UX

In-App Guides #1 – Oracle Guided Learning

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Last month I started looking at in-app guides and Fusion – with the aim of finding the best service to increase user adoption and decrease the need for training.

The first that I’ve managed to see working is Oracle Guided Learning. It’s a product that they’ve acquired (Iridize was one of the market leaders pre September 2018’s acquisition) and I’ve been lucky enough to speak to one of the key people from Iridize who is now forging ahead within Oracle. I’ve also managed to speak to some of the people within Oracle University – as Oracle Guided Learning (OGL from now on) is a service that is now part of Oracle University. Here’s a taste of what I’ve learnt:

How does it look?

It looks good.

Here’s an intro popup upon logon:

OLG1

This can either appear every time or be gone for good once dismissed. This welcome can be multi-step and contain content such as video:

OLG2

The main selling point is the interactive guides that step the user through key tasks however. These are triggered from the drawer on the right-hand side:

OLG3

The users can select which process they want to be guided through, thus:

OLG4OLG5

There are some other nice bells-and-whistles, such as the ability to add information beacons and helpful messages beside certain fields:

OLG6

All considered, a very slick offering.

How is it implemented?

Technically, it’s embedded via a JavaScript ‘hook’ into the Fusion application. What is interesting is the model that OGL is sold in. Instead of selling the application with a monthly/annual price, it’s sold as a managed service. Oracle University has a library of pre-built process walkthroughs that they deliver, but you’re not stuck with vanilla as the client is able to customise some of the flows.

What could be important is that OU look after the maintenance for you, so that if a field changes they will perform the changes to ensure it still works. And as they’re part of Oracle they get the releases early so will make the changes in good time.

How is it sold?

It’s sold as a Cloud service product – so you’d subscribe to it in the same way you would your Cloud apps – and the cost is a percentage based off of your Fusion contract value.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more please do get in touch.

 

Tweaking the Manager Resources Dashboard

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The Manager Resources Dashboard is being replaced in Release 13, but until we get the upgrade we still need to use the current version. Most of the content can be replaced with better OTBI output, however, Worker Availability is not able to be easily superceded.

So, for our client, they have this on its own on a Dashboard.

Manager Resources Dashboard Tweak 1

Straight away you’ll be able to see the problem. Anyone with more than four direct reports will see a scrollbar and will need to move up and down to get a view of their team’s whereabouts.

As this was the only item on the dashboard the client asked if it could be made a bit taller so more team members could fit in the centre window at the same time.

It took a fair amount of CSS digging, but it is possible. We added a piece of HTML markup within a sandbox and used it to inject a style into the page that specified a larger height value:

Manager Resources Dashboard Tweak 2

Purists among you will be tutting at my use of the “!important” directive as it prevents the cascade of style classes, however in this case the height was expressly set in the HTML as an element style so this was the only way of overriding it.

The result of this small override is a much better user experience:

Manager Resources Dashboard Tweak 3

All the team on one page and no scroll bars.

Taking HCM Cloud UX even further

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I attended a great webinar recently given by Chris Leone (Oracle, SVP Apps Development) on the Cloud Customer Connect site. Chris walked through some of the HCM Cloud UX changes coming in Release 13 and the updates in 2018.

First of all, if you’re not a member of Cloud Customer Connect, you should be. There’s some great content on there and regular webinars.

So, what did I learn from Chris?

Intro

During his introduction slides we obviously heard about Oracle’s commitment to embrace leading-edge technology, their desire to keep the UX fresh etc. One comment I really liked was:

Deliver a warm and approachable HCM tool that people will use

We’ve all used applications in the past that have been fussy over how steps are performed, or been told “you just need to do the process this way because that’s how the system works”. This is starting to change though and we’ve recently had a client pass-up on the chance of training as the system was intuitive enough for them to work out without assistance. “Warm and Approachable” is taking it a step further than just ‘intuitive’ so I look forward to seeing that in practice.

Improvements

These are the enhancements that I noted during the webinar:

  • All Self Service pages will be moving to a new mobile responsive layout over the next 12 months, making mobile use significantly easier
  • Type-ahead in fields
  • Better prompting/look-ups
  • A new homepage

New Homepage

We’re going to get the choice between a new twist on the existing formats (shown on the left below) and a more contemporary version in a vertical layout (on the right):

Vertical Layout

The vertical layout is particularly interesting as it combines several of the areas that you’ll want to see into a single page (Quick Actions, Tasks, Infolets). This is the MSS view:

New UI MSS

It has tabs at the top to switch between Employee and Manager actions (there could be other tabs here, for HR perhaps), quick actions on the left, and the applications on the right.

Simplified Pages

Some other really great functionality that Chris teased was dramatically simplified pages.

For some flows (e.g. promotion) you can select the areas that you wish to amend:

New UI Simplify pages

This means that the user isn’t shown sections that aren’t relevant.

Also, the areas of the screen are broken down into collapsing sections:

New UI Simplify pages 2

So when a user has finished a section and scrolls down the next area automatically expands. The demo was very slick.

Summary

The UX has taken a big jump forward over the last couple of years, however it’s continuing at the fast pace with some well-considered enhancements to keep making life better for the end-users.

The full 45 minute video can be found here (Cloud Customer Connect account required):

https://cloudcustomerconnect.oracle.com/posts/f851fbfffe