead of sitting down to write a manual from start to finish." Clearly then, this role is open to more than professional technical writers. Product managers who write blogs, developers who moderate forums, support professionals who update wikis, rock star programmers with a penchant for YouTube are ideal. Anyone with the product knowledge, empathy for the user, and flair for relationships on the social web can join in. Some even perform these roles already but do not realize it. Anne feels the technical communicator space will move from hiring new community conversation professionals (who are already active in the space through blogging, tweets, wikis, and so on) to retraining some existing writers over time. Our own research reveals that the established proponents of community user assistance even set employee performance objectives for internal content curators about the amount of community content delivered by people outside the organization! To take advantage of the conversations on the web as user assistance, enterprises must first establish where on the spectrum their community lies. "What is the line between community willingness to contribute and the enterprise objectives?" Anne asked. "The relationship with users must be managed and also measured." Anne believes that the process can start with a "just do it" approach. Begin by reaching out to existing user groups, individual bloggers and tweeters, forum posters, early adopter program participants, conference attendees, customer advisory board members, and so on. Use analytical tools to measure the level of conversation about your products and services to show a return on investment (ROI), winning management support. Anne emphasized that success with the community model is dependent on lowering the technical and motivational barriers so that users can readily contribute to the conversation. Simple tools must be provided, and guidelines, if any, must be straightforward but not mandatory. The conversational approach is one where traditional style and branding guides do not necessarily apply. Tools and infrastructure help users to create content easily, to search and find the information online, read it, rate it, translate it, and participate further in the content's evolution. Recognizing contributors by using ratings on forums, giving out Twitter kudos, conference invitations, visits to headquarters, free products, preview releases, and so on, also encourages the adoption of the conversation model. The move to conversation as user assistance is not free, but there is a business ROI. The conversational model means that customer service is enhanced, as user experience moves from a functional to a valued, emotional level. Studies show a positive correlation between loyalty and financial performance (Consortium for Service Innovation, 2010), and as customer experience and loyalty become key differentiators, user experience professionals cannot explore the model's possibilities. The digital universe (measured at 1.2 million petabytes in 2010) is doubling every 12 to 18 months, and 70 percent of that universe consists of user-generated content (IDC, 2010). Conversation as user assistance cannot be ignored but must be embraced. It is a time to manage for abundance, not scarcity. Besides, the conversation approach certainly sounds more interesting, rewarding, and fun than the traditional model! I would like to thank Anne for her time and thoughts, and recommend that all user assistance professionals read her book. You can follow Anne on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/annegentle. Oracle's Acrolinx IQ deployment was used to author this article.

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  • Community Conversation

    - by ultan o'broin
    Applications User Experience members (Erika Webb, Laurie Pattison, and I) attended the User Assistance Europe Conference in Stockholm, Sweden. We were impressed with the thought leadership and practical application of ideas in Anne Gentle's keynote address "Social Web Strategies for Documentation". After the conference, we spoke with Anne to explore the ideas further. Applications User Experience Senior Director Laurie Pattison (left) with Anne Gentle at the User Assistance Europe Conference In Anne's book called Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, she explains how user assistance is undergoing a seismic shift. The direction is away from the old print manuals and online help concept towards a web-based, user community-driven solution using social media tools. User experience professionals now have a vast range of such tools to start and nurture this "conversation": blogs, wikis, forums, social networking sites, microblogging systems, image and video sharing sites, virtual worlds, podcasts, instant messaging, mashups, and so on. That user communities are a rich source of user assistance is not a surprise, but the extent of available assistance is. For example, we know from the Consortium for Service Innovation that there has been an 'explosion' of user-generated content on the web. User-initiated community conversations provide as much as 30 times the number of official help desk solutions for consortium members! The growing reliance on user community solutions is clearly a user experience issue. Anne says that user assistance as conversation "means getting closer to users and helping them perform well. User-centered design has been touted as one of the most important ideas developed in the last 20 years of workplace writing. Now writers can take the idea of user-centered design a step further by starting conversations with users and enabling user assistance in interactions." Some of Anne's favorite examples of this paradigm shift from the world of traditional documentation to community conversation include: * Writer Bob Bringhurst's blog about Adobe InDesign and InCopy products and Adobe's community help * The Microsoft Development Network Community Center * ·The former Sun (now Oracle) OpenDS wiki, NetBeans Ruby and other community approaches to engage diverse audiences using screencasts, wikis, and blogs. * Cisco's customer support wiki, EMC's community, as well as Symantec and Intuit's approaches * The efforts of Ubuntu, Mozilla, and the FLOSS community generally Adobe Writer Bob Bringhurst's Blog Oracle is not without a user community conversation too. Besides the community discussions and blogs around documentation offerings, we have the My Oracle Support Community forums, Oracle Technology Network (OTN) communities, wiki, blogs, and so on. We have the great work done by our user groups and customer councils. Employees like David Haimes are reaching out, and enthusiastic non-employee gurus like Chet Justice (OracleNerd), Floyd Teter and Eddie Awad provide great "how-to" information too. But what does this paradigm shift mean for existing technical writers as users turn away from the traditional printable PDF manual deliverables? We asked Anne after the conference. The writer role becomes one of conversation initiator or enabler. The role evolves, along with the process, as the users define their concept of user assistance and terms of engagement with the product instead of having it pre-determined. It is largely a case now of "inventing the job while you're doing it, instead of being hired for it" Anne said. There is less emphasis on formal titles. Anne mentions that her own title "Content Stacker" at OpenStack; others use titles such as "Content Curator" or "Community Lead". However, the role remains one essentially about communications, "but of a new type--interacting with users, moderating, curating content, instead of sitting down to write a manual from start to finish." Clearly then, this role is open to more than professional technical writers. Product managers who write blogs, developers who moderate forums, support professionals who update wikis, rock star programmers with a penchant for YouTube are ideal. Anyone with the product knowledge, empathy for the user, and flair for relationships on the social web can join in. Some even perform these roles already but do not realize it. Anne feels the technical communicator space will move from hiring new community conversation professionals (who are already active in the space through blogging, tweets, wikis, and so on) to retraining some existing writers over time. Our own research reveals that the established proponents of community user assistance even set employee performance objectives for internal content curators about the amount of community content delivered by people outside the organization! To take advantage of the conversations on the web as user assistance, enterprises must first establish where on the spectrum their community lies. "What is the line between community willingness to contribute and the enterprise objectives?" Anne asked. "The relationship with users must be managed and also measured." Anne believes that the process can start with a "just do it" approach. Begin by reaching out to existing user groups, individual bloggers and tweeters, forum posters, early adopter program participants, conference attendees, customer advisory board members, and so on. Use analytical tools to measure the level of conversation about your products and services to show a return on investment (ROI), winning management support. Anne emphasized that success with the community model is dependent on lowering the technical and motivational barriers so that users can readily contribute to the conversation. Simple tools must be provided, and guidelines, if any, must be straightforward but not mandatory. The conversational approach is one where traditional style and branding guides do not necessarily apply. Tools and infrastructure help users to create content easily, to search and find the information online, read it, rate it, translate it, and participate further in the content's evolution. Recognizing contributors by using ratings on forums, giving out Twitter kudos, conference invitations, visits to headquarters, free products, preview releases, and so on, also encourages the adoption of the conversation model. The move to conversation as user assistance is not free, but there is a business ROI. The conversational model means that customer service is enhanced, as user experience moves from a functional to a valued, emotional level. Studies show a positive correlation between loyalty and financial performance (Consortium for Service Innovation, 2010), and as customer experience and loyalty become key differentiators, user experience professionals cannot explore the model's possibilities. The digital universe (measured at 1.2 million petabytes in 2010) is doubling every 12 to 18 months, and 70 percent of that universe consists of user-generated content (IDC, 2010). Conversation as user assistance cannot be ignored but must be embraced. It is a time to manage for abundance, not scarcity. Besides, the conversation approach certainly sounds more interesting, rewarding, and fun than the traditional model! I would like to thank Anne for her time and thoughts, and recommend that all user assistance professionals read her book. You can follow Anne on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/annegentle. Oracle's Acrolinx IQ deployment was used to author this article.

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  • Text Expansion Awareness for UX Designers: Points to Consider

    - by ultan o'broin
    Awareness of translated text expansion dynamics is important for enterprise applications UX designers (I am assuming all source text for translation is in English, though apps development can takes place in other natural languages too). This consideration goes beyond the standard 'character multiplication' rule and must take into account the avoidance of other layout tricks that a designer might be tempted to try. Follow these guidelines. For general text expansion, remember the simple rule that the shorter the word is in the English, the longer it will need to be in English. See the examples provided by Richard Ishida of the W3C and you'll get the idea. So, forget the 30 percent or one inch minimum expansion rule of the old Forms days. Unfortunately remembering convoluted text expansion rules, based as a percentage of the US English character count can be tough going. Try these: Up to 10 characters: 100 to 200% 11 to 20 characters: 80 to 100% 21 to 30 characters: 60 to 80% 31 to 50 characters: 40 to 60% 51 to 70 characters: 31 to 40% Over 70 characters: 30% (Source: IBM) So it might be easier to remember a rule that if your English text is less than 20 characters then allow it to double in length (200 percent), and then after that assume an increase by half the length of the text (50%). (Bear in mind that ADF can apply truncation rules on some components in English too). (If your text is stored in a database, developers must make sure the table column widths can accommodate the expansion of your text when translated based on byte size for the translated character and not numbers of characters. Use Unicode. One character does not equal one byte in the multilingual enterprise apps world.) Rely on a graceful transformation of translated text. Let all pages to resize dynamically so the text wraps and flow naturally. ADF pages supports this already. Think websites. Don't hard-code alignments. Use Start and End properties on components and not Left or Right. Don't force alignments of components on the page by using texts of a certain length as spacers. Use proper label positioning and anchoring in ADF components or other technologies. Remember that an increase in text length means an increase in vertical space too when pages are resized. So don't hard-code vertical heights for any text areas. Don't be tempted to manually create text or printed reports this way either. They cannot be translated successfully, and are very difficult to maintain in English. Use XML, HTML, RTF and so on. Check out what Oracle BI Publisher offers. Don't force wrapping by using tricks such as /n or /t characters or HTML BR tags or forced page breaks. Once the text is translated the alignment will be destroyed. The position of the breaking character or tag would need to be moved anyway, or even removed. When creating tables, then use table components. Don't use manually created tables that reply on word length to maintain column and row alignment. For example, don't use codeblock elements in HTML; use the proper table elements instead. Once translated, the alignment of manually formatted tabular data is destroyed. Finally, if there is a space restriction, then don't use made-up acronyms, abbreviations or some form of daft text speak to save space. Besides being incomprehensible in English, they may need full translations of the shortened words, even if they can be figured out. Use approved or industry standard acronyms according to the UX style rules, not as a space-saving device. Restricted Real Estate on Mobile Devices On mobile devices real estate is limited. Using shortened text is fine once it is comprehensible. Users in the mobile space prefer brevity too, as they are on the go, performing three-minute tasks, with no time to read lengthy texts. Using fragments and lightning up on unnecessary articles and getting straight to the point with imperative forms of verbs makes sense both on real estate and user experience grounds.

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  • Review of UPK Book

    - by ultan o'broin
    Better late than never, but my review of Dirk Manuel's UPK book was published in February. Oracle UPK - User Productivty Kit - is a cool tool for creating training material from the very environment users work in. An excellent accelerator to learning and reducing time spent reading manuals instead of productive activity! You can read more about UPK on the Oracle Web site.

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  • Where Next for Google Translate? And What of Information Quality?

    - by ultan o'broin
    Fascinating article in the UK Guardian newspaper called Can Google break the computer language barrier? In it, Andreas Zollman, who works on Google Translate, comments that the quality of Google Translate's output relative to the amount of data required to create that output is clearly now falling foul of the law of diminishing returns. He says: "Each doubling of the amount of translated data input led to about a 0.5% improvement in the quality of the output," he suggests, but the doublings are not infinite. "We are now at this limit where there isn't that much more data in the world that we can use," he admits. "So now it is much more important again to add on different approaches and rules-based models." The Translation Guy has a further discussion on this, called Google Translate is Finished. He says: "And there aren't that many doublings left, if any. I can't say how much text Google has assimilated into their machine translation databases, but it's been reported that they have scanned about 11% of all printed content ever published. So double that, and double it again, and once more, shoveling all that into the translation hopper, and pretty soon you get the sum of all human knowledge, which means a whopping 1.5% improvement in the quality of the engines when everything has been analyzed. That's what we've got to look forward to, at best, since Google spiders regularly surf the Web, which in its vastness dwarfs all previously published content. So to all intents and purposes, the statistical machine translation tools of Google are done. Outstanding job, Googlers. Thanks." Surprisingly, all this analysis hasn't raised that much comment from the fans of machine translation, or its detractors either for that matter. Perhaps, it's the season of goodwill? What is clear to me, however, of course is that Google Translate isn't really finished (in any sense of the word). I am sure Google will investigate and come up with new rule-based translation models to enhance what they have already and that will also scale effectively where others didn't. So too, will they harness human input, which really is the way to go to train MT in the quality direction. But that aside, what does it say about the quality of the data that is being used for statistical machine translation in the first place? From the Guardian article it's clear that a huge humanly translated corpus drove the gains for Google Translate and now what's left is the dregs of badly translated and poorly created source materials that just can't deliver quality translations. There's a message about information quality there, surely. In the enterprise applications space, where we have some control over content this whole debate reinforces the relationship between information quality at source and translation efficiency, regardless of the technology used to do the translation. But as more automation comes to the fore, that information quality is even more critical if you want anything approaching a scalable solution. This is important for user experience professionals. Issues like user generated content translation, multilingual personalization, and scalable language quality are central to a superior global UX; it's a competitive issue we cannot ignore.

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  • What Error Messages Reveal

    - by ultan o'broin
    I love this blog entry Usability doesn't mean UI Especially the part: Ask for a list of all error messages when you do your next vendor evaluation. You will learn more about the vendor's commitment to usability and product quality than you will fathom from a slick demo. Not so sure about the part about error messages not being "hip" or "glamorous" though. I know... I should get out more...:)

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  • iPad and User Assistance

    - by ultan o'broin
    What possibilities does the iPad over for user assistance in the enterprise space? We will research the possibilities but I can see a number of possibilities already for remote workers who need access to trouble-shooting information on-site, implementers who need reference information and diagrams, business analysts or technical users accessing reports and dashboards for metrics or issues, functional users who need org charts and other data visualizations, and so on. It could also open up more possibilities for collaborative problem solving. User assistance content can take advantage of the device's superb display, graphics capability, connectivity, and long battery life. The possibility of opening up more innovative user assistance solutions (such as comics) is an exciting one for everyone in the UX space. Aligned to this possibility we need to research how users would use the device as they work.

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  • The Kids Are Alright. With Facebook and SMS. But Not Twitter

    - by ultan o'broin
    I delivered a lecture to business and technology freshmen (late teens, I reckon) in Trinity College Dublin recently. I spoke about user experience in enterprise applications, trends that UX pros need to be aware of such as social media, community support, mobile and tablet platforms and a bunch of nuances around those areas (data and device security, privacy, reputation, branding, and so on). It was all fairly high level stuff given the audience, and I included lots of colorful screenshots. Irish-related examples helped to get the message across. During the lecture I did a quick poll. “How many students here use Twitter?” Answer: None. “How many use Facebook?” All (pretty much). So what do these guys like to use instead of Twitter? Easy - text messaging (or SMS if you like). They all had phones. Perhaps I should not have been so surprised about Twitter, but it’s always great to have research validated by some guerilla UX research on the street. There’s already quite a bit of research about teen uptake (or lack) of Twitter, telling us young adults don’t tweet. Twitter is seen as something for er, older people. Affordable devices and data plans that allow students to text really quickly are also popular (BlackBerry, for example). Younger people just luuurve to text each other. A lot.  Facebook versus Twitter for younger folks? Well, we know the story. No contest. I would love to engage more with students like these. I’ll plan for it. It will also be interesting to see if Twitter becomes more important to them over time. There were a few other interesting observations about the lack of uptake of Foursquare, Gowalla and mobile apps like that. I  don’t think there’s a huge uptake in these kind of apps in Ireland anyway, but maybe students have different priorities anyway?   I’ll return to that another day. Technorati Tags: Gowalla,FourSquare,Twitter,UX,user experience,user assistance,Trinity College Dublin

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  • Book Reviews: Art of Community and Eyetracking Web Usability

    - by ultan o'broin
    Holidays time offers a chance to catch up on some user experience and user assistance related material. So, two short book reviews (which I considered using my new Tumblr blog for. More about that another time) coming up. The Art of Community by Jono Bacon Excellent starting point for anyone wanting to get going in the community software (FLOSS, for example) space or understand how to set up, manage, and leverage the collective intelligence of communities for whatever ends. The book is a little too long in my opinion, and of course, usage of what Jono is recommending needs to be nuanced and adapted for enterprise applications space (hardly surprising there is a lot about Ubuntu, Lug Radio, and so on given Jono's interests). Shame there wasn't more information on international, non-English community considerations too. Still, some great ideas and insight into setting up and managing communities that I will leverage (watch out for the results on this blog, later in 2011). One section, on collaborative writing really jumped out. It reinforced the whole idea that to successful community initiatives are based on instigators knowing what makes the community tick in the first place. How about this for insight into user profiles for people who write community user assistance (OK then, "doc") and what tools they might use (in this case, we're talking about Jokosher): "Most people who write documentation for open source software projects would fall into the category of power user. They are technology enthusiasts who are not interested in the super-technical avenues of programming, but want to help out. Many of these people have good writing skills and a good knowledge of using the software, so the documentation fit is natural. With Jokosher we wanted to acknowledge this profile of user. As such, instead of focussing on complex text processing tools, we encouraged our documentation contributors to use a wiki." The book is available for free here, and well as being available from usual sources. Eyetracking Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen and Kara Prentice Another fine book by established experts. I have some field experience of eyetracking studies myself --in the user assistance for enterprise applications space--though Jakob and Kara concentrate on websites for their research here. I would caution how much about websites transfers easily to the applications space, especially enterprise applications, as claimed in the book too. However, Jakob and Kara do make the case very well that understanding design goals (for example, productivity improvement in the case of applications) and the context of the software use is critical. Executing a study using eyetracking technology requires that you know what you want to test, can set up realistic tasks for testing by representative testers, and then analyze the results. Be precise, as lots of data will be generated (I think the authors underplay the effort in analyzing data too). What I found disappointing was the lack of emphasis on eyetracking as only part of the usability solution. It's really for fine-tuning designs in my opinion, and should be used after other design reviews. I also wasn't that crazy about the level of disengagement between the qualitative and quantitative side of this kind of testing that the book indicated. I think it is useful to have testers verbalize their thoughts and for test engineers to prompt, intervene, or guide as necessary. More on cultural or international aspects to usability testing might have been included too (websites are available to everyone). To conclude, I enjoyed the book, took on board some key takeaways about methodologies and found the recommendations sensible and easy to follow (for example about Forms layouts). Applying enterprise applications requirements such as those relating to user profiles, design goals, and overall context of use in conjunction with what's in this book would be the way to go here. It also made me think of how interesting it would be to compare eyetracking findings between website and enterprise applications usage.

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  • Global User Experience Research: Mobile

    - by ultan o'broin
    A shout out to the usableapps.oracle.com blog article Going Native to Understand Mobile Workers. Oracle is a global company and with all that revenue coming from outside the US, international usability research is essential. So read up about how the Applications User Experience team went about this important user-centered ethnographic research. Personalization is king in the mobile space. Going native is a great way to uncover exactly what users want as they work and use their mobile devices, but you need to do it worldwide!

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  • Brighton Rocks: UA Europe 2011

    - by ultan o'broin
    User Assistance Europe 2011 was held in Brighton, UK. Having seen Quadrophenia a dozen times, I just had to go along (OK, I wanted to talk about messages in enterprise applications). Sadly, it rained a lot, though that was still eminently more tolerable than being stuck home in Dublin during Bloomsday. So, here are my somewhat selective highlights and observations from the conference, massively skewed towards my own interests, as usual. Enjoyed Leah Guren's (Cow TC) great start ‘keynote’ on the Cultural Dimensions of Software Help Usage. Starting out by revisiting Hofstede's and Hall's work on culture (how many times I have done this for Multilingual magazine?) and then Neilsen’s findings on age as an indicator of performance, Leah showed how it is the expertise of the user that user assistance (UA) needs to be designed for (especially for high-end users), with some considerations made for age, while the gender and culture of users are not major factors. Help also needs to be contextual and concise, embedded close to the action. That users are saying things like “If I want help on Office, I go to Google ” isn't all that profound at this stage, but it is always worth reiterating how search can be optimized to return better results for users. Interestingly, regardless of user education level, the issue of information quality--hinging on the lynchpin of terminology reflecting that of the user--is critical. Major takeaway for me there. Matthew Ellison’s sessions on embedded help and demos were also impressive. Embedded help that is concise and contextual is definitely a powerful UX enabler, and I’m pleased to say that in Oracle Fusion Applications we have embraced the concept fully. Matthew also mentioned in his session about successful software demos that the principle of modality with demos is a must. Look no further than Oracle User Productivity Kit demos See It!, Try It!, Know It, and Do It! modes, for example. I also found some key takeaways in the presentation by Marie-Louise Flacke on notes and warnings. Here, legal considerations seemed to take precedence over providing any real information to users. I was delighted when Marie-Louise called out the Oracle JDeveloper documentation as an exemplar of how to use notes and instructions instead of trying to scare the bejaysus out of people and not providing them with any real information they’d find useful instead. My own session on designing messages for enterprise applications was well attended. Knowing your user profiles (remember user expertise is the king maker for UA so write for each audience involved), how users really work, the required application business and UI rules, what your application technology supports, and how messages integrate with the enterprise help desk and support policies and you will go much further than relying solely on the guideline of "writing messages in plain language". And, remember the value in warnings and confirmation messages too, and how you can use them smartly. I hope y’all got something from my presentation and from my answers to questions afterwards. Ellis Pratt stole the show with his presentation on applying game theory to software UA, using plenty of colorful, relevant examples (check out the Atlassian and DropBox approaches, for example), and striking just the right balance between theory and practice. Completely agree that the approach to take here is not to make UA itself a game, but to invoke UA as part of a bigger game dynamic (time-to-task completion, personal and communal goals, personal achievement and status, and so on). Sure there are gotchas and limitations to gamification, and we need to do more research. However, we'll hear a lot more about this subject in coming years, particularly in the enterprise space. I hope. I also heard good things about the different sessions about DITA usage (including one by Sonja Fuga that clearly opens the door for major innovation in the community content space using WordPress), the progressive disclosure of information (Cerys Willoughby), an overview of controlled language (or "information quality", as I like to position it) solutions and rationale by Dave Gash, and others. I also spent time chatting with Mike Hamilton of MadCap Software, who showed me a cool demo of their Flare product, and the Lingo translation solution. I liked the idea of their licensing model for workers-on-the-go; that’s smart UX-awareness in itself. Also chatted with Julian Murfitt of Mekon about uptake of DITA in the enterprise space. In all, it's worth attending UA Europe. I was surprised, however, not to see conference topics about mobile UA, community conversation and content, and search in its own right. These are unstoppable forces now, and the latter is pretty central to providing assistance now to all but the most irredentist of hard-copy fetishists or advanced technical or functional users working away on the back end of applications and systems. Only saw one iPad too (says the guy who carries three laptops). Tweeting during the conference was pretty much nonexistent during the event, so no community energy there. Perhaps all this can be addressed next year. I would love to see the next UA Europe event come to Dublin (despite Bloomsday, it's not a bad place place, really) now that hotels are so cheap and all. So, what is my overall impression of the state of user assistance in Europe? Clearly, there are still many people in the industry who feel there is something broken with the traditional forms of user assistance (particularly printed doc) and something needs to be done about it. I would suggest they move on and try and embrace change, instead. Many others see new possibilities, offered by UX and technology, as well as the reality of online user behavior in an increasingly connected world and that is encouraging. Such thought leaders need to be listened to. As Ellis Pratt says in his great book, Trends in Technical Communication - Rethinking Help: “To stay relevant means taking a new perspective on the role (of technical writer), and delivering “products” over and above the traditional manual and online Help file... there are a number of new trends in this field - some complementary, some conflicting. Whatever trends emerge as the norm, it’s likely the status quo will change.” It already has, IMO. I hear similar debates in the professional translation world about the onset of translation crowd sourcing (the Facebook model) and machine translation (trust me, that battle is over). Neither of these initiatives has put anyone out of a job and probably won't, though the nature of the work might change. If anything, such innovations have increased the overall need for professional translators as user expectations rise, new audiences emerge, and organizations need to collate and curate user-generated content, combining it with their own. Perhaps user assistance professionals can learn from other professions and grow accordingly.

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  • Design Issues With Forms

    - by ultan o'broin
    Interesting article on UX Matters, well worth reading, especially the idea that global design research can take for a better user experience in all languages: Label Placement in Austrian Forms, with Some Lessons for English Forms What is perhaps underplayed here is the cultural influence of how people worked with forms in the past, and how a proper global user-centered design process needs to address this issue and move usability gains (in the enterprise space, productivity especially) in the right direction.

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  • Augmented Reality and Translation: Use Case in Enterprise?

    - by ultan o'broin
    Really love this iPhone app from Visual Quest: Word Lens Great to see the concept of augmented reality (a hot topic in UX) and translation coming together. Of course, I've downloaded the app and I'm trying it out already! Mashable say it all about this app in terms of how it seems like Sci-Fi is coming to life. However, the question remains: How could such an app be used in the enterprise applications space? Opinions welcome!

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  • Tom Cruise: Meet Fusion Apps UX and Feel the Speed

    - by ultan o'broin
    Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember, and now to admit that I really loved, the movie Top Gun. You know the one - Tom Cruise, US Navy F-14 ace pilot, Mr Maverick, crisis of confidence, meets woman, etc., etc. Anyway, one of more memorable lines (there were a few) was: "I feel the need, the need for speed." I was reminded of Tom Cruise recently. Paraphrasing a certain Senior Vice President talking about Oracle Fusion Applications and user experience at an all-hands meeting, I heard that: Applications can never be too easy to use. Performance can never be too fast. Developers, assume that your code is always "on". Perfect. You cannot overstate the user experience importance of application speed to users, or at least their perception of speed. We all want that super speed of execution and performance, and increasingly so as enterprise users bring the expectations of consumer IT into the work environment. Sten Vesterli (@stenvesterli), an Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience Advocate, also addressed the speed point artfully at an Oracle Usability Advisory Board meeting in Geneva. Sten asked us that when we next Googled something, to think about the message we see that Google has found hundreds of thousands or millions of results for us in a split second (for example, About 8,340,000 results (0.23 seconds)). Now, how many results can we see and how many can we use immediately? Yet, this simple message communicating the total results available to us works a special magic about speed, delight, and excitement that Google has made its own in the search space. And, guess what? The Oracle Application Development Framework table component relies on a similar "virtual performance boost", says Sten, when it displays the first 50 records in a table, and uses a scrollbar indicating the total size of the data record set. The user scrolls and the application automatically retrieves more records as needed. Application speed and its perception by users is worth bearing in mind the next time you're at a customer site and the IT Department demands that you retrieve every record from the database. Just think of... Dave Ensor: I'll give you all the rows you ask for in one second. If you promise to use them. (Again, hat tip to Sten.) And then maybe think of... Tom Cruise. And if you want to read about the speed of Oracle Fusion Applications, and what that really means in terms of user productivity for your entire business, then check out the Oracle Applications User Experience Oracle Fusion Applications white papers on the usable apps website.

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  • User Experience Fundamentals

    - by ultan o'broin
    Understanding what user experience means in the modern work environment is central to building great-looking usable applications on the desktop or mobile devices. What better place to start a series of blog posts on such Applications User Experience team enablement for customers and partners than by sharing what the term really means, writes team member Karen Scipi. Applications UX have gained valuable insights into developing a user experience that reflects the experience of today’s worker. We have observed real workers performing real tasks in real work environments, and we have developed a set of new standards of application design that have been scientifically proven to be beneficial to enable today’s workers. We share such expertise to enable our customers and partners to benefit from our insights and to further their return on investment when building Oracle applications. So, What is User Experience? ?The user interface (UI) is about the on-screen user context provided by the layout of widgets (such as icons, fields, and buttons and more) and the visual impact of colors, typographic choices, and so on. The UI comprises the “look and feel” of the application that users interact with, and reflects, in essence, the most immediate aspects of usability we can now all relate to.  User experience, on the other hand, is about understanding the whole context of the world of work, how workers go about completing tasks, crossing all sorts of boundaries along the way. It is a study of how business processes and workers goals coincide, how users work with technology or other tools to get their jobs done, their interactions with other users, and their response to the technical, physical, and cultural environment around them. User experience is all about how users work—their work environments, office layouts, desk tools, types of devices, their working day, and more. Even their job aids, such as sticky notes, offer insight for UX innovation. User experience matters because businesses needs to be efficient, work must be productive, and users now demand to be satisfied by the applications they work with. In simple terms, tasks finished quickly and accurately for a business evokes organization and worker satisfaction, which in turn makes workers feel good and more than willing to use the application again tomorrow. Design Principles for the Enterprise Worker The consumerization of information technology has raised the bar for enterprise applications. Applications must be consistent, simple, intuitive, but above all contextual, reflecting how and when workers work, in the office or on the go. For example, the Google search experience with its type-ahead keyword-prompting feature is how workers expect to be able to discover enterprise information, too. Type-ahead in PeopleSoft 9.1 To build software that enables workers to be productive, our design principles meet modern work requirements about consistency, with well-organized, context-driven information, geared for a working world of discovery and collaboration. Our applications must also behave in a simple, web-like way just like Amazon, Google, and Apple products that workers use at home or on the go. Our user experience must also reflect workers’ needs for flexibility and well-loved enterprise practices such as using popular desktop tools like Microsoft Excel or Outlook as required. Building User Experience Productively The building blocks of Oracle Fusion Applications are the user experience design patterns. Based on the Oracle Fusion Middleware technology used to build Oracle Fusion Applications, the patterns are reusable solutions to common usability challenges that ADF developers typically face as they build applications, extensions, and integrations. Developers use the patterns as part of their Oracle toolkits to realize great usability consistently and in a productive way. Our design pattern creation process is informed by user experience research and science, an understanding of our technology’s capabilities, the demands for simplification and intuitiveness from users, and the best of Oracle’s acquisitions strategy (an injection of smart people and smart innovation). The patterns are supported by usage guidelines and are tested in our labs and assembled into a library of proven resources we used to build own Oracle Fusion Applications and other Oracle applications user experiences. The design patterns library is now available to the ADF community and to our partners and customers, for free. Developers with ADF skills and other technology skills can now offer more than just coding and functionality and still use the best in enterprise methodologies to ensure that a great user experience is easily applied, scaled, and maintained, whether it be for SaaS or on-premise deployments for Oracle Fusion Applications, for applications coexistence, or for partner integrations scenarios.  Oracle partners and customers already using our design patterns to build solutions and win business in smart and productive ways are now sharing their experiences and insights on pattern use to benefit your entire business. Applications UX is going global with the message and the means. Our hands-on user experience enablement through ADF  is expanding. So, stay tuned to Misha Vaughan's Voice of User Experience (VOX) blog and follow along on Twitter at @usableapps for news of outreach events and other learning opportunities. Interested in Learning More? Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience Patterns and Guidelines Library Shout-outs for Oracle UX Design Patterns Oracle Fusion Applications User Experience Design Patterns: Productivity Realized

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  • Chrome Web Browser Messages: Some Observations

    - by ultan o'broin
    I'm always on the lookout for how different apps handle errors and what kind of messages are shown (I probably need to get out more), I use this 'research' to reflect on our own application error messages patterns and guidelines and how we might make things better for our users in future. Users are influenced by all sorts of things, but their everyday experiences of technology, and especially what they encounter on the internet, increasingly sets their expectations for the enterprise user experience too. I recently came across a couple of examples from Google's Chrome web browser that got me thinking. In the first case, we have a Chrome error about not being able to find a web page. I like how simple, straightforward messaging language is used along with an optional ability to explore things a bit further--for those users who want to. The 'more information' option shows the error encountered by the browser (or 'original' error) in technical terms, along with an error number. Contrasting the two messages about essentially the same problem reveals what's useful to users and what's not. Everyone can use the first message, but the technical version of the message has to be explicitly disclosed for any more advanced user to pursue further. More technical users might search for a resolution, using that Error 324 number, but I imagine most users who see the message will try again later or check their URL again. Seems reasonable that such an approach be adopted in the enterprise space too, right? Maybe. Generally, end users don't go searching for solutions based on those error numbers, and help desk folks generally prefer they don't do so. That's because of the more critical nature of enterprise data or the fact that end users may not have the necessary privileges to make any fixes anyway. What might be more useful here is a link to a trusted source of additional help provided by the help desk or reputable community instead. This takes me on to the second case, this time more closely related to the language used in messaging situations. Here, I first noticed by the using of the (s) approach to convey possibilities of there being one or more pages at the heart of the problem. This approach is a no-no in Oracle style terms (the plural would be used) and it can create translation issues (though it is not a show-stopper). I think Google could have gone with the plural too. However, of more interest is the use of the verb "kill", shown in the message text and as an action button label. For many writers, words like "kill" and "abort" are to be avoided as they can give offense. I am not so sure about that judgment, as really their use cannot be separated from the context. Certainly, for more technical users, they're fine and have been in use for years, so I see no reason to avoid these terms if the audience has accepted them. Most end users too, I think would find the idea of "kill" usable and may even use the term in every day speech. Others might disagree--Apple uses a concept of Force Quit, for example. Ultimately, the only way to really know how to proceed is to research these matter by asking users of differing roles and expertise to perform some tasks, encounter these messages and then make recommendations based on those findings for our designs. Something to do in 2011!

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  • CMS DITA North America Conference / Agile Doc

    - by ultan o'broin
    I attended and presented, along with a colleague, at the Content Management Strategies DITA North America Conference 2010 in Santa Clara this week. It was touch and go whether I would make it across the Atlantic, but as usual the Irish always got through! Our presentation was about DITA and Writing Patterns, and there was three other presentations from Oracle folks too, all very well delivered and received. The interaction with other companies was superb, and the sparks of innovation that flew as a result left me with three use case ideas for UX investigation and implementation. My colleague had a similar experience. Well worth attending! One of the last sessions was about Authoring in an Agile environment, presented by Julio Vasquez. This was an excellent, common sense, and forthright no-nonsense delivery that made complete sense to me. I'd encourage you, if you are interested in the subject, to check out Julio's white paper on the subject too, available from the SDI website.

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  • Gamification: Oracle Well and Truly Engaged

    - by ultan o'broin
    Here is a quick roundup of Oracle gamification events and activities. But first, some admissions to a mis-spent youth from Oracle vice presidents Jeremy Ashley, Nigel King, Mike Rulf, Dave Stephens, and Clive Swan, (the video was used as an introduction to the Oracle Applications User Experience Gamification Design Jam): Other videos from that day are available, including the event teaser A History of Games, and about UX and Gamification are here, and here. On to the specifics: Marta Rauch's (@martarauch) presentations Tapping Enterprise Communities Through Gamification at STC 2012 and Gamification is Here: Build a Winning Plan at LavaCon 2012. Erika Webb's (@erikanollwebb) presentation Enterprise User Experience: Making Work Engaging at Oracle at the G-Summit 2012. Kevin Roebuck's blog outlining his team's gamification engagements, including the G-Summit, Innovations in Online Learning, and the America's Cup for Java Kids Virtual Design Competition at the Immersive Education Summit. Kevin also attended the UX Design Jam. Jake Kuramoto (@jkuramot) of Oracle AppsLab's (@theappslab) thoughts on the Gamification Design Jam. Jake and Co have championed gamification in the apps space for a while now. If you know of more Oracle gamification events or articles of interest, then find the comments.

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  • Games Localization: Cultural Points

    - by ultan o'broin
    Great article about localization considerations, this times in the games space. Well worth checking out. It's rare to see such all-encompassing articles about localization considerations aimed at designers. That's a shame. The industry assumes all these things are known. The evidence from practice is that they're not and also need constant reinforcement. We're not in the games space in enterprise applications yet. However, there may be a role for them in the training space but also in CRM, building relationships and contacts. Beyond the obvious considerations, check out the cultural aspects of games localization too. For example, Zygna's offerings, which you might have played on Facebook: Zynga, which can lay claim to the two most popular social games on Facebook - FarmVille and CityVille - has recently localized both games for international audiences, and while CityVille has seen only localization for European languages, FarmVille has been localized for China, which involved rebuilding the game from the ground up. This localization process involved taking into account cultural considerations including changing the color palette to be brighter and increasing the size of the farm plots, to appeal to Chinese aesthetics and cultural experience. All the more reason to conduct research in your target markets, worldwide.

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  • Oracle User Productivity Kit Translation

    - by ultan o'broin
    Oracle's customers just love the User Productivity Kit (UPK). I hear only great things about it from our international customers at the Oracle Usability Advisory Board meetings too. The UPK is the perfect solution for enterprise applications training needs (I previously reviewed a fine book about UPK btw). One question I am often asked is how source content created using the UPK can be translated into another language. I spoke with Peter Maravelias, Principal Product Strategy Manager for UPK about this recently. UPK is already optimized for easy source-target translation already. There is even a solution for re-recording demos. Here's what you can do to get your source content into another language: Use UPK's ability to automatically translate events and actions. UPK comes with XML templates that allow you to accomplish this in 21 languages with a simple publishing action switch. These templates even deal with the tricky business of using gender-based translations. Spanish localization template sample Japanese localization template sample Use the Import and Export localization features to export additional custom content in a format like XLIFF, easily handled by translation tools. You could also export and import in Word format. Re-record the sound (audio) files that go with the recordings, one per screen. UPK's granular approach to the sound files means that timing isn't an option. Retiming demos isn't required. A tip here with sound files and XLFF-exported custom content is to facilitate translation context by avoiding explicit references to actions going on in the screen recordings. A text based storyboard with screenshots accompanying the sound files should also be provided to the translators. Provide a glossary of terms too. Use the re-record option in UPK to record any demo from a translated application. This will allow all the translated UI labels to be automatically captured. You may be required to resize any action events here due to text expansion issues. Of course, you will need translated data in the translated application too, so plan for this in advance. However, source-target language skills aren't required for the re-recording. The UPK Player itself, of course, is also available from Oracle along with content and doc in 21 languages. The Developer and Setup is also translated in a smaller number of languages. Check the Oracle UPK website for latest details. UPK is a super solution for global enterprise applications training deployments allowing source content to be translated into multiple languages easily. See this post on the UPK blog for more insight too!

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